Fender "Geddy Lee" vs. American Series Jazz Bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by john4bud, Aug 15, 2001.

  1. john4bud

    john4bud Guest

    Dec 23, 2000
    Hi Talkbass members. I am considering purchasing a Fender Jazz bass and have been looking at the Geddy Lee signature and the American Series. I was hoping some of you could help me understand the main differences between them and which, in your opinion, would be the better choice. I can get the "Geddy" for about $600 plus a the cost of a hardshell case or the American Series for $900 including case. I don't mind spending the extra $$ if there is a major difference between the two.

    Thanks for your help!
  2. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    I have a Geddy Lee and love it.

    The main differences between the American Series and the Geddy Lee, besides the appearance, are that the Geddy Lee has the 60's reissue pickups, while the American Series has the American Series pickups.

    Also, the Geddy Lee has a unique neck profile, unlike any other production Fender bass. It was supposedly modeled after the neck on Geddy's actual pawnshop prize, which he had carved down to make it slimmer and faster.

    I do know that it is he fastest 34" 4 string neck that I have ever played.

    And, the Geddy has a Badass II and vintage style tuners, while the American Series has the standard bridge and lighter tuners.

    I have heard that the Geddy Lee doesn't have as much bass as the American Series Jazz, I haven't compared them side by side, but it may be because of the slimmer neck.
  3. RS


    Aug 27, 2000
    Cleveland, OH
    the Geddy looks cool and plays very nice, but the one I tried had almost no low end response. Too bad.
  4. fretbuzz

    fretbuzz Guest

    HI EMBELLISHER, ive got a question about your geddy jazz, is the badass bridge the same as his? did he change his from the original one? also what do you mean "pawnshop bass" have you heard the story behind that fender? did he pick that up used? id love to hear more. also, i used to have a 4003 and just could not get comfortable with what seemed like a very thick neck. now i hear you say geddy shaved his jazz down. what gives, please help me understand. also, can you confirm that geddy used only his jazz on his solo album. thanks.
  5. seamus

    seamus Guest

    Feb 8, 2001
    To answer one question, the Badass Bass II bridge on the sig model is the same as Ged's. Fender apparently did a good job matching the specs.

    For the times when he's used the Fender with Rush, check out the link below. As you mentioned, he used the Jazz on his solo album as well.


    I'll let em field the rest of the questions since they are relative to his post.

    EDIT - Wanted to add something. Allthough they list his Fender as a '74 on that link I posted above, I believe the one that Ged plays is actually a '72.
  6. Mr. Grieves

    Mr. Grieves Guest

    Jul 16, 2001
    chicago, il
    I've heard some Geddy Lee owners attribute the lack of bottom end to the Bad Ass bridge.

    The neck profile on the Geddys will be noticeably slimmer than an Am. Series Jazz, because the Am. Series Jazz has a graphite-reinforced neck. Many older Jazz players don't care for the feel of the graphite-reinforced necks, 'cause they feel a lot different than the '60s and '70s necks. The Geddy has a '70s style neck with black inlays. If the Geddy has a shaved down neck, that'll make it even more apparent. The width of the neck at the nut should be the same [1.5 inches].

    Lastly, the Geddy is made in Japan. Not necessarily a bad thing. The MIJ Fenders have a reputation for quality and good workmanship.
  7. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    I don't remember the whole story, but the bass that Geddy has is a '72, and he had a guitar tech or luthier shave the neck down for him. He bought it used in a pawn shop for some insanely low price.

    The signature model is supposed to have a neck with the exact same dimensions as his.
  8. seamus

    seamus Guest

    Feb 8, 2001
    I believe the neck does have the same exact dimensions, one reason being that as you mentioned, there are slight variances that make the profile unique to that bass.

    What puzzles me is the notion that the BAII bridge could be the culprit for lacking low end. I haven't had the same experience, I think the bass sounds jsut as it should. In all fairness, I did install an aftermarket preamp in one of my GL basses, but I always leave the bass knob flat. Try one out for yourself though and see if you detect the lacking low end, maybe it's just me, but I think it's fine.

    What *really* puzzles me about these claims regarding the bridge is the comparison between Fender's standard bridge and the BAII. If you ask me, I'll take a BAII on a Fender any day over the standard Fender bridge. That's just my opinion though, I'm sure some would prefer the stock one.
  9. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    seamus, I too have never found my GL Jazz lacking in bottom end, and it is totally stock.

    And I also agree that the Badass II bridge is a big improvement over the stock low gauge bent steel bridge.
  10. boogiebass


    Aug 16, 2000
    FWIW, I love the recent graphite-reinforced Jazz necks. I have a '96 and '99 AmStnd and they have absolutely no dead spots at all where older Fender necks have (approx. C or C# on the G). I also like the through-body stringing of the newer ones. I also own a '97 AmJazzDlx Fretless and it has the slimmest, fastest neck I've every played. The GL looks pretty cool but the one I played did sound a little thin. I'd pop for the AmSeries, if it was me. Athough, as has been pointed out, Japanese Fenders have a largely good rep, they've just never done it for me. As always, YMMV.
  11. pmkelly

    pmkelly Supporting Member

    Nov 28, 2000
    Kansas City, MO
    I have a GL Jazz, have had it about 6 months now, and I couldn't be happier (except maybe with that Sadowsky that I have been questioning everyone about all day, but that is another posting!) I replaced the stock pups with Dimarzio Model J's. That was all that it needed for me. I really don't have a lot of experience with the MIA Jazzes, except to just play around with 'em in the music stores, and they have all felt solid to me... But when the time came to drop cash on a bass, I went with the GL.... Just what I think
  12. Mr. Grieves

    Mr. Grieves Guest

    Jul 16, 2001
    chicago, il
    Embellisher and Seamus: I don't dispute your contention that you have plenty of bottom end with the Bad Ass bridge. I was merely reporting what several other Geddy Lee owners had said about their basses.

    I'm also a fan of the graphite-reinforced necks. I think they're great. Also much more stable in the long run. But they do feel completely different than the older Jazz necks, and that's something john4bud should know about. Seems like older players have more of a problem with them, probably because they've grown accustomed to the slimmer profile necks.

    I think either a Geddy or an American Series Jazz would be a good choice. I have no affection for Geddy at all, but those are sweet looking basses. And the MIA Jazz basses are good players.
  13. I really liked the Geddy that I tried - the low end may not have been quite as full as some other Jazzes, but I really liked the midrange on that instrument. If I were to buy a Fender, the Geddy would be the one (I love my Lakland too much to cheat on her).

    If you want to tailor the sound, consider an outboard preamp (i.e., Sadowsky, Aguilar, etc.). You can boost certain bands, and you can use it on any bass (vs. internal preamp).

    I also feel that the Badass is a significant improvement over the stock Fender bridge.

    The neck is very fast and comfortable as well.
  14. seamus

    seamus Guest

    Feb 8, 2001
    Sorry, I did not intend for my post to sound defensive or contentious either. I have read some of the same accounts to which you referred, I guess I'm just puzzled over the difference in opinions. I recognize that opinions are largely relative though, so therein lies the discrepancy.

    The thing with the bridges still escapes me too, the BAII just seems far more substantial than the stock bridge on most Fenders. At any rate, I would recommend the GL Jazz as a good value in Fender Jazz basses. Just be sure to inspect the bass closely for fit and finish. Fenders are notorious for variability in some instances given the same model.

    Check the neck for straightness, look for a tight neck pocket, even frets, etc. Give it a test drive and see if you like the sound. My only gripe with the GL Jazz is I think the tuners should be better, I see this as one area where they skimped on this bass.

    The rest of it is great: excellent player, nice sound, and very attractive. My main 4 string is a modified Ged Jazz and I set it up to have the best action of any four string I've ever played. The flat neck makes for low action with no buzz. Fenders are also highly upgradeable, and the GL's price tag leaves lots of left over dough when compared to their USA made counterparts. In the end, let your fingers and ears tell you what's the best value.

    Here's a horrid little webcam pic I snapped of my modified GL bass a couple weeks ago. I just never seem to get around to snapping some pics with a real camera. I'm bad with cameras, lol. :p


    I installed a J-Retro and pearl p/g. I keep an unmodified GL as well, but play this one more.
  15. Mr. Grieves

    Mr. Grieves Guest

    Jul 16, 2001
    chicago, il
    S: I didn't think your comments, or Embellisher's, were contentious. I just wanted to make it clear that it wasn't my own opinion, but that of actual Geddy Lee Jazz bass owners.

    That pearloid pickguard looks great on there.

    This discussion is giving me a little GAS. Must suppress ...
  16. seamus

    seamus Guest

    Feb 8, 2001
    Thanks man!

    Yeah, I really liked the change too, added a little spice to it. Some people might find the white on black a little boring, but I love that look.

    I have a good camera at home, I simply must get around to taking pics of them all sometime soon.
  17. fretbuzz

    fretbuzz Guest

    i have another question for all you jazz owners. ive heard many times that the fender jazz does neck dives. i have noticed on my mia that seems to be a problem when im sitting and playing. ive started wearing my strap when im sitting because i gives a little pull up. is this common with many basses? i dont have much experience with different makers. also, would a badass bridge be a good investment for me? will that eliminate the string through capability? let me know what you think.
  18. seamus

    seamus Guest

    Feb 8, 2001
    I've never noticed any neck dive with them, but I guess that varies between players and basses. It is not necessarily common for most basses, but for some, it is a problem.

    I don't know if any of the BA bridges will accomodate a string through setup. All the ones I have ever seen are top loaders. Maybe someone else has seen something different on these though. They are decent bridges for Fenders though. If you like the sound of what you have though, I wouldn't change it.