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Re: A very basic question

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Posted by Mickster on February 07, 2001 at 16:44:21:

In Reply to: A very basic question posted by M.R. on February 07, 2001 at 11:04:53:

: Hi,
: I just started playing the bass after years of wanting to but never
: having the gumption. I'm enjoying myself tremendously!
: My question is this. What's the difference between a "jazz bass" and a "rock bass"?
: My bass is a Fender Jazz that I bought used (in quite good condition) from a friend.
: It's fine for now, but if I stick with this, I might want to upgrade in the future.
: Since I don't play jazz - and don't plan to start - I'm curious about the difference
: between the two types of instruments. Is there actually a physical/tonal difference,
: or is it more an aesthetic thing? Does one tend to be lighter/smaller than the
: other? (I'm not a very large bassist.)
: Any information you have would be much appreciated. Thanks.

Hey M.R. What's up? I like that word gumption. O.K., while Fender has made a
two pickup bass called the "Jazz Bass" since 1960, it was just a name Leo Fender
(all bow their heads) gave to his new deluxe model. The bass that started it all
was called the Precision bass, so named because Leo was quoted as saying that
now bassists can play with precision, because this new instrument had frets like
a guitar.(as opposed to upright basses which do not) Now that we have the names
out of the way, there is no actual "Rock" or "Jazz" bass, you use whatever you
want, although some basses seem to fit the jig saw puzzle of musical styles
better than others. Remember though, it's all subjective. Your opinion is as
good as anyone elses. While alot of electric Jazz players do use the Jazz bass,
it's always been very popular in country music, and about tied in Rock with the
Precision. The basic differences are: A Jazz bass can produce a throatier tone
due to the second pickup by the bridge. With a Jazz, you also have the option of
using either pickup alone, or both together. While using just the neck pickup
on a Jazz bass can get you in the area of a Precision's tone, it never really
gets the warm punchy percussive tone a Precision produces. A Jazz bass also has
a thinner neck(at the nut) and an asymetrical body when compared with a Precision, although it takes some people a while to identify them by sight. After you can, that and a token will get you on the Subway. One *EXCELLENT*
feature about owning a Jazz or Precision, is that the necks and bodies are interchangeable. You can also buy an after market Precision body from a few
different manufacturers that has a Jazz pickup added by the bridge just like
a regular Jazz bass. You can also get a fretless neck if you ever feel the need. Another thing is that with either bass, you can replace the original
factory pickups with either hotter sounding Fender pickups, or choose from
a bunch of other manufacturers. Most of them will drop right in to your bass
with no modification at all. Go to to see all the Fender basses.
There are other models such as the Stu Hamm and Roscoe Beck. Fender also makes
alot of different versions of the Jazz and Precision. Check it out. Finally
they both weigh about the same; then again, you can buy replacement bodies made
of different woods which change the tone of the bass to varying levels.

Welcome to bass playing, enjoy,

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