Fender Jazz Bass Solid Body Electric Bass Guitar (1965)

Fender  Jazz Bass Solid Body Electric Bass Guitar  (1965)
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Item # 9073
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Fender Jazz Bass Model Solid Body Electric Bass Guitar (1965), made in Fullerton, California, serial # L70151, Olympic White finish, alder body, maple neck with rosewood fingerboard, original black tolex hard shell case.

This is an excellent example of just-CBS Custom Color Jazz bass, played but nicely original and in generally well-preserved condition. While the Jazz bass was a very popular instrument in the mid-1960s, the vast majority were sold in the standard sunburst finish. This bass is finished in Olympic White with a matching headstock, one of the more commonly ordered colors but still far rarer than the sunburst, and a real sharp-looking instrument then and now!

The 1959 introduction of the Jazz Bass represented a major step for Fender, and the electric bass in general. By that point the Precision Bass had been on the market for eight years or so, and Fender was seeing increasing competition in a market they had pretty much created. The Jazz Bass was designed as an 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 sleeker 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. When finished in a solid color this California Car culture connection is more evident, with the sweeping lines of the offset body and chrome hardware emphasized.

This Jazz Bass dates to the latter part of 1965 and shows typical features for that transitional year. The slim tapered neck has a pearl dot rosewood fingerboard with no binding; that would be added to the model very soon after this one was made. The headstock sports a gold Fender logo decal and is fitted with Kluson tuners; the Fender-made tuners with the unusual "egg" shaped buttons would be substituted in 1966. The alder body and the headstock face are finished in white lacquer with a clear nitro overcoat that has yellowed quite a bit over the years. This is topped off with a tortoise plastic pickguard.

This bass was built less than a year after the CBS takeover at Fender -- the neck is stamped 7 NOV 65A and the pots are from the 20th week of that year. The serial number is still in the pre-CBS "L" series. At just over 9.5 lbs. (with the covers mounted), this is a medium-light weight 1960s Fender bass and extremely resonant. It is a superlative player with a typical Jazz Bass tone from the 1965 period, quite bright with a nice honk when the pickups are blended.

While always a successful model, the Jazz Bass was rather more expensive than the Precision and in the 1960s was built in smaller numbers, and original unaltered custom color examples are rather thin on the ground these days. It is always a pleasure to find one that has weathered the decades well and looks and sounds as fine as this one.
Overall length is 46 1/2 in. (118.1 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 all-original Jazz bass shows typical light play wear, but is still a spectacular example of an early CBS era custom color bass. The Olympic White finish on the body and headstock shows minor dings, dents, and scuffs overall -- mostly to the edges -- with one decent-sized spot of belt buckle wear down to the wood on the back. There is also some light checking, and some odd darker "strap burn" marks around the neck plate area. The "Money Side" i.e. the face and headstock present very well with only small marks and dings. The color has yellowed somewhat but is not heavily "smoked", with some wear on the edges down to the whiter color coat underneath. There is some lacquer worn off the back of the neck, which feels divine.

All hardware appears original to the bass, down to the last screw...that includes both chrome covers and the flat-bottom control and rear coverplate screws. The grey-bobbin pickups are original, but look to have been dismounted long ago for a wax potting treatment. Jazz Bass pickups from this era tend to be notoriously microphonic and these are not! The hardened foam underneath has been supplemented with the correct style black material.

Everything on this bass is still as Leo's crew built it, before the "bean counters" from CBS management started making changes and altering the classic Fender designs. It is still accompanied by the original red-lined black case in good shape, the silver Fender logo having gone missing. Visually and sonically a stunner, with just enough wear to play without guilt! Overall Excellent Condition.