Light basses that sound Fender-y

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by JimmyM, Aug 28, 2006.

  1. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    I don't know if I will do this for sure because I love playing my 98 Jazz, but I've been having problems holding it on my shoulder for longer than a half hour at a time. I have tried every strap known to man and have finally settled on one of those 4" Slapstraps, which is very comfortable, and still I get shoulder pains after a half hour. And we do pretty long sets, sometimes as long as 2 hours at a clip. I can break them up sometimes by playing upright, but I still get the shoulder pains.

    So I would like to know everyone's opinion on a bass that sounds as good as a Fender but isn't so heavy. I do have some criteria, must be less than $1000, it must have an actual body and headstock, it must sound good with roundwounds (which rules out most hollowbody basses), and I would prefer it to be passive, though I would take active if I have no other choice. So if you all have any recommendations, I'm all ears. I'm thinking some sort of Ibanez, but their customer support is so horrible that I don't know if I want one.
  2. Frank Martin

    Frank Martin Bitten by the luthiery bug...

    Oct 8, 2001
    Budapest, Hungary, EU
    Under $1000?
    Then it's a bit harder...
    Also, there are many "Fender tones" - from 60's jazz with alder/maple/rosewood to 70's jazz with ash/maple/maple. And we're still just talking about Jazz...

    What you need is (IMO): a good (well-made) bass with a light body (swamp ash, alder, basswood - but don't go too light! You need some density for tone and sustain) and a comfortable and not-so-heavy neck (like maple) and, say, rosewood fb (not maple, unless that's the Fender tone you are looking for).

    And next comes another important part: p-ups!
    Example: my jazz guru, who's a big Fender fan, keeps saying how much he likes the tone of my new bass, it sounds Fenderish (but with a bit more lows) - yet it has little common with Fender's wood and hardware choice. However, this pair of LeFay Rough Crystals gives it more of a Fenderish edge.
    Try looking around in the Pick-ups subforum for p-ups that nail the Fender vibe.
  3. phxlbrmpf


    Dec 27, 2002
    Why not comb music shops for a Fender that doesn't weigh too much? I got lucky once and my Squier P-Bass Special is the lightest bass I have and it still balances very well.
  4. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    Frank, I realize I'm limiting myself, but I refuse to pay more than $1000 for a bass ever again. I just don't see the need for it when there are so many good basses out there under $1000. I paid $510 for my 98 Jazz and it's one of the best basses I've ever heard, even if it has that ugly sage green metallic finish. And my idea of good Jazz tone is 60's alder/maple/rosewood. I'm not real picky about pickups, quite honestly. If the bass itself sounds good acoustically, the pickups take care of themselves. Thx for the reply.

    Phxl, I'm hoping to get a very very light bass, which is probably less than a Fender can provide, although a P-Bass Lyte probably isn't out of the question. Thx Phx!
  5. The Penguin

    The Penguin duplicate account violation Inactive

    Jun 21, 2006
    I'm not pelagic
    My swamp ash Tobias Killer B is super light, the pickups are reverse P's and I swapped out pre's so now I have active/passive. Fenderish but not a J clone. It saves a lot of weight with the tiny body and super thin neck.

    A lightweight body and hipshot ultralites can help if you want to stay with a full sized Fender shape. You can save a few ounces on the right pickups too, Barts tend to be a bit heavy with the epoxy compared to say an Aero type 1.

    A body routed with a large rear control cavity can drop a lot of weight even if you don't want a pre. So if you order from Warmoth or something get that cut out even if you use the front control plate.
  6. Sprudellio


    Oct 16, 2002
    Put hipshot ulralites or gotoh res-o-lites in your bass. They make all the difference in the world, I have gotohs in my geddy.
  7. Nipper

    Nipper just listen, hear that thump?

    Aug 16, 2006
    Go with the Fender Areodyne. I have one, it is MUCH lighter than my Jazz, and sounds real Fendery.....could be because it is a Fender? Anyway, you can get them on line for about 650.00, and even less if you can find one in a store.
  8. I talked to a guy at a bar once and he said he uses a CIJ Fender because they are the lightest and he has back problems.
  9. That's correct. Check out CIJ Fenders at these links:

    Neither of these sites list the actual weight, but if you email them they'll probably tell you. Generally speaking, the models with bodies made of basswood will be lighter than other Fenders.
  10. have a look at the cort artisan series if you can
  11. lefty007


    Jan 19, 2004
    Miami, FL
    I just got one of these and they weight around 8.5 lb. One of the lightest, production Jazzes around. It has a bit of neck diving, but still very comfortable - although neck diving can give equal or more shoulder pain than a heavy bass. But it could be worthwhile to spend some money on Ultralite tuners.

    You could also try to find an used American Jazz Deluxe. Those are usually just below 9 lb., and better balanced.
  12. markjazzbassist

    markjazzbassist Supporting Member

    Apr 19, 2005
    Shaker Heights, OH

    on the fender aerodyne
  13. Moving Pictures

    Moving Pictures Supporting Member

    Jan 26, 2002
    USA Peavey Foundation is passive and does a great Jazz sound and mine weighs in a 8lbs.
  14. welll... as much as i hate to be a "salesman" for steinberger. it sounds like your situation might call for one. as ugly as they are (thats y i dont like them), there light weight, and one of there top of the line basses is $999 on musicians friend for the 4 stirng freted version, if i were you. id check it out, or live with the pain... wich i generaly dont recomend.
  15. zachbass02

    zachbass02 One Hairy....squatch.

    Jan 3, 2005
    Nashville, TN new, to me, 2001 Fender Jazz Deluxe 5er is lighter than my 4 string jazz....probably between the 8-9 lbs range.....Ash body, maple neck, thunderous tone....
  16. Pako

    Pako Are we having fun yet?

    Jul 31, 2002
    USA, Montana
    How light is light to you JimmyM?
  17. Moving Pictures

    Moving Pictures Supporting Member

    Jan 26, 2002
    They are also great basses. If you buy from a store with a decent tech then you shouldn't have to worry about their support.
  18. Tom


    Sep 7, 2005
    Davis, CA
    If you have a Fender whose neck you'd be willing to put on another bass, you could get a lightweight body from Warmoth made to your specifications. Trying to do a whole new project might cost more than $1000, but if you already have a neck (or get one on eBay), you could get a very Fender-y bass with lighter weight.

    Like a Dinky J, for instance.
  19. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    Look for old Peavey Foundations and Furies. My Foundation has two Super Ferrite pups (single coil) and it geta fine Jazz sound. The P/J Foundations are good too, and the Fury P-basses are great with skinny little necks. They can often be found for under $200 too.:cool: