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Should I buy this American Jazz 5 string for $500

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by brumshine, Aug 20, 2012.

  1. brumshine


    Apr 27, 2012
    A fellow bassist at my day job told me that he has "two fender five string american jazz basses" one is active and one is passive that are collecting dust in his basement. He said that if I were looking to buy one he would sell me which ever one I like for 500 bucks.

    Does this sound too good to be true? I'd be dumb to pass this up right? Around here (Kansas City) american jazz basses go for $800+ on craigslist.

    I have no idea what color/year/neck they are yet, I just heard the guy say american jazz 5 strings.

  2. RichSnyder

    RichSnyder Supporting Member

    Jun 19, 2003
    Columbia, Md
    I would investigate further to make sure they were American and then buy it considering they were in good shape.
  3. Gorn


    Dec 15, 2011
    Queens, NY
    If you can borrow it from him and take it to a professional for an evaluation, then go for it.
  4. brumshine


    Apr 27, 2012
    Can I just take it to a place like guitar center and they will look it over? I'm not sure if I know of any lutiers in the KC area.

  5. I wouldn't want to take a bass I didn't own into a GC. I have seen the sales jockeys knock over, drop, manhandle and basically disrespect many customers guitars.
    Besides, I can't imagine they woudl pay enough to retain a talented and qualified guitar tech. Try searching for you house on google maps then use "search nearby" to find a luthier or guitar tech.
  6. jlepre

    jlepre Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2007
    Parsippany, NJ
    If it says MADE IN USA it's worth the cash. Of course as long as it is in working shape. I personally would go for the active one.
  7. neren


    Jun 5, 2012
    Eugene, Oregon
    Nah dude, he's trying to rip you off. Gimme the dude's address and I'll head over there and give him $500 and a piece of my mind. I've got your back.

    .......... :bag:
  8. jlepre

    jlepre Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2007
    Parsippany, NJ
    In other words....it's a good deal
  9. bassbenj


    Aug 11, 2009
    He means it's a good deal ON THE SURFACE. Obviously the thing with basses is they vary. Whether or not it's a good deal for YOU depends on how it feels in your hands and how it sounds to YOUR ears!

    When I was looking for a Fender 5 string, GC had two identical (except for color) Roscoe Beck 5ers. One simply sounded and felt wonderful. The other one did not. The first one was gone the very next day (when I came back to buy it and it was already gone) and the other hung around GC for months!

    People searching for that Squier better than an American Standard bass should have seen the AMStd, 5er I did when looking for Fender 5ers. It had the neck at such an angle it would have taken SEVERAL dive bar match book covers to shim it back to where the saddles would work. They were asking $1200!

    And while I'm on the subject, remember that only in the last few years (since about 2008) have Fender 5ers started to actually have decent B strings. Mine (2002) took new pickups and a lot of setup and tweaking to get it up to modern snuff. Older Fender 5ers have been described as playing as if the B string belongs to some other bass.

    The point is that you MAY be facing the deal of the century. OR you may be looking at a pair of dogs which is why they are in the basement. Only a good look-see will answer the question.

    PS. My Fender 5er is active and I love the Fender 3 band preamp which I find very nicely matched to the bass. It gives a Jazz bass a range of tone that the passive guys can only dream about. (or walk over to play with knobs on amp) But some people do NOT like them at all. They rip them out and put other things in. You need to figure out where you stand on this.
  10. FileBass


    May 9, 2012
    basses from China always are MADE IN USA = =
    btw i live in asia :p
  11. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    $500 is an excellent price for either one, assuming they're in good condition. I'd buy the active one.
  12. brumshine


    Apr 27, 2012
    BassbenJ and all - thank you very much for the great advice, I really appreciate it! I'll probably go out to the guys house this week and check them out. I'll be sure to post pictures here if I decide to buy one. I'm sure that one of these instruments would be a great upgrade compared to my stock OLP MM3 musicman knock off I'm currently gigging with.
  13. Vintage Guy

    Vintage Guy Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2008
    Best bass I own is an American Deluxe 5'er. Haven't found anything yet I like better!
  14. brumshine


    Apr 27, 2012
    Another thing I may as well add... The seller is an older guy (late 60s) that is retiring in just a few months. I think it's pretty well off money-wise, no kids or wife, and I noticed he only plays his 50s P bass reissue 4 string at shows. I'm going to be taking his spot in a cover band so I'm inclined to think that he's not fond of playing a 5er and offering me a solid deal on a solid instrument.
  15. brumshine


    Apr 27, 2012
    I went to the guy's place and tried out one of the basses last nigt, (the active one). It was cherry red, rosewood neck, mid 90's a bit dusty with some old strings on it. 2 little dings in the paint on the body, nothing crazy and the neck had sharpie scribbled on each fret marker. The input jack had a little bit of a short in it too.

    The neck played wonderfully smooth and all notes were very easy to fret with little pressue. No fret buzz and no buzz / hum issues when not playing. The neck really felt fantastic, it was better than any of the cheap basses I play currently (OLP MM basses).

    I decided not to throw down the 5 bills (yet) and take it home with me. The active electronics did not mix well with my sloppy technique and I didn't really know how to EQ it. The electronics played really hot but I wanted to try and dial it down to a cool passive tone.

    Can anyone point me to a quality EQ for dummies guide?

  16. rimbaud

    rimbaud Banned

    Nov 17, 2011
    I would buy the passive one, upgrade the pickups (the ones that suit you) and put some onboard preamp, as audere, john east, noll etc... a jazz bass cavitiy ready preamp with knobs. Or Even an outboard preamp pedal. Fender preamp....hemm...no.
  17. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Start out by not boosting anything on the EQ (everything in the middle) and pickups balanced. Then add maybe a tiny bit of boost on the bass. Maybe roll it a little toward the bridge pickup. That's it.

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