The Workhorse: Fender Jazz Bass

Article By A. Hunter

Since its inception in 1960 the Jazz bass has become one of the most iconic and recognised instruments in popular music. Leo Fender, the mastermind and architect of the Fender Stratocaster, Telecaster, Precision and Jazz bass provided the tools for the explosion of rock n roll and popular music as we know it today.

Leo Fender’s first bass was the Precision or P-bass and upon delivering another iconic instrument took advice from bass players to produce a 2 pick-upped instrument alternative that was originally marketed to upright players within the Jazz genre.

The Jazz bass, due to its 2 pickup design, has more clarity and punch than its 1 pickup older brother the Precision bass. Solos are able to cut through the use of the back pick, bassy upright tones from the front and combinations of sounds in between meant the Jazz bass was more versatile. Due to a larger range of sounds that the Jazz bass could produce the Jazz bass appealed to a huge range of bass players outside of its intended market, Jazz genre.

Over the years the Jazz bass has seen many different variations, it has been made lighter, active electronics, fretless necks with different and exotic finishes and woods used to produce new sounds.

The bass I have is a 2009 American standard Jazz bass. It is close to the original, having 2 passive pickups, c shaped neck, pick guard yet has a string through body and modern bridge to bring the bass into the 2010 decade.

As you can hear in the video this bass handles everything you can throw at it. You want an upright bass type of tone? You can do it. You want a really percussive slap bass twang? Done. You want clarity and a mid punch to cut through the mix? It’s got you covered. You want that modern buttery nasal tone that is hugely popular at the moment? Dial it in, it is there. This bass is a workhorse, it is a jack of all trades but master of them all. I do like playing all types and styles of basses, and they all have a unique voice, but if you were marooned on a desert island and you could only take one bass with you, the Jazz Bass is the only bass you will ever need.

Let me know what your favourite bass is in the comments below. If you liked this article and the video go subscribe, like and comment.


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