Why the Fender Jazz is the Best Designed Bass Ever

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by BassFishingInAmerica, Nov 27, 2015.

  1. BassFishingInAmerica


    Jul 24, 2014
    Although the P bass may be the best selling bass of all time, I've always felt that the Jazz has the most perfect design for comfort and playability.

    Although other basses may have many of the same features, few have all, and Fender was the one that did it first. Here are some reasons why I think the Jazz has the perfect design.

    1. Leo's big contribution to comfort, the contour body.

    2. Pickup placement. Beyond even the benefits to sound, the two pickup placement allows many finger players a thumb rest in two positions for sound versatility and comfort. Many players have adapted to this style.

    3. Bridge design. The simplest and most inexpensive design of any bass bridge. Allows for easy palm muting, as well as easy setups. Or, add a bridge cover with mute (it's one flaw, no string spacing adjustment).

    4. Neck shape/width. Although, like everything else on this list being highly subjective, there is a reason so many people love that thin Jazz neck, for speed and comfort.

    5. Is there any other bass that is easier to work on? The modular design allows for easy upgrades. Easy access to electronics -- 3 screws on the Jazz. Easy neck repairs/replacement. High availability of parts. Saves time and money.

    I know some people don't like Fenders in general. Was any other bass created with a more perfect design?
  2. jd56hawk

    jd56hawk Supporting Member

    Sep 12, 2011
    The Garden State
    Several of those reasons...1, 2 and 4...helped me decide to buy this.
    I definitely prefer this bridge, however.
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2015
  3. Gilmourisgod


    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    I love Jazz basses, my only beef with them is a tendency to be neck heavy. That's not true of all models, of course, depends on body wood, tuners, etc., but seems like every time I pick up a stock Fender jazz, there goes the neck dive. The exception seems to be the Aerodyne Jazz, which is odd, because it has a very light body. Go figure. I agree that it set the standard for body contouring that's been copied on so many basses. The neck pup never did much for me, I always gravitate to that burpy Jaco tone at the bridge. I have one Jazz, a Warmouth parts fretless, love that bass, but yes, it neck dives a little for seated playing. I don't really agree on the vintage design bridge, it's pretty crude. I put a Badass 2 on my Warmouth, looks and sounds great.
  4. BassFishingInAmerica


    Jul 24, 2014
    Really strange that you have so many neck dive on you. None of mine ever have. I was thinking the same thing about the Aerodyne, the body is light, so the neck should seem heavy. I think there is a lot of criticism about the bridge. The main reason I mention it as a design strength is that it performs the function well, for the best value. And if you're ever in a situation where you need a good bridge fast, you can pick one up for $25 or less.
  5. jd56hawk

    jd56hawk Supporting Member

    Sep 12, 2011
    The Garden State
    Seriously, though, I do own these, and the Squier is amazing.
  6. Certainly a well designed and often imitated bass, keeping in mind that at the time there were few options out there and there was still a lot left undiscovered, design-wise. My only beef is the single tone knob and the single coil hum...
  7. BassFishingInAmerica


    Jul 24, 2014
    Good point that there weren't many options or competition back then. The fact that the basic design has gone unchanged is amazing. That says a lot.
    Charlie Blue likes this.
  8. Well there's always the vintage 1960 two-volume, two-tone option you can switch to for relatively cheap.
    GregT, 1960jbass and Ghastly like this.
  9. Yeah. But my kids need that for college tuition...
  10. I meant you can change the control plate and the pots and solder them together yourself
  11. I have historically had all my 2 pickup passive basses wired that way. The exception is my Squier VM5 bass that is for sketchy gigs, as I haven't gotten to it yet (but I rarely play it). It's too bad that the stacked pot config didn't stick. I find it far more versatile...
  12. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    May 24, 2006
    Perhaps not so much perfect as iconic - but the JBass is still one beautiful piece of industrial and ergonomic engineering. Leo was thinking outside the box when he came up with the JB, even though the JBass is now so widely accepted and copied that most people today don't realize how radical it was when it first came out. Everything from its looks, to its construction and sound went against nearly everything else out there at the time.

    Maybe a Fender bass is not the bass for everyone. But if ever a bass could claim to be the bass "for the millions," it's the Jazz, and its cousin, the Precision bass.

    Leo. The Man! And also The Legend. :thumbsup::thumbsup:
  13. NoBlackTShirts


    Feb 23, 2010
    The audience is not paying for you to be comfortable and convenient. The Precision Bass is the King. It always was. If it isn't in the future that'll just be one more piece of evidence that society is getting more simpleminded every year. As if there needed to be any more evidence.

    And, most of your listed features apply to the Precision as well.

    And, the Jazz Bass wasn't made due to player demand, it was made to salesmen demand for something more deluxe and more garish.

    * * * * *

    As for neck dive, how about trying a 32" conversion neck?
  14. Smooth_bass88

    Smooth_bass88 vaxx!

    Oct 31, 2006
    North AMERICA, USA
    The Fender Jazz Bass has many Fender "firsts":

    1. Slim 1.5" width at nut
    2. Offset body design
    3. 2 bi-pole pickups
    4. Fast playing neck action
  15. Chico Ruger

    Chico Ruger

    Dec 11, 2014
    Western NC
    The Jazz is not the perfect design. It has one-too-many pickups and the neck is too skinny! ;)
  16. M.R. Ogle

    M.R. Ogle Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 5, 2004
    Mount Vernon, Illinois
    Backstage Guitar Lab owner
    That quirky VVT circuit that Jazz basses come with is really awful. Hum unless both pickups are full-up? Louder if one of the two pickups are NOT full up?
    It's amazing that Leo Fender (who was a bit of a genius in most other ways) let that crappy circuit go into production.
    GregC, Marko 1, NeckPickup and 2 others like this.
  17. M.R. Ogle

    M.R. Ogle Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 5, 2004
    Mount Vernon, Illinois
    Backstage Guitar Lab owner
    Oh, yeah, I forgot about the earliest Jazz basses' external brass grounding strip. If that wasn't an "oops" fix, I don't know what is. Obviously, it got changed shortly afterwards.
    DiabolusInMusic likes this.
  18. Lean a Jazz against your amp, it falls over. P bass doesn't. P bass is better.
    GregC, jj4001, Igor Porto and 17 others like this.
  19. tjh


    Mar 22, 2006
    "3. Bridge design. The simplest and most inexpensive design of any bass bridge. Allows for easy palm muting, as well as easy setups. Or, add a bridge cover with mute (it's one flaw, no string spacing adjustment)."

    ... very simple fix, just add threaded saddles (if a model did not come with them) .. ;)
    brendanbassix and 7dollarbologna like this.
  20. I love my Jazz Bass because it's more comfortable and it's the first bass I learned bass on.

    Started on a Squier Affinity and ended with a Geddy Lee. Ironically, my first and last basses are black.

    If thousands of artists use both basses, then Leo Fender did something right after he created the Jazz Bass. He made two killer basses that are copied more than any other design in the world and it will continue on until the end of time.

    Do I think either or are perfect? Nope. I think the Jazz has some flaws as well as the Precision.

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