Questions about Jazz Standard Fretless

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Wasabi1264, Dec 24, 2004.

  1. Wasabi1264


    Oct 3, 2004
    It's my 40th birthday today, and my sweet amazing wife ordered me a Fender Standard Jazz Fretless! It's backordered from Musician's Friend, so I should get it in a week or two. Couple questions about them...

    1. It seems the electronics have been upgraded recently. Anyone have any details on the differences, and when the changes took effect? Anyone have experience between new and older ones?

    2. How is the quality control? It looks like they are using alder now instead of basswood. Are they all generally the same, or are there some huge dogs and some winners? In other words, in this case, would it be worth checking between 3 or 4 in a store, or just being cool with what comes via UPS. For the record, she'd be totally fine with me just buying in a store, or going through a different place like Bass Central or something.

    3. Any tips on setting them up? I'm pretty good at setting up fretted basses for nice low action, but I imagine there are different setup issues to get the growl.

    4. What upgrades to people generally do to electronics if I was so inclined?

  2. hyoshim

    hyoshim Supporting Member

    May 5, 2004
    Los Angeles
    I had a brown burst one (2003 model). What I can remember is that the pickups are now same as American ones (dimension wise). I think Fender started doing this since 2001. I returned the first one I received from MF and got another one. The one I returned was slightly used and I was little bit upset about that, but I liked the sound I got. The second one was new but soundwise, not as good as the first one :meh: I replaced the pickups with DiMarzio Model J and changed the white pickguard to Tort. Oh, I also changed the string to TI (what a difference it made). Otherwise I was happy with the quality of the instrument.
  3. BillyB_from_LZ

    BillyB_from_LZ Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2000
    Happy Birthday and congrats on a wonderful wife and a new bass...

    I believe that Fender changed the pickups a few years ago to be unequal length like an Am Jazz..beyond that, I'm not sure.

    The typical advice with MIM Fenders is to play a lot of them...some are wonderful, some are OK, some are awful...I hope that you get a good one!!!

    As for set up, a fretless will give you nice mwah when you set it up with very low relief and low action. It may help to shim the neck a little.

    There is a nice fretless setup tutorial on Gary Willis' web site.

    Amplification wise, to bring out the mwah, it really helps to have an amp (or eq) with sweepable mids. The mwah hides in the 800 to 1KHz range and being able to change the frequency of your mid EQ really helps bring that out. If your amp doesn't have this feature, a good friend of mine swears by the SansAmp Acoustic DI (not the BDDI) since the mid center frequency is adjustable.

    IIRC, Fender installs flats on the fretless J basses. You'll probably want to change to roundwounds. I use Elixirs on my fretless and they don't seem to eat up the fingerboard too badly.

    Pickup volume adjustment - I believe that favoring the bridge pickup will help make the mwah stand out as well...

    Good luck and have fun!!!!