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What Jazz-ish bass (with flats) fits the bill?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Bruiser Stone, Jul 17, 2020.


  1. Bruiser Stone

    Bruiser Stone Supporting Member

    Dec 7, 2017
    Tennessee
    For some time, I’ve wanted a second P bass, but after listening to videos and playing an example with flats, what I really want is a Jazz. If I move a couple of cabs in the near future, I will probably be on the hunt for a nice example. But as most of my attention has been on Precisions until recently, perhaps some of you can point me in the right direction. Here are a few parameters:

    - It doesn’t have to be a Fender, but Fenders are great.
    - It doesn’t have to be US-made but I’ll admit I’m a little snobbish about overseas stuff that isn’t MIJ. Lakland Skylines are an exception that comes to mind. I’m not looking to mod/replace stuff in order to upgrade.
    - Only 4-strings, and preferably 20-21 frets.
    - I will probably favor the neck pickup or blend in just a little from the bridge, so a great neck PU and placement is important to me.
    - The nut width of Jazz necks are nice, but I don’t like flat profiles. A nice round neck suits my hand better. The rounder the better.
    - I prefer the vintage 7.25” radius, but 9.5” is ok.
    - I don’t like string-thru only basses. I at least want the option to top-load strings.
    - Whatever I acquire will wear flats, probably Fender or La Bella.
    - I prefer passive to active, or at least the option to switch to passive.
    - I actually don’t like super-light basses so long as the neck doesn’t dive, and between 9-10 lbs seems to be my happy spot.
    - Up to $2k, but I’m not looking to spend all of that just because. Under $1k suits me just fine. A 70’s example under 10 lbs would be dreamy, but I don’t think I should shell out the clams right now.
    - I’m not much for signature basses. Perhaps a certain example fits all the criteria, but I wouldn’t normally search out a signature model as my first choice.
    - Pure bonus points: surf green would be kind of cool, but this is just non-essential fluff.

    This may not narrow things down much, but even so, your personal experience/preferences are appreciated.

    Jazz aficionados: educate me!
    Thanks in advance.
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2020
    JRA likes this.
  2. Sean150

    Sean150

    Jul 18, 2018
    I just went the other way from Jazz type to P type for my main bass. I have a few Jazzs from Fender and Squier; but my number 1 is a PRS SE Kestral which fits most of your criteria. I ordered mine untested and it came perfectly set up and is one of the best finished basses I have bought and was about $1k CAD. It’s not green and is made in Korea though.

    My Squier has the flats but the dead rounds sounded awesome on the PRS. The only reason I changed them is because it is also the best sounding Jazz I have with new rounds.

    And it has bird inlays which I think are awesome.
     
    Gustopher and Bruiser Stone like this.
  3. trothwell

    trothwell

    Apr 9, 2008
    I recently bought one of these (not very many made, but I think still some out there for sale):

    Fender Limited Edition American Pro Jazz Bass Natural Roasted Ash

    I put flats on it. Wonderful.

    Any arbitrary current-ish American Pro Jazz might sound the same, but I like to think the ash wood plays a role in the nice tone. I definitely thought it sounded kind of harsh with the stock roundwound strings, whereas I have an older alder-wood Jazz Bass that sounds great with roundwounds.
     
    Bruiser Stone likes this.
  4. el jeffe bass

    el jeffe bass

    Nov 22, 2013
    New Mexico
    I have a Carvin J type bass with La Bella low tension flats that I absolutely love. You might check out Kiesel to see if anything strikes you. Also if you are handy (I’m not) perhaps a Warmoth build would allow you to customize it to perfection.
     
    Bruiser Stone likes this.
  5. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    ha! i hope you're right! :laugh:

    i'm thinking that any fender (of the fender family) expert will point you in the right direction. but at least you know what you want! TBH: i'd assemble those parameters/preferences from good/best parts, but i realize that that approach isn't for everyone.

    i hope you get the "jazz-ish" ax you want, OP --- good luck! :thumbsup:
     
    Bruiser Stone likes this.
  6. Bruiser Stone

    Bruiser Stone Supporting Member

    Dec 7, 2017
    Tennessee
    I’ve never heard of this one from PRS. It’s a beauty. I’m not too hung up on the US thing so long as it sounds/feels great. Neck thru is iffy for me, though. Not a deal-breaker, but I like the ability to swap necks easily if necessary.
     
  7. Bruiser Stone

    Bruiser Stone Supporting Member

    Dec 7, 2017
    Tennessee
    My ‘78 P bass is (heavy) northern ash. I don’t know how much the body really contributes to tone, but I just know it’s the best one I’ve played to date, so maybe you’re onto something.
     
    oren and trothwell like this.
  8. trothwell

    trothwell

    Apr 9, 2008
    Yeah, I don't really know either. A proper A/B test would involve keeping everything else the same -- strings, pickups, neck, bridge -- and just swapping the body. I guess I'm not really that interested. :)

    In any case, I much enjoy this ash Jazz with flatwounds!
     
    Bruiser Stone likes this.
  9. Bruiser Stone

    Bruiser Stone Supporting Member

    Dec 7, 2017
    Tennessee
    I’m not too handy, so I’ll probably settle for ready-made-and-assembled. I always seem to forget about Carvin. My bass teacher early on had a sweet green Carvin J variety, and if my memory serves me right, a 6 string Kiesel.
     
    el jeffe bass likes this.
  10. Bruiser Stone

    Bruiser Stone Supporting Member

    Dec 7, 2017
    Tennessee
    I’m not a hands-on guy, so I’ll choose something production...or the product of some other Dr. Frankenstein’s creation.

    Curious: my P bass is my first love, but I’ve decided I’m 51% to 49% in favor of rounds over flats on mine. Both sound great on P’s, but flats on the right Jazz sound so full, voluptuous, and rich, I think I’ve just got to have one.
     
    JRA likes this.
  11. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    i'm not sure that i can help on that: i've been a rounds player, forever.

    however, i'm working up the courage to break open a package of my first set of flats in 40+ years (TI jazz flats). you're probably already hip to those strings.
     
    Bruiser Stone likes this.
  12. My G&L JB-2 has been strung with D'Addario Chromes for about 8 years. Tasty! Its a swamp ash body and it fits just right.
     
    Crispus, woodyng2 and Bruiser Stone like this.
  13. Bruiser Stone

    Bruiser Stone Supporting Member

    Dec 7, 2017
    Tennessee
    I just sold a used set of Jazz flats yesterday to someone in Texas. It was my third and probably final try. If you’re a committed rounds player, you stand a better chance at loving them. Actually, I do love them for what they are. They are excellent strings of the highest caliber. For the first couple of weeks I put them on, it’s a honeymoon. But the low tension and...I dunno...they are SO perfect, maybe I just like a little more vintage grunge. They intonate perfectly and express a clear fundamental. But I don’t enjoy digging into them, and if I don’t enjoy the tactile experience of playing strings, it just doesn’t work for me. But I hope their finer points woo you into the devoted TI cult. I want to be a member, but I don’t think it’s meant to be.
     
    EitherOr, JMacBass65 and JRA like this.
  14. Bruiser Stone

    Bruiser Stone Supporting Member

    Dec 7, 2017
    Tennessee
    I have a music professor/producer friend who says once I go G&L, I’ll never go back to a Fender. Pretty strong talk: what say you?
     
    Crispus and woodyng2 like this.
  15. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2020
    Austin, TX
    You need a fretless J. Or better yet, a fretless P.
     
  16. DigitalMan

    DigitalMan Bring Back Edit/Delete

    Nov 30, 2011
    Bay Area, CA
    US Geddy Lee. It is a signature model. It’s not surf green. You’ll like it anyway.
     
    lowdownthump likes this.
  17. Bruiser Stone

    Bruiser Stone Supporting Member

    Dec 7, 2017
    Tennessee
    One day it will happen. But I’m not quite there....
     
  18. Bruiser Stone

    Bruiser Stone Supporting Member

    Dec 7, 2017
    Tennessee
    I thought the necks on those were very slim and flat. Am I mistaken?
     
  19. DigitalMan

    DigitalMan Bring Back Edit/Delete

    Nov 30, 2011
    Bay Area, CA
    9.5” but not as slim as CIJ or MIM.
     
    Bruiser Stone likes this.
  20. woodyng2

    woodyng2 Supporting Member

    Oct 4, 2015
    Oregon Coast
    Never really liked GL products in the ‘90s, but I’ve recently gotten an lb100 (pbass) and what’s become my ultimate Jazz type bass, a JB2. The quality of both of these is amazing. i’ve owned Fenders from 60’s,70s, as well as more recently made ones, and really find the newer GL’s a cut above. Their take on the classic alnico5 pickups sound fantastic.
    I’d like to try a Kiloton to check out the MFD pickup (and i love that it’s a passive bass,too).
    Edit:forgot to mention both basses came with the factory exl rw strings, which i thought sounded horribly shrill. I put light chromes on the lb, and labella low tension flexible flats on the Jb2. That’s 2 very different flatwound flavors,both sound much better suited to the basses to me.
     

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    Last edited: Jul 17, 2020
    Crispus and Bruiser Stone like this.
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

     
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