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Thinking about getting a Jazz Bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by spaz, Jun 16, 2003.


  1. spaz

    spaz

    May 24, 2001
    Hampton, VA - USA
    I went to GC today during lunch with the intention of buying a Marcus Miller Jazz. I'd seen some pretty good reviews on this board and liked it when I played one. My main bass is a Stingray 5 w/ a rosewood board. I've been thinking about picking up a jazz bass w/ a maple board because I thought it would be a good compliment. I've never owned a fender, or even a 'jazz' bass - but I've always liked their sound.

    While I was there I was talking to a salesman that was actually really helpful. He pulled a Geddy Lee off the wall because it was his favorite. I liked it, but didn't like the neck quite as much as the Marcus Miller. He also got me to try an American Jazz, which I really liked. So, my decision wasn't as clear cut as I thought. I've never been one to impulse buy so I left with nothing:(

    I've already done searches on the Marcus Miller, and the American Jazz bass but would appreciate any input from the Fender Jazz fans here on TB. Also, what are good street prices on both the Marcus Miller and the American Standard. I'm going to look around town to see what I can find used, but I'm not too wild about buying used sight unseen. I don't recycle gear, so I'm not too worried about resale value - I've only sold one piece of my gear and that was about 10 years ago. I'm sure I'll spend a few more lunch hours with both of them before I make a decision, but any insight before I invest in another bass would be appreciated.

    Thanks!
     
  2. NJL

    NJL

    Apr 12, 2002
    San Antonio
    i've noticed that I groove so much better on my Jazz then I do on my 6-string (i have only had the 6 for about a month and a half). maybe i will just stick with my Jazz - great tone and all I have done to it is put some barts and a badass II bridge.
     
  3. pyrohr

    pyrohr

    Aug 28, 2001
    Pakistani compound
    I own both basses, the MM and the MIA standard jazz. Both basses are natural ash w/maple necks. Both are excellent basses and sound totally different from each other. Do you want an active bass or a passive bass? The MM bass does both but will have no tone knob in passive mode . Again both are great basses.
     
  4. Yeah, Jazz basses rock. I have a '96 American stnd. No upgrades mods or anything, but Im thinkin about replacing the pickups. You already have the Stingray with a nice active sound, why not go passive? (even though the MM can be run passive, it won't have the tone knob like stated above) I love active basses, and my five stringer that Im gonna put together is going to be active, but its good to know I always have the 100 % passive option with the tone roll-off.

    Sometimes you just can't go wrong with a jazz bass with the tone rolled off, it just begs for you to groove.

    edit for clarity
     
  5. pyrohr

    pyrohr

    Aug 28, 2001
    Pakistani compound
    Oh I forgot, I bought both basses new. The MIA is a NOS MIA 2000 jazz. If you go for the jazz look for these, they where made up to 2000 and still sit on shelves new. I payed between 750.00 and 799.00 new for a natural bass w/case. any MIA jazz made after 2000 will be a MIA series bass (upgrades are not worth more money, believe me you won't notice). As for the MM bass I payed 725.00 new but can be had used on the street for about 500.00 in mint condition.
     
  6. rayzak

    rayzak

    Jan 13, 2001
    Louisville, KY
    IMHO, you can't go wrong with a jazz. Fender Jazz's are awesome, but if you don't mind me throwing out another option, i'm absolutely thrilled with my Lakland Skyline Joe Osborne. Phenominal bass, it's passive though so if you're lookin' at active basses... well stick with Fender. I got this one for $950 from a local music store. You can probably get an American Fender Standard for a touch cheaper if you look hard enough. Let us know what you end up with. Good luck.
    [​IMG]
     
  7. mark beem

    mark beem Gold Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2001
    New Hope, Alabama
    I've been thinking of getting one too...

    That is if I can find a builder sick enough to build me a 7 string one..


    Seriously... :D
     
  8. mark beem

    mark beem Gold Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2001
    New Hope, Alabama
    Hmmmmmmm....

    :)
     
  9. BoiNtC

    BoiNtC

    Nov 25, 2002
    NYC, USA
    Might want to wait to try out a Miller 5 or a KSD Proto J 5 (just got one and am loving it),if you're not stuck on maple, the Roscoe Beck V is a beautiful 5string bass too
     
  10. spaz

    spaz

    May 24, 2001
    Hampton, VA - USA
    Thanks for all of the great replies. I wasn't aware that the tone knob doesn't work in passive mode on the MM. Do you find that to be a problem? I play through an eden combo, so I've got quite a bit of eq options. I could go either way on the passive vs. active debate. Like Groovecenter said, I already have an active bass, so the passive MIA Jazz might be a good option. The MIA Deluxe w/ active for some reason just doesn't appeal to me.

    I know that they both sound different, but the MM preamp seems to be pretty flexible. I'm a Marcus Miller fan, but even with his real bass I know I'm not going to get close to his sound unfortunately. The MM appealed to me because it seems to be loaded with features at a reasonable price and looks awesome. I am going to get a 4 string either way because the string spacing on my 'Ray 5 is a little tighter than I'd like for slap- I've got pretty big hands. I don't see the Jazz replacing my 'ray as my #1, so I'm not worried about missing the B string. Before I bought my 'Ray I tried a bunch of 5 string Jazz basses and the 'Ray seemed to "fit" me better.

    I thought about the KSD bass, but there aren't any stores around me that carry them, so it pretty much rules them out. I really hadn't thought about a Lakland, I might give that one a try.
     
  11. Nino Valenti

    Nino Valenti Commercial User

    Feb 2, 2001
    Staten Island NYC
    Builder: Valenti Basses
    I love Jazz basses. Most of the basses in my collection are either 4 or 5 string J's.

    Personally, I'd stick with a 5 since your main axe is a 5. I like to have pairs of a particular bass. 2 5's, 2 4's 2 actives, 2 passives. I know, I'm nuts. I like to have 2 basses on a gig & they have to be similar so if I pop a string or something weird happens & can get right back into the swing of things & not have to worry about the songs that I use the B lot on & trying to remember the B is not there.

    Basses that are close to your prece range that have a wider neck then the SR5 are a MIM or USA Fender 5's, SkyLine Joe Osborne 5's, SkyLine 55-01's & 55-02's. The SkyLine 55's aren't really jazz layouts but the 55-02 (J/MM) has a coil selector switch & it get a nice jazz like sound. Not dead on, but nice nonetheless.
     
  12. BoiNtC

    BoiNtC

    Nov 25, 2002
    NYC, USA
    Well if you have the money to get a U-Retro with a Marcus Miller plate, it makes the preamp better (well in my opinion) plus there is a passive tone knob
     
  13. steve_man

    steve_man

    May 15, 2002
    or a geddy
     
  14. Nino Valenti

    Nino Valenti Commercial User

    Feb 2, 2001
    Staten Island NYC
    Builder: Valenti Basses
     
  15. NV43345

    NV43345

    Apr 1, 2003
    I was looking at a used 1998 mia Jazz today at lunch time, and I noticed it was strung threw the body ? does this make a difference ?
     
  16. I wanna get a J-bass, then take off the pickguard, and put some kind of coating on the fretboard so I could use roundwounds, Jaco style. Sunburst of course
     
  17. spaz

    spaz

    May 24, 2001
    Hampton, VA - USA
    Nino: Thats a really good point about having 2 5-strings. I think if I were in a more serious band I think that would be essential, but right now the band I'm with is a looong way from regular gigs. We're pretty much weekend warriors (at best!!!). In my pre-married-career-kid life I played in a more serious band where it would have been a bigger issue. If I'm ever lucky enough to be in a "real" band again I will definately get another 'ray 5 as a backup. I'll probably still get a maple ray 5 eventually. I just have to spread out the gear purchases or my wife starts to look a little nervous!

    I will check out some 5 string Jazzes before I buy anything.

    If I get the MM, I probably wouldn't get the U-Retro, at least not for a while. I'm not too big on upgrades to a new bass. I'd rather put the upgrade money towards a "better" bass to start, plus it significantly adds to the total cost.

    Overall the MM's preamp is pretty good right? I thought it sounded good, but I always wonder how stuff is going to sound through my amp and in my band. Does it sit in the mix as well as (or better than) a MIA Jazz? I've already got a great bass, so I definately don't want to buy something that is going to pale in comparison. I'm confident that I'll like the MIA, and that it'll be a good investment for me, but I kind of look at the MM as a slightly cheaper version with some added "goodies".

    Slightly OT: I saw Ben Harper last night and the bass player was playing a Jazz. He was amazing. Made me want to pick up a jazz even sooner!