Jazz Bass Advice

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Jack2002, Nov 19, 2001.

  1. Jack2002


    Nov 19, 2001
    Hi - A Friend of mine is helping me get into
    this talkbass thing. Very neat!

    I'm off the bench after a long hiatus
    and there are so many bass choices these days!

    I'm old school, so my starting point is a Fender
    Jazz Bass. But even that is not a easy choice now.
    I guess I want pasive pick ups, so that narows
    it down a bit. My buddy has shown me several
    postings on Jazz basses here, so I'm much more
    up to snuff on things now. I am looking for
    a good classy Jazz bass sound and I want to do
    it up right from the start. But I need a little
    more help from some of you hot shots

    Question 1: In picking up a Fender
    I like the American Standard. It had pasive
    pick ups and such. I liked to the Mexican
    version (not quite as solid though). Am I
    right that the Deluxe is active?
    Are there any signature
    basses that make a classic sound? All of them
    artist basses are really confusing.

    Question 2: I have only read about some new
    cats on the scene making their own jazz
    copies. A few have caught my reading.
    Do you have any news on these beyond the basic facts about what woods they are made of?

    - Mike Lull
    - Lakland, Joe Osborne
    - Sadowsky's
    - Modulus Vintage Jazz (This has a graphite
    neck inside the wood . Goodness me!)

    Any comments about these picks and
    about other picks would be appreciated. I'm
    overwelmed and i might just buy a Standard
    American Jazz bass, but I hate to leave stones
  2. Hey Jack2002, welcome to Talkbass. Answer to question#1. Yes, the deluxe is active. Answer to #2. I'm not that informed on a lot of the top end stuff, but, there are many here who can help you in this area. I only recommend stuff I either own, or have played. Then again, this is the policy most T/Bers follow.

    If you want a Fender Jazz bass, by all means research them and buy one, but, if I may, let me suggest that Yamaha is a Company worth looking into. Check out the thread here entitled: "Yamaha Basses."

    I think you'll like it here.

    Mike J.
  3. How much are you willing to spend? Thats the first question I'd ask.

    Fender® Geddy Lee Jazz Bass® Alder body, vintage single-coil ... $629.99

    Fender® '64 (reissue) Jazz Bass.... $2,309.99

    Fender® US Vintage 62 (reissue) Jazz Bass®... $1,124.99

    Fender® Jaco Pastorius Jazz Bass®.... $1,294.99

    I've heard pretty good things about all these Fenders. As far as I know, the Lulls/Sadowskys of the world sell their fine instruments for around that $2,000 mark.. I'm sure someone will yell at me, if I'm wrong. IMO (Never humble) that Geddy Lee is the best bass for that price. Then again if I was going to throw around that 1 grand for the MIA, I guess I'd step up to a Jaco Pastorius Jazz.. Mmmmm Jaco bass :) If I could find any reason to get rid of my Standard (MIM) Jazz Bass, I guess I'd go to an MIA or the Jaco bass. Only thing about the Geddy is the maple fretboard.. I'm not a big fan.

    jaco jaco jaco jaco jaco jaco jaco jaco jaco jaco jaco jaco jaco jaco

    :D Other then that, check out music stores in your area and play em all. If you find one that sounds like you want it to (Even if, GASP, its not a fender) then I say take it and RUN!... of course, pay for it on the way out :)
  4. boogiebass


    Aug 16, 2000
    Musician's Friend prices?
  5. Yeah, it was the quickest reference point I could fine, and they're usually pretty good at pricing. I'm sure there are better deals out there, but that was just to give an idea of pricing.
  6. If you are just getting back into playing you can't go wrong with an American Standard Jazz. They are great basses. There is a hugh amount of replacement parts (pickups, bridges, etc...) that you could change if you ever wanted to customize it.

    Mike Lull, Sadowsky, Lakeland, all of these make some incredible jazz copies but they are very expensive.

    The Modulus you mentioned is a very nice bass as well but again they are fairly pricey.

    I think you can get a MIA (Made in America) Jazz for around $800. The others mentioned are in the area of $1800 and up.
  7. seamus


    Feb 8, 2001
    Welcome to TB. :)

    If a passive Jazz is what you are interested in, I'd like to cast a personal recommendation for the Geddy Lee Sig Jazz. This bass would meet all your criteria for a good Jazz bass.

    I bought one of my Ged basses for $575 brand new delivered (no case). It's worth every penny and then some. I liked it so much I bought two, I can't say that about any other instrument (at least not one I can afford :D). The neck is a joy to play and the pickups and bridge are better than any other Fender Jazz in its price range.

    As with any bass, be sure to inspect any bass very carefully before you buy. The wall models take more than their share of abuse from punks in the store, you don't want to bring the bass home to find things you did not notice at the point of sale.

    When you start looking at the basses you mentioned in Question #2, you are getting into a whole other arena in terms of price, several thousand more in some cases. Most often they use maple necks and either ash or alder for the body woods. The common fingerboard materials are maple, rosewood, etc.
  8. JPJ


    Apr 21, 2001
    Chicago, IL
    I hear ya lound and clear with the trad-passive jazz bass bit...see my profile. I can only help so much without knowing more specifics about your budget, playing style, era of jazzes you into ('60's, '70's, etc.), and what style of music you play. Still yet, I think I can get you started, as I have a great deal of experience in the area of your query.
    Assuming that you aren't ready to dive into the high-end market just yet (as you mentioned that you were looking at getting back into the bass game), I think that you're staring in the right place by going with a passive, USA Fender...something very familiar, versatile, and basic. I would stay away from active electronics and the big bucks (thousands) that a custom job, Lakland, Lull, or Sadowsky would run you.
    As for Fenders, I think that the highest quality, most versatile, and best "bang for the buck" are the '62 Reissue models. I've had mine for almost 10 years, bought it sight-unseen, and absolutely LOVE it. The pickups are a bit brighter and have a little more snap than most "vintage" pickups (Fralins), but this is not a bad thing at all. However, if you think that it IS, just back off the tone knob a touch or two and you're right back in 1963!!! If you like the '62 but want to get something BIT more refined, look at the custom shop '64, but for that price, you're right back into the Lulls and Laklands.
    Speaking of Laklands, I talked to Dan (the owner) a few weeks ago, and he indicated that an overseas version of his Joe Osborne jazz model would be out early this next year. I'm not sure how much they will list for, the they SHOULD be around teh same price as a '62 Reissue. They will be set up at Dan's Chicago shop, but they will actually be made overseas, unlike the Fender reissues that are made in teh USA...just something else to consider. However, in the off chance that you do have a big budget, I think that you would be hard pressed to beat a Lakland Osborne...very nice.
    As far as building one from parts, I've also been looking into this, and have determined that you can't really save any money unless you can put the entire thing together by yourself...not an easy thing to do if you don't have a lot of experience and proper tools. Parts to build a bass of the same quality of a Fender '62 reissue will run you around $900-1000 for good, quality stuff. By teh time you pay a tech or luthier to put it all together, you're right where you would be otherwise, except that you don't have a brand name on your bass-might behard to resell down the line if you so choose. If you know exactly what you want and can't get it in an existing model, then I would recommend it. Otherwise, I'd recommend going with a brand that would retain its value better and take a lot of the guess work out of the process for you. Hope this helps and please contact me again if you needto follow up.
  9. you guys said it all, i just want to say that i like my mia standard jazz more every day. i dont even think about anything else. (except maybe a thunderbird, it looks so good) i will NEVER sell my jazz.
  10. MJB


    Mar 17, 2000
    Jack, you can check specs on Fender basses here.


    You probably have a long weekend coming up, go to the music store and play a bunch.
  11. Jack2002


    Nov 19, 2001
    Oscy wow-wow! Thank you kindly gents
    for the good information.

    I will visit a couple of more shops and then
    get right into playing. I already have an
    old amp collecting dust.

    I'm not a professional musician, so money
    isn't quit as much an issue for me as some of
    you cats. I just want to buy one bass
    and keep it for the rest of my life, so
    getting the right bass for me is the most
    important. I'll let you know what I do.
    Thanks for the great words.
  12. If money isn't an issue then arguably the finest jazz bass on the planet and perhaps beyond is made by SADOWSKY! . I love my Sadowsky 4 string jazz bass (pics in link below) and will get a PJ4. I could have bought any bass and went with Sadowsky.

  13. DaveB


    Mar 29, 2000
    Toronto Ontario
    Here's my 2 cents worth from a longtime Fender guy...Jazz, Precision and Roscoe Beck5. I don't want to sound arrogant but it is germain to the point... I could afford a Sadowsky AND a Lull AND Lakland.

    I have very often looked at the high end basses and while they are worth it to some I have trouble rationalizing the diminishing returns. A Sadowsky costs 100% (or more) than a US Fender. It returns,IMO, 15% better playability and 5% better tone to me and 0% better tone to the audience.Now stop there...for those who like that return I would never argue the merit of their decision. But I also don't own a Mercedes and I can afford one of those too.

    I still think Fender is the original bass tone. That's why everybody copies them.And yes Fender production models can be very,very inconsistent. But like baseball gloves - when you try a bunch and one fits you know it. You do have to look a little more with Fender.

    I think the Mexican Fenders are the best value for the money (and you can upgrade pickups later)

    The US Standard Fenders are the mid-price bench mark that you should compare to. Personally, I think the US Standards are good value over the Mexicans.

    The higher end Fender production models are where the diminishing returns start to set in. The re-issues represent pretty good value. I'm not an active pickup guy so that's not an issue for me. I'm also not a fan of the "Relic" line.The Custom Shop basses I've looked at are certainly competitive with Sadowsky etc. but they too violate my sense of value.

    If you still like Fender then decide on the model (J or P or P/J ..whatever) and go to your price point. If your price point is a production model then keep going to Fender dealers until you find YOURS.

    Now...ask me about amps. I can easily rationalize $3,000 to $4,000 on amplification.

    In the end, it's the price point you can afford and your personal sense of value and diminishing returns . Fender has something for every price point.
  14. It's not arrogant but simply another point of view. People place different levels of importance on different things.

    I live in a house that cost less than one year of my gross income. Most people do the opposite and live in a house that costs 2-3x their gross income.

    To me, my Sadowsky instruments are worth every hard earned penny. I got my Sadowsky bass about 1-1/2 or 2 years ago. I got my first Sadowsky in 1990 for $2200. For almost 12 years of pure pleasure it's a no brainer for me: $15 per month. And my bass cost more but assuming I keep that for decades. The ear to ear grins are worth :D