Fender American original or Fender Vintera

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Flossi_Rizzi, Jul 19, 2020.

  1. Flossi_Rizzi


    Jul 19, 2020
    Was looking at fender jazz Basses and noticed they make two different 70s jazz bass models. the American original series and the Vintera? Anyone know the differences and which is better?
  2. forrestlaw


    Jun 25, 2018
    I guess the million dollar question is whether the American Original is worth an extra $1000. Neither of them is a nitro finish. I think the Am. Orig. is 9.5" fretboard radius, while the Vintera is 7.25" radius. The other consideration is that all of the Vintera line has only Pau Ferro fretboards (bound with blocks), while the Am. Orig. is maple (also bound with blocks). I'd try out a Vintera if you can, then if you like the feel of it that $1000 savings will let you put whatever pickups you like into it and still have a ton of money left over.

    The 60s J Bass is a different story, IMO. With the 60s J Am. Orig. you are getting a lacquer finish and an actual rosewood fretboard, neither of which are available on a Vintera Fender.

    Lastly, I wouldn't totally throw the Squier Classic Vibe 70s J bass out of contention. It's alot of bass for only $399. I wouldn't buy into the notion that more expensive equates to better, either. When I bought my first bass I chose a Mexican Fender over other basses the shop had in stock, including an American Fender and other brand basses (both cheaper and more expensive) as it just felt the most natural for me to play. I don't know where you are located, but try a few different Jazz basses out in a local shop if you can.
  3. Flossi_Rizzi


    Jul 19, 2020
    thanks a lot, I actually own the Squier Classic vibe jazz bass and a fender rumble 25 Which was a gift from my girlfriend last Christine and I love it to death. But I noticed these two models the American original and the Vintera. Which cause me to be curious. Whether or not to upgrade down the line
  4. CallMeAl


    Dec 2, 2016
    Ithaca Ny
    When you get up into these price points, you really gotta play them. It comes down to very small details (some very measurable and objective, like the specs; some more subjective, like the sound of the pickups.) For me, it’s which neck I like better.
    iammr2 and ThinCrappyTone like this.
  5. forrestlaw


    Jun 25, 2018
    In my opinion I don't think the Am. Orig. is worth an extra $1000 and "better" is such a subjective term. But, if you have a local shop where you can try both the Am. Orig. and Vintera then you at least owe it to yourself to try them all. It sounds like you're set on a 70s style J, so that's about all that Fender offers (I think). If I were in your shoes I'd go and play a Vintera and see if it feels noticeably better than the Squier CV. I wouldn't necessarily listen for how it sounds as you can always swap pickups or add a preamp if you want, but really pay attention to how neck feels and if it just seems easier to play. If you can get someone to go with you, better yet. Then maybe you can bring your own Squier CV and do a blind test. Close your eyes and have your friend hand you a bass, play on it for a minute or two, then give it back to him/her, and then try out the other one. One of them is bound to feel better than the other. If not, then save your money and keep your Squier.
  6. 80jazz


    Jun 28, 2008
    I would want the maple fingerboard, so I would do either the Squier or the AO.
  7. stuntbass77

    stuntbass77 Supporting Member

    Nov 6, 2007
    A really good MIM gender is basically how they made fenders back in the day. Joe Dart plays a MIM jazz and his tone is killer, sounds just like any great jazz bass does at any price point. The new Squier basses are really well made as well these days. If a bass plays great and sounds great I could care less where it’s made or the name on said bass. I didn’t always feel this way but as I am getting older I realize I spent waaaay to much time chasing gear. I like what the YouTube guy from “five watt world” had to say about thinning the heard and not buying more gear and just playing more. Wish I had done that years ago, it was such an addiction in many ways. The high of waiting for that new bass, glad it’s gone !
    SColabass, CallMeAl and imabuddha like this.
  8. Flossi_Rizzi


    Jul 19, 2020
    umm ok I do play daily. Was thinking of something to upgrade to or even worth upgrading to down the line
    alanloomis1980 likes this.
  9. Flossi_Rizzi


    Jul 19, 2020
    that’s a good idea. There’s only a guitar center near me hopefully they have them there so I can try them out. And yeah pretty much set in 70s jazz bass since I have the Squier which I love. Prior I was playing a epiphone EB-0 and an acoustic Dean EAB. The Squier is the best bass I ever own which made me question if fenders other versions of it would be different but I guess it’s something I have to play and feel for myself.
  10. Flossi_Rizzi


    Jul 19, 2020
    I see what you’re saying. I might be chasing gears here but a spark of curiously hit after owning a Squier classic vibe that made me think of what fenders higher modes would be like.
    stuntbass77 and dmt like this.
  11. dmt


    Apr 19, 2003
    Orbiting Sol
    If you want that rosewood fretboard, you’re gonna have to pay (or better, buy a used one). If that’s not a big factor for you, your price options open up.

    Looks, feel of the neck and weight are very important for me, and that can be right at various price points. The more expensive ones might be better in every measurable way, but if you don’t like the neck and/or the finish, and/or if it’s too heavy, it’s not better for you. Sometimes the expensive ones are pretty special though - which sucks!
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2020
  12. OllyW


    Oct 10, 2017
    Stourbridge, UK
    Don't forget the MIM Geddy Lee Jazz Bass, it's based on his 72 Jazz and costs about the same as the Vintera '70s Jazz.
  13. MrMoonlight

    MrMoonlight Bottom feeder

    Sep 2, 2008
    I can only speak from personal experience, but owning both a Vintera '60s Jazz as well as an American Original 70's Jazz, I've come the this conclusion:

    Unless you are hell bent on having a nitro finish and (in the case of a '60s Jazz) a rosewood fretboard, I think the Vintera series is a much better value. The hardware is the same, the build quality is top and I think the re-voiced pickups in the Vintera series sound great. I've got no problem with a pau ferro fretboard and mine is relatively dark so it looks nearly like rosewood. It's a bit harder than rosewood (feels almost like ebony under your fingers) but it plays and sounds fine. To me, personally, at around twice the price, an AO series Jazz is not twice as good as a Vintera.

    I've got nothing against the AO series basses. Like I said, I own one. But with a Vintera, I'd say you get 85% of the AO bass at half the price. They sound great in the studio and they're more than capable of standing up to the rigors of touring. But only you can decide if the differences between the two are worth the nearly $1k upcharge.
  14. LadyLoveStingRay5


    Jul 17, 2004
    I recently decided that I too wanted a Fender 70’s style jazz bass With maple fingerboard.
    I purchased a Fender Geddy Lee USA.
    Best bass purchase I’ve ever made. And best Jazz bass I’ve ever played.
    The build quality is the best I’ve seen on any Fender , including my Elite Jazz V Ebony. I also have a Squier CV60’s Pbass . It is from the original run that was crafted in China. Another great bass. But my Geddy Lee is another league .
    The pickups on the Geddy Lee are incredible . They are only found on this bass and let me tell you this bass doesn’t growl , it roars like a lion.

    The price point on the Geddy is lower than theAmerican Original . I actually feel it’s under priced . I compare these basses to Fender Custom Shop. They are really that good .


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    Last edited: Jul 20, 2020
    OllyW likes this.
  15. CallMeAl


    Dec 2, 2016
    Ithaca Ny
    Haha, sorry didn’t mean “go play your bass” :smug: I just meant if you play these basses yourself you will see what YOU like better, because it’s largely subjective
  16. MrMoonlight

    MrMoonlight Bottom feeder

    Sep 2, 2008
    The USA Geddy-Jazzes really are nice instruments. Played one not too long ago and I kicked around the idea of getting one, but I sosmehow just cant get past those fugly high-mass (formerly BadAss) bridges. Ruins the whole vibe for me. And since those are screwed down so tight at the factory before the finish is fully cured, 90% of the time they leave behind a huge rectangular impression when removed...so even if you wanted to replace it with a vintage bridge, the outline of the original bridge is still visible in the finish, which would undoubtedly trigger my "cosmetics OCD". :laugh:

    Having said that, there's no denying that the USA-Geddys sound great. Glad to hear you're enjoying yours!
    lowdownthump likes this.
  17. I never played a Vintera bass although I own a Classic ‘50s P-bass.
    I had an Am. Std. J-bass in the past.
    The AO ‘60s J I have now is just many times better and I paid for it the same money as in the case of the Am. Std.
    I can only think that, generally, the AO basses should be better built than the Vintera overall ... if I were in your shoes, I’d rather look to the MIM RW jazz basses ..
  18. dcbassist5

    dcbassist5 Supporting Member

    May 11, 2011
    Baltimore, MD
    I own 12 Fender Jazz Basses. 10 are American including:

    Custom Shop
    Adam Clayton Signature
    American Ultra

    I also own 2 Vintera’s. The 60’s Jazz in Firemist Gold and the 70’s in Inca Silver. They are both great Basses and the only non-American Basses in my arsenal. They get just as much playing time as the Custom Shop and the Ultra!
    TonyP- likes this.
  19. captainofsmooth

    captainofsmooth Weight? Supporting Member

    Oct 6, 2009
    I’ll have to disagree with the folks on here who say there isn’t a big difference. I personally have owned both The Vintera and AO. What a lot of folks are doing is trying to compare apples to oranges with the 60s vs 70s JB’s. They are totally different beasts, so I won’t focus on any of that right now, and I’ll try to give an honest, hands on assessment. It really comes down to what you’re looking for. Do you want a vintage spec bass or just a vintage looking bass? No, the 70s AO does not offer Nitro, because the era they’re recreating didn’t. The 60s did, this why the 60s has the nitro. Yes, the Vintera has a more “comfortable” (in some opinions) Neck, but it’s decidedly not a true vintage feel. Ok, now for the Vintera vs AO basses: The body quality on the AO 70s Jazz is something you’re not going to get on any MIM bass. The quality of the Ash body is superb. The grain is gorgeous, it’s resonant, and produces a great tone. Most people don’t experience a difference between Alder and Ash, but I’ve always been able to tell. The neck is also great, and the AO is the only place you can get that specific neck. The maple with blocks is beautiful, the nut width is Thin, The profile is thick, and the radius has been flattened out for faster playability. It’s truly a remarkable hybrid of vintage and modern feels. Next is the pickups- the AO’s True Vintage series are truly remarkable pickups. I own both the AO 70s Jazz and 50s P, and both have the best sounding pickups, in their respective types, that I’ve ever heard come stock on a Fender. Period. Not to mention the beautifully padded poodle case, the metal covers, and case candy you get (all extra I know, but included in cost). The Vintera was a great bass, don’t get me wrong, but I could feel the difference in holding the AO before I even plugged it in. The sound was the nail in the coffin. Finally, I bought both of my AO basses right here in TB, in Mint condition, for $1300 shipped. So the price difference isn’t that wide if you don’t mind picking up mint used, like new. So having owned both, I’d easily upgrade to the AO if you’re looking for something at a higher level. If you’re happy with your Vintera, there’s nothing wrong with continuing to play that bass! Hope some of this helps.
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2020
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  20. ThinCrappyTone

    ThinCrappyTone Guest

    Oct 1, 2011
    Just adding to the chorus of voices saying "try them if you can".

    I juuust did this with the Precision line. Was looking at them online, comparing specs and videos, agonizing over which one to get, which price point, what the differences are, etc. Tried out a bunch and realized for the 100th time in my life that even two of the same "exact" model can be very different.

    My journey ended with a MIM. The MIAs I tried were great, but the exact ones I tried were heavy AF and had fatter necks, which I'm not looking for. From the selection that was in the store at the time, I ended up with a MIM because that was the one that had it all going on tone and feel-wise, plus it was at least a pound lighter than all the others.
    dopejohnpaul likes this.