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Geddy lee jazz bass vs other 70's Jazz basses (Fender and other brands).

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Spirit of Ox, May 16, 2019.

  1. Spirit of Ox

    Spirit of Ox Supporting Member

    Feb 2, 2012
    Chelsea Mass
    I have a 2003 Geddy Lee (MIJ). I love the tone of this bass and the 70's style pickup spacing for the extra high end growl.
    I put together an inexpensive clone to leave at the practice space and back up for gigs.
    I wanted an SX cause they make a great copy but unfortunately Rondo is not carrying the 70's jazz style at this time. In fact, if you google shopping for SX basses they are selling them from a direct site located in China. They are going for about 500 usd now. Ebay has Asian sellers putting them out for around 500 too.
    I found a used one with warped neck so I bought a new SX neck and put together a nice 70's Jazz. I used Dimarzio Area Js but took them out and sold them, to tame sounding, great but not aggressive like the Geddy. The original SX are OK but not nearly as good as the Geddy although surprisingly more lows. I ordered a set of Pure 74s but they haven't arrived.
    My question is what gives the Geddy Lee a more edgy distinct tone? Is it the pickups, Bad Ass II bridge, maybe the super thin neck?
    There seems to be a difference in tone than other 70's Jazz basses.
  2. 80jazz


    Jun 28, 2008
    I owned an early GL jazz for almost 15 years, and my best guess is the pickup spacing combined with the BadAss bridge.
  3. Spirit of Ox

    Spirit of Ox Supporting Member

    Feb 2, 2012
    Chelsea Mass
    Does the bridge make that much of a difference? How about the pickups? I heard they are just Fender Original MIA pickups, nothing special.
    DJ Bebop likes this.
  4. Wisebass


    Jan 12, 2017
    Lost in Space
    Hi Spirit of Ox :)

    The bridge makes next to zero difference (except when you believe it) IME

    The pickups and their 70s position make the sound. (and of course Geddy' s fingers!) :D


  5. 80jazz


    Jun 28, 2008
    I would agree, except going to a bent metal bridge seemed to bring some low end back. Now, I wonder what they would sound like with the bridge pickup turned down or off.
  6. Biffa


    Apr 16, 2019
    County Durham, UK
    Didn't Fender make the Jazz body bigger in the 70s, hence the wider spacing of the pups
  7. Smooth_bass88

    Smooth_bass88 Groove it

    Geddy Lee jazz basses used to come stock with Fender Original Jazz Bass pickups. These pickups were also standard on AVRI ‘62 RI Jazz as well as some custom shop basses. I have a set in my MIM Fretless J. They are very good sounding pickups. Do not underestimate their tone.
  8. bhendrix


    May 2, 2009
    Atlanta, GA
    THAT'S where the tone comes from! ;)
    georgiagoodie, craig0316 and Wisebass like this.
  9. Wisebass


    Jan 12, 2017
    Lost in Space
    Hi 80jazz :)

    Lucky when you can switch back to the ordinary Fender (junk :laugh:) bridge.
    The baddass I needed a routing, that ruined the resale value of many vintage Fenders.

    My 73 Jazz sounds like any other Jazz (60s to today) with the bridge pup turned down.

    The front pickup is in the same position.

    basspick - Copie.

    No, the 60s Fenders were not as small as your avatar! :D (see pic)

    Fender switched from lighter ash, to boat anchor ash!

    The bridge pup was moved to hide it under the ashtray.

    may the bass be with you

    Spirit of Ox likes this.
  10. REV


    Jun 18, 2006
    I have had a number of Jazz basses in my life and none of them sounded as good as a Geddy. I don't know what it is but the Geddy's (especially the MIJ) have something special. I've owned three of them and they all sounded fantastic. The MIA Geddy's sound really good too but they don't have the growl that the MIJ Geddy's do. I've played a few MIM Geddy's but I didn't think they were as good. They were still good basses but they didn't have that certain something. Geddy basses do tend to be on the heavy side. I have two now and they are both 10 lbs but they are well balanced and the weight doesn't bother me. They sound so good I don't really care about the weight. I wish you luck replicating the sound of a Geddy ley us know if you are successful.
    SakuBass, jeff7bass and Spirit of Ox like this.
  11. Spirit of Ox

    Spirit of Ox Supporting Member

    Feb 2, 2012
    Chelsea Mass
    I've heard mixed things about bridges but I must say that there is something extra in the tone of the Geddy Lee that is different from any other 70's Jazz bass. Maybe the neck has something to do with. My SX build has a chunkier neck so maybe that thickens the tone and attack.
  12. Spirit of Ox

    Spirit of Ox Supporting Member

    Feb 2, 2012
    Chelsea Mass
    Yeah, finally someone who agrees with me!!! What is it with this bass? Is is it the neck? It's a thin flat neck maybe that does something to the attack. The Geddy has a certain snap to its tone. Maybe it's the whole package, bridge, pickups, and neck. My friend has a 98 75 AVRI which is pretty close but still missing something.
  13. Sparkl


    Apr 23, 2011
    It is the badass bridge. My marcus miller 1994 mij is also very agressive sounding, as soon as I replaced the bridge with a classic vintage one, the bass is immediately warmer and more polite sounding.
  14. Malak the Mad

    Malak the Mad Over the River and through the Looking Glass Supporting Member

    In my experience, strings are a crucial element in the sum-of-all-parts that go into a bass. I’ve had a Jazz go from :yawn: to :wideyed: when I switched from light flats to medium-light Ernie Ball Cobalt rounds...so much so it was like it had been raised from the dead. If I wanna get super-aggresive, I reach for either the Cobalts or the D’Addario FlexSteels. :thumbsup:
    4sight, Wisebass and Spirit of Ox like this.
  15. Spirit of Ox

    Spirit of Ox Supporting Member

    Feb 2, 2012
    Chelsea Mass
    My comparison is with the same strings, D'Addario EXL165 Nickels. They are bright but not Stainless bright. My build has brand new strings and the Geddy has old strings and it's still brighter.
    Jimruth likes this.
  16. srayb


    Oct 27, 2010
    Ontario, Canada
    I agree. I’ve played some Fenders but when I tried a Geddy Jazz, there was some extra tonal quality combined with being very comfortable to play that really impressed me. Another very impressive Fender Jazz is the Jaco fretless, same experience as being just a whole lot better sounding and easy to play. Everything sounds great on both of those models (IMHO).
    Spirit of Ox likes this.
  17. I have an early CIJ Geddy Lee Jazz Bass from 1998 and it screams. The pickups and the spacing are the key to the tone. The pickups that were installed in that 98 Geddy Jazz are NOT Fender "Original Jazz Bass" pickups. The pickups that came with the early CIJ Geddy models were from Fender Japan.
    I wanted to fit another Jazz Bass that I had with the same pickups that are in my '98 Geddy Jazz Bass so I called Fender and talked to someone that said for sure that the pickups that come with the Geddy Lee Jazz Bass are the Fender "Original Jazz Bass" pickups..... so I ordered a set of them... When I installed them they were NOTHING like the pickups in my CIJ Geddy Jazz Bass. I took a closer look at them too... not that it makes any sonic difference but I noticed that the pole pieces on the CIJ Geddy are flat on top and the "Original Jazz Bass" pickups that I got from Fender because the person I spoke with told me that is what comes installed on the Geddy Lee Jazz Basses (at the time he told me because they were not made in Japan any more)...have a bevel around the top of each pole piece... hmmmmmmm... then I checked out some new Geddy Lee Jazz Basses and they were from Mexico at the time... and the pickups had the pole pieces with the beveled tops...so I plugged in one and... BAM! It sounded as lame as the Fender "Original Jazz Bass " pickups that I installed in another Jazz Bass I had........ they changed the pickups.... the ones in the early Geddy models, with the flat top pole pieces are WAY better than the ones I tried on those newer ones..... those new ones aren't even in the same ballpark.
    The Badass bridge has nothing to do with the tone. I replaced mine with a standard L plate stock Fender bridge and there is ZERO difference. I think I even had a thread on here when I was looking for those pickups that are in my '98 CIJ Geddy... sometime around 2011-12.....
    The early CIJ (Crafted in Japan) not MIJ (Made in Japan) Geddy Lee Jazz Basses are the ones to get. I've tried other early ones like mine and they are the same way as mine.... awesome.
    Last edited: May 16, 2019
  18. jeff7bass


    Apr 9, 2009
    Geddy sands the back of the necks on his to make them smooth. He uses the same necks (off the shelf) and replaces them when needed. I guess he wears them out.
  19. Spirit of Ox

    Spirit of Ox Supporting Member

    Feb 2, 2012
    Chelsea Mass
    I remember that topic about the pickups. I’ve always heard they were equipped with Fender original or 62 RIs which they claimed are the same but rebranded and redesigned with beveled pole pieces but same winding at DC resistance. Whatever was in the first couple runs of Geddys still seem inconclusive to me.
  20. Clark W

    Clark W Supporting Member

    Aug 26, 2018
    So does block markers vs dots make a difference in the tone? Geddy says it does.

    Vooter likes this.

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