Fender Necks and Tone

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by blipndub, Jan 17, 2001.

  1. So I’ve been thinking about all the variables that go into a good sound, tweaking EQ, different strings etc. I have newer American Standard Jazz bass and want to see if I can emulate a “vintage” sound which I think really is pretty mid-rangy without a lot of high end and a good chunk of thump. But the tone is still elusive so here’s my question.

    On the pre-80’s Jazz basses the necks had a few elements that newer ones lack (at least this many) they are: binding, wide low frets and THICK varnish. How much do you all think the old-school jazz sound is attributable to these characteristics? I know there were other factors, but hypothetically if you put a 1974 neck on an American Standard how would the sound change?
  2. dytakeda


    Jul 18, 2000
    The biggest difference between the two necks is that the American Standard has the graphite reinforcement. I'd venture to guess that by putting a 1974 neck on the AmStd, you'd lose some "evenness", and sustain.

    Frequency-wise, I'd guess that you'd lose some low end as well, since the 1974 neck wouldn't be as stiff. That's probably where the mid-rangynes comes from: lack of lows.

    As far as the frets, finish, block inlays, and binding, I'd say any differences they bring would be inaudible.

  3. the other difference on the maple fretboard versions is the separate fretboard on the new American standards, as opposed to the one piece neck with skunk-stripe on the 74 - according to Sadowsky the separate fretboard adds stiffness to the neck= more of the tonal differences mentioned by dytakeda.

    [Edited by The Mock Turtle Regulator on 01-17-2001 at 04:24 PM]
  4. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    I cut my teeth on a '64 P-bass. In the mid-'80s, I installed an '80s J-bass neck on it(binding & ultra-thin).
    I just recently bought a '62 Jazz neck 'cause it "felt" like home. My other basses are outfitted w/ Warmoth necks(J-style, ebony on bird's-eye maple).
    HONESTLY, I'm still sound like me on all of them...people know it's me, blahblah(in a different thread, I mentioned a story how an ex-band member knew it was me playin' from about a block away. Oh, yeah, the guy hadn't "heard" me play in about 15 years).
    FWIW, it's always been my opinion that the player is responsible for the tone(attack, attitude, feel, etc); not the EQ, not the equipment, etc. And that's why I'll rarely venture into the GEAR Forums...I just don't get it. ;)

    Anyway, the answer from my perspective is-
    ...I don't know how a '74 neck will sound on your American Standard. :D
  5. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Well according to all the books, '74 is about the time that Fender quality dropped to an all-time low, with measures to cut cost at the expense of quality control, having really kicked in. In the late 90s with new production facilities and an effort to get back to exactly what they produced in the 60s, they are now much better. Now the set-up Jim mentions - 62 neck on a 64 bass is reckoned to be purist's heaven, but 70s anything is going to be inconsistent at best.

    So my view is that it could only sound worse ! ;)
  6. I currently own a 72 jazz and blipndub's neck decription is spot on. I think that swaping necks would alter the sound of his current jazz. The question is by how much. Other than the obvious differences between maple and rosewood fretboards, I feel that the amount of neck mass, so to speak, has some influence on the overall sound. My 72 neck is more rounded than any other jazz I've owned. It seems (to me) to have more meat to it. For instance, my friend had a Geddy Lee jazz and a couple 70's jazzes. The neck on the Geddy is very thin front to back. Anyway, he said that the bass lacked some bottom end when compared to his 70's jazzes. The GL and the 70's jazz he owned both had Fender CS60 pickups. I don't think that swapping the neck out will be the only piece of the puzzle.
  7. While there are certainly endless variables that go into a sound (perhaps foremost the player, JimK). My question was to examine the importance of a more or less singular variable. I hear some mixed feelings about the influence of the neck on the sound, and I'm not judging one kind of sound over another, just wondering the differences and the elements that make it up. My limited experience is that I swapped a warmoth P-bass neck onto my fretless MIM Jazz and have noticed some but not a lot of difference.

    However, I have to disagree with JimK that gear doesn't have a dramatic impact. Certainly not on how we play or what we play, that which is perhaps most recognizable, but clearly a 74 bass sounds different from a new Jazz bass. the sound may be of "poorer" quality, less consistent etc. but possessing different sound characteristics

    I hope others put out their thoughts on this topic. It's really interesting to hear what you all think, thanks for responding.

    And one last point. Although it's cool to hear a little history, my point could be applied to any neck really from the days when they had the characteristics i described. A 72, 78, 68 whatever. If we say that there is a sound differance between a 72 and a 68 then that answers the question in some way.

    [Edited by blipndub on 01-18-2001 at 03:27 PM]