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Fender Jazz Alternative?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Tom Crofts, Jul 7, 2001.

  1. Tom Crofts

    Tom Crofts

    Mar 15, 2001
    Are there any basses similar in quality to a Fender Jazz (pref. fretless) but not actually made by Fender? I don't really feel like being cliched by getting a Fender (stupid I know but it's the way I am) and was wondering if any other companies do a good quality one but perhaps with a different shaped headstock...
  2. 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
    Lakland Joe Osborn, Sadowsky, Lull and others all make high-quality J-clones, over which nobody will ridicule you. However, there is a reason why these makers bother to copy the original. I have never, ever heard anyone remark that it's a "cliche" to play a Fender Jazz. In fact, I think anyone who doesn't have at least one in his/her arsenal is kind of a weenie.
  3. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member


    The Pedulla Rapture J2 is also a great Jazz bass, and a used one would cost you quite a bit less than a Lakland, Sadowsky, or Mike Lull.
  4. craigb

    craigb G&L churnmeister Supporting Member

    You might look for an MTD Beast or Grendel. They are made in the Czech republic and the quality is very good. Designed by Michael Tobias so you know they are good.

    The Beast has apparently been discontinued and you might be able to find a good deal on a closeout. The Beast is passive while the Grendel is active (both have single coil Bartolinis while the Grendel has a Bartolini eq). The Grendel's also can be had with figured tops and translucent finishes. They have B necks (1-5/8" wide at the zero fret) which is why I got one. The B neck and the satin poly neck finish feels like home to me.

    I picked up a Beast on ebay for the same price as a Mexican Fender and am very happy with it. It's my first jazz-style bass and I'm wondering why I didn't get one sooner. I don't know about fretless availability in either Beast or Grendel. I've seen somebody promoting some Beasts for $450 on closeout here on TB - check out the for sale section if you are interested.

    A used (they've been discontinued for a while) Hamer American Cruise bass (with 2tek) would be very cool as well. They still sell a Korean import version and the American version was also available with a Gotoh bridge instead of the 2tek. This doesn, however, look a lot like a Fender - jazz bass body, a crescent pickguard and 4 inline Hamer headstock.
  5. Tom Crofts

    Tom Crofts

    Mar 15, 2001
    Well I've been thinking and although I try to go against the mainstream and be a bit different I've found what sounds like a nice second hand MIM Jazz fretless in candy red with a white scratchplate '98 or '99 for £225, he said he paid £450, is that about right? Is it a good deal?
  6. I have a Paul Reid Smith j-style bass. The head stock is similar looking to their guitar's head stocks.

    Here are the specs of mine:

    High inductance pickups, passive

    switchable preamp (leave it off, the pickups are passive. Turn it on and the pre amp turns on, but the pups are still passive)

    20 to 1 ratio tuners

    Swamp ash body, rose wood fretboard etc. etc. etc.

    Very nice j-bass IMO.
  7. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    BassGimp, that seems a good deal based on what I know of resale in the UK, which admittedly isn't very much.

    Maybe CS, Bruce L or one of the other experienced Brits on the board will see this post and advise you.
  8. Tom Crofts

    Tom Crofts

    Mar 15, 2001
    Well in guitarist magazine they have a few fretless J's for £349 but the guy says he has a receipt for it at £450.

    How much are they in America because in August I go to New York and then on to loadsa other places and was thinking of getting a J there, is it worth waiting considering I'll have to take it on about 50 planes with me...
  9. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    A fretless MIM J would probably run around $340 here, maybe $20 more if you want a sunburst.
  10. Tom Crofts

    Tom Crofts

    Mar 15, 2001
    Are bare wood kinda colours cheaper or more expensive, I wanna go for Tim Comerford kinda light wood body, what are the fretboards made of on the fretlesses?
  11. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    The fretboards are made of rosewood, and a natural ash body is not even an option on the MIM.

    The only body wood option is sunburst over alder.
  12. BassGimp, if you're looking for a Fender type Jazz bass, try the Yamaha BB4N or the BB4NII. The difference between the two is that the II models have humbucking pickups instead of single coils.
    The body is VERY Fender looking, as is the feel of the neck/fingerboard, while the headstock is 2 and 2 as opposed to the Fender 4 in a row style. The sound is the best part. They have a VERY Fender like tone, and, IMHO, they sound growlier, if that's what you're looking for. I just bought a BB5NII (the 5 string model) and am delighted with it. Mine has the humbuckers, and they're dead silent. It has passive electronics. It's a very simple, well made Jazz Bass clone that really deserves to be checked out. I'm not positive, but, the earlier series may have been discontinued, but, I still see them at various online retailer's sites.



    Believe me, they're well worth checking out.
    Mike J.

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