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Stability of Fender's 70's Jazz necks?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by funkdaddy, Mar 1, 2004.

  1. funkdaddy


    Aug 6, 2001
    Charlotte, NC
    Hi...just wondering if anyone can share their opinion about the stability of Fender's 70's Jazz necks (whether the real thing or on a reissue Jazz bass). Obviously the 70's necks do not have graphite reinforcement like the current American Jazz necks, and the truss rod adjustment is at the headstock rather than the butt end where it meets the body. Since the current American Jazz necks have these newer features, does this mean that the 70's necks are somehow inferior? Just wondering if I should be concerned about the neck stability, or potential for neck twist, if I buy a 70's Jazz (assuming I don't expose the bass to exteme changes in temperature or humidity). Will a 70's Jazz neck require more frequent adjustments due to seasonal changes versus a Jazz neck with graphite reinforcement? Also, has anyone noticed any tonal differences between necks with and without graphite reinforcement? Thanks in advance for your opinions.
  2. BillyB_from_LZ

    BillyB_from_LZ Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2000
    The finish on '70s era Fender instruments was so thick that I don't think moisture has a chance of getting to the wood.

    If it's a real '70s instrument...the neck was made 25 to 34 years ago...it shouldn't be too hard to tell if it's a good neck by now.
  3. I had a '72 Jazz Bass that I played as my #1 for 10 years (from 1990 - 2000). I got rid of it because the neck had twisted to the point where it was not repairable. It had no collector value (it was a refin, had replacement pickups and bridge) so it didn't bother me too much. I have heard that twisted necks were a fairly common problem for old Jazz Basses but I can't complain since the instrument was almost 20 years old when I bought it and I used it for 10 years. I think you have to put "problems" like this into perspective...things sometimes reach the end of their usable lives and my bass did just that.
  4. demolition

    demolition Guest

    Jul 5, 2003
    provided that the bass was taken care of a un older neck should be more stable than a newer one.
    As a bass matures in age the wood will dry out an become more solid and resistant to weather changes,if the bass was treated right(not exposed to drastic temp variations or excessive humidity )and was generly well taken care of should be less demanding of maintainence.
    New basses take some time to settle in and dry out,therefore needing frequent truss adjustments and tweaking,but there are exceptions to this rule of thumb,some wood no matter how well treated will be problematic period.
    My experience with older basses that they pretty much are done moving around after a period of 5-7 years(or more or less depending on the circumstances).
    Take someone with you if you are unsure what to look for in an older bass,I LEARNED THE HARD WAY BUT NOW i CAN TELL A LEMON FROM A MILE AWAY :hyper:
    Good luck and chances are,if the deal is to good to be true then it probably is.
  5. Giraffe

    Giraffe Supporting Member

    Nov 6, 2003
    San Diego, California
    Any neck from the seventies has probably shown it's true colors by now. If it hasn't twisted or bowed by now, it is probably a safe bet. Big changes in humidity can result in some movement in any wood neck, but if the finish is fairly intact (including the part that fits inside the neck pocket), it shouldn't be anything to worry about. If the board is rosewood, it should be properly sealed. There are hundreds of thousands of examples of flatsawn maple necks that sound and play fabulous and remain stable after forty or more years. One thing to look out for with any older neck is re-frets. Most fingerboards will tolerate three or four re-frets before the repairman has to resort to other (usually more expensive) means to make it work. If you have a good repairman, he can do it, but everybody doesn't have easy access to one. Some of those seventies necks were pretty substantial, and have a lot more life in them.
  6. funkdaddy


    Aug 6, 2001
    Charlotte, NC
    Thanks for everyone's comments. At the moment I'm leaning towards a '75 Reissue Jazz, although there is a certain mystique about having the real thing. What's the general consensus about the quality of the '75 Reissue Jazz (MIA)? There's a Special Edition in Lake Placid Blue with matching headstock and rosewood board that I'm thinking about seriously. I'm guessing the quality of this Special Edition is at least as good as the regular '75 Reissue Jazz...after all, Fender wouldn't put out a Special Edition with poor materials or construction, would they? I just haven't been impressed with most of the American Series Jazz basses I've seen lately...big gaps on either side of the neck where it fits into the neck pocket, mediocre fretwork, necks not properly aligned with the body, etc. I love the feel and sound of the 70's Jazz basses...I guess I'm just a little hesitant about not having a graphite-reinforced neck. But perhaps I'm being overly concerned...after all, my StingRay doesn't have graphite reinforcement and I haven't had any problems with it.

    By the way...it's 10 lbs. considered "average" for a Jazz bass? I've heard that some of the 70's Jazz basses weigh in at 12 or 13, so I guess 10 isn't so bad.

    tombrien: When you say that a rosewood board should be properly sealed...is this something the manufacturer (Fender) should do, or something the bass owner should have done?
  7. Giraffe

    Giraffe Supporting Member

    Nov 6, 2003
    San Diego, California
    Most rosewood (or ebony) fingerboards don't have a hard finish applied to them, and they can dry out over time, especially in a dry climate or with heavy use. When your natural wood (rosewood or ebony) board starts to look dry and/or dull you should seal it with something like linseed oil to prevent all the natural oils from escaping. Just make sure you clean off all of the excess after it has soaked in for a minute or two, so you don't build up a gummy residue. It will help keep the wood healthier, make it look better, and hopefully keep it a little more stable. Unfortunately, there is never a guarantee that a wood neck won't bend, but most of the better ones don't. There's a long thread about this subject on here somewhere, probably in Setup. (This helps protect ebony from checking, too.)

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