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Mini Review: Fender Professional Jazz

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by CaptainWally, Jan 4, 2017.

  1. I'm not shopping for a new bass, but I happened to have a chance to check out one of the new Fender Professional Jazz 4 string basses. As a public service, I thought I'd share my thoughts.

    * Fit and finish are very impressive. Details actually seem to be in the same ball park as some premium manufacturers. $1500 is a lot of money, but I actually think the bass is priced correctly for the product.

    * The bridge seemed unchanged. Very functional. I like it.

    * The pickups copped an archetypal jazz tone, but they were what I liked least about the bass. They didn't sound bad, but they seemed a bit bland and subdued to me. My amigo's MIM Fender Road Worn Jazz with its stock pickups had a more lively vintage tone when compared side-by-side. I'm used to a Lindy Single/Bart jazz system, which I believe to be considerably more lively, detailed and aggressive than the stock sound of the Professional.

    * The slimmer neck is excellent. It's not a major reduction from American Standard, but it feels very comfortable. In general, the Professional seems to have a more streamlined or compact feel as compared to the previous model. Hard to put into words.

    * Any difference from the "tall frets" was barely noticeable to me, if at all. Just seemed like frets to me.

    * Seemed to play really nicely, but the setup was a bit high for my tastes, so I have to temper any comment here.

    Anyway, this bass is a winner. If you're in the market for a passive jazz, make sure to check it out.

    Can't comment on the 5'ers.

    Last edited: Jan 4, 2017
  2. $1500 for the new American line is pretty good considering they upped the priced on the Am. Stds a few months before they announced the discontinuation of the AS models.

    An Am. Std. Jazz in Canada NEW goes for around $1800 plus tax....add tax onto that and it'll cost you a good 2k...for a BASS!
  3. twinjet

    twinjet AJ, you're the MAN! Staff Member Supporting Member

    Sep 23, 2008
    Nice write-up. Hoping to see how this compares to other Jazz Basses in person, one day.
  4. Cheers. I see you are a G&L enthusiast, so I might add one more thought. I think the Professional goes toe to toe with the G&L JB. Both are excellent, and it's just a matter of personal preference. Personally, I'd choose the Professional...I dig it's neck and overall vibe a little more. But I can totally see someone feeling the same about the JB.
  5. twinjet

    twinjet AJ, you're the MAN! Staff Member Supporting Member

    Sep 23, 2008
    Perhaps I haven't listened close enough but I find the Fender and G&L Jazz Basses sound quite similar. My fascination mostly lies within vintage L-series basses. I try and learn what I can about them.

    How do the Pro pickups compare to the N3s of the older Deluxe line?
  6. snakejohns


    Jun 21, 2013
    Bothell, WA
    I have a 2012 American Standard bass (with the 60's Custom Shop Pickups), and I've recently acquired a 2016 American Professional (with the new V-Mod pickups). Overall, comparing the two, the differences that I notice are the following.

    1. The neck finish and profile is slightly improved on the Professional over the Standard. A few hundred bucks work of improvement - maybe.

    2. I do like the new tuning machines. The tapered shafts are nice, but not overwhelmingly nice.

    3. The bridges are the same, and very good. Enough so that I'm not going to switch them out for the Badass III's that are waiting in a nearby drawer.

    4. I tend to prefer the new frets, the "tall narrow" are slightly improved over the "medium jumbo" frets. Again, this is a minor improvement.

    5. The Pickups! The new V-Mod pickups to my ears are very quiet. The 60's Custom Shop pickups provide much, MUCH more gain, and I love them. Did I mention that I loved them? I love them! I'm usually running through a MXR Bass Compressor, and the CS pickups will force the compressor into action when I really get on it, the new V-Mod pickups, not at all. Seriously, not at all. I haven't spent enough time with the new pickups to determine if I like them (or hate them) just yet. I'm leaning towards - not loving the new pickups.

    Overall I'm happy with my new Fender American Professional Jazz Bass in Sonic Gray with the Rosewood Fingerboard, and I feel that this was a reasonable price point. I would however like a bit more gain out of the pickups.

    Your mileage may vary.
    BaltoNealio, Tbone76 and CaptainWally like this.
  7. Seems like our perceptions are similar...

    Alhtough yours holds much more weight....as an owner of both models and all.
  8. Flaked Beans

    Flaked Beans

    Sep 9, 2005
    Very nice review. But I'm pretty happy with my '08 american standard and my '78 fender jazz basses. Thank you very much. :cigar:


    Ghastly, mgauge, Pocket4 and 2 others like this.
  9. Thanks for the review. I came at it from a value angle. The 2012-2016 model seemed to be proven as very good....Just bought the 2016 American standard (last available Year obviously) for 959 brand new. I went old because of the open questions you addressed. If I had one I would have to get louder pickups. is it worth the 400.00 difference?
  10. garciawork


    Mar 7, 2015
    Meridian, ID
    Good info guys, definitely wouldn't mind hearing others opinions as well, if they have them.
  11. I demo'ed a professional J-bass as well and mostly agree with CaptainWally. I thought the fit and finish were as good as a couple of CS basses I looked at. The difference in frets was not noticeable to me. Considering the price of the vintage and boutique basses I have played it seems to be reasonably priced.
    CaptainWally likes this.
  12. Nah, you did GREAT! Enjoy that bass...

    fcappi likes this.
  13. blmartin2215


    Feb 14, 2006
    I really like the sonic grey paint job. I wish they would some day bring back the baby blue finish. I currently own a 2000 in ash. They stopped making that finish in the USA standard sometime afterwards for some reason. YOu can still get it in the MIM for some reason.
  14. JOME77

    JOME77 Supporting Member

    Aug 18, 2002
    Good review Wally!

    I just recently purchased a Pro Jazz V so I'll provide the review for that model.
    In the last 2 years I've owned a Fender American Std. Jazz 4 and 5 so the details of them are somewhat fixed in my head but it would have been better to have a side by side comparison.
    I set out to supplement my current collection of fretted basses Roscoe Custom SKB-3005 and EBMM Sterling 4). I just recently sold a Fender Classic Jazz 4 and while I really liked that bass, I rarely played it out because I usually need the B string. With that in mind I set out to find a nice passive jazz style 5. The best place for me to be able to try out multiple jazz basses was Atlanta Bass Gallery. Jim had several G&L JB5's and several new Fender American Pro Jazz V's in stock to try out so drove to Atlanta a couple weeks ago to A/B the basses.

    I'll just focus on the Fender American Professional V's for this post (obviously the Fender won out over the G&L since I bought one) :):

    1) Fit and finish: Jim had 3 American Pro Jazz V's in stock and all were extremely good in this area. By far the best overall quality that I've seen in recent years on the Fender American basses. The 2 American Std.s that I owned both had neck/fret issues that I had to address after purchasing them new. To correct the 4 string properly I would have had to have removed the frets, planned/re-leveled the fingerboard and then re-fretted the neck (and I had this confirmed by a very competent luthier in the area).
    The fret job and leveling were perfect. Particularly on the Sonic Grey bass that I purchased.

    2) New Frets: I really like the feel of the fret's. It certainly makes since that a more narrow top would produce better intonation but I 'm not sure if I could discern the difference (in that area). The bass definitely played in tune all the way up the neck though.

    3) Bridge: Definitely a good design and well made. If the bass wasn't string thru I'd probably replace it because I hate feed thru bridges (prefer top-load). But, since it's string-thru and I really like the sound of the B on this one, the bridge will stay.

    4) New Neck Profile: I really like the new neck profile. It was one of the main reasons that I went with the Fender over the G&L JB5. It feels really good to my hand and the satin finish feels great (very fast feeling).

    5) New Tuners: Fluted tuners is a great idea. You can using less winding on the post (if you so choose to do so) and the string still pulls down close to the head stock (for optimal angle down from the nut).

    6) New Pickups: I love them. They don't seem to have any less output than the I remember my former American Std. or Classic 60's Jazz had. I am basing that on where I set my input sensitivity on my amp for the new bass. Bottom line, even if they were less output I'd simply increase the input sensitivity on my amp. No big deal to me. To my ears, the new pickups have a broader tone range (lows to highs). They almost sounded EQ'd. They may be a bit slightly less mid voiced but that might be the Fender strings (which I haven't replaced yet).

    In the end I went with the Sonic Grey bass with the maple finger board. And here's the reasons why:

    1) On all 3 G&L's that I tried, and 1 of the Fender American Pro's, the G string saddle was bottomed out on the bridge plate. They all had medium high action and I would have had to shim the neck to get lower action. The sonic grey bass had plenty of room to lower all string saddles. Sounds like maybe both G&L and Fender (at least on one line) too need to re-calibrate the tooling in the area that cuts the neck pocket.

    2) The Sonic Grey bass weighed much less than the other basses that I tried. When I got home and weighed it it came in at 8 lbs 8 ozs.

    3) The overall tone of the Sonic Grey bass just sounded great. Maybe it was the maple finger board but it had a bit more focus in the notes.

    4) And of course the look of the bass. I just loved the look of the new Sonic Grey finish with the maple finger board!

    At any rate, that's my 2 cents worth. I'd certainly recommend it.

    I'll leave you with a picture of the bass.

    full front.
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2017
    G RICH 5, Ghastly, vates and 6 others like this.
  15. MMiller28


    Apr 27, 2003
    pacojas and Trouztrouz like this.
  16. Chuck M

    Chuck M Supporting Member

    May 2, 2000
    San Antonio, Texas
    I bought an American Standard Jazz when they were being sold at a good discount. I did not have a Fender jazz at the time and was uncertain that I would like the Pro while I knew I would like the AS.

    The one I received has no issues of any kind and the workmanship is excellent all around. The CS pick ups are some of my favorites so no surprises there. I have yet to play a Pro. I'll make a point to play one and see how I like it.
  17. JOME77

    JOME77 Supporting Member

    Aug 18, 2002
    Hey Chuck. I wasn't implying that the overall quality was worse on the American Standard basses than with the American Pro basses. I'm sure that there are plenty of American Pro basses out there with similar quality issues (that I had on my recent 2 American Std's). I was just unlucky enough to get 2 bad ones in a row. :(
    This time I thought that I'd go some where that had several different basses to try. Getting to choose the pick of the litter is much better than going with the luck of the draw.:)
    Bluzman99 likes this.
  18. Chuck M

    Chuck M Supporting Member

    May 2, 2000
    San Antonio, Texas

    I did not take your post that way. Fender's QC has been undependable in the past.....one bass is fantastic...the next one blah. I am encouraged that reports seem to be the quality is consistently good on the Pro series. The best QC I have seen on production basses is Music Man. They do a wonderful job and fit and finish are better than some small shops.

    I agree, Joe, that it is always better to be able to choose from more than one example of a bass. I once ordered a Fender Jaco bass and the dealer was kind enough to order two and let me pick. One had significant flaws and the other was a nice example. Funny though, I never sounded like Jaco when I played that bass! LOL
    JOME77 likes this.
  19. Nice! Wait a minute though ... < 8lbs would be extremely unusual....esp for a 5 string....are you sure?!
  20. JOME77

    JOME77 Supporting Member

    Aug 18, 2002
    Well the truth is Wally that I'd don't have a super reliable scale. I used a high quality Taylor scale (weighing myself and then me holding the bass and then do the math). I did it 3 times and it came within an ounce all 3 times of 7 lbs 12 ozs. I definitely knew that it was super light when I picked it up at the store. All the other bass were much heavier.
    I do need to get a postal scale though. That would certainly give me a more exact weight. I might run by Harbor Freight today and pick one up.
    CaptainWally likes this.

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