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94 Fender Deluxe 5 String Jazz basses?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by dgce, Aug 8, 2005.


  1. dgce

    dgce

    Jun 17, 2001
    Massachusetts, USA
    Got my eye on a Fender Jazz Deluxe 5 from the early 90s. Remember those? They had a reduced body size, no pickgard and Fender/Lace sensor pickups? I've tried the 4 string version a few times over the years and found them to be okay. Basically these were always used models, slightly beat up with dead strings and terrible setups. I've never tried one that was well maintained and ready for gigging so it’s hard for me to draw a fair conclusion. More so, I've never tried a 5 string version.

    Anyone out there own one or have tried them out? How's the string spacing? Any good for slapping? How's the low B string? Any feedback would be appreciated.

    Thanks
    r
    PS BTW, this model I’m interested has been outfitted with passive Seymour Js. I'll trust this is an improvement over the Lace Sensors, no?
     
  2. dgce

    dgce

    Jun 17, 2001
    Massachusetts, USA
    Here's a couple of pix
     
  3. BassikLee

    BassikLee Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 13, 2004
    Deltona, FL
    Owner: Brevard Sound Systems
    I have one, stock Lace Pickups. Spacing may be an issue for you. It never has been for me, but then I have been playing that bass since about '92. I find the "wide" 5s these days to be a little wide for me, Laklands and those guys. All my basses these days are medium spaced 5s, with the exception of a Peavey PU Millennium 5, and that one is too wide for me to really be comfy on. I keep it around cuz it is probably my best bass, today. Back to the jazz. Nice bass. Not great, doesn't suck. I'd buy one, for the right $$. I did ALL of my gigging on mine from '92 up thru the time I "stopped playing" in 2001ish.

    Lee
     
  4. dgce

    dgce

    Jun 17, 2001
    Massachusetts, USA
    Thanks for the info. This particular bass looks pretty good for the money. It’s up on eBay and has stayed at $299 since it was posted. there have been no bids on it so far though I'm certain there are others like myself who have been lurking about. At say, $300 and so, I think it’s a sweet deal, tight fingering or not. However there is a nasty looking crack at the headstock. Seller comments on it and says repair is good and strong. Still, this sort of thing makes me a little nervous. I also have no idea what model Basslines (Seymours) pickups are on there. Like EMGs, it doesn't have exposed pole pieces and at first I presumed they were active. The sellers say they're not.

    Are those Lace Sensors hooked up to an active preamp? And how’s that low B? Flabby? Snappy? Mud?

    r
     
  5. BassikLee

    BassikLee Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 13, 2004
    Deltona, FL
    Owner: Brevard Sound Systems
    The Lace pickups go thru a watered down Kubiki preamp. Nice stuff. These basses were very decent for their day. I kept mine probably more out of nostaligia (WAY sp??) than because it is a great bass. I refer to is as "the wife". With the crack in the head, I'd maybe go mid 300s on that one, not too much more, given that used 55-01s as well as Tribute L2500s are not too far north of there, and IMHO, much better basses.


    Lee
     
  6. dgce

    dgce

    Jun 17, 2001
    Massachusetts, USA
    I'd planned on going the Tribute route because I'm G&L guy in general. However for a US made 5-string Fender on the cheap, I'm willing to make some compromises. But having had some time to really think about it, how practical is it really? I mean, if I can get a better playing and sounding MIM Fender Jazz V or a Korean G&L for a buck and a half more, then why buy this old bass? Resale value? US Fender or not, it’s apparent there is little demand for it and that nasty headstock crack doesn't help much.

    Old five string basses are a tricky business. Some domestic stuff from the late 80s and early 90s were fairly expensive in their day and made with quality components. But the technology and building techniques were still fairly new. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised at all if a current mid priced or lower priced Korean made 5 strings could out perform a high end production bass made 15+ years ago.

    I'm going to keep my eye on this Jazz V of yore but I think in the end, I'll go for a G&L Tribute or maybe a KSD 70s jazz V.

    thanks for the info!

    r
     
  7. Ian Perge

    Ian Perge Supporting Member

    May 11, 2001
    Evansville, Indiana
    dgce,

    I'm also an owner of a black 5-string (looks exactly like your pics) - the actual model/series name was the "Plus" series (i.e. "Jazz Plus" for the 4-string, "Jazz Plus V" for the 5's) and was Fender's first real attempt at cracking the "modern active electronic bass". Production ran from '89-'94 ('90 for the five-strings) and was replaced when Fender redesigned the entire line in 1995 with what we generally still have today - MIM/MIA "Standard"/"Deluxe" models. To try and answer some of your questions:

    1. The string spacing is a touch tighter than the now-standard .75"/19 mm. Mine measures *approx* 17-17.5mm, and while not a huge slapper, I have no problem on mine (although to be fair I prefer the tighter 17.5 mm spacings.)

    2. The low-B is a weak spot on the bass, being Fender's first five-string J-bass. It's certainly not horrible, but a bit "indistinct" in the C-D range. Because I have newer, more "modern" basses with stronger B's I've used those for music that requires the strength in that area, but my JPV has worked find for more "mellow" material that I only drop an occasional bomb on. ;)

    3. Lace Sensors and Kubicki preamp. Hardly low-end material, and as said, a derivation of the original Kubicki pre which was later used as the electronics package for the original Stu Hamm 32" scale "Urge" signature with a few mods. At most I'd say the electronics are a touch "neutral", which depending on your POV can be a good or bad thing. Not better or worse than Duncans, just different.

    4. The headstock crack. I've actually seen a fair amount of Pluses with this, and wouldn't be overly concerned depending on how wide the crack is. The most I've seen have been hairline and solved with superglue. Anything more is concern territory.

    5. $300 is an extremely good deal for a JPV. I still track them on eBay, as one day I'd like to grab a four-string w/ maple fingerboard for my personal "Geddy" (A major draw is the downsized body, as I'm a smallish guy.) I was lucky to grab mine for $400 in January of 2002, but soon after they spiked on the used market and are hard to find under 5 bills, minimum - an ash body was a $100 upcharge back in the day, and command about the same now.

    6. Comparing to a new MIM... there is no comparison. I've found at best the mexi B's to be the same as the JPV's, the build quality was USA and extremely well done, and with the much better electronics, hardware, finishes (the reverse metallic blue and silverbursts are pure sex in my book) and pau ferro fingerboard it's a much better bass IMO. I may be a fan of them, but I can also be a fair judge. :)

    Drop me a PM or e-mail and I'd be happy to forward you the original spec sheet and scan of the electronics manual. Good luck with your decision!
     
  8. dgce

    dgce

    Jun 17, 2001
    Massachusetts, USA
    Thanks a bunch scarred2112 (cool screen name, btw).

    This is great info that has sadly come too late. The Jazz Plus V (yes, NOW I remember name, I had a Strat Plus and my ex had a Tele Deluxe Plus way back when) has sold already. And get this, it was bought for like $304 give or take a few bucks. Guess who's totally kicking himself!

    The crack in the headstock, the likely tight finger spacing, and the likely weak low B scared me off. The Kubicki "light" preamp didn't really factor in on this bass as it was modded with passive Seymour J pickups. I don't know if the preamp was simply bypassed or yanked all together. Given the money, even without yr input, I probably should have bought it. It would have been my first 5 string and likely a good start. If I didn't fall in love with it, I could have always moved on to a domestic G&L 5 or Fender 5. Ahh, the one that got away.

    So what "modern" 5s are you playing? Any other sweet deal 5s out there worth looking into? I still think G&L Tributes could be the best bang for buck 5 out there right now though I'm curious about these new Yamaha BB reissues.

    Thanks again for the info.


    Catch ya at the Temple of Syrinx,

    r
     
  9. Ian Perge

    Ian Perge Supporting Member

    May 11, 2001
    Evansville, Indiana
    Thanks - it's always recognized on musician’s forums. ;)

    I wouldn't kick too hard - between the crack and the stripped electronics, it wasn't an amazing deal. For a fixer-upper for someone that wanted their own electronics and was fine with the string-spacing, perhaps. If you have issues with the spacing and the crack, better to pass. I will, however, say that even a little weak the B is "average" - I've played brand new basses that have worse.

    If you want one, just keep your eyes open. I see a fair amount listed on eBay pretty regularly, and it took me 3 or 4 listings to finally win one. The Midnight Wine and Black finishes go for less than the fancier ones and ash-bodies, so keep that in mind.

    Right now my main "twins" are a set of fretted and home-fretless Yamaha RBX-775s (not to be confused with the current "replacement" 375s, which are good but nothing like the 7's) that I managed to get for a song when Yamaha discontinued the model in the States and were blown out in the Spring of '04 (Blown out = 73% off list.) Killer B, good electronics (but very "bright" and modern - of course, using D'addario ProSteels doesn't help that) and all-around quality construction and hardware. You might want to look around for one of these, and many bought them when they were selling for $299 down from $650-700 in-store ($999 list) but didn't care for them and have/are eBaying them. I've seen dead-mint go for even under the discontinued price.

    As for good 5ers, a search is always a good thing, but off the top of my head Spector's Legend series and Ibanez BTB and SRX's are some of the better values right now. The Ibanez especially if your like full-on 3/4" spacing. Also checking the discontinued/clearance sections of the various online stores (MF, ZZounds, Music123, AMS) for discontinued deals - there's much to be had there.

    You beat me to it - for my money (and I bought two, so it was a decent amount of my money) Yamaha makes some of the best "bang for the buck" instruments, in whatever price range you're looking at (The new BBs, while not my thing, *kill*.) The Tributes are nothing to sneeze at as well - I recently posted about playing a USA and Tribute back-to-back, and being very impressed at the quality. Easily up there with Spector and Lakland in the "Import/USA" ratio.