Fender classic vs. classic lacquer

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by TwinBass, Jan 30, 2014.

  1. TwinBass


    Oct 5, 2007
    Spokane, WA
    Hi all,

    I'm currently saving up for a new jazz bass. I've played on the classic jazz (60's), but not yet on the classic lacquer. What are the differences (other than the finish, duh) between the two? Are the necks the same? It seems that the pickups are, the neck radius is, etc... Thoughts?

    Also, what are the differences between the Classic lacquer and the Am. Standard? Is it worth the bump in price to go american (totally subjective, I know)? It looks like the Am Std has custom shop pickups, flatter radius, different case, and a heavier bridge. Is the quality noticeably better, or would the Classic be a better "bang for the buck" bass? Keep in mind, that I can replace pickups or install an aftermarket bridge or tuners. It's pretty easy for me to adapt or modify, I'm just curious about people's thoughts on the matter. I probably won't be ready to actually buy for another month or two so I have plenty of time to look around and judge for myself, but I always like to hear opinions of others with (potentially) more experience or who have compared these things in person and have definite opinions.

  2. pfox14


    Dec 22, 2013
    I don't think there is a difference besides the finish. A lot of people make a big fuss about nitro lacquer vs. other finishes. I don't think the type of finish makes any difference in terms of tone or playability. Lacquer is "old school" and some people like that (me included). It is not as durable as UV cured poly finishes, nor as thick, but that's the way most guitar manufacturers did it "back in the day".
  3. only advantage with nitro is that it can be applied thinner. Poly can be just as thin but its rarely actually done that way.

    Also nitro will wear in nicely (a disadvantage to some, technically speaking, its a really poor type of finish).

    I personally just love the smell of it.
  4. headband


    Oct 18, 2013
    I've never really known if the finish on my '69 jazz is nitro or poly (I've read "authoritative descriptions" claiming both), and have never really cared. I do know that both the finish and the poly undercoat are very thin - much thinner than on my son's Stratocaster of early nineties vintage (he stripped the finish then ran into the thick, tough undercoat). I can see both the finish thickness and the undercoat thickness via belt buckle rash (we didn't know any better 40 years ago) and they were applied quite nicely. And it is a very resonant bass, easily the best sounding I have or have ever owned.
  5. if you really really want to know, find a spot no one sees (under pickguard for example) and put a tiny bit of paint thinner on it. If it does nothing its poly, if the finish comes off its nitro. Nitro never cures.
  6. petey293


    Dec 30, 2013
    Rapid City, SD
    I've heard some people say that a good Classic '60s Jazz can rival some American models, but I haven't had the chance to play one. I'm in the same situation as OP, looking at the same bass and wondering the same things, so I'm interested in this as well if anyone could shed some light on it.
  7. The lacquer one comes with a hard case.
  8. A Classic 50's Lacquer finish is going to be my next purchase. :) I shouldn't have sold the one I had.
  9. TwinBass


    Oct 5, 2007
    Spokane, WA
    I think the price difference between the two is around $100. I would spend that on a case anyway. I've played on a 60's Classic jazz before and felt it was plenty comfortable. My P bass is a 50's classic and I really dig it. If the lacquer classic jazz bass is the same as the poly classic jazz, save the finish, it is tops on my list.

    Thanks for the info.
  10. Gabebass


    Sep 10, 2016
    I Made a comparison, Custom shop 60 vs Classic standard PU:
  11. I've owned several Classic Precisions, nothing wrong with them, but I ended up cutting them loose when I went on a "nitro-only" jag.

    I now have two Classic Lacquer Precisions that I just love, great basses.

    Play-ability is probably going to be the same between the two, so it is probably just down to which finish your prefer.