Highway 1 Jazz Bass review by Fender

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  • Sound: 8
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reliability & Durability: 9
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 9
  • Features: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 8.8 Superb
  • Users' score: 7.6 (92 votes)
Fender: Highway 1 Jazz Bass

Sound — 8
This is a great all-around bass, but what do you expect from a company that has been building basses for 50+ years. Handles funk, blues, jazz (obviously), rock, country, punk, even some decent metal tones. One really interesting feature is the greasebucket tone control. basically, unlike most passive tone controls, when it rolls off the high end it doesn't add in any bass, so your tone changes in a much purer way. I swapped the strings for GHS .050-.115 boomers and the pickups to Seymour Duncan quarter pounders. The stock pickups are very tame, if you want something more aggressive, take them out.

Overall Impression — 10
You know by now my impression. Why are you still reading this? Haven't you gone out and bought one yet? No? Well get on that!

Reliability & Durability — 9
The only major concern I have is the nitrocellulose finish. Since it is a thinner finish, it comes off much more easily. However, since it allows more of the natural resonance of the wood to come out, I think it's a small price to pay. Everything was top notch, very impressed. I would never consider bringing a backup, this is a remarkable instrument that has been dropped, bashed around and sat on, yet it still keeps its tuning and sounds amazing.

Action, Fit & Finish — 9
Guitar came set up really well, as I said earlier I swapped a few things. No complaints.

Features — 8
Made in 2003, feateres a 20-fret rosewood fretboard, maple neck with a rosewood skunkstripe, alder body with a red nitrocellulose finish (matte and transparent instead of shiny and solid), Fender US tuners, Fender US bridge, Fender US pickups, standard J-Bass control layout, white pickguard. Came stock with Fender superbadd .045-.110 strings. Passive electronics. Pretty standard J-Bass fare.

6 comments sorted by best / new / date

    the standard got a 9 rating aswell does that meen for 100 less i can get the same Quality of Bass?
    Is this bass of the same quality of the original Fender Jazz bass?
    Welsh Guitar
    You wont get the same quality, chances are this is better quality, the rating takes value for money into account
    The American Jazz bass is 100% made in USA. The Highway 1 models bodies are shaped in USA. Trucked down HIGHWAY 1 to the Fender Mexican plant in Ensenada where the body finishing is done. Then the finished bodies are trucked back to Corona CA. Up until the 2006 overhaul of the line all the Highway 1 bodies had a satin poly finish which saves time over Fender's USA applied high gloss finish on the USA basses. I had one of these (a 2004 model purchased in 2005.) Mine had a serious truss rod issue, sold it on eBay as NEEDING REPAIR and lost $500. I also thought it sounded THIN compared to other Jazzes I've owned. I know I won't ever buy another one and might never buy another Fender. It was a very pretty sunburst look though. A pretty and, for me anyway, useless bass. Replaced it with a neck-through design Ibanez SRX700 which sounds much better anyway. Maybe a USA Jazz with the S1 system would work better for me. But I'm going to be very careful if I ever buy another Fender.
    All I can say is that any bass is better than my plank of wood! I have a fender bronco bass with one frikken pickup, and it isn't even full size I'm dying for this bass. It looks sooo nice!
    I have a flat black one, i dropped some bass lines in it, and now it sounds unbelievable. I 100% recommend it.