Hey y’all! Welcome to another jazz-tastic edition of The Record Shop Nashville Recording Studio’s multi-faceted, never-ending series BEHIND THE GEAR!!! Boy, Oh Boy do we have a fun one for y’all today. The Fender Jazz Bass has been heralded as one of the greatest bass guitars ever created (read RHCP’s Flea thinks about Jazz bass’s greatness here). That statement is hard to deny when you think about the long lists of musicians who use them like Geddy Lee, Steve Bailey, and Noel Redding. The Jazz was also monumentally important to the development and sound of funk, reggae, blues, and fusion music. So put on your black turtlenecks and berets, and lets dive in to the wonders of this spectacular instrument.
(Below: Sam ___ inside The Record Shop w/ his Fender Jazz)
And All That Jazz
Every musician and music lover must pay their respects to Leo Fender for revolutionizing the bass guitar forever by making it smaller and amplified. The Precision Bass, created in 1951, allowed the bass guitar to actually be heard amongst the Big Bands of the day. Nine years later Fender changed the game again when they produced the first Fender Jazz Bass. The Jazz became the new standard to which all electric bass guitars were to be compared to. It’s tapered neck, off-set waist, and two-set pickups made the Jazz more sonically unique and allowed for faster, easier playing! The Jazz’s sound, in comparison to it’s predecessor, is much brighter and full in the mids and treble with less emphasis on the fundamental frequency. The the strength of the mids and treble came from the double, single-coil pickup’s having two pole pieces per string, which Fender used to compete with the famously bright tone of Rickenbacker basses. It also made the bass perfect for slapping! From 1961-1963, the newer Jazz models became equipped with new features like going from two control knobs to three (two for pickup volume, one for tone control) and “Spring Felt Mutes“, but the Jazz received some major cosmetic alterations after Fender was bought by CBS. For a more in depth look at the history of the Fender Jazz Bass click HERE!
The Record Shop’s Aerodyne Jazz Bass!
The Aerodyne series was first introduced in 2004, and they are still being manufactured today! Here, at The Record Shop’s Nashville Recording Studio, we have a 2007 model in our possession. Like other Aerodyne Jazz models it has the typical Jazz shape but with some differences. For one, it is much lighter than your normal Jazz bass weighing about 7lbs whereas the standard is about 10lbs. Secondly, it is thinner than the standard Jazz because of its 39″ top radius. Other notable design features are its 1.5″ nut, slim “C”-shaped neck, 20 medium-jumbo frets, fret markers on the side only, cream binding, and its Telecaster input jack. A stock Aerodyne bass has the split single-coil P-Bass pickup in the middle position and a J-Bass single-coil pickup in the bridge position with volume controls per pickup and one master tone tone knob. Our Aerodyne has been modified with EMG bass pickups (pictured above). We also switched out the Master Tone with a concentric pot (the bottom of the pot controls the bass frequencies and the top pot controls the treble) allowing you to have more tone control!
That wraps up another edition of Behind The Gear! We thank you so much for spending part of your day with us here at The Record Shop Nashville. Feel free to explore the rest of our blog, and click HERE for a complete list of our Nashville Recording Studio’s gear! Also, don’t be such a stranger! Follow and chat with Gio and his merry henchmen on Twitter @therecordshop!