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Fender Active Jazz Plus vs. Fender Geddy Lee

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Arcy, Jul 4, 2003.


  1. Arcy

    Arcy

    Jul 4, 2003
    Tuscaloosa, AL
    Hello, I'm a guitarest who's always borrowed basses for projects in the past and now I'm wanting to buy my own. I don't know too much about the history of basses (and bass amps) and all the ins and outs, like I do for guitar (ie what brand sounds like what etc). But I've been recommended the Fender ones, and it seems to be a great name, so I'm considering those pretty well. The other day I tried out a Geddy Lee Jazz bass, as well as a regular and deluxe Jazz, and also a Jazz Plus from the early 90's. It's the one without a pick guard, and with the two active Lace Sensor pickups and Kubicki preamp. I liked the Geddy and the Jazz Plus the best for sure... Unfortunately though I was trying them in two different stores and couldn't a/b. If anyone here has any experience with either of these basses I'd appreciate any opinions on these basses or any others in my price range, which is under $700 (used is fine). I'm sure more people have the Geddy than the Jazz Plus, but really I thought both sounded great (the Plus seemed a little more articulate...) but I'm wondering if maybe there are some hidden quirks that would show up when playing at louder volumes etc (like maybe the Lace Sensors pick up radio stations or something crazy like that). Oh, lastly, I'm mostly using this for studio work, not much live stuff, and I'm playing progressive rock/edgy jazz stuff. Thanks for any help.
     
  2. OldDawg

    OldDawg

    Jul 4, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    Check out the Fender Marcus Miller four string it is a great bass for the money. It can be run active or passive.

    But for Active vs. Passive here's how I look at it, where do you want to do your EQ when recording. With a passive bass you usually record with the volume and tone wide open, then EQ, compress, etc on the recording console. With a Active bass you can EQ on the bass and send your sound to the console.

    I like my active basses especially when I want a bigger bottom and can add some low end. But a regular Fender passive bass sounds so punchy.
     
  3. For Prog, I find nothing beats the sound of two passive single coil pickups wired in parallel with all the throttles wide open! Mmm-mmm-good!

    My GL Jazz sounds amazing in the studio with a SansAmp Bass DI. Definitely my favourite recorded bass sound.

    Edit: Second favourite - XLR out of a Wal bass direct into the board murders all.

    --jeff
     
  4. Arcy

    Arcy

    Jul 4, 2003
    Tuscaloosa, AL
    Is that the only difference? I mean, can you get the same sound from both active/passive, just at different locations? To me the active ones seemed "hotter", which i guess is right, and they seemed to have more harmonics. But it could have just been my imagination, i dunno. I think I was plugged into an ampeg amp while trying them. Oh, as for the Miller, I haven't looked at that yet, however, one criteria I forgot to mention is that the thinner the neck, the better. I want one that basically plays like a guitar, since I'm a guitarest and I often come up with interplaying leads between bass and guitar etc. But being able to get good low end is important too of course for those rhythm moments.
     
  5. Arcy

    Arcy

    Jul 4, 2003
    Tuscaloosa, AL
    Jeff, thanks for that, I might end up using that same configuration :]
     
  6. Arcy

    Arcy

    Jul 4, 2003
    Tuscaloosa, AL
    Oh btw, any opinions on the Zone (mexican i guess) would be appreciated too...
     
  7. The Geddy probably has a thinner neck - actually, that's my least favourite part about it - the neck is way too skinny for my taste.

    As far as "where you do your EQing"... that isn't really the difference.

    Active basses have an onboard preamplifier that takes (and often colours) the sound of the pickups and amplifies it before it leaves the instrument - this leads to higher output, and more tonal flexability. On a passive bass, all you get is volume and tone cut, while on an active, you'll often get volume, treble boost and cut, mid boost and cut, and bass boost and cut.

    My personal favourite onboard preamp is the J-Retro , which also features a sweepable midrange boost/cut. Tasty!

    As for into an Ampeg, I much prefer the sound of a passive bass - sort of the quintessential rock sound. I find with an active bass into an Ampeg, the high end gets a little overaccentuated and I don't find the sound as punchy - a lot of preamps (particularly lower-end ones) do a bit of compression on the signal, limiting your dynamics.

    A passive Jazz and a SansAmp Bass DI sound really great together. An active bass can benefit from a DI as well, but usually they sound better right into the board (if the level's high enough...)

    I guess I'd rather trust external amplification or a very high qualtiy onboard preamp - so I can be more sure that my signal isn'g being degenerated - I love a punchy sounding bass.

    --jeff
     
  8. pyrohr

    pyrohr

    Aug 28, 2001
    Pakistani compound
    The MM bass is both active and passive but what no one here has mentioned is in passive mode the tone controls don't work. the GL bass is also a great passive bass (if the slim neck does'nt bother you) and should record well. Now the difference between a passive and active bass besides the hotter signal is the ability to adjust mids, bass, and treble right from the guitar without having to walk back to the amp. As far as getting the same sound from the two I whould say It depends on the bass. The MM bass is all boost and no cut in active mode and other active basses that are boost and cut, in flat mode (detent)will sound close to passive. As far as the active jazz plus, you should consider it if it sounds good to you.