A Couple of Questions for all you J bass Players

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by BassDaddy77, Jan 6, 2014.

  1. BassDaddy77


    Feb 12, 2010
    NE Ohio
    I've been pondering something as of late. Do you consider different manufacturers' Jazz style basses to be different animals from one another? I realize that to many, only Fender and Fender-owned (Squier, etc.) are the "true" Jazz basses, in regards to Leo having coined the name. However, it seems almost every major bass manufacturer has a J copy, or a J-style bass in their lineup. I've only really played Fenders and Squiers for my experience. I briefly owned a Carvin B40, but don't recall how that sounded by comparison.

    So, little nuances aside (say for instance things like neck profiles, finishes, hardware, etc) - are all Jazz basses of the same ilk? Do you think that there are some that you could definitely pick out on a recorded mix as being so distinct in their sound that it's unmistakable? For the sake of simplicity, lets level the playing field and say that we're only talking about 34" scale, passive, 2 single coil equipped Jazz models.

    Also, in your opinion, who gets closest to the original "1960 Leo Fender Jazz" to your ears?
  2. oldcatfish


    Jan 8, 2011
    They are all similar, but a little different. And yes, I consider them to all be jazz basses. No, I couldn't pick a specific make out in a recording...even 2 Fender j basses of the same model won't sound exactly the same, even with the same strings.
  3. JIO

    JIO Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 30, 2010
    Pacifica CA
    musician/artist/owner - Gildaxe
    Aside from endless conjecture about hair-splitting nuance, the thing that makes the generic term "Jazz bass" and/or "Precision bass" applicable is the type of pu placed in a specific location on the body that has a 34" scale neck. Fender set the mold and deserves credit for the type of sound it created. A Jazz style bass has a particular sound. A Precision style bass has a particular sound. The rest is open for endless conjecture about hair-splitting nuance.
  4. garp


    Feb 7, 2009
    Connecticut USA
    Actually, it was Don Randall — Fender’s marketing guy at the time — who named it.

    It’s truly amazing to see how many different manufacturers have taken Leo’s original design and attempted to improve upon it in one way or another. As to whether a Lakland Darryl Jones signature model or a G&L JB is an improvement over a Fender American Standard Jazz, well...I guess that’s in the eyes/ears/hands/wallet of the beholder.

    I haven’t listened to enough original ‘60 Jazzes to be able to suggest who is coming closest to that sound today. It might be Fender, but then again, it might not be.
  5. BassDaddy77


    Feb 12, 2010
    NE Ohio

    I'm certain I wouldn't be able to either. It's funny how each instrument has it's own character, for better or worse to the discerning ear.

    I hadn't heard how the name came to be. I know that it was supposed to be the "deluxe" model of it's time and aimed to appeal to the upper echelon. It certainly has stood the test of time.