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Fender Jazz Bass Special - Circa 1984-87

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Bullitt5135, Nov 28, 2010.

  1. Bullitt5135

    Bullitt5135 Supporting Member

    Nov 16, 2010
    SE Michigan
    After searching the TB forums for a while, I didn't see any threads about my particular bass. It's a Fender Jazz Bass Special, MIJ circa 1984-87 -- purchased a couple years before Duff McKagan made them famous. I bought this when I was in high school in 1986 for around $350. I had originally ordered one in metallic silver, but impatience took over and I decided to grab it in black (in hindsight, a good decision). At the time, Geddy was playing the black Wal, and my bass had a similar look. It has a Precision body and a Jazz Neck. The back of the neck is matching black lacquer. P-J pickups with the cable jack in the edge instead of the top surface. It's in really good shape given it's age and ratty case, with only a few minor dings and scratches.

    As a kid, I never got good enough to make it out of my buddy's basement, but I'm hoping to change that. I got away from playing over the past 20 years, but I've recently decided to pick it up again. I've only just "heard" my bass "for real" for the first time... having just purchased a GK 700RBII with an Avatar B212 cab. I'm looking forward to getting to know it better.

    If you have one of these babies, I'd love to see some pics. I know they also came in metallic white, silver, and red.


  2. Kitsapbass

    Kitsapbass What key is this?

    May 26, 2005
    Bremerton, WA
    Nice bass...I had one way back in the 90's that I picked up used (and abused)...it was originally red, but had been stripped and was then natural, had been defretted and had been re-routed for a J/J. Actually wasn't really a bad bass, but the slots really weren't the best (the guy had wood puttied it). Traded it way back when towards a Yamaha BB1000 (which was sold when I moved up north to Washington state). Not a bad bass at all - I'll pick up another one eventually..!
    EatS1stBassist likes this.
  3. I had a black one that I bought new about 1989. I think $400 bucks maybe. It was awesome and played wonderfully.

    I played the hell out of it for about 10 years maybe. Then got married, had kids never played, and hard up for money I sold all my gear.

    I kick myself for ever selling it. It was black and played and sounded great. I didn't know the things had sort of become 'collectible'. When I sold it (maybe 4 years ago?), they were going for around $250-$300 bucks on Ebay. I think I sold it for $300 bucks with a nice Fender hardshell case.

    Again, kicking self. I finally decided to get back into playing a few months back and really wish I had it.

    I had a GK800 RB with 4x10 + 2x10 GK cabs. Not that I was a big Duff McKagan fan, but I just happen to have the same setup as him and could perfectly imitate his sound if I wanted.

    Hold on to that Bass !!!!
    tindrum and EatS1stBassist like this.
  4. bommer


    May 13, 2009
    Canada, Eh!
    i hope you know your playing my dream bass.
    if you EVER, EVER, EVER decide to sell that, pm me.

    well enough of my grieving, beautiful bass!
    EatS1stBassist and joebar like this.
  5. Catbuster


    Aug 25, 2010
    Louisville, KY.
    That's an epic bass. I wanted one bad in the late 80s. I had a P at the time, and din't buy one. I so wish I had one now.
    EatS1stBassist likes this.
  6. My first *good* bass was a white J Special, w/the all-black neck(some have/had natural-finished backsides). GREAT basses- IMO a huge factor is the TBX tone control, which sounds to me damn near active, though it's not. I'd love a fretless one of these guys.
    PawleeP likes this.
  7. Gasman

    Gasman Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 9, 2007
    South Carolina
    I've owned five of these over the years. I have repeatedly posted on TB- these are the best basses ever for the money. Exceptional build, dynamite tone. A mint condition one is really extraordinary.
    EatS1stBassist likes this.
  8. coreyfyfe

    coreyfyfe Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2007
    boston, ma
    I had a fretless a few years back. I bought it after playing a friends bass which was a fretless jazz special neck on a jazz body. I always felt like these necks were more of a B-width, or at least much flatter than the neck on my jazz bass. Still, a nice bass to play. I ended up selling it when I picked up my fretless P since I preferred the maple board on the P and really only used the P pickup on the jazz special any how.

    Can't seem to find any solo pictures, so here's a few mixed shots:


  9. Do want. Did they come factory with brass nuts?
  10. Yeah, I thought these had B(1 5/8" nut)necks as opposed to the typical Jazz 'standard' 1 1/2" nut.
  11. OtisRocks


    Oct 28, 2009
    I have a fretless Jazz Bass Special (E serial #). Kind of an off white color with all black neck and headstock.

    Plays and sounds great but I would like to get a humbucking version of the bridge pickup.

    The nut measures 1.55" on my calipers and is definitely not brass (looks like black plastic).

    Has a black Schaller roller bridge that looks like it is stock.


    Any thoughts on cheap ways to spice up the look would be welcome.
    tindrum and EatS1stBassist like this.
  12. pcollin


    Dec 22, 2005
    Portland, Maine
    Yes, I have one of the many "brothers" of your bass. Serial Number 00001945. It's black on black and black. I named it Pearl. I bought it new in 1986. She's a special bass. I will never sell it. I use flats on mine. One of the best basses I ever owned/bought. Seriously. Great tone, feel, fit, etc. A few light scratches/scars but don't we all 'em after 20+ years of playing??
  13. Febs

    Febs Supporting Member

    May 7, 2007
    Philadelphia, PA
    Here's mine:

  14. I have all 3 varieties of the Jazz Bass Special. The passive JBS fretted, I bought new back in 87 or 88. The Power Jazz Bass Special I bought in early 2008, and the fretless JBS, I bought in late 2008. I absolutely love the necks on these. My dream bass would be one of these with a blue-quilt maple top, but I know they never made such an animal.

  15. Tommygunn


    Nov 8, 2008
    Houston, Tx
    They came in some rare blue-green color at the end of the prodection IIRC

    And if it hasn't been said. Duff McKagan used these for a long time.

    I had a chance to buy a white one with the natural neck, I kick myself every day over it.
  16. MAN do I wish I kept mine! Real nice bass
  17. dave120


    Jun 27, 2005
    Central Florida
    My JBS is the only Fender I kept around over the years. It was and still is the best playing Fender bass I've ever come across, period. And it also sounds the best, to me. It's usually the bass I try and emulate with most of my other basses sound-wise.

    See some pictures of it here:
    Jazz Bass Special

    It hasn't been my main bass for a while, but my main bass does have Jazz Bass Special pickups in it.
  18. Bullitt5135

    Bullitt5135 Supporting Member

    Nov 16, 2010
    SE Michigan
    Here are a couple more pics, including a close up of the original bridge. I believe the nut is black plastic @1.55" as stated by a previous post. Strings are Rotosound Swing Bass 66.

    I'm really psyched to hear all the positive comments. It makes me happy that I've held onto it all these years. There's way too much sentimental value attached to ever part with it. I've always thought it had a really nice, versatile tone. Of course, it's the only one I've owned, so I've never been able to compare it side by side with anything.

    Great to see everyone else's in the other colors as well as fretless!


    acebase62 and Jackcrow like this.
  19. Not past tense:D the guy is still rocking them today:bassist:
  20. dave120


    Jun 27, 2005
    Central Florida
    He sure does...

    I didn't even know this model existed until I saw him playing them. I was always majorly turned off of Fenders because I hated the pickguards. I've warmed up to them nowadays but I wouldn't touch them before I saw this one that didn't have it. They look so much better, I wish all my Fender style basses could look that clean without pickguards.

    I'm also a huge fan of the 3 way switch. I rarely blend any pickups. For me it's either on or off most times and the switch makes it much easier.
    J_Bass likes this.
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    Feb 28, 2021

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