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Fender Ameican Deluxe Zone vs Victor Bailey Jazz?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by marwady, Jul 17, 2005.

  1. marwady

    marwady Supporting Member

    Jul 9, 2005
    Northern Michigan
    Hello All,

    This is my first post to this forum and first of all, I would like to thank you all for all of the great info available here. If you can't find it here, you probably didn't need it in the first place.

    As it is my first post, I will tell you a little about myself.

    I am 52 now and have been playing bass on and off for the better part of my life (since I was about 12). I made a living from it for about 25 years and then took some time off to pursue another career.

    Back in the day when I was a working musician, It was tough for me to justify having more than one instrument. The money always went towards somthing else more important (like rent and food!). I have some "extra" cash now so I am indulging myself. A couple of years ago, I started collecting some instruments and have aquired some nice ones. I have started to play again for fun (and some profit) and I am loving it.

    Here is my question:

    Fender's American Deluxe Zone looks very interesting to me. Posts say the quality is good and it seems like the humbuckers would add a different tone to the traditional P or J sound. So far, I have not been able to find one locally to play.

    I have a Victor Bailey Jazz that I really like. I would describe it's tone as a vintage Jazz on steroids with no noise. I am wondering if there would be enough difference in tone to make getting the Zone worthwhile.

    Have any of you had the chance to play both?

    Thanks in advance for your advice.
  2. pyrohr


    Aug 28, 2001
    Pakistani compound
    Welcome to talbass and welcome back to bass playing. I myself also quit for a long period of time (to pursue a career in drug addiction :eek: ) but once I got sober I picked the bass back up. You are right about the amout of basses one had in the 60's or 70's. If you had a Fender, Gibson or Rick you was the man! If you had 2 decent basses you were GOD! I own a Victor Bailey jazz and it is as you descibed, mine is funky as all get out! I would like to demo a MIA zone bass out of curiosity. I ordered my Victor Bailey without ever seeing one in person and was overwelmed by it once it came, I just don't think that will happen with the zone bass but I could be wrong.
  3. Lorenzini


    Dec 31, 2004
    Los Angeles
    pyrohr, you are King of Fender here on Talkbass. It's always good to get your feedback on their instruments.
  4. marwady

    marwady Supporting Member

    Jul 9, 2005
    Northern Michigan
    I think there are a lot of us that have gone away and come back to the things that really matter to us. Glad to hear you "reunited" yourself with your old friend and passion.

    I am fortunate to have a really well stocked music store with a lot of bass stuff relatively close by. In fact, they had my Victor Bailey in stock and after playing for about a half hour, I had to have it. They don't have a Zone and cannot tell me when they might get one. My guess is that they do not get many requests for them and don't want to inventory it.

    I will keep looking and, if I get my hands on one, I will post my results.

    Thanks for your reply.
  5. Funky Tune

    Funky Tune

    Apr 28, 2005
    Puerto Rico
    He is the Master of Fenders because like me..he love Fender Jazzses....he is my profesor :bassist:
  6. Nedmundo

    Nedmundo Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2005
    Welcome back to playing! I didn't touch a bass for about nine years until a few years ago, due to "real" career, kids, etc., but I've become more serious than I ever was before.

    I have a serious passion for passive Fenders, and have three. I generally don't like active basses, but I test them regularly in case one floats my boat. I haven't played the Victor Bailey, but I did compare the American Deluxe Zone back to back with a TB fave, the Lakland 44-02 Skyline. I played them at modest volume through an SWR Workingman's 15 combo.

    I preferred the Fender. I loved the neck, which I think is similar to what you'll find on an American Deluxe Jazz. I thought the humbuckers delivered a solid, clear tone, with more muscle than the Lakland and a hint of classic Fender warmth. (Mind you, I didn't spend a lot of time tweaking the preamps to find my "optimum" tone on either bass.) It's a little bit like the American Deluxe Precision (which I used to own), but tilted more to the modern end of the tone spectrum. I have no clue how it would hold up in a live mix, but I was very impressed playing it solo.
  7. marwady

    marwady Supporting Member

    Jul 9, 2005
    Northern Michigan
    Thanks for your post, nedmundo.

    I too like passive Fenders and have a few. I also have a '73 Gibson Ripper that I really like (most Fender guys don't like 'em but this one is killer). Huge, hot sound for a passive bass and it feels great.

    I will continue to look for a Zone to play and will post when I finally get to play one.

  8. I've heard the Bailey bass quite a bit during the spring...

    ... it sounded phenomenally, but the guy playing it was a jerk.

    Either way, find both and play'em. Personally, I think the Bailey is a nice instrument with a really percussive sound. It literally kicks you in the chest.
  9. marwady

    marwady Supporting Member

    Jul 9, 2005
    Northern Michigan
    Thanks marcusalen,

    I agree, I have the Bailey and it kicks!!

    However, the Zone looks cool, too and I am wondering if it would give more of a p bass tone but enhanced.

    That's how I feel about the Bailey, a lot of the jazz sound, but more "ballsando".

    By the way, the VB really plays nice. Smooth feel and great intonation. Most basses have some dead spots but the VB has very few.
  10. Keeaumoku


    Dec 29, 2004
    ...and I thought I was the only 52 year-old geezer on the entire planet that decided to jump back into the water again! ;) Welcome back to the fold! I played extensively from the early 70s up to 1983. That's when I figured I wasn't going to acheive the life style I truly wanted just by thumping around. So, I made my parents happy by making use of the education investment they placed in me, put together a successful distribution business here in the islands, and now my family and I dont have to worry about "paying the rent..." anymore. Twenty-two years later, I'm back in the mix, only this time, I can pretty much afford to buy whatever kind of gear I want.

    I actually looked at, and played that American Deluxe Zone bass at one of our music stores out here. It felt so nice in my hands... and those humbuckers!!!! :eek: I recall walking out of the store, telling myself I needed to still look around, but thinking that I just might have found my new axe.

    I went to another store across town that had a couple of Peavey Cirrus basses, a couple of Rics, and some Stingrays... they have the more "affordable" models as well, and they also have Fenders. Well... there it was- a Victor Bailey. Now... being from Hawaii, I can definitely appreciate Koa wood. I played that stunningly beautiful instrument, and forgot all about the Zone.

    Well... wouldn't you know it... another Fender bass was hanging on the wall that caught my eye... a Stu Hamm Urge-II. After playing that one, and fooling around with some of the amazing tones it's capable of making, plus falling in love with the thin, and amazingly fast neck (which is two full octaves), I found the bass I wanted. Only trouble... I didn't like the color of this one. Fender calls it Bright Sapphire Metallic. I wanted a black one, the sales guy told me it was available in black, but it would take at least a month to bring one in for me. I went home, found a black one online at Musician's Friend, ordered it, and... kinda like my beautiful wife... can't seem to keep my hands off of it! :smug:

    Since I played around on both the Zone and VB, and I could've been perfectly happy with either one, I'd say: go for it! Add that Zone to your collection. The Koa wood on the VB almost hooked me, but once I put the Stu Hamm in my hands... :bassist:
  11. pyrohr


    Aug 28, 2001
    Pakistani compound
    You Sir are the man many of us here are looking for! the missing link to our question. Can you explain the differences between the VB and the MIA zone dlx jazz as far as sound? The little differences between the two? comment on the pre-amp in the zone bass? Some of us here have the VB jazz bass and know what that's all about but want to know about the zone.
  12. marwady

    marwady Supporting Member

    Jul 9, 2005
    Northern Michigan
    So many opinions and expeiences, you could never gather this much info by yourself.

    What a great way to talk and learn about the stuff that makes us drool!

    Speaking of drool, I think I saw the "candy store" owner do just that the last time I walked in. When they see a "geezer" like me walk in, they pretty much know that the bass inventory will probably be dropping by at least one.

    Perhaps we could form a support group
    for us OC bass players....................Naw!!
  13. Keeaumoku


    Dec 29, 2004
    I, sir, am honored by the request, and shall give it my best shot. However, please allow me one qualifer here: I am definitely not a tech-head, so I wil not be scribing in such terms. I am a salesman (some might say that's a polite term for bullshi-- artist... :p ), so I shall attempt to paint you a picture.

    The Zone I tried out was the Walnut Rosewood model. I recall digging that almost "red colored" wood that surrounds the "sides" of the body, then crosses across the "top" where your right forearm might rest on occasion. Add on the gold hardware, and, visually speaking, this is one dazzling bass! :) I believe one of the woods used in the Walnut Rosewood instrument is mahogany, so this bass felt a little heavy... but not much, really.

    I'm trying very hard, but I just cannot remember what brand of amp head the sales guy hooked me into. I most definitely remember the cabinet... a Hartke with 4 - 10" speakers. Something about those giant white letters, as well as the "chrome" speakers, that made a lasting impression. :rolleyes: I was a little timid as far as turning up the volume... I hadn't played much in a long time... even though the salesman said I could.

    The electonics were very quiet; I remember listening for any static when I tested and turned all the knobs... didn't hear much, if any at all.

    The humbuckers :eek: : like the VB, my Stu Hamm has a pair of J-p/u's- on either side of a P-bass p/u; however, compairing the two, I think their J-p/u's are a little different, too. To my ear, hummies sound more "boomy" (hope that descriptive word works...) on a bass than any other p/u's with which I'm familiar. Bartolinni soap bars produce a similar sound to my ear, also. However, both bass hummies and Bart soap bars have a smooth, warm tone... yet very powerful, too. While playing around on the Zone, I still found I could dial-in a sound I liked... although I was playing at a relatively low volume. Even with my Stu Hamm, I find that my bridge J-p/u can get a little boomy, thus requiring some adjustment. Having said all of this, I'm confident any pleasingly warm sound can be had from the Zones hummies, and, if one is looking for a bright, edgy sound... I think it's there, but not quite like the edge I can get from my Stu Hamm J-p/u's.

    The pre-amp: tech-wise I cannot speak to you. However, I've read here in TB where some have commented on Fender pre-amps. They have implied that Fender's pre-amps tend to be "a little boomy...", and I know I've already used that adjective, so I think you can ascertain where I borrowed that descriptive term??? Some even suggest that one should scrap their Fender pre-amps altogether, and replace them with Sadowsky components. While the idea intrigued me, I feel that, no matter what, somewhere between the controls on my amplifier, and the controls on my Stu Hamm (the Zone, or the VB), I will find an acceptable, or even a unique sound.

    The Victor Bailey: As I had mentioned in my initial post... I thought I'd be owning this one. In Hawaii, Koa wood is considered sacred in some circles. Canoes that have sailed the vast distances of the Pacific were made from this exotic wood. In some instances, Koa wood bowls are presented as a prestigious award. My wife and I have a Koa wood bed... headboard and footboard... the price of which easily surpasses the total sum of all my bass stuff... combined! And Fender decides to present to the world an instrument made from this tree?!? :eek: As you had mentioned, you, and many others, are familiar with the the Victor Bailey. All I can say is, besides it's simple, yet evident beauty, the sound speaks for itself. She's a Jazz Bass... simple, yet formidable and reliable... not to mention: familiar. Hell... I just might be talking myself into buying one. I almost did! :hyper:
  14. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Base your decision on looks alone and don't worry about it.
  15. marwady

    marwady Supporting Member

    Jul 9, 2005
    Northern Michigan
    Hey Guys!

    Thanks for all the great input. I almost think I would go ahead and buy a Zone based on what I hear. It sounds like it is as nice an instrument as it looks in various photos.

    I am about to take delivery of a Rick 4003 so I will have to wait just a little longer until I can fund the Zone.

    Would you say the build quality is up to that of the Bailey? It is by far the best fit, finish, mechanical, and electronics offering I have from Fender.

    Incidentally, I have a really nice book on Fender basses. For those of you who are not familiar with it, it's called:
    "The Fender Bass, An Illustrated History" by Black and Molinaro. It chronicles Fender's ups and downs and has some great examples of classic Fender Basses. Even though Fender has gone to a more global manufacturing business model, I love the way the employees "took back" ownership of the company and turned it around.

    It will never have the charm of the "mom and pop" shop in the early Leo days but, I think generally, we are seeing better stuff than in the dark CBS years.

    Anyway, that's my story and I'm sticking to it! Think I'll go bang on a bass for awhile and have some fun!
  16. Trust me, you should go for it man!

    Life is too short, and it will be worth the dough once you start playing.

    It looks like a top-notch instrument.
  17. waxcomb


    Jun 29, 2003
    Martinez, CA
    I own a VB and I played a Zone, once through a vintage Bassman. I think the preamps are the same. At least the controls are. I liked the sound and thought of getting it as a backup to the VB, for gigs. It played well and was finished nicely. If you like the polish and shine of the VB, you'll dig a Zone. The walnut and rosewood model is quite a looker. Me, I'm just happy to hae the VB and I put it to good use as a tool of enjoyment, tone and income.
  18. I haven't played either one but for looks alone I would choose the Victor Bailey for sure!!!
  19. marwady

    marwady Supporting Member

    Jul 9, 2005
    Northern Michigan
    Hello all,

    A little clarification, I own a VB and love it. I am contemplating the purchase of the Zone and wonder if there is enough difference in the 2 to justify.

  20. marwady

    marwady Supporting Member

    Jul 9, 2005
    Northern Michigan
    Hello all,

    Hey, I found a Zone at a small music store just a few miles away and got to play it for a while. My assumptions proved to be pretty much correct, the sound of a p bass but with more tonal range and lots of bark. The bass is very bright and, except for soloing, I would tend to roll off the highs.

    If you pan hard to the bridge pickup, the thing barks like a junkyard dog, pretty cool!

    Beautiful fit and finish and a very narrow, fast neck with nice figuring. The body does feel and is smaller. However, I was underwhelmed by this one's body wood looks (maple version). Most of the photos I have seen show a kind of horizontal tiger stripe figuring. This one had a pretty nondescript vertical grain that was not very impressive.

    That said, I think I need one of these all of a sudden (I think the kids are calling it GAS). ;) Now I just have to figure out how to get one that looks good and find a way to pay for it!!