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What do you look for in a used bass?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Sdagg1, May 17, 2018.

  1. Sdagg1


    Feb 25, 2018
    Hello all,

    Im in the maket for a used fender american made jazz bass and kind of new to the bass. I really dont want to spend above $800. Which models should i be holding out for in your oppinions. I understand that I should try them out to get familiar to the differences in sound and feel of the different american j basses (American Deluxe, Plus, Standard, Classic 60s etc.) but the stores near me do not have a wide variety. Any opinions on the best models that are obtainable in that price range?
    Pbassmanca likes this.
  2. Gorn


    Dec 15, 2011
    Queens, NY
    Your best bet is to choose from the limited variety. If you’re new to bass than you really don’t need to try to find the perfect bass or “the one” or any of that. Not now. Just buy what feels good and is in your budget and play.
  3. FunkHead

    FunkHead Supporting Member

    Mar 10, 2007
    I would look for a Fender Roadworn.
    interp, Pbassmanca and Cheez like this.
  4. SJan3

    SJan3 Supporting Member

    Dec 8, 2010
    There is no pat answer here. You have to judge each instrument individually, not by model. There are good and bad of everything!
    Find a bass that feels good to you, not anyone else.
  5. TheGreatSealof

    TheGreatSealof Supporting Member

    Nov 15, 2010
    Deptford, NJ
    First, a straight neck. No twist. No excessive neck bow. Be sure to check that the truss rod works well and it is not maxed out. Truss rod is expensive to replace. Might as well purchase a new neck, but only if it fits in the budget.

    Second, the bridge. Be sure it will adjust intonation without major adjustments or requiring replacement. Unless, of course, it fits the budget.

    Third, inspect the nut and saddle. Be sure they aren't worn or filed by previous owners to a point that places the strings out of specs. Additionally, consider the nut/saddle material. Are they plastic? Are they imitation bone? Are they bone? Plastic nuts/saddles usually make the strings sort of sticky. Meaning that when you tune a string, sometimes it reaches a point of tension when it slips with a noticeable sound and click that usually requires retuning the string. Plastic nuts/saddles can be treated with a little pencil lead applied at each string point in the nut/saddle. Graphite powder also does the trick. Imitation bone or authentic bone nuts/saddles usually are not a problem.

    Fourth, check the pots. Be sure that they rotate without noticeable scratching sounds and that they provide the normal volume/tone adjustments that would be expected. Usually, a little electronic cleaning spray will fix the issue. If not, consider your options for repair/replacement. Of course, the budget issue.

    Fifth, pickups. Be sure they are working as designed. Good/bad sound? A matter of personal preference. Adjust or replace, of course, the budget issue.

    Sixth, body weight/appearance. Personal preference. However, I would recommend strapping on the bass and testing neck/body dive. I am not so concerned with issues regarding scratches, dings, etc. I value a comfortable weight with no neck/body dive. Wood is a consideration, but remember, it is an electronic instrument. In most cases you can wire pups to a two by four plank and produce satisfactory electronic output. Unless of course you are purchasing a semi-hollow or hollow bass. Then, wood and construction is a serious consideration.

    Just my two cents.
  6. GIBrat51

    GIBrat51 Innocent as the day is long Supporting Member

    Mar 5, 2013
    Lost Wages, Nevada
    ^This^, pretty much. Except that, other companies besides Fender make Jazz Basses - some good ones, too. I like Fender, too; but, there's nothing magical about the decal on the head stock. Keep looking, and good luck...:thumbsup:
  7. B-Mac

    B-Mac Sorting Things Out Supporting Member

    My two Fender American made Precision purchases were both hands down amazing.
    2014 American Deluxe Precision and 2014 American Special Limited Edition Sandblasted with cases and shipping. Granted these aren't Jazz basses, but deals are out there if you're patient. One was private sale through Reverb and the other was through MGR. Both were bought new in 2016 by previous owners. For $800 bucks you can do it, but you got to patient, you got to look high and low.
    Royal Jelly likes this.
  8. Sdagg1


    Feb 25, 2018
    Yeah i hear 2008-2016 might be the best ones from what im reading. Thanks
  9. B-Mac

    B-Mac Sorting Things Out Supporting Member

    Most of the time you'll see these used in $1,110 to $1,200 range, but again, if you're patient....
  10. Sdagg1


    Feb 25, 2018
    An american standard used jazz is that much for those years?
  11. B-Mac

    B-Mac Sorting Things Out Supporting Member

    Remember I was looking at Fender American Precision Basses. I assume the Jazz basses for those years American made used can be around the same prices if you really look. Reverb, Chicago Music Exchange, MGR, Music 123, Woodwind- Brasswind, GC used, Bass Club Chicago, even fleaBay. Dig...be patient.

    I got lucky. I got this for a little over $900 with a fender case shipping included on Reverb. 2014 American Deluxe
    kfp07cu4atzs0e5iuh2f_wdp. y0rrjbigolyruzexbhzj_wdp. c83kwpm72vdf9aabchhv_wdp.

    I got this for a little over $800 with a tolex road runner case shipping included on MGR. 2014 American Special Limited Sandblasted
    rd1220d8n2crrjw119ry2me97c. vrqj20d8n34argqanq936mry9g. f9b220d8n3tvrk9vp022e7a284. g6j220d8n04sjg4bavt6eb1txg. 606240d8n3fsrkb16z4akhqztc.

    Both of these are pristine with no dents or scratches in the body or neck or headstock

    Only slight scratches on the PG which can always be replaced.

    Everything works on both and the actions are nice and low.

    Yes, not a Jazz, but I am simply illustrating that good deals can be had if you're patient and can invest time in searching.

    I just typed in American Standard Jazz on Music Go Round and these came up:
    Search Page 1 | Music Go Round
    Last edited: May 18, 2018
    juancaminos and klaymaster like this.
  12. Sdagg1


    Feb 25, 2018
    Wow that sandblasted one is one of the coolest looking basses i have seen, what an amazing color and woodgrain!!! Ill have to check out some those other sites, thanks for yhe info. I just hate the idea of not trying them out first.
    Misfit Wookiee likes this.
  13. B-Mac

    B-Mac Sorting Things Out Supporting Member

    They make a Jazz the same way.
    Google Jazz Sandblasted or Jazz Limited Edition Sandblasted
  14. Sdagg1


    Feb 25, 2018
    Really i might have found my new bass if i hunt one down. What years were they made?
  15. B-Mac

    B-Mac Sorting Things Out Supporting Member

    Go to GC and try them. Then buy used. Sure, you're taking a chance, but if you contact the seller and ask questions like at Music Go Round they're usually pretty good with telling you the shape of the bass.
    Bass Man Dan likes this.
  16. B-Mac

    B-Mac Sorting Things Out Supporting Member


    Mine is 2014

    Here is a Jazz that was sold on REVERB that was brand new from a dealer for a closeout price of $999
    Fender Limited Edition Sandblasted Jazz Bass Guitar Crimson Transparent 9lbs 1oz

    Some reviews too (Precision):

    Fender Limited Edition Sandblasted Precision
    Fender Limited Edition Sandblasted Precision Bass with Ash Body Review

    and a review for the Jazz version
    Fender Limited Edition Sandblasted Jazz Bass with Ash Body Review
    Last edited: May 18, 2018
  17. trofud


    Mar 28, 2018
    Montreal, Canada
    The best model will be the one you'll buy, the one that fits for you. Try'em all, then try some more. Take your time, be patient, watch closely your local classifieds.
    Misfit Wookiee likes this.
  18. FishDub


    Jun 12, 2011
    Charlotte, NC
    I am not going to respond by saying "play what feels good" or "go to a store and try them all" or any of those answers that don't really help you according to what you are wanting-which is an opinion...So, if that's your budget I can tell you that I purchased an American Standard Jazz for $750 from GC and its fabulous. MY recommendation is that you cant go wrong with the AM STD jazzes and that if you end up not liking it, then just return it within 30 days--Similar to what B-Mac has stated.
    B-Mac, mesaplayer83 and Sdagg1 like this.
  19. Wfrance3

    Wfrance3 Supporting Member

    May 29, 2014
    Tulsa, OK
    Almost goes without saying but, watch for bass brands you may not have heard of. Don’t let someone on CL or a pawn broker convince you it’s a rare gem when it’s actually offshore plywood.

    Having said that - if you can find a bass that has good bones, (straight neck, decent body, etc...) and is a good price, it might be worth snatching up. New strings and a good setup go far. If the electronics are scratchy, and/or the pickups are not to your taste, that can be replaced. We call that the pay-as-you-go plan...
    Sdagg1 likes this.
  20. trofud


    Mar 28, 2018
    Montreal, Canada
    Oh and never let the name on the headstock or the country of origin decide for you. There are a lot of good basses in your budget.

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