I played two Highway-1 Jazzes today

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Sofa King, Jul 28, 2003.

  1. Sofa King

    Sofa King

    Aug 20, 2000
    Rowlett, TX
    I was at the local Brook Mays music store to buy some cheap guitar strings and to mainly play with the toys around when I noticed two fender highway-1 jazzes hanging on the wall. There was a sunburst, and a transparent red (very sexy finish). I played both of them for a while acoustically (nothing amped)

    The sunburst was the first one I played. The finish is interesting, its more of a matte than gloss. The first thing I noticed was the light weight of the body. Very comfortable. Second thing I noticed... ugh... a significant gap in the neck pocket. Enough of one to see down into the heel of the pocket. Most likely two credit cards would have fit snugly in that gap. That turned me off quickly from that bass, but I played it some to give it more of a chance. The neck feels fine to play on, but the acoustic tone of the bass wasn't impressive at all. The tone sounded better on the Standard jazz and precisions I played.

    Next I picked up the crimson transparent bass. Again, that was one dead sexy finish. I checked the neck pocket on that one and... thank God... it was a tight fit! No noticable gap. Acoustically it sounded better than the other Highway-1, but it still wasn't too completely impressive compared to the MIMs I played.

    The fretwork on both basses were very good, and the woods looked like they were good specemins. The hardware looked standard and sturdy.

    From the huge difference between the two neck pocket fittings, I'm thinking that these are going to be a fairly inconsistant line... suprising for a US made to me. For the price that was being asked, and for the fact that they're US made I think the sunburst bass should have been a lot better. The crimson... sexy as hell... ;)

    I was considering perhaps buying a Highway-1, but after today I'm not so sure about that one. I would definately play and examine one before buying.

    I also played an Ibanez SRX500. The flame maple top looked awesome with the cherry burst finish. The neck pocket fit better than both of the Fender, and the acoustic tone was great. For $200 less than the Highway basses I think it's better constructed and sounding (acoustically). And the pickups are molded on the edges which makes a very comfy thumb resting spot ;)

    I really wish I could have played them all with an amp to see how the electronics matched up together. Oh well, maybe next time. Well, that's my 2/100 of a dollar. Sorry for the long post, but hopefully it is insightful :rolleyes: :D :p
  2. doc540


    Jul 28, 2003
    Beaumont, Texas
    So, what's with this "neck pocket" thing?

    How tight's it supposed to be?

    I got this new Essex Jbass copy a couple of weeks ago and, of course, had to yank the neck off it for general purposes. (Ok, I have this thing about taking stuff apart.) It was so tight after I removed the screws I could barely get it loose.

    Good? Bad? Irrelevant?
  3. xyllion

    xyllion Commercial User

    Jan 14, 2003
    San Jose, CA, USA
    Owner, Looperlative Audio Products
    A good fit between body and neck is generally regarded as a sign of quality. It is unusual for necks to fit the neck pocket without any gap. Very hard for manufacturers to build to such tight tolerances although it isn't impossible. High end basses will generally have a very tight fit.

    Please note that gap is just one aspect of the bass building process. You can't determine the quality of a bass solely on the neck fit. However, a sloppy fit will tend affect the resale value of an instrument in a negative way.
  4. Slater

    Slater Leave that thing alone.

    Apr 17, 2000
    The Great Lakes State
    A neck pocket that is too tight can be worse than too wide. If the instrument is exposed to a humid climate, the neck and body will swell against each other, and then things start to crack!

    A neck pocket that is too wide looks/is sloppy, and over the years "stuff" will collect in the gap.

    The best fit is when the neck slides easily into the pocket, but there is no/very little side-to-side wobble.