Price paid: € 748
Purchased from: Leo Caerts
Sound — 8
Don't let it's name fool you. It's called a 'jazz' bass, but it will cope with ANYTHING. Versatility is what brought the jazz bass to where it is now. Basically, you can put it this way: The jazz bass isn't perfect for any genre, but it's pretty damn good at all of them! Having said that, I do have to go more into detail. No, it won't give you the same low growl as a P-Bass does. But it does get close. Different pickups would probably bring you there. The neck pickup brings out a nice low-end, while the bridge pickup fills in the highs. By controlling the volume knobs, and thus the balance between the pickups, you can achieve quite a lot of different tones. Then you've got the tone knob to give you some extra possibilities. Because it's equipped with standard Fender single coils, it picks up hum quite easily. The pickups are wired in anti-parallel though, meaning that when both pickups are used at the same volume, hum is cancelled. Even when not cancelled, the hum is at an acceptable level. I used to play it trough a Ashdown After Eight practice combo (15W, 8") but I recently borrowed a friend's Fender BXR 100 (100W, 15"). The first is a great practice combo, but the BXR really allowed the standard jazz to let itself be heard. When getting this bass, I do strongly advice you to get a decent amplifier. This counts for any bass of this level of sound. A practice combo will do the job, but won't give you what you could get. Do to the immense tonal possibilities, I grant this thing a 8. I believe 9's and 10's are reserved for instruments loaded with better pick-ups and a series/parallel switch.
Overall Impression — 9
Since I just play about anything from traditional folk to jazz to progressive metal, but couldn't afford a hundred guitars, I needed something versatile. The Jazz bass fills in perfectly. I admit, I've only been playing for roughly 2 years. I bought the jazz bass about 1,5 years ago, so when I was actually only playing for 6 months. When I bought it, I was probably a bit overwhelmed by it. I previously owned a Epiphone EB-0, which I sold to buy this. I regret selling the EB-0 (for the mere sake of it being my first bass), but I do not regret buying the Jazz Bass. It's all I could possibly want. When I was out to buy it, I compared it to a Japanese Jaguar Bass, which I liked more. However, the jaguar was essentially a Jazz bass with a different body shape and some active electronics, but cost nearly 1000 at that time, which was a third more than the jazz bass. The jazz bass was the better buy, just a bit less for a lot less money. I do wish I had tried a top-range squire as well. For less than half the money, they provide equal sound. Their finish and durability is no comparison though, so after all I do not have any regrets. If I lost this guitar, due to my own fault or do to someone else's, I would probably not get another MIM standard jazz bass, but another jazz bass nonetheless. I'd probably go for a MIM Deluxe Active Jazz Bass or a 5-string standard jazz. Perhaps even a made-in-america. But I do think a jazz bass is something any bass player should own, that's my verdict. I think a 9 is in it's place.
Reliability & Durability — 8
I don't usually do any live playing, apart from the occasional family reunion. Never gave me problems on those, so I should rate it a 10, right? Just kidding you. I'm not taking live playing in the equation. The hardware is all very sturdy. Can't imagine anything going wrong with it. I accidently hit a Boss GT-6B multi-effect thing with my jazz bass. The Boss is made out of metal, so logically it did some damage to my instrument. However, it's only a minor dent. I think I got away with it pretty good. I hit walls with my headstock pretty often (small room) and haven't been able to find any traces of it. I have absolutely no idea how I should rate this, so I'll just pick the average of the previous ratings. We've got a 7, an 8 and a 9, so that makes this an 8 as well.
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
As I said earlier, Leo Caerts sells their instruments at a steep price but in return, they set up the instrument perfectly. In fact, it was set up so well that I didn't even bother to look for imperfections until doing this review. The finish is perfect and the screws were all nice and stuff. The bridge is where it should be, and so are the frets. I did notice that the neck pick up isn't placed on the perfect position. It should be about a millimetre more towards the controls. Or perhaps I'm just being too much of a perfectionist there. I did check on the string height and pickup height using some information I found on the internet, only to find out it's all the way it should be. I think a 9 is well deserved.
Features — 7
Made in Mexico, in 2008-2009 according to the serial number. I bought it in late 2009, so chances that it's a 2009 are high. 20-fret maple neck with a rosewood fretboard. 34" Scale. 2 Single coil passive pickups. Top-loading standard Fender bass bridge. It has 3 knobs: a volume for each pickup and a tone knob. The two single coils are wired in parallel and there's not Switch to wire them in series. However, this modification is fairly easy to do and I plan to install a push/pull in the near future. Mine has got a 3-tone sunburst finish and a 3-ply white pickguard. I wasn't able to find defects in the finish (and I shouldn't be able to, for the price I paid for it). I paid quite a lot for it, but that's mostly due to the store where I bought it. Leo Caerts provides excellent service and perfectly set-up instruments, but it costs somewhat more. It came with a gigbag, hooray. Allowed me to sell my stagg-bag. I never had problems with the stagg-bag, but the Fender gigbag felt like it was higher quality. All in all, it's features are rather basic. However, I don't feel like I 'miss out' on anything, apart from the series/parallel switch. Because of this, I of course can not rate this a 10. However, I think a 7 would be well-deserved. If it had the series/parallel switch, It would have got an 8.