Fender Jazz Bass Solid Body Electric Bass Guitar (1960)

Fender  Jazz Bass Solid Body Electric Bass Guitar  (1960)
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Item # 8964
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Fender Jazz Bass Model Solid Body Electric Bass Guitar (1960), made in Fullerton, California, serial # 54837, sunburst lacquer re- finish, alder body, maple neck with rosewood fingerboard, original brown tolex hard shell case.

Sometimes superlatives fail, and you just fall back on "it is what it is". What THIS is, is a simply wonderful-feeling and sounding Fender Jazz bass, one of the finest-playing electric basses we have ever had. This particular early "stack-knob" Jazz Bass has had an absolutely top notch restoration including an expert nitro refinish by J. Black, former Fender Custom Shop Master Builder and one of the world's foremost experts on the restoration of old Fenders. These first Jazz basses have long been considered the cream of Fender's 4-string output, and playing this one it is easy to see why.

The introduction of the Jazz Bass represented a major step both for Fender and the electric bass in general. By 1959 the Precision Bass had been on the market for eight years, and Fender saw increasing competition in the 4-string market they had created. The Jazz Bass was designed to be the upgrade model, the hot rod of the electric bass world. With the sleeker "offset" body adapted from the Jazzmaster and a much slimmer 1 1/2" nut width, it had a racier look and feel than the Precision. The two slimmer-cased, multi-pole pickups offered a wider range of sounds, with a sharper attack and more definition to the tone.

The new model was officially introduced in summer 1960, although the first samples had already been shown in March that year. This bass' neck and body are marked 9-60 in pencil, which is just about when the first quantity production of the new model got under way. Typically Fender sales would show samples to dealers at the summer NAMM show, take orders, and then tool up to produce what the dealers were expecting in the fall. This bass carries early examples of the two-on-one pots that give the "stack-knob" its nickname, with concentric knobs mounted on one shaft. This arrangement allows individual tone and volume controls to be offered on a relatively small control plate, and was pioneered by Danelectro (hey, even Leo borrowed ideas!). The pots on this bass are stamped to the 39th week of 1960.

This bass also has all the other signature hallmarks the characteristic of the first-year "stack-knob", including (under the tailpiece cover) the spot where four individual string mutes were once mounted, and an outside metal grounding strip running from the pickup to the bridge. The alder body carries a perfectly executed sunburst refinish; it actually looks pretty much perfectly original even on close inspection. The pickguard is a very light and attractive "pepperoni colored" tortoise celluloid, typical of this period. The large chrome coverplates are intact; the rear chrome cover is original and the forward is an reissue.

This bass weighs in at 9.90 lbs. and is perfectly balanced, handles beautifully, and has a very well-defined, singing sound with plenty of character. The clay dot, slab rosewood fingerboard neck is very slim and exquisitely comfortable. This is one of the finest Fender bass restorations we can imagine and carries a serious vibe for any Jaco fan, vintage-obsessed bass player, or classic Fender bass connoisseur. Fender's introductory promo sheet claimed the instrument "represents the standards to which others will be compared" and for once even the ad copywriter was understating the case!
 
Overall length is 46 in. (116.8 cm.), 14 in. (35.6 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 1 5/8 in. (4.1 cm.) in depth, measured at side of rim. Scale length is 34 in. (864 mm.). Width of nut is 1 1/2 in. (38 mm.).

This bass has had a complete restoration to the original specs by one of the world's best Fender master builder/restorers, J. Black. The finish is a beautifully recreated and lightly aged 3-color sunburst on the body only; the back of the neck is the original finish somewhat worn down with some very light overspray. The headstock is the original finish and decal; there is a spot of the Fender logo flaked away. The body finish has a very light checking pattern and is not heavily "reliced" but has some small worn through spots mostly on the edges. The body itself has no additional routs or other repair work other than the refinish.

Most of the hardware is original to the instrument, including the all-important 1960 pickups, plastic pickup covers and wiring, internal shielding plates, control plate and "stacked" knobs, pickguard, tuners, fingerrest, bridge cover, neckplate and neck screws. The non-original parts are the center chrome cover and its screws, the pickguard screws and the pan-head screws retaining the chrome bridge cover. One corner is chipped off the lower tip of the pickguard, which has some typical shrinkage but it otherwise intact. The plating on the chrome covers and tuners shows a decent amount of wear.

The frets are original in good playing condition (dressed down a bit) and the nut is a replacement…the original bone nut is included but has a chip to one end. This is a wonderful player's instrument that retains its full original sound and playing characteristics with an appearance that as close to original as it is possible for a refinished instrument to get. With some play wear this bass will "relic" itself as years go on! It also includes a well-worn but original case and a very informative letter and spec sheet from J. Black detailing the full restoration. Excellent Condition.