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FDP Forum / Fender Product Reviews / Fender American Special Jazz Bass

Contributing Member


Jul 5th, 2011 11:16 AM   Edit   Profile  

Paid $879.00
After buying this bass I compared it to:
2 American Standard Jazz's
4 American Special Jazz's
1 Fender Standard Jazz
1 Geddy Lee

The neck is thinner from front to back and has a smooth satin finish that fingers glide on as compared to the American Standards back of neck is satin while front is gloss but sounds much like it. It has American Vintage pickups vs. American standard pickups. The electronics are the same with the exception the Special has a Grease Bucket tone circuit which helps keep the lowend clear while removing the highs. I like it but some purists may feel the tone circuit of the American Standard and many other Fender Jazz basses is preferred as it goes a bit lower. In my ears the last 1/3 of the typical (non greasebucket) circuit is dark and muddy. The tuning keys are like the ones on the Hwy 1 bass and are decent but not as pretty and doesn't have the higher gear ratio of the American Standard's tuners. This is not a big deal but the American Standards are nicer with finer tuning capabilities. The body fit and finish (Olympic White on mine) are impeccably nice. The Fretboard on my bass is a nice looking and feeling Rosewood with smooth frets, straight neck and low action. The only con I have with this bass is the bridge is vintage old style and low mass with only string through the top side of the bridge vs. Higher Mass, nicer looking bridge with string through the top side or body available. A heavier bridge would lend better sustain as proved by the BabicZ full contact bridge I replaced the stock with. Some day I may put some HB7 American Classic tuning machines with a 27:1 gear ratio. The American Standard felt much like the American Special and sounded about the same but with more sustain. The 3 of the 4 other American Specials felt and sounded the same as mine which shows some quality control here. The 4th American special did not sound nearly as good but upon a closer inspection I found someone had cranked the "G" string side of both pickups way down as far as it would go making it very "cocked" which I attribute to it feeling like the others but not sounding good at all. When I came back to GC on another day they had apparently fixed this issue. The Getty Lee is a nice bass but the neck feels better on my American Special. The Fender Standard did not come as close to this bass in feel and tone but is a decent bass in it's own rite.

Photos in profile

(edited to add other American Special comments)

Fender American Special Jazz Bass

(This message was last edited by Bubbalou at 12:48 PM, Aug 8th, 2013)

Contributing Member


Aug 8th, 2013 10:49 AM   Edit   Profile  

Edited Update: I did put some HB7 American Classic tuning machines with a 27:1 gear ratio on this bass. The low E has a drop D Hipshot HB7 style tuner that keeps remarkably in tune once set up correctly. I have owned this bass for 3 years and still love it. I put a red tort pickguard on it which improved the looks tremendously. Everything else is the same. I tried some SJB-3 quarter pounder pickups on it but went back to the stock. This is the first bass I have kept stock pickups on (including a 2004 MIA Jazz I once had and didn't like it's pickups much).

FDP Forum / Fender Product Reviews / Fender American Special Jazz Bass

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