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Getting/making a left-handed passive American J-Bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by munificent, Sep 6, 2005.

  1. munificent


    Mar 15, 2005
    I tried out a Fender J-Bass in a music store the other day, and since then, I've been lusting after one. The problem is this: I'm left-handed and I want a quality passive bass. Fender only makes the standard (i.e. substandard) and American Deluxe (active) in left-handed.

    This seems stupid to me since the only difference between the American Deluxe and the American is the electronics, correct?

    So I'm considering one of the following:

    1.Talking to a Fender Custom shop about making one to my specs.

    2. Getting an American Deluxe and replacing the electronics myself with the standard American kit.

    What do you think? Is #1 going to be ludricrously expensive? (> $1,500)

    Is #2 even possible?
  2. phxlbrmpf


    Dec 27, 2002
    Allow me to bitch about Fender's lack of (production) lefty models a bit. Given that they're "number one" and all, their low number of lefty models is really disappointing. They don't even make lefty fivers or fretlesses. Don't Deluxe Fenders also have different pickups, by the way?
  3. munificent


    Mar 15, 2005
    I believe so. I'm no electronics whiz, but I think whether or not a bass is active or passive affects the kinds of pickups it has. (Someone please correct me if I'm off here.)

    I would expect to replace the pickups, pickguard, tone controls, knobs, and any noodly bits inside. It's kind of annoying because that will probably add around $200 to the price and then I'm stuff with a bunch of leftover electronics to get rid off.
  4. BartmanPDX

    BartmanPDX Supporting Member

    I've always felt bad for lefties; you guys don't have a lot of options.

    Here's what I'd look into:

    On a budget, see if you could get an SX lefty (they have lots of them), then beg, plead, and bribe Hambone to trick it out with the best possible passive electronics and hardware. What he did with the Steve Harris Tribute bass is nothing short of jaw-dropping. Probably better than many MIA Fenders once he was done tweaking it:

    Otherwise, I think option #1 would be too expensive ($2000 or so) and #2 may be your best bet for a DIY left-handed Jazz.

    You could also see what Valenti could work up, or go with a custom Warmoth project.
  5. The pickups, electronics, body shape, and number of frets are different (for starters). The deluxe pickups are humcancelling, not standard single-coils, but the pickups themselves are passive (e.g., unlike EMGs). The deluxe has a three-band EQ setup, as opposed to the passive VVT setup. The Deluxe Jazz has more frets than the standard jazz and a modified, slightly downsized body.
    I'm sure that would cost a mint. If all you're looking for is a well-built passive Jazz Bass, there are a number of options out there, but only a few will leave you with "Fender" on the headstock. Fender Japan offers a couple nice-looking lefty Jazz Basses: JB75-105US/L and JB62-92US/L. Check them out, they look nice, but you will be paying for currency conversion, international shipping and whatnot. They have a few more, but they have basswood bodies, which would sound different.
    Yes, you could do this, but you'd probably want to replace the pickups with single-coils too just to get the full effect. In some ways, it's a waste of the pickups and electronics that are in the American Deluxe basses, which are nice, but possibly not what you're looking for.

    The third option is dependent upon whether you must have a Fender logo on the headstock. While I've never played a Valenti, they look like exceptional instruments and I've only heard great things about them. That would certainly be a route to consider as you could get more or less exactly what you want at a reasonable price.

    Best of luck getting the bass you dream of.
  6. munificent


    Mar 15, 2005
    Ah, this is why I ask the experts. Thanks so much. I thought the only differences were electronics.

    Interesting. Any idea why Fender Japan would make leftys but not Fender US? Does the Japanese gear compare well to the American-made stuff?

    I'll look into that too. I'm not a Fender purist, but I was very pleased with what I heard when I tried one out, so I want _that_ tone. If I can be sure to get that from another bass, that would work for me too.
  7. BartmanPDX

    BartmanPDX Supporting Member

    I'd take a serious look into the Fender MIJ Jazzes. From what I've heard, they are wayyy better built than the MIMs and rival the MIAs in quality. Location of construction matters little. Heck, Sadowsky Metros are made in Japan, to some degree.

    Isn't the Geddy Lee Fender MIJ? That's about one of the best basses out there for under $700, though it's not available as a lefty, AFAIK.
  8. munificent


    Mar 15, 2005
    Yeah, I looked into it, and they're looking really good. Having something made in Japan is not a bad point at all for me. I think it makes it a little more distinctive.