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Why a Jazz bass?

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

  1. RandStrauss


    Nov 17, 2019
    I haven't played in a band since the mid-90's and haven't played except for noodling around in 20 years.

    I recently had the urge to pick it up again. I went to a couple of music stores in my area over the course of a week and tried every bass on the shelf in my price range. My go to bass when I was playing was a Washburn 4-string with active electronics and bartolini humbuckers.

    Fast forward 20 years. My search criteria was:
    1. Play every fret on the neck in some scale pattern to check for buzz.
    2. Is the bass comfortable on a strap?
    3. Play a bunch of scales and arppeggios at varying speed and attack with everything set flat to see what kind of tone I could get out of the bass with just my fingers.
    4. Play with the tuning pegs and bridge screws to see if anything doesn't work the way it's supposed to.

    Out of every bass I tried, I ended up getting a Fender Jazz 70's modified vintage. It just seemed to click. It wasn't the first bass I tried and it wasn't the last. It just clicked.

    Now, down to the nitty gritty. I have never cared what other basses people are playing...weeeell, maybe when I was a starry eyed lad, i did have a man crush on a few guys. But, as I started gigging, my motto has been substance over style. Get the bass that feels right, sounds right and plays right for you. Don't worry about the endorsements and "greatest bass player ever" signature series basses because their setup is so skilled that a $100 bass sounds like a Stradivarius whether they do it themselves or they have an amazing bass tech.

    Be you.
  2. Tim Schnautz

    Tim Schnautz

    Jan 30, 2000
    Agreed. I play anything from an Ashbory to 6 strings. neck width and pickup arrangements mean little to me. I was enticed by the Jazz bass and it was my first REAL bass after my Kingston Beatle bass. I gigged the J for 30 years then I got a 5, then a 6 etc. As long as the neck action is good, I'd play about anything. I' not meaning to discount anyone preferences, but I don't worry about scale length, pickup arrangement, neck radius or nut width. Active or not? now thats a bit different but otherwise, Im mute...
  3. radiopicture


    Feb 27, 2009
    My first bass was 1964 L-series Jazz Bass that I bought from my Middle School gym teacher for 140 bucks (circa 1974). It had a special order C-width neck which is the wider of the two widths that Precision basses came with back then (B and C, Jazz basses came with the A width). So there's a nostalgic factor for me, but I like them better than P-basses. I find pickup balancing to be a more effective tone control than an actual tone control. I pretty much always have both pickups on, and as such hum is not an issue, whist I still have single coil punch. I also prefer how it looks and how it's balanced and contoured, which was what they were going for in this more advanced model. I eventually sold that bass to Stan Jay for what seemed like a fortune at the time, and migrated to 5 string. Years later, I was in House of Guitars in Rochester, NY and picked up a 5-string American Standard P-bass and asked if they had the same thing in a J-Bass, which they did. Olympic White, just like my gym teacher's bass. The single tone control after the volume is not ideal, so I did get a plate with stack knobs and added a series switch which is an awesome option. The two P-bass pickups are wired that way, BTW. I also use the somewhat hotter Duncan Quarter Pounders. I kept the old parts, but it's not a vintage bass anyway, and it's just how I like it now. But, just so we're clear, I wouldn't kick a nice P-bass out of bed either.
    Zoobiedood and Tim Schnautz like this.
  4. Randy S

    Randy S

    Jul 7, 2008
    Western WA
    I traded a Gibson Ripper for a '71 Jazz in 1978. I played it for about 20 years and then sold it for enough to buy a brand new Tacoma 5. I bought a 94 5 string Jazz with the Bartolini surgery, and recently a Skyline 55-60, both of which had been worked on for previous owners by Mike Lull's shop. I seem to always find my way back to some kind of a J Bass. I usually end up in some kind of Volume, Blend, Tone configuration. I hate two volumes.
  5. Williethedummy


    Aug 2, 2018
    My first bass was a Music Man Stingray. Then bought a MIM Jazz, then bought a Rickenbacker. Then bought a new American Standard Precision. Then bought an American Professional jazz, then bought an American Professional jazz from the Fender Mod shop. Know what? I’m a p bass guy. Also do quite a bit of slap style. Round wounds....treble of on a P bass....good.....to.....go.
  6. I think everyone needs a P and a Jazz. Classic bass!
  7. Why a Jazz bass? Answer is: why not? In my opinion, a Jazz and a Precision is all you need.
  8. Because the stinky face of the crispy goodness, like Isai....
  9. CatchaCuda


    Feb 3, 2018
    Transfer, PA
    Wide tonal variation is readily available via the controls. Thinner necks are a plus in my book.

    I will say the that the big offset body and the chrome control plate put me off for years. I've grown to appreciate it. It's like a classic 60's muscle car. Large, powerful & chrome :D
  10. Body shape - looks
  11. Two things attract me to the Jazz Bass. The feel of the neck and the comfortable body shape. Always my 'go to' bass. The sound is warm and I can hear the wooden instrument.
    Using equalization you can make a Jazz Bass sound like a P Bass, more or less.

    When I need a real P Bass sound I use a G&L SB2 because it has a Jazz Bass profile neck, smaller body than a P Bass but the pickups give it that P Bass sound.
    BasEd likes this.
  12. Necks and tone of the pre CBS models are unbeatable
  13. bottomzone


    Oct 21, 2005
    The versatility, how it sits in the mix, and the incredible price and quality of the Sire Marcus Miller V7 5 pulled me in!
    BasEd likes this.
  14. Old P Bass Guy

    Old P Bass Guy

    Nov 26, 2017
    I agree. My P is like my faithful wife and my Jazz is like my mistress! (I don't cheat on my real wife!) LOL
    BasEd likes this.
  15. Rabidhamster


    Jan 15, 2014
    I went to the music store and played a lot of basses. The Jazz was the one I really liked and I bought a used MIM one that cemented the deal for me. That tone. I tried it and though oh,yes this is what a bass sounds like!

    The P bass was great too but the Jazz neck pickup does a better P than the P can do a Jazz.
  16. BasEd


    Jun 27, 2017
    I’ve owned five Sire basses. Loved them all. A couple were a bit heavy. Always end up trading for something more expensive and usually regret it.
    bottomzone likes this.
  17. BasEd


    Jun 27, 2017
    I can’t make my P bass sound like my J bass or vice versa. Everyone needs both IMHO. Having said that I nearly always gig my J bass but when I play my P bass I’m always pleasantly surprised by how good it sounds. I guess it’s the contrast.
    Old P Bass Guy likes this.
  18. Yep! My P basses are my go-to's but sometimes I feel like mixing it up and I bring the Jazz out.

    P.s, I'm glad you clarified that :laugh:
    Old P Bass Guy likes this.
  19. One of the main reasons is that a J has real bass, P's have low mids. I can't think of a single prominent Reggae player who is playing a P. Like others said: the variety of sounds you get using the simple electronics is great. Love the looks of the asymetrical body. P's are ugly without a pickguard IMO.
    Lately I play P's nearly as much as my Jazz basses, but have never played a P on a gig.
  20. Standalone


    Jan 17, 2005
    New Haven
    They sound great fretless and the neck plays great.

    I prefer to rock out on a P/pj or an HH — but the Jazz Bass fretless sound is classic

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