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The agony if selecting a Jazz bass (Fender vs Lakland)

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Twice19, Nov 9, 2018.

  1. Twice19


    May 27, 2018
    I can't make up my mind on a Fender CS Jazz bass or a USA 44-60..I want a Fender. Originally I wanted something from the mod shop, but the horror stories of Fender's QC is alarming. From strings not lining up to the pole pieces, poorly routed neck pockets, and fretboards on CS basses that have a ski ramp at the end and need to have the frets removed and be re-sanded. But the brand is classic. Lakland have great reviews, but to me they're synonymous with that geek from Papa Roach.

    The difference is about $1500, and an up to a 2 year wait.

    I've been playing an LTD B series, with upgraded pups and preamp since 2003.Thats been my only bass. Before that I played a Fender lyte for 7 or 8 years. So whatever I decide to get next I intend to keep for a very long time.

    In 1960 a Fender Jazz bass was $240. With inflation that's $1700 in today's dollars.
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2018
  2. joel406


    Dec 27, 2013
    I don’t care for Laklands. The bridge doesn’t work for me.

    I don’t see why you would want a CS when an American pro is really such a great bass. I have been rocking an American standard for the last five years and yes it’s my only bass.

    American pros and standards are much more affordable and sound awesome.

    But if you want a CS check with “Bass Central” they usually have some in stock.
  3. mdogs

    mdogs Supporting Member

    Apr 13, 2010
    Constant state of flux
    Sure seems like you have already answered your own question. Plus, as far as I am concerned, if you want a Jazz, the only company that makes them is Fender.
  4. Alexander


    Aug 13, 2001
    Seattle, WA
    Another alternative - I just did this and ended up with a “holy grail” Jazz Bass...

    Buy a vintage Jazz and have it professionally restored. I did mine with a 66 bound/blocked J, which is the look I wanted and kind of in the sweet spot in Fender’s history. Post CBS (so a bit cheaper than earlier models) and from everything I can tell QC started going downhill a bit around 1969. It had been refinished with a different PG, so that knocked a good bit off of its value - I got it for $4,200. But the bass itself was original and hadn’t been repaired. Took it immediately to Mike Lull’s shop and they verified its authenticity as well as it as a contender for a “project bass”.

    Mike straightened out the neck, did an amazing refret, replaced all of the wiring, pots and jack. I also wanted to do another refinish. It had already been refinished once in black - I had that stripped and re-done in surf green nitro with a matching headstock and parchment guard. That work was another $2,500 or so - for a total of $6,700 invested. Not cheap, but similar in price (I think) to a Fender CS Bass and it took about two months to complete versus the much longer wait time for a CS.

    I found it superior to CS offerings though in four ways (BTW, I have owned a CS and still have a Masterbuilt - both Precisions):

    1. I would put Mike’s workmanship up against Fender CS any day of the week - especially the fret work.

    2. Vintage instruments just sound warmer and more open than their contemporary counterparts. If you start with a decent example and do a professional restoration, they’ll feel and play like a million bucks, too.

    3. Hard to beat a neck that has been played in for 50 years. One of the primary reasons I picked THIS 66 Jazz was because I could tell the neck was broken in from the pictures. Fender CS tries to replicate this by sanding/stripping the back of their necks, but it ain’t even close.

    4. As dumb as it may sound, I like the “mojo” of having an original vintage Fender Jazz Bass versus an attempted modern recreation that is aged to look old.

    Anyway, I am blown away with how this bass turned out. Just an idea...
  5. Alexander


    Aug 13, 2001
    Seattle, WA
    Oh, one other thought on your original post. I do find Fender CS basses to be of great quality - at least the two I’ve had. The Masterbuilt I have is a stunning bass. I have seen lots of QC issues with their American Standards, but not with CS.
    Pbassmanca likes this.
  6. The Chuck

    The Chuck

    Dec 11, 2013
    Wilmington, NC
    I ordered this in 2015 from the old mod shop site when it was called the American Design Experience (ADE). There was absolutely nothing wrong with it. The neck pocket, string spacing and so on ere all perfect.

    I got it in 32 days.

    I wanted a Lake Placid Blue bass, and I got one with the Pure Vintage 63 PUs. I love this thing and I love to share it with TB LOL.

    Twice19, mmbass21, Pbassmanca and 5 others like this.
  7. jd56hawk


    Sep 12, 2011
    The Garden State
    Have you considered G&L?
    Or Bacchus?
    Or Atelier Z?
    Pbassmanca, eJake, Skillet and 3 others like this.
  8. Alexander


    Aug 13, 2001
    Seattle, WA
    That G&L looks like mine!

  9. MordBass


    Nov 1, 2017
    I have two Jazz basses from Mike Lull and they are absolutely fantastic.
    Pbassmanca and Alexander like this.
  10. NKBassman

    NKBassman Lvl 10 Nerd

    Jun 16, 2009
    Winnipeg, MB, Canada
    A negative mental association with a defunct band from the 90s is what's holding you back from buying a top quality instrument?
    Pbassmanca, MCF, Trabeen and 13 others like this.
  11. Mike SS

    Mike SS

    Mar 6, 2016
    SS2134802.jpg Perhaps this would be a better use for the money?;)
  12. birminghambass

    birminghambass Supporting Member

    Sep 18, 2002
    Birmingham, AL
    Laklands are great but I couldn't deal with the tiny frets. Whatever you buy make sure you try one out first.
    Pbassmanca and BobKos like this.
  13. With an inflation index like that, it sounds like Fender has kept up with the times (especially with the price of some of the "entry level" MIAs.

    That being said, IF I were to look at the Fender/Lakeland comparison, I'd really be hard-pressed to actually DECIDE! When we're getting into that price range, my knit-pickiness meter goes off the chart!
  14. CyberSnyder

    CyberSnyder Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 19, 2003
    I Endorse Alien Audio Basses
    I have been a Fender fanboi and have had and own some great Fenders, but on a recent trip to GC I was horrified at the quality of the US and Elite models. So I bought a Taylor acoustic.
    dbsfgyd1 and Hans Gruber like this.
  15. jd56hawk


    Sep 12, 2011
    The Garden State
    Alexander likes this.
  16. dcbassist5

    dcbassist5 Supporting Member

    May 11, 2011
    Baltimore, MD
    Endorsing Artist: Ashdown, Lakland
    My Custom Fender Jazz from the old Fender ADE is KILLER! Not a single complaint.

    9E61AFCF-572A-4289-A914-4C2F700279AE.jpeg 7A7A67C9-4724-409A-80E6-3D558C227552.jpeg
  17. mikeswals

    mikeswals Supporting Member

    Nov 18, 2002
    Seattle / Tacoma
    in those days all it was was a regular standard Jazz Bass. $240=$1700 in todays money is no different than buying a regular American Pro Jazz Bass today at $1500-1600.

    There's tons of used Custom Shop Jazz Basses around, some of them here in the talkbass classifieds. I wouldn't go buy a new one when the used marked it kinda saturated with them, including stack knob models.
  18. NKBassman

    NKBassman Lvl 10 Nerd

    Jun 16, 2009
    Winnipeg, MB, Canada
    Isn't that what TB is for?! :)
    Kaplan likes this.
  19. Not trying to hijack the thread (and in case I missed the Ampeg boat); What's the deal (sound-wise) with the jumper from one channel to the other?
  20. onda'bass

    onda'bass Supporting Member

    Sep 5, 2010
    Buffalo Ny
    Haven’t played a fender in years, but laklands left me kinda meh.
    jd56hawk and NKBassman like this.

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