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What exactly is "vintage Jazz bass tone" ?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Wiggum, Nov 18, 2004.

  1. Wiggum


    Sep 9, 2003
    I'm a newbie to Fender Jazz basses, and keep hearing about the vintage tone that old Jazzes seem to capture.

    Can anyone describe the "vintage tone" of a Jazz bass?

    Anyone have a link to a sound clip ?

  2. It's a stiffer, more articulate sound than that of a P-bass. (with both pickups on) Each individual note sounds cleaner than a thumpy, warm-sounding bass.

    One song I can think of off the bat is, "Lahina," by Loggins & Messina. Perhaps this is a bad example since it is a very old song. :(

    Also, "Cisco Kid," by War. Dripping with vintage Jazz bass tone. (also an old song)

    Others will offer their ideas.


  3. Ooopps...

    One thing I should add, although this can be debated, is that vintage Jazz bass tone would be more accurately rendered with flatwound strings.

    At least I think so.

  4. MJ, yep!

    I have my premium HiFi stereo speakers hooked to a 60w amp on my computer system. These give an accurate bass picture, and the tune "War" nails that J vibe, for sure.

    Funny, I've never thought about vintage J being with flats... will have to try that on my J-fretless.
  5. Thank you, Mr. Gavin. :)

    I just thought of two more examples:

    Curtis Mayfield's "Freddie's Dead," and "The Lemon Song," by Led Zeppelin.

    Both classic, vintage-sounding Jazz bass tone.

  6. i can put up some clips of my 62 jazz if youre interested. id say 42 years old is pretty vintage. its got 4 year old rotos on it though.
  7. What about stuff by the band Camel?
  8. The band Boston had a bass player with a jazz. I would call it growlier without the big bottom of the P.

    Also, it's funny to me how Jaco wasn't described as having the vintage jazz tone, his Jazz was described as having the vintage Jaco tone. :D
  9. iamthebassman


    Feb 24, 2004
    Endorsing Artist: Phantom Guitars, Eastwood Guitars
    Most anything Joe Osborn played on.
  10. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    I never really got why people lusted after vintage instruments until a couple weeks ago, when it became abundantly clear just what "old school mojo" really is. Mind, it was a defretted 73 P-Bass, but it was intensely full of mojo. To me, it's definitely one of those you-have-to-play-it-to-understand things (kind of like mwah on a fretless).
  11. most recordings don't do it justice. But you can hear that sound on many old 70s ballads. The 60s recordings just don't have the fidelity. But listen to the soundtrack for Hair: Let the Sunshine In.

    Loveboat theme song [beleive it or not, has a thumpin bass line- unmistakenly a J-bass]

    Elvis "Kentucky Rain[ditto]" If you listen to these poor quality recordings you will hear the underlying vintage jazz bass tone.
  12. M.R. Ogle

    M.R. Ogle Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 5, 2004
    Mount Vernon, Illinois
    Backstage Guitar Lab owner
    Geez, I love Camel!
    Me and my buddies used to play "Lady Fantasy" (from Mirage?) all the time... it was our default jam song.
    And, yes, I think that was a jazz bass used on a lot of that music, by Doug Ferguson. What a creative bunch of players!!!!