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Why a Jazz bass?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Oobly, Nov 21, 2019.

  1. Oobly


    Jun 19, 2008
    What factors made you want a Jazz bass? Favourite artist plays one, love the looks, love the tone, etc...

    I'm interested in what the appeal for you, personally, is. What inspired your "have to have one" moment? Trying to understand why others love them, but I just can't quite bring myself to, and what possible reason I could be missing...

    Not trying to troll (and not looking for reasons to NOT like them, so please don't post those, let's try to keep this "positive"), just want to gain more perspective if I can, or if my tastes are simply not a good match to them.

    So... Give me GAS for a Jazz (or let me live on in my ignorance if you so choose).
  2. When I was buying Jazzbass ca 1998, noone (in my area) would seriously consider a Precision. The choice for 'real bass', simplified, was Jazzbass (more artistic) or Musicman (more rock punch), and dream about Fodera. P was out of fashion back then. Fashions change, instruments remain.

    I never regretted choosing Jazz. Today I can choose whether I'll play Jazzbass or P or Pedulla, and mostly I take the Jazzbass. The reason is variety of sound options. I use all combinations of pickups, determined by what the song wants. Combined with Audere active electronics, I have a real versatile beast. And ... it's beautifully worn.

  3. lowdownthump


    Jul 17, 2004
    The growl and punch . I like the way they sound played solo and in a mix. For the types of music I play, a jazz bass works. I find them to be very versatile.

    I also like the way they look . IMHO the Jazz Bass is a beautiful design.
  4. I like the necks. I play a P bass, but it has a Jazz neck. When I demo basses in the store, I prefer the Jazz off the rack, they just feel better.

    I like the warm tone you get from favoring the neck pickup. I like the funky fingerstyle or aggressive rock tone you can get by favoring the bridge.

    I like the classic, iconic look!
  5. Samatza


    Apr 15, 2019
    I like the two pickups and simplicity. A Jazz has the best slap tone IMHO and that offset body looks cool and fits great. 782D1FCF-F2E5-47D8-810A-9B84936C62AD.jpeg
  6. 5string5fingers

    5string5fingers Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2008
    For me it’s the way they sit in a mix. Powerful, punchy, and present with lots of low end. However I am really only a fan of 5 string jazz basses, a bridge pickup to me is needed for 5 strings to have definition in the Low B. Looks has a lot to do with it as well. Just sexy.

    Attached Files:

  7. ACWild


    Nov 5, 2019
    I forget what originally led me down this path. My guess is that it’s because I’m a huge fan of Geddy Lee (but mostly from his Ric days). The first bass that I bought was a MiM Jazz because it was available at a great price. I didn’t know anything about basses back then so that really was my only criteria. After doing a little bit of research, I read that the Geddy Lee signature model had a thinner neck and a Badass bridge. Did I need a thinner neck or Badass bridge? I had no idea but it looked good on paper. Turns out that I really loved the bass.

    The reason that I’m guessing what led me to the Jazz Bass is because my dream bass for the longest time was a Stingray HH. After many years of drooling for one, I finally buy one and I loved everything about it but the sound. I tried everything I could to make the Stingray work for me but I had to concede that it’s not the tone that my brain has locked onto. The Jazz Bass is home. I absolutely love the way it feels, play, looks, and sounds. In fact, I’m going to give my bass a hug now.
  8. Gothic


    Apr 13, 2008
    First one I got was cheap at the time, saw/heard it featured in lots of stuff, Geddy played one, I figured what the hell. Had three or four of them. Nice enough, never my kinda thing though. I'm a p-bass guy. Never cared for the taper of the neck, either.
    ACWild likes this.
  9. ACWild


    Nov 5, 2019
    Since you went there, I love my P too. I think it compliments the J very well and between the two, I haven’t had a strong desire for anything outside of their sound.
    alanloomis1980 and Gothic like this.
  10. Gothic


    Apr 13, 2008
    Don't get me wrong, the J's are nice enough basses and you can coax very useful sounds out of them. Still, the only things that are left "really J" in mine are the body and neck.
    ACWild likes this.
  11. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    TBH: i didn't really want a jazz, but i had a great (i mean great!) neck and needed a body! i picked up a samick body from CL and proceeded to mod/customize until i got my only jazz:
  12. Oobly


    Jun 19, 2008
    Thank you, everyone who's posted so far! Some great info and reasons! Keep 'em coming, some good food for thought here...

    [EDIT] Reasons mentioned that appeal to me so far: Growl, punch, versatility, iconic look [/EDIT]
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2019
  13. Gilmourisgod


    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    I like everything about them, the sculptured body, thin but width, burpy bridge pup tone, etc. My only gripe is most seem to be a little neck heavy, but that's down to body wood and tuner weight. An Aerodyne Japanese version with pickguard, and a bound/blocked neck is on my bucket list.
  14. Wisebass


    Jan 12, 2017
    Lost in Space
    Hi Oobly :)

    1) the price: My first Jazz was a used Squier, later I got a used Fender Jazz both were dirt cheap!

    I wouldn' t buy my '73 Jazz for the money they ask today.

    2) the sound(s): Very versatile instrument that is at home in all music styles.

    3) the look: Back in 1985 everybody told me a natural with black blocks looks fugly. :D

    Times have changed! :laugh: Today that look is one of the most copied looks ever!


    may the bass be with you

  15. onda'bass

    onda'bass Supporting Member

    Sep 5, 2010
    Buffalo Ny
    Why a Jazz? it's the sound in my head, and most people I like play them. ymmv
  16. baileyboy


    Aug 12, 2010
    I'm in the same boat you are. I don't love the Jazz, much prefer the Precision, but don't hate it either. There are times I just feel like playing with its tonal range for different tunes.
    Thom Fioriglio and dmt like this.
  17. JoshS


    Dec 30, 2018
    Yeah, the sound and versatility. My “Mt Rushmore” of bassists is 3 J-guys in MM, JPJ, and GL, and the 4th is a PJ guy.

    The offset body is less about looks to me and more about ergonomics and the comfort.
  18. bass4more

    bass4more Supporting Member

    Aug 11, 2007
    Oakland, CA
    It's mostly about the neck for me. Not all of my long scale basses are Jazz basses, but they all have Jazz necks.
  19. knirirr


    May 28, 2018
    Oxford, England
    Various reasons:

    1. They sound good, look good and are comfortable to play. I have always found a Precision body too long and uncomfortable, and the thinner Jazz neck is nicer.
    2. Monk Montgomery used one for his 70s albums.
    3. When someone says "shouldn't you be using a double bass for jazz?" I can point at the headstock and say "no need when this does exactly what it says on the label". On a more serious note, if the tale that Mr. Fender designed it to appeal to jazz players is true then I think he was on to something. 20190114_102859.jpg

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