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The story of my '65 Jazz Bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by finlover, Jun 27, 2010.

  1. finlover


    May 14, 2010
    Austin, Texas
    When I was a kid in the late '70s, my dad played keyboards in a local band with a guitarist named Danny Thorpe who worked in a music store there in Waco. Danny was way into vintage guitars at a time when they were still semi-affordable.

    One day he asked my dad to buy a guitar for him that the store had just taken in on trade, with the understanding that Danny would buy it back when he could come up with the money. It was an early '60s Telecaster Custom in Lake Placid Blue with a tortoise 'guard. When Dad brought it home, I remember thinking that the color combo was pretty ugly, but now I'd KILL to have it!

    Dad held onto the Tele for a few months, then traded it back to Danny for a new Fender Rhodes 88 and this bass. He played out with it a little, but mainly used it for home recording. It spent most of its time in the closet.

    Meanwhile, I was given a Fender Musicmaster short scale bass as a teen and went on to own various versions of the J-bass: an '80s Special, MIJ Standard, a '90s American Standard, and a USA '62 Re-issue in Ocean Turquoise (wish I still had that one!).

    Recently I re-joined a band after a 10 year hiatus. Having sold off all my gear, I asked dad if I could borrow the old '65 until I could find the right bass for myself. To my surprise, he just GAVE it to me, saying that it had just been gathering dust and liked the idea of it being played again. That was three months ago and I'm still on cloud nine! Do I have the best dad ever or what?!

    It needed to be cleaned and set up of course, but seems to be in excellent condition overall. The brazilian rosewood fingerboard is really beautiful on this one. The original case is in nice shape except for a broken handle. I decided to get a new Fender deluxe case in black tolex with the later '60s chrome logo, and put the original one in the closet.

    I think most collectors consider '65s "pre-CBS" because big changes didn't really start happening until '66. As far as I can tell, the only real difference between this on and a '64 is the neck plate. Pearl fret markers were introduced in '64, and I've seen a '64 with the same headstock decal, where "Offset Contour Body" is on the scroll part of the headstock, like a Strat.

    The Custom Shop re-issues are incredible, and arguably built better than the originals in some cases, but to my eye the tortoise pickguard material isn't even close! It's way too brown and swirly. I realize it's a different kind of plastic, but how hard could it be to get the color right? Also the pau ferro they often use for the fretboard is pretty but looks nothing like rosewood--IMO a nice piece of indian rosewood would be preferable.

    I'm playing this bass through an SVT-7PRO and a Pro Neo 410, which is a killer little rig! Sounds like the SVT Classic and 810 I used to lug around, except it weighs about 2/3 less. Thanks for wading through my rambling post--enjoy the pictures!
  2. Filterlights


    Apr 13, 2007
    Vauuuu! :eek:
  3. Troutdog


    Sep 29, 2000
    Houston, Texas
    Wow!! That's an amazing bass - and a great story!!
  4. Craig_S

    Craig_S Banned

    Oct 15, 2008
    Metro Detroit
    Put some flats on that thing!
  5. John Wentzien

    John Wentzien

    Jun 25, 2007
    Elberta, AL
    Artist:TC Electronic RH450 bass system (original test-pilot)
  6. Big John66

    Big John66

    Feb 12, 2008
    Yes, your dad is the greatest!
  7. a `real' one,,superb story,fantastic father and enjoy every minute that's just pure goodness there

    i looked hard at several items of note=the rosewood;where it ends on the headstock,that's not`perfect'(pertaining to the post about the MIM`got a bad one' thread),so if i ever see a neck finished`like that' it won't raise an eybrow at all

    and yeah that Tort does look nice as well as the burst colors just jump on you:eek:,,good old DuPont Lacquer from the day:D

    and i'd guess the tone is uh?,dead on Vintage Vibe no question about upgrading whatsoever isn't it!?hahahaha!

    cangrats man i love it!:hyper:
  8. finlover


    May 14, 2010
    Austin, Texas
    Thanks, steelhead2!! It's interesting that these weren't perfect even when new. I guess that's true of any item that's made with a lot of hand work. It's probably a myth that they made them better back in the day than they do now (although I've seen some modern Les Pauls that have some pretty shocking flaws, considering how much they cost).

    The brightness of the sunburst is one of my favorite things about it--it really "pops" on stage! On some of the vintage reissues the colors are too transparent and muted, which looks nice but isn't correct. You really can't see much of the woodgrain through the yellow on the real deal (except where my dad's belt buckle wore through the paint:)).

    The tone is what makes Jazz's famous: clear and round but warm at the same time. I'm in a band that plays vintage country and it sits just right. P-basses are super cool but I've always preferred the fuller sound of a J.
  9. P. Aaron

    P. Aaron Supporting Member

    Wow! Beautiful bass in almost every category! Wonderful Dad too.

    Good luck gettin' even on his birthday or next Father's Day.
  10. CDweller

    CDweller Supporting Member

    Oct 24, 2009
    Clearwater, FL
    I've got a '65 too. Mine looks just like yours, including the placement of the "Offset Contour Body" decal. The only difference is that mine has an "L" serial number, with no large F on the neckplate. The finish, and the patina of the finish appear identical, as far as can be determined from the photos.

    Beautiful, and your dad has a musician's heart.
  11. Wow! That is an truely beautiful bass. Great story as well.
  12. finlover


    May 14, 2010
    Austin, Texas
    Thanks, Aaron! I don't know how I could ever really make it up to him. I sure couldn't afford to monetarily! I'll just try to be the best son, father, and bassist that I can be. The funny thing is that he just thinks of the '65 as a good old bass, nothing particularly special.
  13. finlover


    May 14, 2010
    Austin, Texas
    Cool! Do you have a link to some photos?
  14. Demonator


    Jun 14, 2009
    L.J. Kentucky
    Dean Street Team
  15. I cannot believe that is a 65. It looks almost new!
  16. finlover


    May 14, 2010
    Austin, Texas
    Thanks! It's got some dings and missing paint here and there, but overall it's pretty nice. I was tempted to touch up a few spots on the black part but decided not to mess with the originality. Maybe a little wear adds to the cool factor.
  17. ExaltBass

    ExaltBass Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 28, 2006
    Twin Cities, MN
    Really SWEET! WOW!
  18. EdHunter


    Jan 14, 2010

    I've never really GAS'd for a Jazz (I prefer Ps) but I think that I am now...
  19. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA

    '65 is considered "Transition", not "Pre-CBS".

    Thank you for sharing.
  20. vbasscustom


    Sep 8, 2008
    that bass didnt get a whole lot of playing time did it? that finish is in redicluous condition.

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