Price paid: C$ 1799
Purchased from: Long + McQuade
Sound — 10
Let me start by saying I like FAT bass strings. I usually use RotoSound Swing 66's. The Heavy guage ones where the low E is a 110. The Fender strings that came on the bass were small so the first thing I did was put on my Roto's. I play in a punk band. A lot of people would call what we do Pop-Punk because it's melodic, but we don't play like a pop-punk band. I would consider my bass playing to be aggressive and melodic. I use my bass through what is basically a SansAmp RBI through a Mesa Powerhouse 2x12 and a Fender Bassman 4x10. This bass ROARS. I use a pick in our band and play with the bridge pickup maxed and singled out. I put it on the active setting and it gets a beautiful punchy attack. Our stuff is pretty fast and we play half step down in drop D. So my lowest string is D flat when played open. Slight dirty overdrive just to give some balls. This bass with this amp is a punk rock dream. It has that Jazz Bass attack with little bit of that Stingray crunch because of it's ability to be used active. But it stays strong in the mids (which I feel Stingrays often lack). I usually swap out my pickups on all my guitars and basses but I wouldn't dream of changing the ones on this bass. I let a friend of mine use this bass to record their band's EP. They play a very similar genre. He used it with the neck pickup singled out and when I first heard the tunes I swore he decided to use a P Bass. He assured me it was my bass. But yeah, that neck pickup really nails that PBass tone. Honestly with all the features and ways you can configure the pickups, I can't imagine many tones you wouldn't be able to dial in on this bass. Again, I try not to just give 10's like it's my job, but the proof is in the pudding.
Overall Impression — 9
I play a fast and aggressive form of pop punk and this thing is made for it. I pretty much keep one tone so there's WAY more features than I use but it will be cool when I get older and venture into other genres and stuff. I've been playing bass in this band for years but this is only my 2nd bass. I've played many other basses though. If it were stolen or lost I would absolutely buy it again only hoping that Fender offered it in Surf Green by then. I love Jazz bass tone and looks and this thing has both and then some. The only thing I would change is taking off the clear coat on the neck, adding a skunk stripe and making the fretboard wood lighter in colour. Also as much as I love the finish, I wish I could have gotten this bass in Surf Green. The active pickups option makes all the difference to me and sets it aside from every other Jazz bass. I thought about a Stingray, or a Pbass but at the end of the day it was never really a question. Check out my band The Rowley Estate on Facebook. The song "Phil Myass" was recorded with this bass as well as our Christmas demo.
Reliability & Durability — 9
I've been playing live with this bass just over a year. It's seen a couple tours, a music video and it's share of craziness. I'm not someone who sits still when I play. I jump around a LOT and am constantly moving. About a month ago at a house show in Detroit, the screw that screwed in the straplock on the bottom of the bass snapped off during our first song. Actually snapped. Half the screw is still in my bass. I tried quickly taping it and got through 2 more songs until the tape fell and played the rest of the set with my friends Stingray. Then a week ago, we shot a music video. 5 minutes into filming, the other screwed snapped off. Same deal. I constantly keep my straplocks screwed in and check if they're loose after every time I play. So I feel like it would have been cool if they used better screws. I had to rescrew both of the straplocks in at different places on the bass which is actually kinda lame. And my volume knob isn't tight anymore and goes farther than it should. I took off the control plate off to tighten it but due to the sheer complexity of the electronics on this bass, it's not as easy as just tightening the nut like on most guitars. But this happens to any guitar. The bass is definitely made to be played live and I feel like it will last me many many years.
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
This bass was brand spankin' new from the Fender factory. Never even sat in the store. Came delivered to me in a cardboard box. After a tuning job, the bass played very very well. One thing that a lot of players might be bummed about is that there is a considerable amount of fret buzz on this bass. I actually love it and was worried about it NOT having fretbuzz because I like the grit it adds to my tone. So although I was personally delighted about that fret buzz, I could see it being a bummer. The pickups were adjusted well. I raised the Bridge pup to get a little more out of it The wood on it is flawless and looks beautiful which is great when you're dealing with an unpainted bass. Wiring was all flawless. Electronics are beautiful. The rest of what I have to say are nit-picky things that only effect me. I don't like clear coated necks and fretboards. My other bass is a Squier VM Jazz and has the same style maple fretboard with black blocks. The quality of the neck on the Fender is much higher but I LOVE how light the maple on my Squier's fretboard is and I LOVE that Fender skunk stripe on the back of my Squier's neck. I love how the Squier's neck is unfinished as well. I just can't shake wishing my Fender had a lighter fretboard with a stripe and no clearcoat.
Features — 10
I ordered this bass new. It was made in 2011. It's an American made bass so I guess that means it was built in Corona California. 21 frets. Maple neck and fretboard with the black block inlays (the black blocks look sort of like marble when you look closely). It's got a nice thing Jazz bass neck. I ordered the Natural Ash with black pickguard. Some good thick clearcoat on it to make it shine. It's cute! Standard Jazz Bass shape, contoured neck heal for that high fret action. String-Thru body. Not sure what kind of bridge it is. Fairly standard but a lot nicer than the bridge on my Squire Jazz. 2 Fender Noiseless N3 pickups with a coil tap. Can be used on passive or active. 4 knobs, 2 of them are stacked. Volume, pickup blend. The stacked knobs are tone and then eq's for either passive or active controls. Fender tuner pegs. Came with a really heavy duty hardshell case, leather Fender strap, 10 foot Fender cable, Schaller Straplocks, Truss rod tool and a Fender sticker. I don't usually give 10 but this bass literally has just about anything you could ask for.