geddy lee jazz?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by whiteout, Sep 23, 2001.

  1. wow, they seem pretty popular. whats all the comotion about? why have I not seen one?
  2. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    They are a very good(IMHO) 4 string Jazz bass. I own one. My favorite of my 4 stringers.

    They are a Made in Japan Jazz bass, with Fender Custom Shop 60's reissue pickups, a Leo Quan Badass II bridge, and a neck modeled after Geddy Lee's own pawnshop prize 1974(?) Jazz bass.

    It has the thinnest profile of any 4 string bass that I have ever played.
  3. pmkelly


    Nov 28, 2000
    Kansas City, MO
    they are a great bass, embellisher already provided the stats... I changed out my pickups for Dimarzio Model J's, but the rest needs little reason to change. The reason you don't see many is because the rumor is that Fender is stopping production of the Geddy Lee... I don't know if that is true or not, but everytime I see one in a shop here in KC it is gone within a few days...

  4. How much are these basses? Embellisher's comments made me realize something. Here we are spending $4000+ (Slightly exaggerated :)) to get "that special tone". Meanwhile Geddy and Jaco go to a pawn shop and spend peanuts on a bass that we would have probably walked right by without looking at it and they are the bass pioneers and heroes. Just something to think about.
  5. masaru


    Aug 8, 2001
    Okinawa, Japan
    Between 600 & 800 USD here in Land of the Rising Sun (with gig bag, case extra)
  6. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    Well, I got my 1500$ handmade bass 2nd hand for 500. I get MY sound with it, but it could be (almost) any bass.

    One thing, you got more for the $ then than today, and remember what choices and means of information you had in the 70s. There was Fender, and that was it. Maybe Rickenbacker and Höfner because of Sir Paul.
    If Jaco and Geddy would grow up today, they'd probably play Warwick or sth like that - and they would get 'their' sound with it.

    What worries me more is that people are willing to pay 4000+ $ for battered old Fenders, most of which don't even sound that well.

    Bottom line: You need the bass YOU need.
    It doesn't matter if it's pawn shop or boutique.

    Sorry, for the rant. Working on a sunday makes me do that. :D
  7. tcbglitch


    May 26, 2001
    I played a Geddy Lee Jazz at the GC in Atlanta. It was a great sounding bass. It's hard to describe, but when you slap on it, you don't get a brittle or harsh sound, it just comes out nice and warm. I would have got one, except for the fact that its only passive. I think I may get one and install a J-Retro preamp. Any thoughts on this from anyone?
  8. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    Someone on this board has 2 of these, one has a J retro, and the other is stock.

    I have been thinking of putting a J Retro in mine, as well as putting a MOTO pickguard on it.
  9. seamus


    Feb 8, 2001
    That's me! I have a couple GL Jazzes. One is stock as em mentioned, and I do not intend to modify it in the future. The first one I bought though, I put a J-Retro in it right away and then added a white moto p/g later on to 'jazz' it up a bit. :)

    Here's a sloppy webcam pic:


    The pic doesn't do it justice, it's truly a beauty in person. Then again, I've always loved the body shape of a Jazz, it embodies my idea of what a bass should be since I was a teen. Since then I have moved on to play other basses as well, but the Jazz holds a coveted position in my heart. I'll offer two perspectives, one to answer a question in the original post, the other regarding the J-Retro.

    I think one reason the GLJ's are so popular is they can typically be had had brand new for $625-650 if you shop around. This makes them very affordable and upgradeable, not to mention attractive. I love the black and white look, it's subtle yet attractive, like a tuxedo. The black blocks are nice too given that Fender only used these for maybe 3 years in their long history. The neck is unique to that bass and is a joy to play. With the right strings and setup, it makes one hell of a rock bass. The stock pickups are also much better than one would find on a new MIM Jazz, at least in my experience. I don't anticipate ever having to change them out.

    The only area where I think they cut corners was the tuners, there's a little bit of play in them. Other than that, I love GL Jazzes. Be sure to inspect them closely though. I have seen store beaten ones that were in poor shape, had bad neck pockets and/or necks, and basically were not up to par. As with all Fenders, search around and eventually, you will find 'the one'.

    As far as the J-Retro, I love it. It takes the standard Jazz sound and EQ and puts it on steroids. I immediately liked what this preamp did for my Jazz. The construction on it is good too, sturdy knurled metal knobs that really respond well. I leave the bass control at 0 since the preamp itself really adds some beef to the standard passive Jazz. In doing so, it also cleans things up with a bit of tendency towards a modern sound IMO. It doesn't stifle the sound, I mean, you can clearly hear it's still your Jazz. In cleaning up though, it does diminish the passive grit a little, so bear that in mind. Still, I love this preamp in this bass. It has controls for bass, treble, and sweepable midrange for making adjustments on the fly.

    I have only two gripes with the J-Retro. One is the price, they are pretty darn expensive. The other is the treble side of the preamp which can be downright noisy. This makes it difficult or impossible to use for recording. Live it doesn't matter because the noise is then negligible. I think this preamp sounds best with the treble and bass both at 0, backing off the treble too much kills the tone. Kicking up the bass too much is overbearing, but it's nice to have for knocking things off the wall. As with most good EQ's, it sound best flat or near to it. If anything, I usually play with the treble backed off a little due to the noise and the midrange boosted a bit around ~300 or so. I leave the bass flat. The knobs are indented on '0' which helps with adjustments even when you can't see the notches.

    My overall assessment is this. If you would like your Jazz to have sweepable midrange plus more bottom end and overall presence, then this preamp is worth a look. As with most onboard preamps, the sound will be colored, and YMMV. As I mentioned, it's like passive Jazz meets active modern as far as the overall tonality, but the preamp does manage to maintain the sought after midrange characteristics of the Jazz (though not as gritty due to active EQ). Plus, the midrange control allows you to boost or cut the mids to taste from 150Hz on up. It's easy to install, and you can be up and running with no additional routing in a matter of minutes. Other than the noise I mentioned, I continue to be satisfied with it. As far as my affinity for passive J's, that is why I bought two. :)
  10. quite a beauty you got there
  11. seamus


    Feb 8, 2001
    Thanks whiteout!
  12. That`s a sweet looking GL Seamus! :eek:

    I would like to get one in the future.Gee,do you think it`ll make me sound like GL himself??:rolleyes:

    They are made in Japan,correct? How would you rate the quality as compared to the mim and mia fenders?
  13. seamus


    Feb 8, 2001
    Thanks buddy :)

    lol, same here

    QUOTE]Originally posted by Usul
    They are made in Japan,correct? How would you rate the quality as compared to the mim and mia fenders? [/QUOTE]

    Yep, MIJ all the way. There have been rumors that they were going to move these to MIM, but I don't know if that's reliable info. Some also speculate they may stop making them soon, once again, probably just a rumor. Though they are supposed to be Limited Edition, I think Fender found themselves faced with the fact that these basses continued to sell. My guess is that they were unwilling to halt production since they had a model that moved, but that is speculation on my part.

    As far as how they compare, I'd say they compare very favorably with MIA's and I far prefer them to MIM's. I don't know the specific specs on MIM's, but the pickups in this bass are U.S. Vintage Jazz. They sound just as one would expect of a Jazz, and while some opt to replace them, I don't think anyone would ever need to out of necessity. I also prefer the Badass II bridge (which is stock equipment on the GL Jazz) and like it way better than the bridges to be found on most Jazzes, especially the MIM's. I also dig the black binding and blocks, which AFAIK, are not to be found on any other Fender bass currently in production.

    Soundwise, it sounds better than any MIM I've ever played. Not to knock MIM's, that's just my take on it. You can get a real good setup on these basses too, very low action that you can still dig in on, a pleasure to play. The neck does react a bit to humidity though, so be prepared to pop off the neck and make those little truss adjustments. It's unfortunate that you have to remove the neck to do so, but I guess they wanted to keep it authentic. Some people do a little routing so they can make the adjustment by simply removing the p/g. I've not done so myself, but who knows, maybe someday I will.

    Another cool thing is that the 'sig' is small and on the back of the headstock. No doubt a preferred way to do things for those who think sig models are cheesy, but might otherwise like this bass. The neck plate has a nice 'Limited Edition' engraving, no biggie, but it's different and looks nice. Another authentic thing about it is how 'Jazz Bass' is printed on the headstock. It is true to how the graphics would have appeared on this bass back in the 70's minus the 'Contour Body' logo and patent numbers. You'll notice that some MIJ's (and maybe MIM's?) use tiny little letters to print 'Jazz Bass'. Looks kinda silly, I never knew why Fender didn't keep the same logo. If it ain't broke...

    A good specimen is certainly up to par with MIA fit and finish. The black paint is always nice and flawless and seems durable, not thin and easily chipped. The build quality is comparable to MIA's I've inspected, and the materials and workmanship seem superior to MIM in my opinion. This is a subject largely open to debate though, so, to each his own. I'm not looking to start a MIM v. MIJ v. MIA thread over it, so hotheads need not respond. Just remember that if you spec one out, make sure to inspect it *very* closely as I would advise doing this with all Fenders. They can really vary to the point of not sounding or playing the same, even given equivalent models. It's not a myth, it's true, and I would say to really inspect them and play them quite a bit before getting your heart set on one. As mentioned before, I had to walk away from more than a couple Fenders in stores before, ones that I *really* wanted. They were either deficient, beat up from being a wall model, or both.

    Overall, I'd say that for a lot less money, they are definitely worth a look for anyone considering a passive MIA. For a little more than what some MIM's cost, I wouldn't trade either of the GL's I got for any MIA. Plus, they are Fenders, so aftermarket wants and needs can always be fulfilled.
  14. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    IME, they are more consistent than the MIA Fenders. If you find a top motch MIM or MIA, it will equal(MIM) or exceed(MIA) the Geddy Lee in fit & finish, but I have not yet seen a dog GL. I've seen plenty of dog MIMs, and an occasional bad MIA.
  15. seamus


    Feb 8, 2001
    Good point, I agree they are more consistent. You can almost order them sight unseen and 9/10 you'll get a real nice GLJ. I only saw one really bad one in a store (Mars), but in all fairness, it was beat to hell. No doubt it was misused by customers trying it out as the finish was really jacked up. The bass itself was obviously neglected by the store, I bet they never sold it unless discounted as 'blem'.
  16. Thanks for the info GLJB guyz!!! ;) ;) :)

    Mucho informativo :cool:
  17. By-Tor


    Apr 13, 2000
    Sacramento, CA
    I recently picked up a GLJB a few monthes ago, and am very happy with it, no complaints here.
    The bass is a natural for slapping.
    When I first picked it up, I was amazed at how fast the neck was.
    What's cool is Geddy Lee's signature is on the back of the headstock, very classy, not over done.
    This reflects on Geddy's personality, humble and modest. A true bass player.
    I really like the block inlays. I have always liked that look.
    And truthfully, when my GLJB arrived, was the first time I had ever played a Fender Jazz Bass.
    I will never modify anything on this bass.
    I have several basses and have no need to modify this bass. It's perfect the way it is, IMHO.