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Lots of trouble picking out a jazz bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by a e i o u, Jan 25, 2004.

  1. I have played 4 MIM fender jazz basses at low volumes, and not one of them clanked or growled. I don't know if i should but a geddy lee, or buy a nice shiney sparkle midnight wine MIM jazz, but put a BA2 bridge on it and pickups that have tons of growl. What would YOU do?
  2. globster


    Dec 30, 2003
    I went shopping a couple of months ago and was stuck with the same decision between a MIM Jazz and a Geddy Lee. I walked out with the MIM even though the Geddy Lee was still hot, and have had a great time playing it. I'd definately put some new pickups and a bridge in it for sure, to get a nice pirate sounding "Arrr!" out of it. But, that's just what I'd do. Or did. Or whatever.
  3. AA63

    AA63 Supporting Member

    Dec 2, 2003
    Montreal, Canada
    As an oldtimer J guy,
    I have found that in the past 10 years that Fender J's are ALL hit or miss. You would have to play a ton of them to get a nice one. I've played MIM's that are great, I've played Custom Shop ones that are aweful.

    Sadowskies or Lulls (etc) are pretty much bang on consistantly, but that is WHY they cost so much.

    I suggest this...

    Save a little more cash and get Nino to build you one. See this thread for pics, examples and opinions:


    I recently got that Red J and it is an awsome example of how when done right, an outstanding J can be put together for less than mortgage the house prices. You will not find a better one in that price range. And if it just happened that it was not your taste, there are enough of us out here that would gladly snap it up.

    Just my 2.5ยข.
  4. JPJ


    Apr 21, 2001
    Chicago, IL
    I love Fender basses, and own a few, but there are certainly other/better options, as you mentioned. Whenever I hear of someone contemplating the "purchase and upgrade-like-crazy" move, I tend to suggest that they wait, save up their money, and invest in ONE quality bass that not only has quality hardware, pickups, and electronics, but that also is built well and sounds great. A quality bass that has great tone AND great playability will do wonders for someone looking to move up to the next level. The last thing you want at this time is to have a bass that is either uninspiring or that hampers your ability to learn the instrument.

    While a Lull or a Sadowsky might not be for everyone, they are both excellent basses, with Lulls being a little more affordable than you might think. And while the new Metro line of Sadowsky basses are about 1/3 less than a NYC Sadowsky, they're still going to be beyond the price range of many (as indicated above).

    I would suggest that you avoid getting a sub-par instrument to upgrade, as you'll probably spend as much upgrading parts as you do on the new bass itself. Save up and look into getting something at the low end of the Fender clone market (Lull, Sadowsky, etc.) and you'll end up with an excellent bass that you can enjoy forever. :D ;)
  5. bovinehost


    Dec 5, 2002
    Endorsing Artist: Ernie Ball Music Man/Sterling By Music Man
    I, too, have owned a plethora of Jazz basses and have a soft spot in my heart for them.

    Two of the best Jazz basses I've ever played were miles apart as far as cost. I bought a used MIA 97 Jazz for 500 bucks from a friend. I'd never played the bass but it was Inca Silver and I was WEAK. It turned out to be a KILLER player and it sounded like an angry tuba!

    The other was a Custom Shop NOS 1964. It cost a bit more than the MIA J, of course, and the detail work is much better and I simply enjoy having a Custom Shop instrument.

    Tone and playability? Very, very close. So my advice, for whatever it's worth, is to keep an eye out for a used MIA, play it before you buy because as everyone says, some are good and some are not so good, but this beats the MIM plus upgrades approach.

    Plus your resale value will be a bit better.

  6. dabshire

    dabshire Supporting Member

    Dec 15, 2002
    Allen, TX
    I just bought a Lakland Darryl Jones Skyline jazz for $685 used, and it sounds way better than any Feder MIA or MIM i've ever played.

    I also hear good things about the Lakland Jo Osbourn Skyline Jazz basses.

    Just more options...


  7. cheezewiz

    cheezewiz Supporting Member

    Mar 27, 2002
    I second the Daryl Jones. Its the nicest jazz style bass under 2G that you can get.
  8. I know eBay isn't normally wanted here, but here are a couple of options rather than buying one and upgrading.

    The description on this one sounds like the guy doesn't know what he is talking about, but a Victor Bailey signature for under $700 is always a good bet:

    Black American Jazz for $565:

    Inca Silver American Jazz for $549:

    Talk about growl. American Fender Jazz with a Moses graphite neck for $525:

    Bass Palace always has a good selection of low to mid priced quality basses.

    Look for a Hamer Cruise 2Tek, Yamaha TRB-4, G&L L2000, or something like that. Unless you can play the Fender I would be careful. I played 15 or 16 of them before I settled on my 2001 American Jazz. The neck is not a consistent piece on the Jazz basses.
  9. tubster


    Feb 5, 2003
    Southwest Spain
    Yup that Victor Bailey looked just too good to be true! I'll let you know in a few days when I hopefully receive it.

  10. Visirale


    Mar 23, 2003
    Will a graphite neck add to the growl of the bass? Or what effects would it have on teh sound?

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