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Jazz Style Bass Questions

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Sithian, Sep 15, 2008.

  1. Sithian

    Sithian Supporting Member

    Aug 17, 2008
    New Jersey
    I apologize if these topics have been beat to death- I have not yet owned a jazz style bass. I am looking for a great fingerstyle bass, and versatility for all styles (no slap)- something that will cut and growl, yet something that can give me some warmth when dialed in properly- Can anyone please help me with the following comparisons-

    Ash vs Alder Bodies
    60s vs 70s Pickup Placement
    Maple vs Rosewood Neck

    Thanks in advance!
  2. superfunk47


    Sep 9, 2007
    Ash vs Alder Bodies - Ash comes in 2 varieties. There's swamp ash, which is very light and resonant, and hard ash, which is a lot heavier. Both are brighter, more rigid woods. Alder is lighter than hard ash, and warmer, making it a more all-around wood for bodies IMO.
    60s vs 70s Pickup Placement - 70's has the bridge pickup about 1/4" closer to the bridge, giving it more snap and a brighter sound overall from that pickup. 60's positioning sounds more polite and mellow, 70's is more aggressive.
    Maple vs Rosewood Neck - Not much of a factor in tone IME. From what I've played, this is such a subtle difference that most bassists wouldn't be able to tell in a blind test comparing the two. The only real difference is cosmetic. If you have a rosewood board and "want the brightness of a maple board," turn up the treble a hair. Done. IMO.
  3. a jazz with a series/paralell switch should do the trick perfectly

  4. very good description.

    ascetics aside, on a fender style bass, I personally prefer the feel of a maple board over rosewood. This is probably because I've had the same Jazz for 35 or so years and it's what I'm used to.

    In a live band situation, the difference in tone is so subtle that you won't notice it.

  5. Alexander


    Aug 13, 2001
    Seattle, WA
    I love a jazz with ash body and rosewood neck - I think it gives just the tone you desire. I like some of the aggressiveness, growl and snap you get from an ash body. I have had a hard time getting a warm tone out of a maple necked jazz bass - active electronics to help fatten\warm the tone, but hard to get that (IME\IMO) from a passive bass with the same configuration.
  6. YCBass

    YCBass Supporting Member

    Aug 29, 2007
    My Mike Lull M5V (J copy) is swamp ash/rosewood... Though I like the look of a maple board better, I think the combo of my bass really hits it for me. I love the brightness and snap of ash but the rosewood warms it all up just enough to be perfect for me. That makes me think if alder/maple would have a similar effect, probably not quite as much.
  7. I hear a very noticable difference between a bass with a maple board vs. the same bass with a rosewood board. The maple is noticably brighter IMO. Also take into consideration that a maple board has a finish on it whereas a rosewood does not. ( Generally speaking, of course, and not including fretless boards in this comparison.) Having a hard finish changes the sound dramatically when compared to a very porous, unfinished rosewood.
  8. My '08' MIA Fender Jazz V hit's the sweet spot everytime I play it with any band I'm gigging with. BTW, when I do slap, it's loud and clear, nothing like Jazz tone.:smug:
  9. I've ABed two basses which were identical except for the rosewood and maple necks and difference was very noticeable, although the extent of the difference is not equally noticeable on different brands.
  10. Hey Wadge, it is cool that you ABed the same type bass with maple vs rosewood fingerboard. Can you describe your findings? did you find that Rosewood=warm, Maple=bright? Was maple more sterile sounding?

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