Jaco Jazz bass???

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Jerry J, Sep 8, 2000.

  1. Jerry J

    Jerry J Supporting Member

    Mar 27, 2000
    P-town, OR
    With all the discussion about the Jazz bass I thought this might be a good question.

    I've been jonesing for another Jazz bass. Yes I know there are supposedly better basses than the production quality Fender basses but for me, a Ford kinda guy, I've been more than happy with old P-bass and my old MIJ Jazz. The kind of "Old Fart Blues" that I love and play seems to work best with the Fender tone.

    I wasn't looking for but found and tried out a Jaco Signature Jazz (with frets) model and thought that it was a real nice bass. Nice weight, fit and finish, classic Jazz bass tone and quite playable. I was looking for a '62 reissue and the two that I've found locally weren't up to the par of the Jaco as the Jaco just seemed like it was already broken in. Maybe that was the difference. I did think that it was odd that Fender didn't use the stacked knobs on the Jaco since it was supposed to be like JP's Jazz.

    Has anyone tried the fretted version of these? Are they overpriced because of being a Signature model? Does anyone know the list price on these? The best price that I got, from the dealer, was $1300 without case. The case is not a big deal since I'm a gigbag user.

    I know that the Jaco fretless relic version has been dissed because it is WAY OVERPRICED but I've not seen any discussion about the fretted one.

    Thanks so much for your time.

    Jerry J
  2. gmstudio99


    Mar 11, 2000
    Cleveland, OH
    If it felt and sounded that good to you, I'd say get it...if you were already willing to spend the $1250 or so it would have taken to get the 62, then this should be right in the ballpark.

    It's all about how it feels to you...by what you've written, it sounds like a good match to me! Good luck and enjoy...

  3. I agree, although I really do find the idea of a signature model Jaco Jazz with frets kind of silly. He didn't use frets, and I doubt they dug him up and revived him so he could sign those basses. Other than that particular bit of marketing silliness, sounds like the bass is a good match for you.

    I recently had a local music store order me a '62 P Reissue... the first one that came in straight from Fender was a mess. Neck had a big bow in it and the nut on the trussrod was bottommed out, and it had a cardboard shim in the neck pocket. The store sent it back and ordered another one. The second one is perfect, and I love it.

    Fender, as usual, with their nonexistent Q.A. and luck of the draw craftsmanship.
  4. Craig Garfinkel

    Craig Garfinkel

    Aug 25, 2000
    Hartford, CT
    Endorsing Artist: Sadowsky Guitars
    Hate to sound like a know-it-all here, but have to make corrections on two points. First Jaco's fretless did not have stack-knobs. His was the volume-volume-tone three knob version, which he replaced with Fender Precision knobs. He also had a '61 fretted jazz bass almost identical to his fretless which he used quite often, mostly live, also a three knobber.
  5. Deynn

    Deynn Moderator Emeritus

    Aug 9, 2000
    I f you like the bass, then by all means...buy it. Just be ready for all the "Hey man, Jaco's bass didn't have frets!"
    I think that would get tiresome after a while...:)
  6. joen


    Sep 2, 2000
    I agree with Deynn! If you like the guitar then make the
    decision to buy it. If anyone gives you grief about the frets, who cares. The "average" person doesn't know the difference anyway. Play and buy what's comfortable for you.
    I play a 62 reissue Jazz and Precision. I also have a RIC 4003 a Guild Starfire II and a low end EPI EB-O. I like them all and they all get equal playing time. I prefer the Precision because of the neck but hey, that's me. Play, have fun and stay cool!
  7. hogani


    Jul 3, 2000
    Austin, TX
    I hear a lot of favorable things about the signature series. Sounds like you would concur.

    As far as the fretted version, Jaco did play a fretted bass on several occaisions. On both Word of Mouth and the instructional video with Jerry Jemmot, he plays a fretted bass!

    Go for it! Defend your decision with these obscure examples!

    Take care.

  8. How can you tell if the truss rod nut is bottomed out?
  9. phill gray

    phill gray

    Sep 4, 2000
    i just bought an american standard fretless for $1200 with case,neck, finish everything is perfect.i bought a american deluxe 5 two years ago and same thing.i think they sound great,classic jazz growl and very playable.my 5 is two years old and i have`nt had to touch the truss rod yet.both the deluxe and american standards are great value,better than some $3000 basses ive played.
  10. Jerry J

    Jerry J Supporting Member

    Mar 27, 2000
    P-town, OR
    Thanks for the replies and lots good points. Also thanks for the clarification about the volume and tone setup.

    Fortunately the signature is on the back of the headstock. I agree that most people and even a good portion of bass player wouldn't know any difference. I've never had anybody ask me if I was Roscoe Beck when I was playing my RB5. Heck, alot of people don't even know who Jaco or Roscoe are. Jerry
  11. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    I was just about to suggest an RB5 when I read your last post. Hmmmm ... after an RB5, I think my next J-Bass would be a Sadowsky or a Lakland Osborn. Seems like anything else would be a step backwards.
  12. GaryB


    Aug 30, 2000
    While on the Subject of Jaco Pastorius' Jazz Bass. Can anyone provide the details of Jaco's setup i.e. what strings he preferred, the gauge he used, action, pickup height etc?

    I would like to see how much of the Jaco vibe I can squeeze out of my MIM Fretless Jazz Bass. I know for sure he did not use the Fender Flatwounds that came with this Bass. It would take someone with really powerful fingers to play "Birdland" with these!

  13. I have read that Jaco used Rotosound Swing Bass 66 strings and a medium setup. I read on Dann Glenn's website one time that Jaco's bass was a "rattle-trap." (I wanted to be able to back that quote up, but when I went back to look for that particular quote, I couldn't find it. Sorry.)
    The sound IS in your hands..
  14. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I think if you look at the instructional video, this gives you an idea of the setup Jaco preferred - he's even pictured setting up his bass at the beginning. He is filing the nut - presumably to get the action lower.

    The only problem about trying to use the same thing as Jaco is that he said the Rotosunds really ate up his fingerboard, so he only used the fretless for gigs etc. and played fretted at all other times, so that the fretless board would last longer and it still needed regular re-finishing. This is the reason that stock Fender Fretless basses come with the strings they do - otherwise you will nedd to re-finish the fingerboard every few months. But you do really need bright roundwound strings to get the harmonics that Jaco did.

  15. TitaniumAngel


    Aug 30, 2000
    Jaco's original J-bass was fretted, but he pulled the frets, filled in the gaps with duralight wood putty, and coated the fretboard with marine epoxy so that it would resist being eaten by the roundwound strings. The harder fretboard surface might have a bit to do with the tone, since it dampens the string less.
  16. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I think Jaco explained several times, that he used the boat epoxy to protect the fretboard. I don't think it has very much affect on tone, as I have heard many people do a perfect impression of the "Jaco sound" on basses with different fingerboards. Anyway, the original question was about setup of the bass. But I think it's a futile exercise modifying a bass to get that sound - as people have grown tired of saying, it was mostly in the fingers and that Jaco could get the same sound on any bass. Even when he used fretted, borrowed basses, it is still distinctively his sound.
  17. bassmonkeee

    bassmonkeee Supporting Member

    Sep 13, 2000
    Decatur, GA
    I noticed that your initial post said that the Jaco bass was $1300 without case. I would mention to the store that the bass lists for $1849 and it INCLUDES a hardshell case. So, they are basically wanting to screw you out of the case.
    So, I would find somewhere else to spend your money. But, damn, the Jaco is nice. I just ordered a '75 MIA Jazz reissue. I will let you know how that is when it shows up.

    Also, as far as Jaco's setup goes, the September issue of Bass PLayer has his set up listed in their "Quest for Tone" feature. I don't have it with me, but I know it details what he used, how he played, and even how he set his knobs.

    Straight from Fender's website:Jaco Pastorius Jazz Bass (Fretted)
    Model Number 019-6200

    Body Alder

    Neck Maple

    Fingerboard Rosewood

    Scale Length 34" (864 mm)

    No. of Frets 20 Vintage Frets

    Width @ Nut 1.500" (38 mm)

    Machine Heads Vintage Style

    Pickups 2 Vintage Jazz Pickups

    Pickup Switching N/A

    Controls Volume (Neck), Volume (Bridge), Master Tone

    Pickguard Brown Shell (Pickguard Shipped In Case)

    Bridge "Original" US Vintage Jazz Bridge

    Unique Features Special '62 Shape Maple Neck, Knurled Chrome P-Bass Control Knobs, Nitro-Cellulose Lacquer Finish

    Strings Super 7250ML, #073-7250-005, (.045, .065, .080, .100)

    Accessories Hardshell Case, Strap, Cable

  18. Deynn

    Deynn Moderator Emeritus

    Aug 9, 2000
    Why not just buy an MIM Jazz for $300....and beat the crap out of it? :D
  19. Kelvin


    Apr 30, 2000
    Jaco did use a fretted bass on "Portrait of Tracy" and "Come on, come over". I've tried it.. much easier playing "Portrait" on a fretted too.
  20. phill gray

    phill gray

    Sep 4, 2000
    he played a fretted on the first album for portrait of tracy and come on come over?