Good Bass for Jazz

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Achey, Jun 13, 2005.

  1. Achey


    May 6, 2005
    Northern Ireland
    Now, I know this could be a kinda noobish question, but I was wondering if you guys could give me any opinions on what would be a good 4 string bass for playing jazz with. I play in a jazz big band and we play things like The Chicken, Pick up the Pieces, Milestones, Chameleon, The lady is a tramp, Tune Up, Birdland, and Spain. now you can see there is quite a bit of variety in terms of latin/swing/bigband tunes there.

    I was thinking of a fender J bass but I would like to know what alternatives there are. I am willing to spend anything up to 1000 US$ at the very most.

    Thanks for your help in advance.

  2. burk48237

    burk48237 Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2004
    Oak Park, MI
    Fender J, Lakland Joe Osborn (skyline). I'd personally go used in that price range and maybe upgrade bridge-pickups-pre. I saw a Joe Osborn 5 today used for 1100, that pre is a 300$ option. There's plenty of good stuff out there but for that material it would be hard to go wrong with a J style bass.
  3. Trevorus


    Oct 18, 2002
    Urbana, IL
    Find yourself an American Fender Jazz Deluxe. I have always loved those, and I own one. They are really versatile, and could easily fit the bill for the kind of stuff you are playing.
  4. EricTheEZ1


    Nov 23, 2004
    Clawson, MI
    Why buy an $1100 bass and then spend another $500-600 upgrading pickups, preamp, and bridge? You could do that to an SX, have yourself a VERY competent bass and walkaway with a $400-$500 pricetag AFTER those upgrades.

    I've found that any bass with Bartolini MK-1s are a great deal for great tone. They'd be great for jazz. Also, be skeptical of the differences between the hundreds of jazz basses out there. Rarely is there a $500 difference between a $500 and a $1000 jazz bass, if you follow.

  5. Musicfreak1988


    Feb 2, 2005
    For jazz a double bass is quite good, but I guess that's not what you're looking for regarding you're playing the chicken and pick up the pieces... Nice songs, btw!
    As Burk said, I'd also say a Fender Jazz. Or at least a Fender Jazz-type.

    For $1k I'd suggest one good bass. New or used, your choice, but I'd also think about 2 used basses : one fretted and one fretless. Fretless will do for The Chicken but also for smoother stuff and ballads. Just my two cents.
  6. Achey


    May 6, 2005
    Northern Ireland
    Well I am 16 and learnt electric first (as well as a brass instrument, the Eb tenor horn) but this year I am going to get some upright lessons. I want to see from an upright player's perspective a bit.

    I only want to buy one bass. Fretted. I will get a fretless with my next save up.
  7. fenderx55


    Jan 15, 2005
    fretless j and a p bass with flats. it'll give u some nice thump and uprighty-ness for walking basslines.
  8. caruso


    Jun 13, 2005
    Bremen, Germany
    I'm new to this forum and after having a look it seems to be by far the best bass related there is.

    Regarding the topic of this thread and the music examples you quote I was immediately thinking of Jim Fielder (Blood, Sweat& Tears/Gene Krupa etc.) who played a Fender Precision. To give it a more flexable sound maybe with an additional J-pickup in the bridge position and not the well known pan pot but a 3 position toggle switch.
    Just a thought.
  9. Musicfreak1988


    Feb 2, 2005
    I'm 16 too and I started with a cheap Yamaha RBX-270L bass, which has a PJ configuration, and then I got a Musicman Stingray 4 and a Fender Standard Jazz.
    Regarding the songs and type of music you noted, I'd definately go with a passive bass if I were you. The choice between a P, a PJ or a J-bass, is personal taste though. For the sound I'd say a J or a PJ, but you've got to like the feel of the bodies and necks too, and that's where it's all up to you.
  10. Achey


    May 6, 2005
    Northern Ireland
    Deluxe American J basses seem to cost alot more than I was planning on spending, and alot more than I currently have...........

    I have no idea how I would go about replacing pickups e.t.c. What I really want is a good standard bass that I can walk, slap, and play latin on...........

    What about a Standard J bass? Or the Marcus Miller signature? In Northern ireland all the music stores suck for bass, so I cannot try many. Are these basses any good for what I am looking for?
  11. Achey


    May 6, 2005
    Northern Ireland
    Is there any way I could get a Standard Jazz, with an Active/Passive selector installed?
  12. fenderx55


    Jan 15, 2005
    as far as iknow, the stds (made in mexico) only come passive, but that's just off thetop of my head. when i was playing in my high school jazz band a few years back, iwas using a standard jazz with dimarzio DP123s and flea signature strings. i think if u start with a std. and then upgrade the electronics u should be ok, it's a pretty versatile bass. However, i still stand by my pbass w/ flats comment :D . though i don't have one, i think it's a good call if u wanna get close to that upright tone and u can get a nice muted sound out of it if u go for a walk, if you know what i mean.
  13. A standard jazz bass (passive) will fit your bill perfectly. If you like them.
  14. You'd have too buy a preamp and get a luthier to do that. Or if you know how to solder you cold probably do it. Either way it's aftermarket, you can't do get it stock.
  15. fretlessrock

    fretlessrock Supporting Member

    Aug 8, 2002
    You could find a good Standard J and put a John East J-Retro in it and have bypass as an option. That is just one example. That pair of J-Plus basses in the For Sale area also look like good places to start. No Commercial Interest here, just noticed them before seeing this thread.

    You are on the right track by looking for a 2 pickup bass and a J is a good, affordable, way to get that. The tone control you get from backing off the neck PU with the bridge PU dimed is as close to universal in a jazz band setting as you are gonna get.

    Good Luck.
  16. Achey


    May 6, 2005
    Northern Ireland
    Thanks guys this has been really helpful so far, I am thinking of getting a Standard Jbass and then buying an active preamp to install in it......I can probably do that myself I am pretty good with bass interiors.