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Fender American "N" series secrets

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Coelho, Mar 1, 2008.

  1. Coelho


    May 10, 2006
    Astoria, NY
    Hi everybody,

    I have a Fender American Jazz Bass with a "N" serial number, that is far better than any other Fender I ever played (including my 2 custom shop ones).

    Today I decided to change the Pickguard from the original white one to a tortoise one. I think it looks much better now, here are before and after pictures:



    (What do you guys think? Does it looks better now?)

    Well, the interesting stuff came up while the bass had no PG. Take a look at this:


    See the hole in the body? Also, look at the corners of the neck pocket. What is that!!!?!?!!! Room for shifting the neck up and down? :)

    aybe these are the reasons this Fender is better than the others? :)
  2. Warpeg

    Warpeg Supporting Member

    Jun 20, 2005
    "N" in the serial number just means that it was made in the 1990's. If I remember correctly, that hole is some sort of a guide or anchor for the CNC machinery. I could be wrong.
  3. Coelho


    May 10, 2006
    Astoria, NY
    I know that, but I m not the only one that think that these are some of the best Fenders produced.
  4. +1, I own a '98. Shhhh. you may wake up the trolls as the magic is suppose to be in the high cost pre-CBS and Fullerton reissues.

  5. Warpeg

    Warpeg Supporting Member

    Jun 20, 2005
    I love my '97 American Deluxe P-Bass! It's been pretty obvious to me that nineties-made Fenders are better overall instruments than modern instruments. But, that's just my opinion. :)
  6. Webtroll

    Webtroll Rolling for initiative

    Apr 23, 2006
    Austin, TX
    Aye the hole is common for CNC bodies
  7. Trevorus


    Oct 18, 2002
    Urbana, IL
    Tort on burst is a beautiful combo.
  8. :oops:! I have an N serial and I've always though my Jazz played better than any other I've tried...subjective and all that but I honestly believe it...and besides the neck has aged to a beautiful butterscotch colour which is the SEX.

    Mine also has the random CNC hole, but none of those weird neckpocket routs.
  9. jimmy rocket

    jimmy rocket

    Jan 24, 2008
    Ayden, NC
    Right on! I've got a '98 Jazz that looks exactly like the first pic above (but w/Rosewood fretboard) and it matches or outplays any Fender I've played since. I dare say it also rivals the vintage Fenders I've played. There's a sweetness about these N models in feel and tone. Here's the next question: what amps have y'all found to bring out the tone of these beauties? I'm running mine through an SVT III Pro -> SVT 210 HE -> SVT 15E.
  10. The hole in the body is probably one of two or three that is originally put into the wooden blank for fixturing on a CNC milling machine or router. The other two were probably located where the cavities or pickup pockets are now. Most likely, they have a template with those fixture locating holes on it that allows them to prep, trace, layout and rough cut the blanks before they get to the CNC. This would also be used for laying out the pattern on exotic woods as you see the custom luthiers do with cardboard or plexiglass templates.

    The neck pocket radii.........

    Another CNC trick. :) They probably mill the entire body with one high speed milling cutter. The neck pocket radii are slightly smaller than what the tool can create. To avoid running a second tool and another operation, they just take extra material away in the corners with the same larger cutter so the smaller radii on the neck has clearance. Cover it with the pickguard and no is ever supposed to know :D
  11. Ive heard many praise about 90s American Fender, yeah.
  12. You sound like you know your stuff Knifemaker! Interesting ideas :)

    I find my simple Laney RB4 lets my J bass's tone ring nice'n'true!
  13. king_biscuit

    king_biscuit Supporting Member

    May 21, 2006
    I think white pickguards on sunburst Fenders make for cheap looking basses. I am glad to see that Fender has gone back to tort for the new American Std line!
  14. Well, before I decided to change hats, I set up and ran CNC machinery for most of my life :rolleyes: GAWD, I'm glad those days are over :D
  15. Haha cool. I'd love it if my uni had some CNC machinery. Would make modelling soooo much easier.
  16. Delta_Petra


    Feb 26, 2008
    Portland, OR
    Tortoise shell is my fave. I have it on my black fender jazz.
  17. I have my own CNC mill for doing my custom knife parts. I'm going to make a bass body at some point, when time permits. The material has been sitting here for almost a year. I've used my CNC to make pickguards and other bass related parts. With todays CAD/CAM software, you young guys have a REAL advantage over what I learned with!! My 14 year old will quickly pass my CAD skills and CNC machining skills :mad: :rollno: :D

    Making a Bongo Pickguard.........


    Back on topic..........

    I REALLY like the baltic amber material that Dingwall uses. On a burst color bass, it just looks HOT!!!!
  18. rufus mangler

    rufus mangler

    Oct 10, 2007
    I like white pick guards with maple necks. Torts with rosewood.

    I liked it with the white.
  19. parsons


    Feb 22, 2008
    I hate tortoise shell pickguards but its definitely an improvement in your case. White on burst looks horrible. Black would be better stock.
  20. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    Looks great... one of the best Fenders I ever had was a fretless 96 Precision.

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