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Just what is the "classic Jazz Bass" sound?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Fender32, Aug 3, 2005.

  1. Fender32


    Jun 23, 2005
    Kent, England
    I've been tinkering around with basses for 20+ years now and very quickly learned to identify the sound of a Precision Bass or a StingRay (both of which I love, by the way) when I heard one on a record . :bassist:

    However, I've never been able to get my head around the "classic Jazz Bass" sound, despite owning one and having played dozens in shops. :meh:

    So, my questions to masses is this: Can you suggest any popular recordings, which contain the architypal 60's Jazz Bass tone, please? :help:

    Maybe I'm missing something, but Jazzes always sound a little more bland (or should that be "refined") than Precisions to me and at the same time, it's not a sound that stays in my memory. It could be that I've just been playing the wrong instruments and that some of those great basslines, which I've always assumed were played on a P Bass, may in fact have been played on a "proper" Jazz!

    :smug: (this should open up a very interesting can of worms)

    Incidentally, my current Jazz Bass is a Japanese, Noel Redding (may God rest his soul) signature model, now fittied with the very excellent "J Retro" active circuit and a Badass II bridge. It sounds ok, but if my house caught fire, I wouldn't run back in to save it (as I'd be weighed down with my Precisions and StingRay)! :D

    Anyway, all suggestions welcomed....
  2. Vox Populi

    Vox Populi Reggae Loving Honkey

    Jan 27, 2004
    Poulsbo, WA
    The jazz bass sound is what I think of as a "vintage" tone. Alot of treble, and punchier, more defined bass.

    A precision makes me think of a more fat, round, and less defined tone. A "blanket tone" to give it a nickname, because it's really loud and noticeable in a song, although I'm not much of one for the tone.

    I can't really reccomend any recordings with traditional jazz tones off the top of my head, every time I try to do so, someone pipes up and tells me "that was actually recorded on a rick" or something like that. I just don't know enough about what basses certain artists recorded in the studio with. I wasn't there. ;)
  3. Any geddy lee music, marcus miller, ro reggie hamilton. All great Jazz Bass players. And of Course like Joshua said, Jaco is the man!
  4. Audiophage


    Jan 9, 2005
    Geddy wasn't always a Jazz Bass player, up until Moving Pictures he was still using his Ricks and Wals.

    Marcus or Reggie would pretty close to the typical "Jazz Bass sound".
  5. pickles

    pickles Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2000
    Ventura, CA
    Jaco is great, but when I think fender jazz, I think Zep

    (He played a precison on a few tunes, but its almost excusively a J bass).

    And for a more modern rock interpretation, Jeff Ament from Pearl Jam plays a Jazz an awful lot.
  6. AGCurry


    Jun 29, 2005
    Kansas City
  7. Dbassmon


    Oct 2, 2004
    Rutherford, NJ
    Check out "A Remark you Made" on Weather Report's "8:30" Album recorded live. This is Jaco Pastorius playing so beautifully it will rip your heart out. Nothing bland about that sound. "Hejira" an album he recorded with Joni Mitchel...what a f*cking tone. 62 Jazz frettless.

    Jackson 5, "I want you back" I think that's James Jamerson. Someone out there correct me if I am wrong. 62 P bass classic. Any Marvin Gaye, James Jamerson again. Great, classic P bass. Just about all Motown recordings for that matter. What a player!

    Larry Graham, Sly and the Family Stone - 60's Jazz bass. He will take you Higher! Slammin tone and playing.

    Robbie Shakespire with Bob Marley 70's Jazz bass great sound, really inventive bass lines, great groove.

    Marcus Miller 70's vintage Jazz, hot-rodded by Roger Sadowsky. Not a classic jazz bass tone cause he has introduced an active pre. but not bland by any stretch of the imagination.

    Chris Squire of Yes, late 60's Rickenbacker 4001. Classic

    Just to name but a few. I could go on and on but I won't.

    Thanks - great topic.
  8. John Paul Jones on, "Whole Lotta Love," and, "The Lemon Song," would be good examples of a classic 60s Jazz bass sound with the treble rolled off.

    "Cisco Kid," by War would be a good example of a 70s-type Jazz bass tone with the tone about 3/4 of the way up. (I would guess)

    Also, "Never Been To Spain," by Three Dog Night has a nice, thick Jazz bass tone in it.

    Also, "My Music," and especially, "Lahina," by Loggins and Messina has the bass so well recorded you can tell it's a Jazz bass right away. Lahina has one of the most easily recognizable Jazz bass tones I've ever heard on an album. :cool:

    Lastly, "So Far Away," by Carole King also sounds like a Jazz with the tone rolled off.

    Am I 100% positive these are all Jazz basses?

    No, but that's what they all sound like to me.

    Mike ;)
  9. Funky Tune

    Funky Tune

    Apr 28, 2005
    Puerto Rico
    ok let me explain you,the difference in sound is jazz Bass are very versatyle basses,if hard to get one sound only l;ike the Rays or P,s,in other words is hard try to identify the Jazz sound because the basses is versatyle like a cameleon :p
  10. I also believe, "Angry Eyes," by Loggins and Messina is a Jazz bass drop-tuned to D.

    Now you know what I listened to when I was young. :p

    Mike ;)
  11. r379


    Jul 28, 2004
    Dallas, Texas
    Unless I'm mistaken, Pete Cetera used a Jazz for Chicago's early recordings.
  12. BassyBill

    BassyBill The smooth moderator... Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2005
    West Midlands UK
    +1 to Funky Tune!

    A Jazz bass can do such a wide range of tones it's really hard to say which is THE Jazz bass sound. Rock growl / Jaco's "singing" fretless / fat jazz-blues / funky slapping tone...

    It's kind of hard to think of anything a Jazz just cannot do. You may prefer, say, a Ric for growl or a Stingray for slap, but the Jazz can still do a pretty great job on just about anything, really. That's why for me, like a lot of others, if I had to have ONE bass it would be a good fretted Jazz. If you allowed me one more, I'd get a Jazz fretless to go with the fretted. I love lots of other basses, but the Jazz will always be my number one.

    Excuse me, I have something in my eye... (single tear)
  13. epoxo57


    Feb 17, 2005
    Perrysburg, Ohio
    For you funksters out there (me included), Mark Adams of the old-school funk band Slave had a killer slap/pop/plucked Jazz bass tone, especially on the tune "Stone Jam." I guess the guy was still in high school when they recorded their first album and already had some great chops. A must listen for slap fans!

    Sting used a 62 Jazz on early Police albums (Roxanne, So Lonely)

    Sounds like a Jazz (to me) on "Low Rider" by WAR

    Darryl Jones used them.....

    Probably so many jingles/recordings that you never thought of before......
  14. adam on bass

    adam on bass Supporting Member

    Feb 4, 2002
    New Braunfels, Texas
    Endorsing Artist: Spector, GK, EMG and D'Addario
    What? He had a couple 72 jazz' that he used to use at all the early sessions. I remember ready a quote that he used to go through those basses like water.
  15. Simball


    Mar 26, 2005
    Portland, Oregon
    "Robbie Shakespire with Bob Marley 70's Jazz bass great sound, really inventive bass lines, great groove."

    You're right about the bass, just not the player. That would be Aston Barrett.
  16. BartmanPDX

    BartmanPDX Supporting Member

    IIRC, Geddy didn't use a Wal until Power Windows, or possibly Grace Under Pressure. Though he often played a Ric in concert before that (Exit Stage Left has a wicked growly Ric tone!!!), he mostly used Jazz basses for recording most of the pre-Power Windows Rush albums.

    The Jazz bass is the most versatile of all basses. If I could have only one bass, it would be a Jazz. The Precision and Musicman tones are stellar, but they're not quite as versatile as Jazz basses in terms of the range of tones, IMO.

    'course Bongos are another animal, entirely . . .
  17. BartmanPDX

    BartmanPDX Supporting Member

    Gotta love Familyman Barrett. :D
  18. bass555


    Mar 16, 2005
    I'm curious as to how classic J60's and 70's Jazz players (including Family Man, JPJ, and Jaco) got around 60 cycle hum when their pups weren't exactly balanced
  19. Dbassmon


    Oct 2, 2004
    Rutherford, NJ
    Kinda off the subject but...
    Every one had problems. Noise is a problem for anyone using passive single coils in a live setting.

    Stand in a good spot, keep your hands on the bass, perhaps pray a little that a dimmer isn't on the same circut as the bass amp or a trucker doesn't pass the venue with a power CB Radio. (remember those? I'de like to forget them good buddy)
  20. Funky Tune

    Funky Tune

    Apr 28, 2005
    Puerto Rico
    yeah,are you hearing the Burnin & Lootin song? the basse lines are awesome,is a Jazz Bass but sound like a P,bass,too strong