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NBD: VM-Jazz natural - the inlays are REAL (uber-closeup shots).

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Flux Jetson, Aug 10, 2012.

  1. Just got it last night. Needed very little set up. I needed more setup than it did. I haven't played a passive bass in years - many years. The only thing I had to really do was lower the pickups, the strings would hit the poles all too easily.

    The body is made of three pieces of "soft maple". There are two seams that can be seen in the right lighting. No biggie....


    Nice finish, the pickguard only looks this nice for about an hour after I take that plastic sheet off of it, then the hash begins to creep on to iover time


    I've been told the serial number indicates it was made by Cort ...


    ...which is totally cool with me... ;) My 2000 Cort A4 is the best bass I've ever owned. It weighs 13 pounds, solid maple. I weighed this Jazz, it came in at 9 pounds, 1 ounce on a US Postal Service digital scale.



    It's got one of those German neck-to-body fitups .. "Gudentight" ...


    It gets played through this stuff ...
    Power ....

    Sound ...


    Now, about those "painted on" block inlays and neck binding. Utter baloney! They are quite real and genuine, and oh-so-NOT painted on. What they are made of is yet to be determined, but they are for sure for sure absolutely real block inlays. The binding is just as genuine, but I'm out of batteries for my camera ... I'll take pics of the binding later and add them to this thread then.

    You can clearly see the edge of the block inlay, and even the glue used to hold it in ....




    I'm still getting use to it. I had to totally reconfigure some EQs and filters I use to get the sound I like from basses. That's not a bad thing at all, it's just something noteworthy. I've never ever owned a passive Jazz in my entire life. I've had one MIM active Jazz and never ended up liking it very much. But that was back when I was all into 5 and 6 string basses, I just couldn't get that deep low end and active sustain out of it that I wanted at the time. So it got sold. But this is my very first passive J. Been playing bass since 1990, and had 26 basses in that time. So I have some stuff to learn about The Jazz.

    This was worth every cent of the $328 I spent on it. I bought it locally and it was $299 plus local tax. Yea, it ended up being a few bucks more than one can get them for at internet retailers (especially during the summer months when sales are down and the retailers offer stuff for cheap). But I wanted to support my new local retailer. It's a little place, and they are super cool to deal with. And not only that I got the chance to actually lay hands on it before I bought it, being a Fender -- well actually being a Squier -- that's important. This one is a "good" one so I didn't mind shelling out the extra few dollars.

    When I first got it home, and got it plugged in, for the first couple of hours I didn't like it at all - it literally made me frown. That's a good sign with me. Almost without fail if I don't like something (or someone) right away I end up really liking it (or them) very much and for a long time. So I'm still a little ~meh~ about a few things with it, but I know from 52 years of experience and knowing myself very well that I'll come around soon enough. If it goes like I think it will, I fear I'll end up buying the VM-P in natural before long!


    After I have it for a while, let the modifications and upgrades begin! :hyper:
  2. P. Aaron

    P. Aaron Supporting Member

    Looks cool! Congrats. Nice pics too.
  3. nubs


    Mar 1, 2005
    NICE! an AVRI 77 jazz is going to be my next purchase.....thanks for all the GAS!
  4. gunlak


    Nov 24, 2009
    that's some high action going on there.. that's why I hate the VM series.. lousy fretwork.
  5. And for $300 you expect what exactly? A person that expects "unlousy fretwork" shouldn't even be considering something like this. It's not a pretty enough girl for someone so handsome.
  6. P. Aaron and nubs - thank you. :)
  7. tastybasslines

    tastybasslines Banned

    May 9, 2010
    Los Angeles, CA
    Maybe I'm a noob or something but what does the fretwork have to do with the action?

    Maybe the bass needs a proper setup?
  8. Meh - he's implying that the action is high due to the frets being unlevel. If a bass has "lousy fretwork" the action has to be set high so that frets won't buzz.

    What he's taking for granted is that I've finished with the setup. I live in the desert. The bass was subjected to some heat on the way home. I didn't try a tight setup last night because it needed to settle a bit after the hour long ride in 123f heat. I typically won't attempt a serious setup on a bass until I've had it for a few days, played it for a few days. Only then will I attempt to get a really good setup on it.

    He's also assuming that I have already set it up as low as it can go. I'm a lousy-assed rock hack player. I play with a heavy finger and I kinda don't mind it high like that. I'll set it up better in a day or so. There's room for it, the frets are pretty good.

    It comes down to these basses aren't good enough for him. Which is actually just fine. That's not a problem at all.

    I just don't see why he felt he had to actually comment about how "lousy" my bass is. He actually went out of his way to read the thread and then take the time to say something completely negative. For what reason? So we all know how high his standards are? All that did was tell volumes about him. Some people don't see that though. They don't realize what their negative words about something actually say about themselves.

    You're right, it needs some setup work. I'm glad you can see that. I look past setup issues when deciding on a bass. I mean, it's just ~set up~, y'know? That's the LAST thing I worry about when I buy a new bass, I automatically figure the setup will need work on any new bass. That's why the bass has adjustment points, so it CAN be set up. :)

    It's all good.
  9. TheAnalogKid

    TheAnalogKid Yer Doin' GREAT!!!!

    Dec 7, 2011
    Tacoma, WA
    Flux, nothing wrong with that VM Jazz when you get it adjusted to your liking. Never mind the naysayers; even boo-teek basses need adjustment, too!

    Those nano-scopic closeups looks so much better than I can capture in my mind from what I have seen and demo'ed in recent memory. Funny thing: when I was working to take up the bass again, that VM was the first thing I considered....it still is, though I have my Precision to keep the dream alive (how cliche').

    First thing to consider: keep the chrome knobs or go with traditional Jazz Bass knobskis? ;) 'Scuse me while I get the broomstick to fight the GAS monster back to his hole!
  10. gunlak


    Nov 24, 2009
    sorry. should've just kept that to myself.


    about the inlays, yes they are real. saw this one floating around our local classifieds
    a luthier replaced the blocks and bindings.
  11. It's variable, but I would not call it lousy.
    It's a lot of bass for... How much? Not much at all!
    And, how much effort or cash would it cost you to level frets, if you need to?
    I have one with pretty low action, no fret work on it... all I would do is change the pickups which I personally don't like much, but then I do that with nearly any instrument, when I start changing things, it's an affliction I Have.

    Criticising fretwork on a cheap bass, when it Is so easy to correct it, is a bit exaggerated.

    Mine is now surplus to requirements as I just recently bought a Japanese Fender Jazz RI75, natural and maple with white blocks etc, which is a fantastic bass. But the Squier is so good and would sell for so little that I'm tempted to just keep it.
    The RI75 has a set of Nordstrand NSJ4E pickups which are amazing... but not exactly "vintagey", so maybe I can use that to justify hanging on to the Squier :)

    I replaced the chrome knobs on mine. I think the standard black jazz knobs look better.

    Great bass, and great pictures!
  12. nukes_da_bass

    nukes_da_bass Banned

    Feb 19, 2006
    west suburban boston
    What kind of tube preamp was that!? It's probably a clear pic but im on the IPhone app...
  13. Dave W

    Dave W

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    Assuming you're talking about the Marshall looking thing? That ain't no preamp! Looks like a JTM 45.
  14. Judging from your closeups of the inlay, and the "grain pattern", it almost looks like the inlays are made out of dyed maple.
  15. No - they're not wood at all. They are a plastic, maybe ABS or PVC.

    The factory sanding of the fingerboard prior to putting the frets it, leaves some sanding marks that carry the 'wood grain' visual into the inlays and at the same time in the wood; that's what you see.

    Fretwork is never a decider for me as to the value of a bass, sine frets are among the easiest parts of a bass to customize for my own style and requirements anyway.

    And the 'high action' is a no-brainer, non-disqulaifier too. Adjust the 'high action' to low or middle action for yourself. Shape the nut, raise or lower the saddles - every bass player should know how to do this for themselves.

    Why do supposed 'bass players' disparage the action when they know it's all adjustable.

    No-one would drive a car with the driver's seat in the Little Old Lady position would they? No - pull the little handle or push the button and move the damned thing!

    Either that or take it back to the dealer and complain that the car's no good since the seat's in the wrong position.

    You ain't a bass player unless you can make these Kindergarten-grade adjustments. Quit wimping.
  16. Andy_D


    Nov 28, 2009
    Corpus Christi, TX
    I have the same bass and really like mine. However, don't brush off the comments about the fret work. My VM had a lot of uneven frets. More than my SX (which surprised me). I was never able to achieve a proper action no matter how much I tweaked the setup. Check your frets with a fret rocker. Maybe you got lucky and got a good one out of the box, if so then good for you. If like me however you got one that needs a little work. A fret leveling can turn a good bass into a great bass. It was night and day for mine.
  17. Andy_D


    Nov 28, 2009
    Corpus Christi, TX
    I agree with Surfer Joe as well. You can do this yourself. I invested about $80 in the tools so I could do it myself, As you can see from my signature line. those tools will pay for themselves quickly. It was also pretty easy. Took me about 2 hours to level mine doing it for the first time.
  18. Bitterdale

    Bitterdale Natural Born Lurker

    Dec 4, 2010
    Ocala, FL
    More likely, someone swapped the neck with a VM Jazz '77.
  19. Bingo. It's a DIY kit amp frm Ceriatone. It's a JTM45 that I modded for my own uses. PPIV master volume, switchable effects loop in back, a half-power toggle switch, and impedance selector so I can use 4, 8, or 16 ohm cabs with it.

    This is my preamp ....


    For more info on that project, go here ..


    Anyhow, back to the JTM45. I use it with my guitars. But I also have tried it with my bass, after all the JTM45 is Marshall's "copy" of Fender's Bassman amp that so many guitarists in the '60s were using for blues-rock guitar tone then. So essentially the JTM45 is a ~bass amp~, just not a very powerful one (36 watts). So I have been wanting to try it as a "voice amp" in the same manner that Entwistle used guitar amps to bring out the voice of his bass, and used bass amps to carry the lows. It's not the same as traditional "bi-amping" in that there's no crossover network involved. It's still "biamping" in my mind though.

    I'll be doing some weirdness with this bass. The pickups will get their own individual output jacks. With the use of modular synth electronics (see link attached above) I'll be able to swap and mix the pickups with a foot controller mid-flight. This idea really excites me, I really love the idea of being able to tweak the electronics on the bass while not interrupting my playing. I'll also be able to swap and mix the two amp-cabs with my foot as well. Each cab is connected to it's own amp channel of the Mackie 1400i power amp. So by using that same type of modular synth stuff I can not only swap pickups I can also swap amp/cab channels, and/or mix them. Same goes for EQs as well. All with my foot.

    I use Moog EP-2 foot controllers. They're the "cheapo" version of the Ernie Ball foot controllers which are (in my opinion) the best DIYable foot control made. They are just built SO WELL. The Moog EP-2 and the Ernie Ball foot controllers use the exact same technology to make them do what they do (the pulleys with string and springs) but the Ernie Ball is made out of cast aluminum and stainless steel, where the Moog is made of plastic. The Ernie Ball also has a full compliment of repair and replacement parts readily available. And they're so easy to modify too. Thing is the Moogs are $35 bucks where the Ernie Balls are around $90. So while I'm prototyping this stuff I'm using Moogs just because of their cost efficiency.

    If you get a chance check out the thread in the link there. It's a cool project that I'm posting everything step-by-step. No real reason for doing it other than the fun I'm having and to entertain those that are interested in watching such things progess.
  20. Thanks for the encouragement and support. :)

    As for the knobs, this bass is going to have a few changes made. I have some MXR-style knobs (same ones that are traditionally used on the Jazz bass if I got it right), so I may change them. I'm not a stickler for historic acuracy so I don't really care about it looking "proper", but I would like something a little more practical than the all chrome ones that this VM Jazz was outfitted with.

    I'm considering a Hipshot bridge - possibly the "A" model. It can be had with a narrower string spacing (17mm rather than 19mm). I've often wondered if that would help me in my quest to play fewer airballs, where the pick or finger just completely misses the string. I can hear my finger as it cleanly misses the string - the sound of a swinging golf club swishes through the air as my finger completely airball's the string - swoosh.. :)

    I am wondering if lighter tuning machines would reduce the neck dive I've been experiencing with this bass. This being only my second Jazz in 22 years of molesting the electric bass guitar, I'm only ~just~ becoming familiar with the quirks and idiosyncrasies of the Jazz bass format. I wasn't aware that they had such neck dive tendencies. I've been playing the Cort A4 pictured in the opening post of this thread for years now. It's a friggin tank of a bass, and most of the weight is in the body (solid maple). So it just does not neck dive at all. But I find myself wrestling with this Jazz a little bit. I would guess that the garden-shovel of a headstock and those large geared tuners (as well as the ~four-in-a-row~ tuning machine arrangment which puts two of the tuners further out on the end of the long headstock) all tend to contribute to the neck diveage issue. The upper strap button is far enough towards the headstock, it's aligned with the 12th fret as are most other basses. So it's not a body-shape issue or upper strap button location issue. Gotta be that shovel-sized headstock and those large/heavy looking tuners. So maybe going to lighter tuning machines will help a little bit - dunno yet.

    I'll keep working with the setup. I spent some time on it last night, I got it a little better. But it still buzzes a bit when fretting anything musically higher than fret 12 or 13. I may end up putting a .010 wedge in the neck. I've used folded up aluminum foil for that purpose many times on many guitars before. I've built eleven Warmoths so far, and most of them required a bit of wedging. Folded foil is great to use in that I can select what thickness I want by adding or subtracting folds. So adding a little bit of ~angle~ to the neck has worked for me in the past to rid the buzz on frets numerically higher than 12. It allows a lower setup and a flatter neck, and is stupid-easy to do.

    We'll see how it plays out.

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