1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

Fender Jazz bass 78

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by damos, Sep 12, 2009.

  1. damos


    Feb 6, 2006
    Hello Fender mens
    I want to known if the 1978's Jazz Bass is a good bass, good Fender year
    I am looking for a vintage Jazz
  2. tdizzle


    Aug 3, 2009
    Detroit, MI
    I love the sound of the late 70s Jazz Bass, but there are two things that you should look out for.

    First, they tended to get really heavy in those years (11 - 15 pounds), so if you're buying site unseen, always ask for the weight.

    Secondly, Fender was using the 3 bolt neck system in 78. That is not inherently a problem, but Fender was also making very sloppy neck pockets at that time, and a 3 bolt neck with a loose neck to body fit IS a problem. This would allow for the neck to shift or wobble, pivoting on that 3rd bolt. So, make sure that the neck pocket is tight and that you can't squeeze a dime in there or anything like that, yeah, it got that bad. Many have had they're 3 bolt necks converted to four bolt, but that is an irreversible modification.
  3. damos


    Feb 6, 2006
    And the Wood ash or alder ?
  4. danomite64


    Nov 16, 2004
    Tampa, Florida
    Also, if it has a '78 serial number, it could have been made any time between '78 and '81, maybe even '82. A transparent finished one should have an ash body. I never had a solid colored one, so I don't know, but alder could have been an option.
  5. coreyfyfe

    coreyfyfe Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2007
    boston, ma
    If it's blocks/binding it's probably a correct 78/79ish. I've seen blocks/binding with S9, and the 80's basses I've seen using the S8 serial were all dots/binding. That being said, pickups and pots are your best bet for dating.

    Definitely ask about the weight if you can't play it before you buy it. There are some that are heavy, but there were just as many if not more that weren't. I have two 78 fenders, neither one is a boat anchor. I don't have a scale, but my jazz is equivalent to or slightly lighter than my Sterling 5, which is supposed weigh 9 lb 11 oz according to the EBMM website. I'm pretty sure my P is close to that but a little heavier.

    Either way, I wouldn't buy any vintage bass unless you can play it first. Never know what's happened to it over the years.
  6. Lesfunk

    Lesfunk Supporting Member

    Apr 5, 2007
    Daytona beach, Fl
    Fender basses in general, especially 70's and older, can be very inconsistent in terms of construction and playability. Playing it before buying is a must.
    Look for Fingerboard cracking near the nut, severe dead spots on the G string around C#, and the often present fingerboard "hump" where the neck meets the body.
    The three bolt configuration isn't the big issue many make it out to be. The problem is that terrible neck angle adjustment system they used.
  7. Baird6869

    Baird6869 RIP Gord Downey. A True Canadian Icon. Supporting Member


    I would add that the PU can be crappy in many cases. Some tend to be very low output or the output differs between the 2 PU.
  8. damos


    Feb 6, 2006
    And the sound of the 78's Jazz Bass ?
  9. coreyfyfe

    coreyfyfe Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2007
    boston, ma
    Awesome. Pure and simple. I love the sound of a 70s jazz. Very throaty, lots of mids.
  10. damos


    Feb 6, 2006
    The bass i want to buy have a beautiful sunburst and serial S847548 on the neck
    Sunburst : ash or alder ?
  11. tdizzle


    Aug 3, 2009
    Detroit, MI
    They probably made sunburst on both ash and alder. Transparent finishes were usually ash, opaque finishes tended to be alder. Sunburst could have been either. Try this link;


    You might find some info there.
  12. Lennard III.

    Lennard III.

    Aug 21, 2008
    Endorsing Artist : Fodera Guitars , Harvest fine leather bags & straps
    I have a 78' Ash/Maple jazz bass in blonde.

    not to heavy (4.8 kilogram)

    and no deadspots!

    Sound is big & punchy ! :hyper:
  13. jazzbo58

    jazzbo58 Bassist for My Man Godbey Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2001
    New Orleans, LA USA
    My '78 is my favorite! It's the one bass I'll never sell! Ash body, Maple neck. I guess I got lucky.


  14. I have a '78 Jazz Bass, Natural. Awesome Bass!
  15. Sav'nBass

    Sav'nBass What the .............. Supporting Member

    Jan 18, 2009
    Northern Va.
    Me too.... it was my first real bass.
  16. 6 years later.

    i wonder if he bought it.
  17. Is this where the "Fender mens" hang out?
  18. barrybass33

    barrybass33 Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2008
    westchester new york.
    Mine is ash & maple has that signature sound...
    On the heavy side. But cuts through like a knife.
    This is a 78.