The difference between 60's and 70's Jazz Bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by redangel, Jul 3, 2008.

  1. redangel


    Aug 4, 2007
    Could anyone tell me whats the difference between 60's and 70's Jazz Bass?
    I remember that someone said thats different pickup location. But whats the different? I could not find it out... Is that the 70's bridge pickup more close to the bridge?
    And the 70's is 3bolt-on while 60's is 4bolt?
    70's knobs are Vol Vol Tone while 60s' are Vol Tone Vol Tone?

    Also, is there any other difference?
  2. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    You are pretty much dead on, except the only vol/tone/vol/tone Jazzes (other than reissues) were made in 62.
  3. What you said about the pickup locale is right. Don't know about the other things.
  4. redielg


    Jun 9, 2008
    I assume you're talking about 62 Fender RI and the 75 Fender RI jazz basses.
    The 62 is an alder body with maple neck, rosewood fingerboard. Its got stacked concentric pots which are Vol/ton, vol/ton. it has a 4 bolt neck joint. The 75 RI has an ash body with a maple neck and fingerboard(and another model with rosewood) and it has a micro tilt adjustment on the neck with a 3 bolt neck. Its vol/vol/ton. and the bridge pickup is moved about a 1/4 inch closer to the bridge and is arguably the best thing that ever happened to jazz basses.

    Or if you're talking about jazz basses in general, then those the general differences between jazz basses on those decades anyway.
  5. redangel


    Aug 4, 2007
    Oh yeah, thanks a lot for the helpful information.

    As redielg mentioned: the bridge pickup is moved about a 1/4 inch closer to the bridge and is arguably the best thing that ever happened to Jazz Basses.

    Is that mean most of people thought that 75 sounds better than 62?
    I have played 75 Jazz bass only. Never see a 62 here... so I cant have a try
  6. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    I know that quarter inch means a lot to some people, but I honestly never noticed a difference in the long run. A tad brighter, maybe, but it's such a subtle difference that I sincerely doubt people could tell the difference on a recording.
  7. Yeah and value-wise the 60's basses were made in far fewer numbers and attract far higher values. The really early ones '60-62 had slab Brazilian rosewood fingerboards and these are just amazing. I think the tone is different too. Maybe alder and ash age differently.

    70's production standards were poor. If it wasn't for Marcus Miller the 70's basses would be a footnote.

    Having said that my mid 70's P-bass is starting to take on a more vintage tone. Don't ask me to describe it. I only notice it when I don't touch it for a few years and then come back to it. I had to move the bridge on mine sideways because it wasn't put in the right place. That's how well made they were. But fortunately the wood can't lie.

  8. DanielleMuscato


    Jun 19, 2004
    Columbia, Missouri, USA
    Endorsing Artist, Schroeder Cabinets
    Oh, I'd say, about 10 years

  9. Dave, that was far more eloquent than my response.

    N I C E

  10. Sadowsky

    Sadowsky Commercial User

    Nov 1, 2000
    New York City
    Owner: Sadowsky Guitars Ltd.
    The location of the bridge pickup is .4" closer---more like 1/2" than 1/4". Distance from the neck pickup on 60's is 3.6". On 70's, 4.0".

    The only reason Fender moved the pickup was so it would fit under the metal bridge pickup cover. They never considered the sound difference.
    The more I build with 70's locations, the more I find the difference is less significant. People also say the bridge pickup on the 70's style gets the "Jaco" tone, but Jaco played a 60's jazz.

    You can find an occasional great 70's jazz, but for the most part, they have very heavy bodies, very bad truss rods, very bad neck pockets, very bad workmanship, etc. etc. Without a doubt, the worst decade of quality Fender ever had. I bought a '77 as an investment and just while sitting in it's case in storage, the truss rod pushed up through the fingerboard by the first block inlay and the neck is toast.

  11. king_biscuit


    May 21, 2006
    Great post! I have noticed that the 70s Jazz basses (rosewood models) tend to have a more hollow sound (for lack of a better word), than 60s or current Jazz basses. Do you find that to be the case, and if so, to what would you attribute that? My thoughts are perhaps neck stiffness. Thanks.
  12. GianGian


    May 16, 2008
    Another good example of the bad quality is Geddy Lee's Jazz. It is a 74 and he had to change the neck on 2007 because it had became "unplayable". We still find a lot of fenders from the 50s with original necks.
  13. BassFelt


    Mar 26, 2002
    There's also a difference in finish. Typical 70's J's have a thick coat of poly finish. And of course you'll see more 70's maple necks.
  14. As I said. They're a footnote.

  15. peter jack

    peter jack

    Jun 8, 2008

    My GLee is 2003 and plays great! The neck is fine. But a friend of mine had to change the neck of his Geddy...
  16. One Drop

    One Drop

    Oct 10, 2004
    Swiss Alps
    Footnote, schmootnote, play the bass, not the year.

    My '73 sounds, looks and plays wonderfully.

    I agree Fender QC took a huge dive in the '70s (more particularly around the middle of the decade), but there are plenty of fine instruments from every year. Even the heavy ash ones can have their own particular tone, very upfront and aggressive, which some like a lot. There are plenty of dogs from the '60s, too.

    A few of the most iconic Fenders are from the '70s, e.g. Paul Simonon, Bruce Thomas' or JJ Burnel's Precisions, and Marcus Miller's Jazz, so love 'em or hate 'em they are more than historical footnotes, they are a real part of bass history, and without their declining quality never would probably never have spawned Sadowskys and the like, nor would have Music Man experienced such exponential growth.
  17. The 70's for Fender is about like the 70's for the American auto industry. I had some cars built in the 70s that rusted away to nothing in 5 yrs.
  18. BassBob185


    Oct 25, 2007
    Rocking Chair
    About $2000
  19. I'd like to comment if I may.

    Having played and owned both, My opinion is that there is a noticeable difference in the sound between the two. I feel the 60's P/up loc results in a sound that is a little more lush with slightly more bottom end; certainly my preferred sound. The 78 jazz I owned lacked severely in the low end department when soloed with the bridge pickup.

    I currently own a 62 re issue which is a much better sounding and much much better made instrument.

    PS ...the 78 sounded very 'hollow' apt description.