NBBD - Fender Select Jazz w/ Jaco Body

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by UpperBout, Jul 6, 2013.

  1. UpperBout


    May 15, 2008
    Near Chicago Illinois USA
    Webmaster, Muckelroy Basses (GetAMuck.com)
    (New bass build day)

    I'm assembling a bass, the parts of which I've collected over the past few months.


    I had been playing a vintage Precision neck (refin) on a Jazz body. Loved that set-up, but eventually married that neck with a vintage Precision body (refin). That has turned out to be a really great bass - it seems like the Precision neck is "happier" being on a Precision body...

    But I missed having a Jazz, so I started to collect parts for this one. I was really intrigued by the Jazz Selects (non-active). But I knew I wanted a nitro sunburst from my previous Jazz, so this configuration is the result.

    The recipe is:
    • 2013 Fender Jazz Select Neck, nitro & rosewood
    • 2012 Fender American Jaco Pastorius Jazz body, nitro, alder & under 5 lbs (!)
    • 2013 Fender Jazz Select Pickups and Electronics

    I was considering a preamp, but in the end I decided to go old-school passive. I am in the middle of shielding this bass thoroughly with copper tape.

    I'm taking pictures as I go, mostly for my own reference. I'll post 'em if anybody wants to see.

    My goal is to have this bass ready to play tomorrow (Sunday) at about 8:30 p.m. ...
  2. exidor


    Jul 10, 2011
    lookin forwarded to more pics it looks like it's gonna be a beaut!!
  3. Soonerbldr


    Jul 31, 2009
    Seattle, WA
    Post em if you got em!
  4. UpperBout


    May 15, 2008
    Near Chicago Illinois USA
    Webmaster, Muckelroy Basses (GetAMuck.com)
    Cool. This is as far as I've gotten today:

    Masking off the work area. (For once). I used a manila folder and low-tack tape.

    No idea what this powdery stuff is. Got to go so the conductive foil can stick.



    Looks like glazing points are used to hold the brass "shielding" plate in place. Won't need this with the copper shielding, so out it comes.

    That's a vacuum nozzle - trying to get the dried whatever out. (It looks like dried toothpaste . . .)

    Making sure the grounding wire holes are clean and unobstructed.

    Looks like they brand the body blanks "SB" inside the neck pickup if it's going to be a sunburst.


    After cleaning

    Used a digital caliper to get depth of control cavity.

    Then I just use the caliper jaws to make tic marks to cut the foil.

    Take the backing off, but put it back on the folded foil so it doesn't stick to itself while it's being positioned.

    I read this tip about using a pencil eraser to press the foil into place somewhere on TalkBass. Good thing because I have big hands.

    First foil, not too bad.

    Walls fully lined

    I just pressed to get outlines.

    Fully lined cavity.

    Poking the ground wire from the bridge through

    Bridge mounted with ground wire soldered underneath.

    Pickup cavities were a bit trickier with the curves and because they're smaller.


    Neck pickup recess done.


    All cavities done.

    More tomorrow . . .
  5. UpperBout


    May 15, 2008
    Near Chicago Illinois USA
    Webmaster, Muckelroy Basses (GetAMuck.com)
    OK, I was going to go to bed. But then I got excited. So I figured I'd work on it a "few more minutes" :hyper::hyper:

    2 hours later . . .

    Not done, but getting there!

    Here are the steps that got us to this point:

    The Select Body has an open rout so the pickup wires can come out intact. The Jaco is the old style (which I prefer). So we have to un-solder the pickup to run the wires through the hole.

    Checking my grounding - should be 0 ohms resistance . . . resistance is futile:ninja:



    Probably could just use foil, but I had the soldering iron out anyway.


    Soldered back into control plate

    Before we screw everything together, check my soldering job. Metal tuning fork on each pickup.


    I'm sure I broke some kind of international law - had to get those ridiculous "Do Not Recycle" and CE stickers off . . .:bag:

    Pickup screws seem like they're some kind of dark metal. Look cool. Of course, it's late. I could be hallucinating.:confused:

    Super tight neck pocket. Fits perfectly. I dunno if it's luck or Fender's manufacturing precision, but I've never seen a better pocket/neck marriage.


    Sleep. Coffee. Bass Strings. Strobe tuner . . . .
  6. UpperBout


    May 15, 2008
    Near Chicago Illinois USA
    Webmaster, Muckelroy Basses (GetAMuck.com)
    Good Morning !

    All the essential tools assembled:

    I always use a little graphite on the nut.

    A bit of masking for truss rod and strings

    Yeah, these are WAY too high. Oops. Hard to tell with no strings on the bass.

    Strung to tension.

    Time for lunch . . .
  7. UpperBout


    May 15, 2008
    Near Chicago Illinois USA
    Webmaster, Muckelroy Basses (GetAMuck.com)
    Pretty much just followed the Fender Bass Setup Guide to get everything adjusted.

    Checking neck relief:

    Checking neck relief, measuring a different way, notched straight-edge:

    String height:

    Set the radius to 7.25, even though it's a compound radius neck. Have to see what feels right after playing it a bit. I'm not even sure what standard practice is, figured setting it to the most curvy can't be wrong

    I didn't photograph much of the intonation process.

    Pickup height:

    Wow! This thing plays really well.

    Great neck. Totally solid. Not too thin, but not chunky either. Great finish, too.

    Fun Fender assembly fact: :bassist:
    I tracked all of Led Zeppelin's Studio Albums while building this bass (appropriate since JPJ is a hero and part of the nature of this build is due to his Fender Jazz). I started with Led Zeppelin I yesterday. It took from Led Zeppelin I through Physical Graffiti's Kasmir to get the bass shielded, electronics installed, and neck mounted. Stringing, intonating etc. took me the rest of the way (Well I am listening to the last track of "In Through the Out Door".) I did not quite get to "Coda"...

    I'll be playing this tonight at a local Blues Jam. :hyper:
  8. bh2


    Jun 16, 2008
    Oxford, UK
    Wow Tom... bloody great stuff mate!
  9. faulknersj

    faulknersj Inactive

    Apr 4, 2008
    Scottsdale Az
    Sweet bass! Congrats!
  10. Great build/ assembly thread :thumbup: well done. I've always thought the Jaco sig was a beautifully finished body.
    Imo, you've taken the best bits of both & built a beauty.
    And what great stuff to listen to while doing so. :cool:
    I recently got given the complete box set. Dunno which/what issue/release no. (????) it is. But has Led Zep 1 thru to Coda ( must be "studio albums" box set)
    That's some fantastic stuff to do pretty much ANYTHING to.
    I've been playing thru the whole set. Many of which I played when I was a teenager with my band mates, as we were all Led Zep & Queen fans :rolleyes:
    Congrats on a very cool bass build mate.
  11. UpperBout


    May 15, 2008
    Near Chicago Illinois USA
    Webmaster, Muckelroy Basses (GetAMuck.com)
    Thanks everyone for the comments.

    I played about 8 songs at a local Blues Jam last night with this bass. I am BLOWN AWAY by how it plays and sounds. Other people commented on how it sounded too. Best neck I've felt on a Jazz.
  12. Akawa341


    Mar 26, 2013
    Brooklyn, NY
    You did great job!:bassist:
  13. UpperBout


    May 15, 2008
    Near Chicago Illinois USA
    Webmaster, Muckelroy Basses (GetAMuck.com)
    Why, thank you kindly. I've had a chance to bring it out a few more times, and it plays sooo nice. Ballsy tone too - I love the Select pickups.
  14. copacetic


    May 23, 2007
    How did you procure that Select Jazz neck? I have the Select Precision and I ablsolutly love it but with smaller hands Imwould prefer the Select Jazz neck. I also don't really care for the flame maple look, but in the case of the Precision it is dark burst enough and the flame /stripes are fine.
  15. UpperBout


    May 15, 2008
    Near Chicago Illinois USA
    Webmaster, Muckelroy Basses (GetAMuck.com)
    Just lucky timing on eBay

    I would say that this neck is not super-slim. In fact one of the reasons it worked out so well for me, is that it's not completely dis-similar to my '72 Precision neck (which is, as I understand, pretty narrow and skinny for a neck of that era). So I'd be sure to actually check out any jazz neck in person if at all possible - you may find it's not all that slim.
  16. copacetic


    May 23, 2007
    Thanks Tom. I'll comb the local shops 1st and check one out. Actually always a good idea before taking on any new parts for modifications.
  17. UpperBout


    May 15, 2008
    Near Chicago Illinois USA
    Webmaster, Muckelroy Basses (GetAMuck.com)
    Update: A few steps above, I had set the radius on the bridge to equal the curviest radius of this compound radius neck : 7.25". That did not result in the best possible setup. The E and the A were occasionally contacting the neck pickup pole pieces (actually I think my pickups were set too high in general). So the adjustment (suggested on TalkBass here) was to set the string height to be equal at the last fret, adjust the bridge radius to match, then adjust the pickups.

    I have a lovely set of feeler gauges, and a digital calipers, none of which I could find in the moment last night. So I made a "poor-mans" feeler gauge out of some picks. (1.5+1.14 mm = just a skosh over 3/32") I set it so that the picks slid out on the bass side, and stayed pinned under the string on the treble side. My setup is slightly higher than the Fender Guidelines to account for a somewhat aggressive right hand style.



    I played this new setup last night and no issues with clicking against the pole pieces. Might need to tweak it just a bit, and recheck the intonation.

    I am still really happy with this build. I got tons of compliments on my tone last night. Just the stock Select Pickups, this time running through a friend's Fender Super Bassman into a Fender 410 cab.

    Sorry to resuscitate a dormant thread, but I didn't want anyone to follow my steps exactly and wind up with a less than optimal setup.
  18. Fender should make this bass.