brotherdave, on november 21, 2006 4 of 4 people found this review helpful
Features: My first Jay Turser 401 is either a late 2004 or early 2005 model (depending on how slow the boat from China was) which I purchased April 10, 2005 the day it arrived at Mullis Music in Concord. I say it is my first because I'm buying another one when I find another one I like this much. I've now had my first 401 for 19 months. The $212 cost (tax included) was from a nearby authorized Jay Turser dealer that I trust. I've seen it for up to 55 dollars less from online dealers. But I like to play a bass before I buy it. I'm old fashioned I guess. I really liked the looks of the bass. But the sound was unexpectedly full and thick. I think this first generation P-Bass design, the original fretted electric bass guitar design, somehow works better for me personally than any other. The bass is fairly light which is good, but it is also top heavy, meaning the headstock will dip if you take your left hand off. Apparently the reason so many basses are heavy is to offset the neck and balance the thing out. I use a 4 inch wide suede lined strap and that helps the balance issue, but it still will ride down if you don't pay attention.
I previously owned a Brand New 1968 Telecaster Bass, which was pretty much a Fender copy of a 1951 P-Bass. (The Fender Telecaster basses command astronomical prices now. I'd never spend $3, 000 on a beat up old bass! But people are buying Telecaster basses left and right on eBay for small fortunes because they are so "rare" when actually far FEWER used Jay Turser 401's show up for sale on eBay! Think about that for a few moments. Why are there never any used Jay Turser 401's for sale on eBay? They are one of the cheapest basses you can buy, yet nobody is selling a used one on eBay. Why not? There are sometimes NEW Jay Turser 401's on eBay, but it is danged rare to ever see a used one. I know I wouldn't part with mine).
Comparing the Turser to the 68 Fender Telecaster is a natural thing to do as they are both copies of the first generation Fender Precision Bass so here goes. The Fender was made at Fullerton while the Jay Turser was made in China. You'd think there would be no comparison. You'd be wrong. To me the Turser plays as good, sounds better, intonates better because it has a 4 saddle bridge instead of the original 2 saddles, has a gorgeous finish (mine is Vintage white which is more of a light yellow.) I believe the Turser's body to be basswood but I'm no expert on lumber and I can't actually see the bare wood anyway because it has a nice thick creamy Vintage white paint job, the Turser neck is maple and mine has a rosewood fretboard. The Fender was maple/maple. Both are a 34 inch scale and best that I can tell both are 1.750" (44.5 mm) wide at the nut, give or take a few tenths of a mm. Each has 20 of what I'd call medium jumbo frets. But the fret material itself is looks and behaves differently. The Fender Telecaster bass frets would tarnish rapidly while the Turser frets seem to stay more shiny. The Turser frets are well finished, very smooth and do not have any sharp edges. The Fender was likewise. The Turser has four standard generic clover style tuners that seem to function smoothly and stay in tune very well. The Fender Telecaster came with small "butterbean" shaped oval machine pegs. The chrome plating isn't overly heavy on the Turser, but I think it is heavier plating than Fender used. The Fender plating may have had more nickel in it. There is one ugly single coil pickup smack in the middle of the space between the bridge and the neck on both. That is the perfect spot for a pickup. The Turser pickup actually sounds better to me than the Fender Telecaster Bass pickup. It is thicker and has more highs when you crank the tone wide open. This is the heaviest sounding passive bass I've ever played. Very lush rich tone. There is one volume and one tone control and that is it, because frankly that is enough. The knobs are some sort of metal covered plastic. There is no set screw for the knobs but they seem to stay on very well. I bought some Fender metal P-Bass/Telecaster knobs ($12) and put them on, but no matter how tightly I turned the set screws they still would work loose in short order so I went back to the original plastic knobs which look like metal until you pull them off. The back of the Jay Turser 401 is body contoured, unlike my Telecaster Bass which was a plain slab front and back and after a three-hour gig would leave a crease in your belly and your right forearm. The current production Fender '51 reissues are slabs too. People often featured //