I just plugged my girlfriend's 1999 American Std Jazz and was astonished at the excellent tone. Usually I play a Lakland 55-94, alternately an Aerodyne Jazz, anyway I have pretty damn good sound as is. This is good enough that I want to add it to the arsenal, even though the Lakland can do many of the same things, especially with the rear MM-style pup in split-coil mode. The Aerodyne sounds totally different despite the J pup in the bridge position. Typically I just use the P pup by itself since it sounds so much fuller and because it provides such an excellent P-Bass tone (which is the one Leo Fender type sound that the Lakland does not provide in spades). I A/B'd it with my friend's '69 P Bass and was *very* surprised at how close the two sounded. Anyway, about this Jazz... What I want to know is: (1) What sort of pickups are in this thing? The polepieces stick out a lot further than those on the Aerodyne's J pup. They also sound a whole lot better. Just using the bridge pup, the American Std Jazz has a richness of tone the Aerodyne simply cannot match using its own bridge J pup. It can't just be the wood and the construction quality, or can it? (2) What kind of wood is the body made from, and (3) are the graphite reinforcement rods in the neck the same as the ones that they use now (graphite tubes filled with maple doweling rather than the usual solid graphite bars). The bass is black, so I imagine that it is alder, but I really don't have any way to tell without removing the neck or some other componant so that I can see the grain of the wood. Anyone who has anwers to any of these questions please post.