I’ve been planning to buy a new bass for several months now. My standard Fender Jazz is OK but it’s just not cutting it. The pickups are the big problem. Too buzzy. And one of the volume pots slips. I took off the cover plate and tried to tighten it, but I couldn’t. It’s a fine bass, but I just want something better. I got spoiled when I had an American Jazz Bass a few years ago. So I’ve been planning to upgrade to the Deluxe Jazz. Not quite as nice (or as expensive) as the American, but it has the same Made-in-USA pickups, plus active electronics, at a more reasonable price. And of course it is a 5-string, which has become second nature for me.
So as much as I was dazzled from the first time I saw it a few years ago by the Jaguar’s overwhelming array of switches, knobs and dials, the fact that it doesn’t come in a 5-string model was always a deal breaker for me.
But as long as I was there at Best Buy today, and it was too, I figured, why not just pick it up and try it? Big mistake. Before I even plugged it in, I could tell what it was going to sound like, and that I was, like, totally going to want it! And I did.
The sales dude really knew how to work it too. He was friendly and helpful from the get-go, and then he backed off and just let me play. After a couple of minutes of noodling around and testing the intonation across the fretboard (the next most critical thing about a bass after good pickups), I started playing a bit of the bass line from my favorite Yes song, “Heart of the Sunrise.” A minute later, “Roundabout” started playing on one of the PA demo units across the room. Wrong song, but right album. Kudos to him. If I do get the Jag (which seems more likely with every passing second as I write this), I’ll probably go back there for it. And he doesn’t even get a commission!
It doesn’t have 5 strings, but it sounds great and it looks great (and it comes from Fender’s Japanese shop, which is second only to the one in Corona, California for quality, at a significantly lower price), and it’s pretty much the same price as what I was planning to pay for the Deluxe Jazz. Good deal! (Of course, I also want to get a microKORG, but maybe I can kill two birds with one stone.)