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Am. Std. Jazz 5 questions.

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Mike M., Dec 18, 2011.

  1. Mike M.

    Mike M.

    Feb 14, 2010
    As with any potential purchase I always like to ask those who have experience before shelling out my hard earned cash.

    I've been looking for "thee" five string bass for quite a while and I think it's down to two that I tried today. Both are American Standard 5 string Jazz basses, one with a maple neck and the other has a rosewood fretboard.

    Did a lot of comparing between the two and while it's a tough call I seem to be leaning towards the maple neck model....but in some ways it wasn't a totally fair comparison. The maple neck models action was flawless with effortless playing. No fret noise anywhere from top to bottom and the strings sounded pretty new. The rosewood neck models action wasn't quite as low as the other, but it still played pretty good. But the strings were a lot deader sounding. So it was kind of hard to say which one "sounded better."

    I've never owned a bass that had an all maple neck and as far as I could tell it had a nice, mid push to it all, even on the higher notes. That's important to me. I currentley have an MIM Active Deluxe 5 string Jazz and to be honest, I've never come to grips with that bass. No matter what I always feel like I'm fighting to play it. The Standards just felt of a much better build quality and in my poinion the tension on the low B blew the MIM's right out of the water. Simply put, there was no fighting to play the Standards. So why fight it with my MIM any longer? Plus, I find I'm leaning more towards the passive sound again.

    I know the final choice is mine, but to those who own the American Standard Jazz 5, what are your impressions? How long have you owned it and is it holding up well? Any complaints?

    I want to hear it all be it good, bad or ugly.
  2. Mike M.

    Mike M.

    Feb 14, 2010
  3. Steve


    Aug 10, 2001
    Here's my experience:
    Fender's are enough hit or miss that you really have to look for "the one"

    Fender 5'ers that have a really good B are especially scarce. When you find it, you will know it.

    Point being, the chances of finding two really good ones in the same store at the same time are pretty dang slim. If one of those two isn't jumping straight out at you as "IT", My gut feeling is that neither one of them is it. IMHO

    Good luck
  4. Mike M.

    Mike M.

    Feb 14, 2010
    Thanks for responding, Steve.

    Oh believe me, the maple neck model really spoke to me. It just felt so easy to play and as I mentioned, there was no fighting it like I do with my MIM 5'er and the low B felt perfect. Don't know if the neck is a more sturdy piece of wood, or maybe the combination of the graphite rods with the strings thru the body helped. Or maybe it's a combination of all. All I know is that the overall tension was very, very even on all of the strings.

    I'm pretty sold on it and if things go to plan I'd like to be the proud owner by this weekend. Just wanted to read what others have to say.

    Thanks again for chiming in!
  5. sps500

    sps500 In Memoriam

    May 19, 2008
    +1..... Sometimes I walk into a shop and I find a Fender that really does it for me and other times not so.

    But just like anything in life when you find the ONE you will know!

    Merry Xmas and a have a blesses New Year!
  6. Thunderitter

    Thunderitter Bass - the final frontier! Supporting Member

    Jun 6, 2007
    I've had my '08 American Std, maple neck, for a little over 3 years. I love this bass. I've gigged regularly with it over the last couple of years and it has always delivered the goods. I have no issues whatsoever with this bass. Like you, this bass 'spoke' to me when I played it.
  7. Joe Smithberger

    Joe Smithberger Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2002
    Canton, Ohio, USA
    I have a maple neck P5 and a Rosewood J5, both 2008 American Standards. For me the maple is much easier to see the position markers on the top of the neck. They both have good B strings but are picky about what strings work well. If it were me in your spot, I would go with the maple. Especially if it "spoke" to you. That is the most important part of the trial process anyway.
  8. zachbass02

    zachbass02 One Hairy....squatch.

    Jan 3, 2005
    Nashville, TN
    I don't really agree with either of these comments. Since the redesign in '08, I have found the Fender P5 and J5 to be really consistant. I've had 3 Std. P5s in the last 3 years. All of which had great B strings, played great, and sounded killer. I've also had 1 post-'08 Std. J5. I still kick myself for trading that one. One of the best playing 5 strings I've had in the last 4-5 years. Out of the 4 Fender 5s I've had, (2) were maple boards and (2) were rosewood. The rosewood ones played great, but I could definitely get the action lower on the maple board ones with less effort. But you really can't go wrong either way. I've become a maple guy. I used to be strictly rosewood, but lately maple is doing it for me. If it was my decision, I'd go with the maple neck.
  9. It might sound crazy, but when I was reading your post I had a good feeling when reading about the maple neck. Gut feeling: it's the one.
  10. Just curious, why would that be?
    To the OP: if the maple-neck bass spoke to you, go for it. I had a similar experience with a 2009 Am. Std. Precision 5.. picked it up and I was dead meat in five seconds. Still plays and sounds amazing and I haven't touched the setup since I bought it.
  11. zachbass02

    zachbass02 One Hairy....squatch.

    Jan 3, 2005
    Nashville, TN
    it seemed like the maple necked ones sat a little higher in the neck pocket for some reason. On the rosewood ones, I had the saddles on the G string bottomed out and would have liked it go a little lower. The neck would have taken it from a setup perspective, but I had no room left to go on the saddles. Both maple necked ones, the G string was able to go all the way down to where I liked it to be. May also just be in my head, but I seemed to adjust the maple necks less with weather changes than I did with the rosewood. Not that rosewoods were always moving by any stretch of the imagination. But with major season changes, summer to winter, winter to summer, the neck would need a slight turn of the truss rod to balance out the humidity changes.
  12. ShoeManiac

    ShoeManiac Supporting Member

    Jan 19, 2006
    New Jersey
    I've been looking for another 5 string recently and I checked out the Am Std Jazz 5 string. I currently have a Fender Roscoe Beck V (strung with rounds) and a Fender Am Std Precision 5 (strung with flats). And my thought has been that I'd really like a backup to my Roscoe Beck, and that bass would be strung with roundwounds. So with my generally positive outlook on Fender I thought that checking out the Am Std Jazz 5 would be worthwhile.

    The neck was comfortable enough for me. And the bass was relatively well setup. But the strings were a little bit on the dead side. That left this bass with somewhat less of the traditional Jazz bass bark that I'm accustomed to. And I have played A LOT of Jazz basses over the years. But I was not overly impressed with the bass I tried out. That being said, I'd like to try another one out. There have historically been differences with some Fenders versus others. And with this bass weighing in at a little less than my Roscoe Beck V, I'd like to give it a shot.
  13. Mike M.

    Mike M.

    Feb 14, 2010
    Thanks to all for your input. It never hurt to do a bit of homework before buying.

    I've tried out a lot of Fender 5 strings lately and for reasons that still ellude me, all of the maple neck models I tried in various price ranges just seem to have more of an "at home" feel in my hands as opposed to the models with the rosewood fretboard. According to Fenders site the neck dimensions are suppose to be the same for any given model (like the Standards for example) but to me, they sure don't feel like it. So far the only exception that I've found in my hunt was the Standard rosewood fretboard model that I tried along side the maple neck model at the same store. Those two basses were pretty close and believe me, I think I spent about and hour and a half going back and forth between the two. But the maple neck model just had a much beter feel. No setup needed at all on this one. That's what slayed me. Couldn't believe how low the action was and there was NO clank, fret noise or buzz anywhere on the neck.

    So here's what I'm going to do. I work nights at 12 hours a night and there's no way I'll be able to make it back to the store until Friday. (I have Friday off work.) I'm going to go there and if that bass is still there, then I know it's mine. If it's not there then I'll know it was something that wasn't meant to be. I know..."if it spoke to you like you said you should have grabbed it." Maybe so, but this is the way I prefer to do things. I've jumped too quickly in the past for the first "pretty face" that came along. Not so anymore.

    Still, any other comments are more than welcome. I enjoyed reading what you have to say. It helps me all the more.
  14. I own a 2008 Am. Std. Jazz 5. It has been a real workhorse for me in a variety of settings. I bought it in 2008 for around $700 as a blowout at Guitar Center and I still have no idea why it was on sale. It was my first and is still my only 5.

    Once I set it up properly, I was amazed at the quality. Nice low B. Excellent action. Great player overall.

    I'm not sure why the maple fretboard would make a difference as far as feel goes, but when it feels right, it feels right! I think a new set of strings and a good setup mean a lot, too, as far as feel.

    For what it's worth, I have found that different strings play better on this bass than others. The stock Fender strings have worked nicely on mine, but I am using Ernie Ball right now. I once tried a set of GHS Bass Boomers that just did not work well for me. YMMV, of course.

    Anyway, my American Standard is a great bass. I highly recommend it.
  15. robertusf


    Jul 19, 2007
    Great Bass! I owned an 08 American Jazz 5 with a maple neck. Played great and the B string was super solid. The neck and fretboard were in great condition and easy to play.
    I had it for a few years until a few months ago.......(lousy economy), so I kept my jazz 4.

    I, however, also determined that I like rosewood boards better. But that's me...Actually i'll be on the lookout for one in the next six months or so :D
  16. ShoeManiac

    ShoeManiac Supporting Member

    Jan 19, 2006
    New Jersey
    Here's a thought: is anyone else a little disappointed by the finish / fingerboard combinations? I am. I think I'd actually prefer this bass in the black finish, but Fender only offers the black with a maple board. And if history has shown me anything, it's that maple fingerboards and I don't really get along. So I'd really only want one with a rosewood fingerboard.

    That being said, has anyone ever considered trading necks from one Fender Am Std Jazz 5 in order to get the finish / fingerboard combo that they want?

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