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Which Fender jazz 5 and why?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Jim Carr, Dec 16, 2018.


  1. alembicbones

    alembicbones

    Nov 10, 2000
    Seattle, WA
    I've owned a Marcus Miller 5 string for some 12 years now that is an awesome bass to play. The stock preamp didn't work for me so I replaced it with a John East Marcus Retro. Boom! I came to a crossroads where I had to decide between the MM5 and a Sadowsky Metro MS5. I kept the Fender mainly because the bass had such a cool, organic sound. I still love picking it up playing it with my various projects.

    Bones
     
  2. bassbenj

    bassbenj

    Aug 11, 2009
    Generally Fender B is just sort of OK. That is especially true for ones prior to 2008. I looked at a used Fender Am. Std. Jazz V that was pretty nice when I was in the market but it was pretty high in the price department but I was going to buy it. Then I happened on a 2002 MIM Deluxe V. Almost everything about it was spectacular...except the pickups which I hated and the not so great B string (I'm totally spoiled by things like Modulus, Ken Smith and the like). I dropped in a set of SCN pups (which were the default in the Am. Std. at the time) and the bass just came alive! And then I did a major setup tweaking the nut and what have you until I got the B string singing too! The good news is that Fender reportedly got their act together and now all these basses come from the factory with all the setup I did already done. As for Why to go this way? Well I paid $300 for that killer bass.

    But neither of those were my first choice. Prior to that a pair of Roscoe Beck 5 ers appeared at GC. They looked identical except for color. But they weren't. One was amazing and the other Meh. Price was kind of stiff but not ridiculous. Well stupid me, I himmed and hawed about pulling the trigger and decided to sleep on it. Of course once I got home it was obvious how stupid I was. So next morning I drove as fast as I could to GC. Got there about 15 minutes after they opened. TOO LATE! Ya snooze, ya lose! Of course it was the good one gone. They had the bad one hanging around there for months! I'm STILL kicking myself for that one. And the icing on the cake is that as Fender always does when they have something REALLY COOL, they discontinue it. And now used ones are a freaking fortune! Double kick myself.

    So that's my story. MIM V is still playing fine. (actually wore out the mids pot on it) But moral is that you need to just poke around and start trying things. Maybe you get lucky, maybe not. I know that today I would include checking out Sire in my list of things to look at. I never liked Sadowsky tone so that one is no solution for me.
     
  3. Leo Thunder

    Leo Thunder SUSPENDED

    Sep 27, 2018
    I thought issues with the sound of a B string mostly come from the string itself and the scale length. What else can be done to improve things?
     
  4. MoeTown1986

    MoeTown1986 Supporting Member

    Sep 14, 2010
    SoMD (Mechanicsville)
    Get an American elite jazz V. It’s without a doubt elite.
     
    Dr. Cheese likes this.
  5. jim nolte

    jim nolte

    Oct 26, 2006
    california
    The Sire is a nice bass,the 5 string neck though is thicker than the AS Fender 5, I've played both,prefer the Fender.
     
    lowdownthump and Jim Carr like this.
  6. zZippy

    zZippy

    Oct 13, 2018
    British Columbia
    I have a MIM Standard Jazz V which I like. Solid, and sounds great. I think the current equivalent is the “Player” series.

    I like the slightly larger neck, and the fact that the B string gives me access to notes I’d normally have to move for (plus a slightly lower range, although in honesty I don’t use the deep lows too much).

    Also a good landing spot when dragging off the E string.
     
    Dr. Cheese and Jim Carr like this.
  7. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    What makes you think you will like a Fender now since you did not like it the last time you tried one? Did Fender change things that you did not like before?
     
    Jim Carr likes this.
  8. LM Bass

    LM Bass

    Jul 19, 2002
    Vancouver, BC
    The Fender Marcus V (USA made) has been my go-to for years. Running passive now, as I didn’t like the way the bass got duller at 3/4 settings. A preamp shouldn’t really do that, but anyhow I’m gonna try a Bartolini pre next.

    As far as the B, well it’s no Dingwall, though I’ve been trying single B’s from different manufacturers and getting better results with tapered B’s.
     
    Jim Carr likes this.
  9. RGK

    RGK

    Apr 25, 2017
    I currently have a Fender Jazz V Custom Classic and an Elite V. Two very different basses. I use both and most often the Elite. I like the vibe of this bass and the active/passive mode. I also like the active pre-amp from both basses as the tonal behavior is not like "booming-in". It just gives you headroom and tonal balance.
    I prefer the low B of the Custom Classic, which is more consistent to my ears but the Elite is also fine. I also had a USA Jazz Deluxe V, but I find the Elite better in every way. It really depends on the type of music you play. If you are in for more subtle nuances now and then and a lot of vibe kind of things, choose Elite. Do you want ultimate growl and powerful appearance than the Custom Classic it is (IMHO). I use TI flats on both of them.
     
    Jim Carr likes this.
  10. Clark Dark

    Clark Dark

    Mar 3, 2005
    earth
    For me it would be the 96-98 Suhr era Fenders. Why, because of the Suhr electronics, the overall build quality and 22 fret necks.
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2018
  11. WorktheWood

    WorktheWood Supporting Member

    Mar 27, 2014
    I own 3 Elite 5 string Jazz basses, so that's what I'd choose. I also own an NYC Sadowsky Will Lee 5 and a Roscoe Beck 5, I prefer my Elite's for the tone and playability. As the member above posted, several folks really dig the Suhr era of the US Fender Deluxe. That era is actually my least favorite. I don't like the pickups or preamp at all. I really like the deluxe models that had the samarium cobalt pickups and the 22 fret necks, but I think the Elite's are the best 5 string basses Fender has made.
     
    Jim Carr likes this.
  12. bucephylus

    bucephylus Supporting Member Commercial User

    Aug 18, 2002
    General Manager TecPadz LLC
    +1 to all those posting props for the Marcus Miller V. By far the finest neck profile for my prefs I have ever gigged in a J5. Never should have let mine go. Big mistake. But, at the time, there was no availability for preamp replacement; and the stock preamp is somewhat marginal. Nowadays, that’s a non-issue.

    Fender being so guitar centric for products, it is little wonder they never recognized what they had and just stupidly discontinued the MMV. If they had the slightest interest in bass guitars, they should have propagated that particular neck profile throughout their product lineup. I once had a very short discussion with a particularly unpleasant and arrogant person in their Custom Shop; who informed me that the neck profile could not be used on any other bass ever, because it’s a “Signature” neck, and how dare I call them anyhow. Sadly, Fender now seems to be the domain of stupid and arrogant people, who care only about money, and Bass isn’t part of that equation.
     
    eastcoasteddie likes this.
  13. eastcoasteddie

    eastcoasteddie

    Mar 24, 2006
    NoVA
    ^^ this.
    I love that Miller Jazz V so much...!!!
    Good luck finding one out there...

    But as to which Jazz V that is readily available. The Elite. Unfortunately it carries a hefty price tag, but I haven’t read one bad review on it. I’m and Ash/Maple fanboi, so my tastes are either with the Natural finish or Cherryburst.
     
    Jim Carr and bucephylus like this.
  14. Jim Carr

    Jim Carr Dr. Jim Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2006
    Denton, TX or Kailua, HI
    fEARful Kool-Aid dispensing liberal academic card-carrying union member Musicians Local 72-147
    There are new models. I tried a marcus miller model about 2009 which didn't have a good feel to the B string. It seemed floppy. I do love Mr. Miller's work, btw, and once met him when he was a teenage up-and-coming star.

    Now I see reviews claiming Fender has improved this, but admittedly the reviews are from owners who aren't likely to bad mouth the new "sweetheart."

    I just recalled I also played a much older Fender 5 with the old inline 5 tuner head stock at Gelb Music in Redwood City, CA, near where I lived. I just could not get used to the feel and sound of the B. As a friend once said, "It wanted to work but it can't, so it doesn't."
     
    Dr. Cheese likes this.
  15. Jim Carr

    Jim Carr Dr. Jim Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2006
    Denton, TX or Kailua, HI
    fEARful Kool-Aid dispensing liberal academic card-carrying union member Musicians Local 72-147
    Just as fretless precisions are precise? Names are just names, unless they aren't. :roflmao:
     
    Bill Whitehurst likes this.
  16. king_biscuit

    king_biscuit Supporting Member

    May 21, 2006
    US
    The Deluxe and Players are both really cool. I would also look at the Squier Contemporary Jazz 5:

    Squier-Contemporary-Jazz-Bass-5-String-Active-HH-V-Flat-Black.
     
  17. nilorius

    nilorius

    Oct 27, 2016
    Riga - Latvia
    Pro natural j-bass. Sounds best.
     
  18. MoeTown1986

    MoeTown1986 Supporting Member

    Sep 14, 2010
    SoMD (Mechanicsville)
    I agree. But, elite jazzes truly are fantastic players.
     
    Jim Carr likes this.
  19. Jim Carr

    Jim Carr Dr. Jim Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2006
    Denton, TX or Kailua, HI
    fEARful Kool-Aid dispensing liberal academic card-carrying union member Musicians Local 72-147
    I have a passive Jazz 5-string I like, a Lakland 55-60. I'm leaning toward the Elite, as I'd like an active Jazz.

    Did you have a chance to compare the pro to the elite? :cool:
     
    Dr. Cheese likes this.
  20. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    Is there a GC in Hawaii? The good GC’s keep an Elite or two around. Just remember that Fender spacing is more narrow than your Lakland.
     

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