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Where is Jaco's Bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by lsu921, Feb 11, 2004.

  1. lsu921


    Jun 6, 2003
    Port Allen, La
    Just wondering? What happen to the bass Jaco owned? The fretless bass he played for so many years. Does someone in his family have it? or was it sold?
  2. BustinJustin

    BustinJustin banned

    Sep 12, 2003
    NYC, LI too
    his family has it, its in good hands...
  3. BustinJustin

    BustinJustin banned

    Sep 12, 2003
    NYC, LI too
    you should be ashamed with your self! :crying:

  4. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    Depends on which Jaco bass you mean.

    The "Bass of Doom" was left by Jaco in Central Park and hasn't turned up since.

    There was another Jaco bass, last seen when purchased by Greg Rzab, who says he's passed it on to a friend.

    Then there's the Mörch bass, the one with the scroll Jaco used on his video. The bass is now owned by Jerry Jemmott who converted it into a fretted bass, not a very good idea. IMO.
  5. BustinJustin

    BustinJustin banned

    Sep 12, 2003
    NYC, LI too
    I am ashamed :bawl:

    I read in BP his wife has the epoxy jazz? whats the dealie yo? :confused:
  6. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Here's the definitive answer from Bass Player magazine :

    The Gear of Jaco Pastorius
    “Two Views Of His Gear,” January 2002

    By E.E. Bradman & Scott Shiraki

    Although Jaco was known to say his tone was “in his hands,” the gear he chose was an important component of the “Jaco sound” and image. At a time when most bassists sounded like variations of James Jamerson or Larry Graham, Jaco’s sweet and punchy pre-’65 Fender Jazz Basses, bright Rotosound Swing Bass RS66 roundwound strings, and warm Acoustic 360 amp helped him fuse the upright’s vocal-like, expressive qualities and the electric’s quick and defined attack. Jaco settled on this combination by 1972 and largely stuck with it until his death in 1987.

    Jaco claimed to have owned over a hundred basses in his lifetime. Most were early-’60s Jazz Basses with the pickguard and pickup covers removed and the stack-knobs replaced with the three-knob configuration. Here’s a list of his significant axes, with insights and comments from two people who knew Jaco’s gear best: Bob Bobbing, who met Jaco in early ’68, and Florida repairman Kevin Kaufman, who worked on Jaco’s basses beginning in ’78.

    1967 Fender Jazz, serial no. unavailable

    Fifteen-year-old Jaco got his first electric bass, a new sunburst Fender Jazz with binding and pearl blocks, in 1967. He strung it with La Bella flatwounds and played it through a Sunn amp in Las Olas Brass, and with the organ trio Woodchuck. It was his main electric until 1971.

    Upright bass, maker unknown

    Jaco’s father, Jack Pastorius, gave Jaco his first upright around the same time he received his first electric. Jaco later acquired a second upright, which he played throughout high school and until around 1974. (Jaco plays the head of Charlie Parker’s “Dexterity” on upright on the first Portrait of Jaco disc.) He loved the sound but found the instrument’s upkeep frustrating. Eventually, he traded it for Bobbing’s ’60 Jazz Bass. Bobbing eventually gave the upright to a friend, who maintains it as a keepsake.

    1960 Fender Jazz, SN 026100

    Jaco’s ’67 Jazz was louder, but he preferred the smoother, sweeter sound of Bobbing’s black ’60 stack-knob with clay dots on a rosewood neck.

    Bobbing recalls the first time Jaco flirted with fretless. “When I had the bass, I put on La Bella flatwounds and raised the action because the frets were played out, and it didn’t bother me. But when Jaco put on Rotosounds and lowered the action, it buzzed too much.” Anticipating a refret, Jaco pulled out the frets and played the bass on a funk gig one night with Tommy Strand & the Upper Hand. “The band was doing all these funk tunes, and the sound of Jaco’s fretless wasn’t defined enough. The bass was a little harder to play in tune, too. It was a transitional thing.” As he did with every subsequent bass, Jaco replaced the stack-knob controls with a later three-knob setup. According to Bobbing, he felt this provided a clearer, more direct sound.

    Jaco eventually sold this instrument—refretted—to bassist/guitarist John Paulus for $425 around 1971. John moved to Los Angeles and went on to play with artists such as Bobby Caldwell, John Mayall, and Canned Heat. Paulus, now an L.A. session player, says Jaco borrowed the bass Weather Report recording sessions, although he’s not sure if Jaco used it.

    Early ’70s acoustic bass guitar

    In the early ’70s, Jaco and luthier Larry Breslin co-designed a fretless, 5-string acoustic bass guitar with a high C string; upon completion, Jaco paid Breslin $500. It featured a 34-scale neck with Brazilian rosewood fingerboard and sides, maple veneer fretmarkers, an epoxy coating, and a spruce top. Jaco strung it with Rotosound roundwounds. In later years, the headstock broke off and Jaco brought the bass to Kaufman. He still has it.

    1962 Fender Jazz, a.k.a. the “Bass of Doom,” SN 64437

    Like the fate of a mythic hero’s mighty weapon, the original condition and final resting place of the world’s most famous fretless are shrouded in mystery. Its legendary tone was well documented through every era of Jaco’s career, and he himself told several versions of the tale.

    According to Bill Milkowski’s August ’84 Guitar Player cover story, the ’62 Jazz was already fretless when Jaco bought it in Florida for $90. Upon meeting Kaufman in 1978, Jaco told him he removed the frets himself with a butter knife and filled in the slots and missing fingerboard chunks with Plastic Wood, followed by several brushed-on coats of Petite’s Poly-Poxy. Kaufman’s first job for Jaco was to replace the peeling epoxy, which he did by using his own method of pouring on the epoxy in one treatment and shaping it with a rasp.

    Kevin recalls a huge repair job he did in the mid-’80s after Jaco had apparently smashed the Bass of Doom in an argument. Kaufman and fellow repairman Jim Hamilton painstakingly glued together what remained of the ’62—15 large chunks and several small pieces (the hardware and electronics were still functional.) They inlaid wood where fragments were missing, laminated a figured-maple veneer on the front and back, and repaired the shattered headstock by laminating an ebony/maple veneer to hold it together. Refinished in a two-tone sunburst, it was returned to Jaco in New York. Kevin says it still sounded great.

    According to Kaufman, Jaco left it in New York’s Central Park shortly before his death. It hasn’t been seen since.

    1960 Fender Jazz, SN 57308

    Jaco’s main fretted Jazz Bass, a two-tone sunburst, of average weight and “very resonant” according to Kaufman. This was Jaco’s main bass on tour with Joni Mitchell; it can be seen and heard on her Shadows and Light album and DVD. Its whereabouts are unknown.

    Early ’60s Fender Jazz, SN 82429

    During his 1982 Word of Mouth tour of Japan, Jaco threw this bass into Hiroshima Bay; Ibanez Guitars then refinished it natural. Shigeru Uchiyama’s photographs of Jaco and this bass appear in promotional material for the live Twins and Invitation albums, on the back cover of Invitation, and on BP’s Jan/Feb ’91 cover. According to Kaufman, Jaco didn’t like this bass as much as the others. Its whereabouts are unknown.

    1963 Fender Jazz, SN L14769

    The opening shot of Jaco’s DCI instructional video, Modern Electric Bass, shows Jaco slotting the nut on this bass. The original neck was being repaired at the time, so Jaco installed a ’70s Fender Precision neck on the Jazz body. This bass wound up at Albert Molinaro’s Guitars R Us shop in Los Angeles and was sold to a collector with the original and the P-Bass necks.

    1960 Fender Jazz, SN unavailable

    Longtime Buddy Guy bassist Greg Rzab bought one of Jaco’s final Jazz Basses from the Pastorius family in 1994. Rzab played the bass, apparently used by Jaco during a six-month stretch of intense practicing in 1986, on Guy’s 1994 album Slippin’ In. “I used it on ‘Lover with a Feeling,’ and it was really alive in the studio—the notes and harmonics jumped out of that bass.” Greg eventually sold it to a good friend—a famous bassist who chooses to remain anonymous. “It’s in good hands and being kept safe.”

    Acoustic 360

    The Acoustic 360 amp, which debuted in 1968, featured a 200-watt power amp. The separate preamp had a built-in fuzz effect, and the large cabinet housed an 18" backward-firing speaker. According to Bobbing there was nothing like it in 1971, when he and Jaco, just out of their teens, saw South Florida bassist Carlos Garcia using one on a gig with Nemo Spliff. “The Acoustic had something special,” recalls Bobbing. “We talked about it, we loved it. We went down to Modern Music in Fort Lauderdale and put money down and got two of them immediately.”

    In retrospect, the Acoustic was as important to the development of Jaco’s tone and technique as his Jazz Basses were. “The Acoustic held up better than a Sunn or an Ampeg fliptop B-15 could. Jaco could play an open E while he did intervals up the neck, harmonics, and his muted fingerfunk style, which required punch and clarity. The timing of that amp was important, because no one would have been able to get that particular sound without it. Jaco couldn’t have come out in ’62 and done the same thing with a Bassman amp or an Ampeg flip-top.” More important, Bobbing says, the combination of the ’62 fretless Jazz and the Acoustic 360 gave him the perfect acoustic-like warmth, too. “The 360’s big, vibrating cabinet was set up so it had a reflective sound without all the high end—not muffled, but without the bright, clanking speaker cone. At low volumes, with his fretless, he could make it sound like an upright.” Rumors continue to circulate regarding several of Jaco’s Acoustic 360s.

    Special thanks to Bob Bobbing, Greg Rzab, David Page (for providing serial numbers of Jaco’s basses), John Paulus, Albert Molinaro, and Kevin Kaufman. Kevin Kaufman now operates Kauffman-Daenzer Instruments; he can be reached at (561) 832-1249 or by e-mail at kauffmandaenzer@aol.com. Larry Breslin of Deerhead Guitars can be reached at (719) 576-4567.

  7. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    It was always owned by Jerry Jemmott - it's clear if you watch the video/DVD that it is Jerry's bass that Jaco borrows for a few tunes - Jaco had nothing by the time the this was recorded. :(

    Given Jerry's dodgy-sounding intonation on the video - I'm not surprised he converted it to fretted!! ;)
  8. BustinJustin

    BustinJustin banned

    Sep 12, 2003
    NYC, LI too
    ohh, well then....

    i'm going home-
  9. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA
    Didn't he throw one of his basses into an ocean?
  10. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Didn't you read any of this thread? :meh:
  11. lsu921


    Jun 6, 2003
    Port Allen, La
    Thanks for the info guys. It's a real shame that he left that bass in the park. Someone probably picked it up, and trashed it. Imagine what it would be worth today!
  12. Frank Martin

    Frank Martin Bitten by the luthiery bug...

    Oct 8, 2001
    Budapest, Hungary, EU
    Maybe it is better this way, that noone has His basses (well ok with that two exceptions),the basses cant be analyzed how they made that tone and the Jaco mystique is kept a secret ... bah! :D :bawl:
  13. Davehenning


    Aug 9, 2001
    Los Angeles
    The info was not entirely correct. About 10 or 11 years ago, Jaco's two-tone Jazz(the one featured in the video) was for sale in the now-defunkt "we buy guitars" store in Manhattan. I saw it with my own eyes. This is also documented in Bass Player.

    How it got to Albert Molinaro out in LA is beyond my knowledge.

    But with Albert being one of the biggest bass collectors in the world, this does not surprise me.

    AFAIK, not too long before Jaco died, the bass was given by Jaco to Jeff Andrews for safe keeping. A few years after Jaco's death, the bass somehow wound up in "we buy guitars."

    The price was around 33K. It came with a spare neck, some parts and Jaco's autograph.(in Japanese&English) I was also told at the shop that most of the money would be going to his kids.
  14. Introvox


    May 21, 2001
    Ontario, Canada
    ok, I absolutely love this post so far, it would make a great movie...but maybe that's what they want...

    here's what confuses me (copied verbetim from previous post):

    "According to Kaufman, Jaco left it in New York’s Central Park shortly before his death. It hasn’t been seen since."

    ok...back up the truck here...
    why would he do that?, he had it for so long, it was the B.O.D., his baby...and even if it was a total piece of crap, why leave it there?...why not give it so someone, or sell it...my god, just the fact that Jaco owned it gives it a claim-to-fame and IMO raises it's value astronomically.

    did he forget it there by accident?, was there a plan here?, or merely a REALLY GOOD urban legend?

    Now...if he did just "leave it"... obviously the first shmuck who saw it, nabbed it (c'mon this is NY-Central Park) the chances of that person knowing that it was Jaco's (or even who Jaco was) is slim at best...

    Interesting story, I think a lot more research needs to be done here...let's pull together and solve this thing once and for all....

    Let's find the B.O.D.

  15. Davehenning


    Aug 9, 2001
    Los Angeles
    the bass I was talking about was not the BOD. It was the sunburst one with the maple P-Bass neck he used in the DCI video. It also had the upper case letter "B" crudely carved into the face of the body. You can see that in the video.
  16. Frank Martin

    Frank Martin Bitten by the luthiery bug...

    Oct 8, 2001
    Budapest, Hungary, EU
    I am pretty sure that Introvox was not talking about the bass you were talking about

    As for the search for the Bass Of Doom, at least we have a serial number: 64437, to start from, but this bit of information is close to nothing. There are a zillion Fender jazzes out there, and you can never know where it wound up... if it still exists... its bad to even think of that latter chance :bawl:
    Well anyway...
  17. Davehenning


    Aug 9, 2001
    Los Angeles
    some sap probably has it sitting right next to Jamerson's bass.
  18. Frank Martin

    Frank Martin Bitten by the luthiery bug...

    Oct 8, 2001
    Budapest, Hungary, EU
    At least it would be a good place for the BOD... :D
    But Im afraid it is highly unlikely...
  19. This doesn't really follow the topic but I agree that its about time someone made a movie(a damn good one) about the Jaco Pastorius story(a damn good one). Starring MR. Depp of course.
  20. metron

    metron Supporting Member

    Sep 12, 2003
    Jaco was sick is the years before his death and wasnt completely with it. It is very possible that he left it there by mistake. From what Ive read it seems as though he had a hard time hanging on to any bass that he had during that time. He borrowed a few and lost a few...

    Thanks for posting that article Bruce.

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