How Long Do High End Jazz Basses Stay Tuned up ?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Bubble, Aug 23, 2019.

  1. Bubble


    Apr 17, 2013
    Listening to Fender's demos of guitars like the American Performer J bass, I hear some really good tone. But how well do they stay in good intonation and keep that Fender Growl ?
    I'm hoping constant setup is not needed to get that perfect zing to the tone.
  2. Bubble


    Apr 17, 2013
    Now this is a PJ bass, but listen to that tone.
    I tried a $25 alnico import pickup set in a cheap clone and got much better detail than the ceramic but not even close to this or the Jazz Bass. What I did hear were obvious errors in my intonation setup all across the neck. Seems the ceramic set sort of muds them out into a slushy mix. So I had to do a detailed intonation including micro error correction because even though I could get open and the 12th "intonated" on the meter, there were obvious out of tune frets. After getting a good balance of pickup height (now critical) and O - 12th now a bit of growl came out and all the octaves ring well.
    Just as I thought because the big ceramic bar makes a broad evenly spread magnetic field, the alnico's have a set of concentrated fields near the poles then spreading out at some distance. I really do not want the field to be so smooth because it makes a boring sine wave like tone.

    In case you haven't heard the American Performer series,
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2019
  3. JohnArnson


    May 28, 2019
    Intonation shouldn't change once set, regardless of the quality of the bass, as long as you use the same type and gauge of strings, really old strings can mess up intonation though, in which case you should just get a new set, and how precisely you will be able to set it depends entirely on how the bridge is constructed, though, with some patience, most bridges will allow for just about as perfect intonation as it is possible to get on a bass that doesn't have tempered frets, but I suspect you actually mean tuning.

    And as for that question it will vary a lot depending on a lot of different factors, including the individual instrument.

    Even on high end basses the stability of the neck varies some, which has something to say in how well it will stay tuned, local weather situations will have a say as well, more so the more unstable the neck of your bass happens to be.

    My cheap budget Ibanez Mikro bass has the most stable neck of all the guitars and basses I ever owned and holds tuning really well, and would probably do even better with better quality tuning mechanisms, which you should be insured is in order on a high end instrument.

    How long the strings will keep their freshness has nothing to do with the quality of the neck and tuner mechanisms of the bass though, and will depend exclusively on the type and quality of the strings you put on, as well as of course on how much you play them, how well you keep them clean e.t.c.

    So no specific numbers can actually be given for your question about that.

    And as said, some cheap budget basses will even have more stable necks than some high end basses.

    As for the round wound strings that keep fresh longest my guess is the coated stainless steel strings from Elixir, which due to the fact that they are stainless steel but coated will give them about the same level of brightness and feel as uncoated nickle round wound steel strings, but will make them keep fresh considerably longer.
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2019
  4. Bubble


    Apr 17, 2013
    Well I just wondered if the high end basses keep their intonation and setup better. Looking for something more than better sound and that high quality feel. Maybe the expensive ones are made from the best select woods that expand and contract the least.
  5. JohnArnson


    May 28, 2019
    Well, wood is definitely more carefully selected for high end basses, but it is hard to predict how wood will act over time, so, as I said, you will find that some individual high end basses might have less neck stability than some individual cheap low end basses.

    So yes, it increase the chance, but it is not a guarantee.

    Same goes for hardware, some cheap hardware used for low end basses will be flimsy and can more easily be notched out of it's settings than most more expensive quality hardware, but some budget hardware will be almost just as good.

    Again buying a high end bass does insure that you will get decent hardware installed from the start.

    So, yes, in some aspects buying a higher end bass will increase the chance that you get an overall more stable bass, even if by far most basses, even the cheapest budget ones usually don't have any issues with it's setup changing over time, bar tuning and neck relief, and while the higher end tuners on a high end bass will make for a more stable tuning, there is no guarantee that the neck will be more stable, but, as said, it does increase the chance that it is.

    Also be aware that the tone you hear in that video is produced and not exactly as recorded, so if you haven't got the same amp, recording and mixing equipment as they used for that video, you can forget to get that bass to sound exactly as it does there.

    You'll also find that how pickups sound has more to do with how they are constructed than what kind of magnets are used, though different magnet types does lend them self more easily to certain tone characteristics.

    And as I said no fretted instrument that doesn't have tempered frets will have perfect intonation, no matter how expensive it then might be.
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2019
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