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In Praise of the Fender Road Worn Jazz Bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by soxhats, Feb 8, 2013.

  1. soxhats

    soxhats Supporting Member

    Jan 4, 2011
    Raleigh, NC
    A few weeks ago, I bought a 2011 Fender Road Worn Jazz Bass from bigtexashonk. I'd been curious about the Road Worns for a couple of years. A friend of mine swears by his. I'd read all the posts by the fans of this Fender line. I'd seen online testimonials by Ed Friedland, Annie Clements and others. But I just wasn't sure I could get past the machine-applied distressed-jeans aspect.

    Several months ago, I joined a classic/hard rock cover band with a hyperactive lead singer. He's always heading in my direction to futz with his guitar amp or engage the fog machine. (Yes, we have a fog machine.) Now I can be a little OCD about the condition of my basses. I found myself worrying at gigs about this guy crashing into me and damaging my bass. A well-founded concern, since he actually did once put a ding in one of my basses. I figured that with a Road Worn, who cares?

    After a couple of weeks of owning this bass, I believe the Road Worn series is somewhat of a minor miracle. The wear may be fake, but the comfortable, broken-in feeling isn't. I adore how this bass feels and, yes, looks. As for how it sounds, the pickups IMO are hot and ballsy. I'm getting no more hum than I've experienced with other single-coils. The neck is like a glove. This bass can go really lowwww (I'm a bit surprised by how well it pulls off reggae), or it can go all grindy. Very versatile.

    All this for under $800.

    I now see why folks-in-the-know know these basses are so good. Some players will never get past the relic'ing. To each his own. But it's now my firm belief that, for the money, these basses are among the most incredible values in bass-dom. I'm not sure I need to say "for the money." I don't think about the value aspect when I play this thing. Just how wonderful it plays and feels.

    Attached Files:

    Treadstone71 likes this.
  2. Rip Topaz

    Rip Topaz

    Aug 12, 2005
    Willow Street, PA
    Beta tester for Positive Grid
    That big of a review and only one pic??
  3. soxhats

    soxhats Supporting Member

    Jan 4, 2011
    Raleigh, NC

    Attached Files:

  4. pedroims


    Dec 19, 2007
    I also live the feel and sound of the RW
  5. paganjack


    Dec 25, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    I remember trying those at a store and it did indeed play beautifully! A good axe is a good axe!
  6. Agh....I still want one so flipping badly.
  7. tjh

    tjh Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2006
    I have been following these for quite some time, and find the weight to be very random .. possiblity you can get yours on a scale and come up with a fairly accurate weight to add to the list? ... nice bass, congrats!! ... and thanks ...
  8. soxhats

    soxhats Supporting Member

    Jan 4, 2011
    Raleigh, NC
    I actually have weighed it on a fancy digital scale. This one is 8 pounds 13 ounces.
  9. I've never played a road worn - but basically everyone that has talks about how great they are.

    I'm looking for a Jazz Bass and I'm going to make sure I check these out before I buy.

    (That one you got there is pure beauty - now matter how it got that way)
  10. MeLikeBass


    Oct 20, 2010
    I have had my jazz RW for about a month and it is all they say it is(whoever "they" may be :D).

    Although im still not sure if I like the relic'ing, I guess I am getting used to it. It does have slight neck dive and the back of the neck gets some gunk buildup after playing for awhile but the neck can be wiped off and im sure this will diminish over time and some 0 steel wool will expedite this process. A leather strap has helped with the neck dive..... so, its not perfect but...

    It under 9lbs, plays well and sounds great!

    104_2024 by wahughes37, on Flickr
  11. soxhats

    soxhats Supporting Member

    Jan 4, 2011
    Raleigh, NC
    Interesting on the neck dive. I'm not experiencing that at all. But to tjh's point about weight, seems there are variations bass by bass.
  12. sven kalmar

    sven kalmar

    Apr 29, 2009
    im a drummer not a bassist, but i do love the RW P i have. Yesterday i took it to a friend to do some recording for his new project. It sounded just so nice. my little bassbuddy lost battery power so i had to plug it directly in. to problem. I think every thing contributes. all the components like bridge, tuners pickups is first class. great neck om body. Iwouldnt mind if it were unreliced, but i dont care.after i while if will be even more reliced.its all about sound and feel. I play mine mostly like now acustic. just scales etc. It sound great and loud then too. I couldnt be more pleased, and i will be surprised if i find a P bass that sounds significantly better..a very simple instrument but a strokeof genius design.at a fair price. thats a fender to me..
  13. king_biscuit

    king_biscuit Supporting Member

    May 21, 2006
    Excellent basses!
  14. I've liked the couple I've played. Only gripe is that the tuners were really hard to turn and it was kind of neck heavy.
  15. sven kalmar

    sven kalmar

    Apr 29, 2009
    i really dig those tuners..
  16. 77stingray

    77stingray Supporting Member

    Oct 6, 2010
    Mine had great tone and feel and was very light weight. I miss it - too bad they don't make a fiver, but I guess that would would be historically inaccurate. Why not go revisionist?!
  17. sven kalmar

    sven kalmar

    Apr 29, 2009
    too bad the dont make a blonde P with rosewood..like 59.propably good for my marriage..
  18. Scott in Dallas

    Scott in Dallas Commercial User

    Aug 16, 2005
    Dallas, north Texas
    Builder and Owner: DJ Ash Guitars
    I'm not a fan of relicing, but if they can duplicate the feel of a good, broken in bass, then it's worth it.
  19. soxhats

    soxhats Supporting Member

    Jan 4, 2011
    Raleigh, NC
    You hit the nail on the head -- it's a surprisingly good duplication.

    AMJBASS Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    Ontario, Canada
    IMO they are as close as you can get to a vintage Fender without spending a fortune. Feel, light weight, and tone are all there. I've had a couple of each(Precision and Jazz), and one of them was the best sounding passive bass I've ever owned. Which of course I sold and regret...