Fender Jazz

Originally introduced by Fender in 1960 as the stablemate to the Jazzmaster guitar, the Jazz Bass has a slightly narrower neck and smaller neck radius. It was aimed at persuading traditional upright players to migrate to the electric bass. We reviewed the Standard with rosewood neck which was produced at Fender’s facility in Ensanada, Mexico.

The body is sculpted for comfort and the neck is considerably thinner than the Precision. The dual cutaway allows easy access to upper registers and the dual passive single coil pickup configuration is controlled by two volume and a single tone control. Some of the units higher up the range have an ‘S-1’ switch allowing the circuit to be changed between parallel and series operation adding to the range of tones available. The general finish is designed to last and the frets have been well fitted and finished.

This is a very comfortable bass, whether played standing or sitting down. The neck is very fast and the sound ranges from full and round, to the cutting, trebly sound favoured by players like Marcus Miller. Although versatile there is a ‘woody’ quality to the sound that has far more character than most active basses.

The Fender Jazz bass is both easy to play and versatile in the sounds it can deliver. It is a favourite of jazz and fusion players such as Jaco Pastorius but has been used in the wider rock arena by people like John-Paul Jones of Led Zeppelin. Five string and active electronics versions are available. If you have the funds available, take a look at Roger Sadowsky’s ‘boutique’ models.

We recently tried out an American Standard Jazz Bass and were shocked to find that quality was badly deficient . The neck was particularly bad with obvious signs of poor manufacturing, badly dressed frets and machining marks on the fretboard. It should never have made it to a UK retailer’s showroom.

At over £1,000 retail in the UK the American Standard Jazz Bass is nowhere near as good as the Fender Standard Jazz Bass mentioned in this review. If you’re tempted to buy an American Standard, proceed with caution.

Body Alder
Neck Maple, Modern “C” Shape
Fingerboard Rosewood or maple 9.5” Radius (241 mm)
Frets 20 Medium Jumbo
Pickups 2 Standard Jazz Bass Single-Coil Pickups (Mid & Bridge)
Controls 2 Volume 1 Tone
Bridge Vintage style
Machine Heads Fender® Standard
Hardware Chrome
Pickguard 3-Ply White
Scale Length 34” (864 mm)
Neck Width at Nut 1.50” (38mm)

More information: Fender