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NBD: A John10_K C.A.R. 1966 Jazz bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by pbass888, Aug 19, 2011.


  1. NBD: A JohnK_10 build (66 CAR Jazz Content…. Red hot!)

    I have been on the search for a vintage sounding Jazz bass for a
    some time and have had the chance to play some beauties in recent travels.
    Here in Texas I have tried no less than 6 custom shop jazzes, the new
    American standards, 2 Fullerton reissues and a new ‘62 avri. I have
    also recently played a ‘64/65(?) L series jazz and a ‘68 jazz. I have
    also had the chance to try a few top boutique bass versions of a
    passive “vintage” jazz. All had their pluses and minuses and varied in sound.
    I really dug a stack knob here in town but it had some major issues
    with a bad refinish (not to mention the price was silly) and did not want to get
    involved in a major restoration.

    Of the half dozen Fender custom shops jazz ‘64’s. The relic’d ones actually sounded sounded
    a bit better to my ears than the NOS in terms of “the sound” (not sure if the pups were different).
    The ‘62 avri’s from Fullerton were as good as the CS in terms of sound , though the CS
    workmanship was top, and the recently built avri 62 was not far behind.
    I wanted a 60’s bass but did not want the wear and tear ( I wanted to
    do that through playing). I basically loved the old jazz basses when
    they were recorded back in the 60’s and early 70’s . I was very close
    to ordering a cs jazz which was estimated at just above 5 grand, when I got a
    chance to play a beautiful “new” 64 jazz ( I didn’t know the maker at
    the time). I was really blown away and was thus directed to John Kallas’s
    website.

    PICS on this site of my little red beauty!!! >>>
    http://johnkvintageguitars.homestead.com/66CAR-Jazz-Bass.html

    The above bass arrived earlier this week (my pics to follow) and wanted to write
    a short review of my ideal version of a jazz bass. I do own 3 other
    basses, all Fender Jazzes (a 1974, a 1996 and classic vibe squier) . I
    play fingerstyle jazz (do not slap ), realbook standards and fusion,
    with some rare Motown. I am really comfortable with a jazz bass and
    have been very fortunate to play some good and not so good 60’s jazz
    basses from Fender here in Houston and in Austin.

    I fulfilled my dream of basically walking into a store in 1966 (my
    birth year) and getting the best fender jazz of the bunch . I
    received my ‘66 C.A.R. jazz a few days ago, have played it nonstop and
    practiced with a few fellow musicians in a few different settings.

    Here is my first TB bass review:

    The main thing about this bass that stands out for me are the tone
    and the neck. John’s personal attention to detail is really
    appreciated by this jazz bass nut. The sound is very resonant due to
    the very light body ( I have NEVER played a jazz this light, about 8.3
    on the old digital bathroom scale) and the wonderful hand picked choice of wood
    for the alder body and a combination of his magic and some Seymour
    Duncan sjb-1 pups. I have been a Duncan fan for a long time and have
    them on all my jazzes. I really think the sjb-1’s nail the tone of a 1966 jazz
    bass (even more so than the antiquity II for a “new” 60’s jazz bass).

    The amazing attention to detail on this bass is shown in the neck work.
    This is not some parts bass , assembled quickly, but rather crafted
    by a master builder who has literally worked on thousands of jazz
    basses and owns quiet a collection himself. I would be remiss if I
    didn’t say how much time John and I spent talking about tone and
    specifically 60’s jazz tones before I agreed to buy this bass. After several
    conversations he agreed to remove the original ‘62 ri pups and put in the Duncan’s.
    The tone conversations with John really exposed his in depth
    knowledge of the1960’s jazz sound and made me confident that
    he understood clearly “the sound” that I was going after.

    The neck was shaved down to early sixties shape and the headstock
    (matching ) was done all by hand and the vintage fretwire was done perfectly
    rounded just the right amount. Human “plecking” by John beat an american standard
    Ive had pleckd by machine. I would say this neck is better
    than a great ‘60 stack knob I played briefly a year ago, and that was a killer
    bass!. The neck is, I dare say lighter,faster playing
    ( that indescribable quality) than the half dozen or so I
    tried out of the CS here in Texas stores in Dallas , Austin and
    Houston. It is really a neck that is so different than the production models of Fenders
    that I am used to playing.

    I had John replace his 62 avri pups with sjb-1’s, as I really feel
    these nail the tone precisely.
    For gigging John installed a master volume , 3 way switch (neck, both,
    bridge) and a master tone, which again is my favorite configuration
    for a passive jazz ( especially playing live).
    The sound is so punchy, full and clear and the sustain is
    unbelievable. The attention to detail even impressed my 2 hour “fine
    tooth comb” inspection upon arrival before actually playing a note.
    The open notes really resonate through the body and attention to
    things like fret rounding, the nitro finish (perfect feel ) and the
    custom lollipop tuners make this bass really a time machine find!
    All this does not capture the sound of this bass. Reminds me of Dario
    Deidda’s 66 which Ive had the pleasure of hearing. The fact that this
    bass is new and will only get better with age, is even more amazing to
    me. It will be played and gigged hard and I’m sure will age
    gracefully
    .
    To me the only way this bass can sound this good is that John has
    worked for Fender, he is a bass player and has been a master builder for over 30 years.
    John is pretty mild mannered but I know that he was offered a job to work as a “special artist” builder
    at the fender factory in California.
    I do know know much about the technical aspects of construction but
    know that this was built by hand ( as in a Custom Shop) and many hours were
    spent on this neck. The fit and finish rivals any bass on the market (
    see photos) . I got a chance to play some standards and a few fusion
    (weather report, hancock tunes) in a trio and quartet setting and this
    bass really stood out (the ultimate test, right). I will conclude by
    saying the tone really sound nails the ‘60’s vintage jazz like no
    other, and the workmanship and attention to detail make me want to put
    the rest of my jazz basses up for sale immediately!After a few live
    performances I will post a follow up.

    Thank you John, after playing and owning a lot of jazzes, I can finally say that I actually own
    the bass that has the best tone and workmanship of any Jazz Bass that I have had the pleasure of playing.

    (enjoy the pics to follow)
     

    Attached Files:

  2. Just played with a guitarist (Duo) standards, and some fusion with a quartet last two nights, man from teen town to just friends this killed me and my bandmates.
     

    Attached Files:

  3. my pics to follow
     

    Attached Files:

  4. again from John mine to follow
     

    Attached Files:

  5. thisSNsucks

    thisSNsucks I build Grosbeak Guitars and Basses Commercial User

    Dec 19, 2004
    Yonkers, NY
    Grosbeak Guitars
  6. snyderz

    snyderz

    Aug 20, 2000
    AZ mountains
    Awesome review. 2 hour inspection?
     
  7. P. Aaron

    P. Aaron Supporting Member

    Wow! That's cool all day. Congrats!
     
  8. As always, for Fender-style bass, the neck is to me the most important aspect of the instrument. (since tone is somewhat guaranteed to be close to what we all know and love)

    I wonder where John got the neck, exactly. He mentions it's licensed by Fender, while Allparts, Warmoth (and Mighty Mite?) are the only companies I can think off the top of my head that would fit that bill.
     
  9. mstott25

    mstott25

    Aug 26, 2005
    Guntersville, AL
    congrats on that bass! That was a killer price, there were a few of us ready to pull out our credit cards for that one!
     
  10. spiritbass

    spiritbass Supporting Member

    Jun 9, 2004
    Ashland, MO
    Congratulations on the fine, fine Jazz. It sounds like you may now have your "wife" in hand. John truly has mastered the art and craft of making/modding/and restoring basses. Now I know more of the how and why - I knew that he had met Leo, but didn't realize that John was a Fender employee for a while. Thanks for sharing your experience!
     
  11. That is a dream bass. Wow, I imagine with JK's touch it plays and sounds wonderful. I love seeing this example. Thank you for sharing this!

     
  12. Thankyou everyone for the congrats and I really think JK deserves much praise for his fine work and I would highly recommend him for your next GAS attack!
     
  13. johnk_10

    johnk_10 vintage bass nut Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 16, 2008
    Thousand Oaks, CA
    John K Custom Basses
    aw shucks guys. thanks for the kind words and nice reviews!
    i'm really pleased to hear that that CAR jazz met your expectations Sri, since i know how particular you are. :D
     
  14. Datsgor

    Datsgor Supporting Member

    Jul 29, 2000
    California
    I second your entire post. I have owned a John K Jazz bass.
    This one:
    PICT0066.
    ....and i can say without a doubt, it IS the finest jazz bass I ever had the pleasure of playing. Alas, I had to sell it. Something I regret and will for a long time.
    Your bass is beautiful.
    I know it will bring pleasure to you for years.
     
  15. Datsgor, wow , LPB gorgeous and thank you for the well wishes. I hope to play it a lot in the coming years.
     
  16. GhettoBrassGuy

    GhettoBrassGuy Supporting Member

    Nov 27, 2002
    Simi Valley, CA
    Endorsing Artist: Mike Lull, Lakland, Aguilar, JH Audio
    I saw that CAR one at Johns house a bit ago and it truly is a thing of beauty. Congrats!
     
  17. +1

    I'm a sucker for CAR -- looks great!
     
  18. GeneralElectric

    GeneralElectric

    Dec 26, 2007
    NY, NY
    Looks awesome, but I'm curious about the decal.
     
  19. HI GenE , I know you are knowledgeable about Fenders ... here was a pic that I looked at online ... similar to these I believe.

    Google Images

    Best
    SV
     
  20. GeneralElectric

    GeneralElectric

    Dec 26, 2007
    NY, NY
    I was wondering why he didn't use his Kallis logo. I like it a lot. I like your bass too, but thats besides the point of the Fender decal, ya know? Even though its made of Fender parts, its not a Fender, unless John has a license to apply their trademark.

    Great, now I'm one of those people who ruin threads with this nonsense. ;)
     

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