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American Special J-bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by williamk, Dec 7, 2011.


  1. williamk

    williamk

    Apr 2, 2008
    anybody own one that could comment on it?
    I just ordered a Geddy Lee, which seems to have all the characteristics that I need, but on the fender website I just noticed this model which is apparently american made, yet cheaper than the Geddy Lee...so I'm kinda having second thoughts! I've never been disappointed by a japanese fender so far, but I've also never owned a MIA one, so I'm not even sure of what I'm missing.
    Can someone tell me how they compare quality-wise and sound-wise? I like the fact that the GL has the '70s pickup spacing, but I also read that the pickups sound aggressive...
    If you own both or have tried both...please share! Is one clearly a better instrument than the other?
     
  2. williamk

    williamk

    Apr 2, 2008
    ...I guess they're pretty new, perhaps not a lot of you own one, yet
     
  3. Deepwoods

    Deepwoods Supporting Member

    Dec 5, 2003
    St. Louis
    I have played them. They are sort of like a highway one but with a poly hard finish. The neck has a satin finish and the jazz profile is about like a American Std. (GL is slimmer front to back especially at the nut). The hardware is OK, nothing great. I almost bought one but ended up getting a new MIM because I wanted a maple neck and liked the color choices better. The new MIM must have been recently upgraded because the maple neck is very nice and has what appears to be a thin lacquer finish on the fretboard and satin back. In fact, looking at the fretboard finish, it seems exacly like my '08 American Std. I am not sure if the American Special has the graphite reinforced neck (not sure if the GL does either for that matter). You may want to consider purchasing from Sweetwater. I was very impressed that you can go to their online gallery and choose one that they have weighed and gone over/set up. The MIM P I got is immaculate, plays great, and arrived a day earlier than expected.
     
  4. williamk

    williamk

    Apr 2, 2008
    so no reason to think it's better than the GL just because it's american-made?
     
  5. williamk

    williamk

    Apr 2, 2008
    ...bump...
     
  6. chuck norriss

    chuck norriss Banned

    Jan 20, 2011
    Both are great but I think the Lee is the superior instrument. I should know I've spent many hours at Guitar Center playing them, not buying them. The American Special, without getting into specs but just going by feel, is one of those instruments that you know is great but makes you wonder why it's so expensive. The Lee on the other hand is one you know is great & understand clearly why it's so expensive. Completely un-scientific b.s. worth $.02. And of course the Lee model stands out visually with that checkered neck & audibly with its 70's-positioned bridge pickup.
    I admit I don't always know or notice the differences between the many varieties of Jazz Basses.
     
  7. Gord_oh

    Gord_oh Midtown Guitars Supporting Member

    Oct 4, 2008
    Michigan
    if it plays well, rock it.
    country of origin doesnt make it a quality bass.
    personally, i like the geddy a lot more.

    the american specials are just the the HWY1 IIRC.
    made in mexico, assembled in the USA. so they are "made in the USA".
     
  8. williamk

    williamk

    Apr 2, 2008
    oooooooh ok
     
  9. IMO, the MIA Geddy Lee Jazz bass is on par with the American models. I've had both at one time or another, and I regret selling the Geddy more than the American Standard I had. It just felt better- I kind of dig glossy necks and fretboards.
     
  10. BillyIVbass

    BillyIVbass

    Sep 24, 2008
    PA
    Gear Reviews Guitar World Online
    I played one at my local shop. It really played and felt much like my new MIM Jazz bass. Now, I like my MIM, it just makes me wonder how much and what really is the difference?

    The other feature is the Grease Bucket tone knob. From what I've read it is just an added cap that cuts some lows when I roll back the tone. Not something I really see useful in a bass situation.
     
  11. atomicdog

    atomicdog

    Jun 18, 2011
    I think you made a good move with the Geddy. Damn fine neck. I swapped out the BAII bridge with a vintage JB bridge and it cut down on the aggressive attack and brightness, gave it more punch. Something to consider. It's a cheap ($25) and easy DIY mod.
     
  12. tjh

    tjh Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2006
    Minnesota
    MIA Geddy ?? :)
     
  13. I think he meant MIJ ;)

    If the bass is good, then it's a good bass. End of story.

    (unless you absolutely, positively hate how the GL plays and sounds :ninja:)
     
  14. happyg

    happyg

    Sep 17, 2011
    I sat down and compaired them side by side recently at the local GC. I really felt like the Geddy was the better of the two. Because I really am new to basses, I had someone else who hads been playing for years also compare the two. I figured a second opinion wouldn't hurt. His opinion was that the Geddy was the better of the two also. The Geddy sounded better and felt better.
     
  15. bassman74

    bassman74 Supporting Member

    Jan 2, 2007
    Montreal
    I just cameback from my local music store. I tried all the jazz they in stock over an hour for the second time.
    It turned out that my favorite one was the american special with maple fretboard.

    I tried the geddy lee and marcus miller many times and the 70's spacing and tone didn't make it for me. With the amp set flat they sounded thin compare to the 60's spacing. The MM active circuit makes it sounding bigger..

    The mim standard and the mim deluxe sounded and felt great but i prefer the tone of their noiseless pickup over the standard mim who were missing clarity.

    The american special sounded good no matter what
    The setting on the amp. The bass vibrated a lot, it had a lot of punch and a great tone. I didn't feel like it needed pickup replacement like the standard mim.

    I didn't feel like the american standard. The standard was heavier, didn't vibrate as much it was probably not the best american standard but it was the only one in the store.

    The bridge and tuners are cheap and on long term will need to be replace. So if you calculate the price of a bridge, tuners and a hard shell case, it will cost the same as an american standard. So why not trying to find a great american standard.

    The geddy lee had better tuners and bridge but the tone didn't make it for me
     

  16. Highway Ones are made in USA, finished in Mexico, and assembled in USA, so they say "Made in USA"
     
  17. The only finish done in Mexico is the nitro finish that you can't do in California due to legislation.
     

  18. Yes
     

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