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Fender Jazz Bass: Highway One vs. Classic series '60s MIM

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Goose56, Aug 8, 2007.

  1. Goose56


    Aug 5, 2007
    A question to experienced players who played both: anything significantly better in one over the other in terms of overall quality and playability?
    Also, how much advantage one gets from a graphite rod reinforced neck (in H1)?
    Both go for more or less same price. Both look great, each one in its own way.
    Your opinions are appreciated. Thanks

    P.S. I tried Search, but could not find anything on '60s Classic. Apparently not a very popular model.
  2. Jim Carr

    Jim Carr Dr. Jim Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2006
    Denton, TX or Kailua, HI
    fEARful Kool-Aid dispensing liberal academic card-carrying union member Musicians Local 72-147
    I own a '60s Classic, and have written here about it a bit. There are also reviews galore on bgra.net and elsewhere. I've got a friend with a nice H-1, which I have played several times at rehearsals. I have to say I was surprised by his "pre-upgrade" H-1, which is the original model without the BA II bridge.

    I had already changed the bridge on my Classic to a BA II, and liked the difference. I also had gotten tired of dealing with single coil hum, and had swapped the original pickups for a set of Lindy Frailin split-coils, which are very good, IMHO, and improved the range of usable settings.

    Comparing the two basses is hard, because even though I A/B'd them a couple of times, and though they were quite similar, I must admit the unmodified H-1 sounded as good as my modified Classic. It had single-coils, so was richer on top and a tiny bit bigger on the bottom, though significantly noisier. Mind you this was comparing stock to non-stock pickups.

    N.B., the Classic and H-1 are both listed in Fender's specs as having the same pickups: "2 Standard Vintage Alnico Magnet Jazz Bass Single Coil Pickups (Mid & Bridge)."

    Even though the Classic is prettier, and I love my Classic and play it a lot, my gut is to say go for the H-1. IMHO. However, I must tell you, the neckwood, fingerboard wood, and finish on my Classic are better than my friend's "pre-upgrade" H-1. If you can play a couple of each, you can find the best one of the group. They ARE quite similar, but with a different vibe. The recent H-1 "upgrade" may give it the edge in tone, now. :ninja:
  3. Juniorkimbrough


    Mar 22, 2005
    Mississippi / Memphis, TN
    Endorsing Artist: Lakland Basses
    Never played the Classic 60's but I do own one of the pre upgraded Hwy. 1 models mentioned in the above post. I've owned it since '03 and I love it. The tone rivals that of my U.S. 62RI Jazz and Lakland Skyline JO4.
  4. Never owned a 60's MIM jazz bass, but I did play one once and thought it played like crap. I just acquired an upgraded Highway One Jazz bass in honey blonde. It is one of the best basses i've ever played, the thing is a TANK! Plays like a dream, takes to a setup very well and stays in tune for days (it actually came in near perfect tuning straight from the factory). The only gripe I have is how white the headstock is, but no big deal compared to the rest of the features.
  5. Jim Carr

    Jim Carr Dr. Jim Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2006
    Denton, TX or Kailua, HI
    fEARful Kool-Aid dispensing liberal academic card-carrying union member Musicians Local 72-147
    Perhaps there was a set-up issue?....nah...:D
  6. Goose56


    Aug 5, 2007
    Thanks Jim for your honest opinion. I found yours and two others' reviews in the Review.

    Thanks everyone.

    Anyone else?
  7. I recently purchased this 60's Classic and I love it. I used to own a 65 Jazz in sunburst and sold it...it is now a big regret, but my 60's Classic fills this void. I changed the pickups to Fender 60's pickups and I did a setup which made the bass play like butter. I really like the bass...It has become one of my favorites....

  8. Jamco


    Jul 7, 2007
    the new highway ones are probably better due to the inclusion of badass bridges and a new greasebukcet circuitry. I own a MIM Fender Jazz and whilst they are reasonably instruments they are nothing special.
  9. I had a MIM 60 and sent it back. Construction felt cheap and loose -like a bad SX, looked great tho!

    The HWY 1's I've played feel a lot more stable and of better quality.
  10. SwitchGear

    SwitchGear Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2005
    I have a 60's classic J and like it alot. I dropped a set of 60's vintage Fender re-issue pup's in it. Very solid, well built bass that is comparible in build quality to the mia or cij Fender's I have previously owned. I play it out alot.

    btw, I bought and sold a first gen '03 HWY one J back in '05. I did not like the crimsom red color so off it went. That bass was a winner also.

    That is my experience with both basses.

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