Significant changes were afoot in 1974 for the Jazz Bass®. The bridge pickup had been moved about half an inch closer to the bridge only the year before, and 1974 saw the last of the four-bolt necks for quite a while. Further, the slim C-shaped maple neck was re-sculpted with a meatier U-shaped profile (and acquired a walnut "skunk" stripe), white fingerboard binding and pearl block inlays made their first appearance, headstock "bullet" truss rod nuts were first adopted, and black pickguards replaced their longstanding tortoiseshell predecessors.
The American Vintage '74 Jazz Bass encompasses many of the above features and is the sole member of the new American Vintage bass lineup to offer a choice of maple and round-laminated rosewood fingerboards, each with white binding, pearl block inlays and 20 vintage-style frets. Other authentic features include a urethane-finished alder body (ash on Natural-finish model), three-ply black/white/black pickguard (three-ply white/black/white on Black model), new American Vintage '74 Jazz Bass single-coil pickups, upper-mounted thumb rest, vintage-style bridge with single-groove steel "barrel" saddles, '70s-style "Fender"-stamped open-gear tuners, four-bolt "F"-stamped neck plate, chrome pickup and "F"-stamped bridge covers with vintage-accurate positioning, and more. Available in Three-color Sunburst, Olympic White, Black and Natural.
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I have owned Fender Custom Shop basses and American Standard basses, and they never seem to disappoint.
This one, for me, has to be the best bass I've ever played and owned, new, out of the box.
Beginning with the visual, it is nothing short of stunning: The three-tone sunburst is perfection achieved, and with the Urethane finish, it looks more like candy than a guitar.
The neck is perfect for my smallish hands. With a set of flatwound chromes, it feels like I've been playing it for years, and can play it all day without hand-cramping or finger-sting.
Using the control knobs, I found it easy to get any tone from straight-ahead jazz, R&B, Funk, Blues, or Rock that suited my ear. For amplification, I used an older Genz-Benz 6.0, a Fender Rumble 30 for home use, and Fender Bassman. I'd have to say the Bassman was the best overall for me, but the Genz-Benz did have interesting tonal nuances the Bassman did not. It would likely sound good wired to an old transistor radio.
Since I feel no review is truly complete without bringing any negatives, I'd have to say the weight. It is quite a piggy, but I can't imagine how the tone could be so rich with an ash body rather than the standard alder. Probably just my advancing age that complains the most, which would not have bothered me in the slightest about 40 years ago...
She's a 10, and there is no doubt about it in my mind.
rtobias owns this item
I didn't exist in 1974, but with a bass like this, i kinda wish i did. So beautiful and can do you good with any style of music.
TheAmericanJazzPro owns this item
I've not played this particular model. I currently own the older incarnation of this model which is the American Vintage 75 Reissue Jazz Bass. It's one of my favorite basses I own, the craftsmanship is second to none (It's better than any real 70's Fender Jazz Bass I've played), and the sound is huge and spot on to the era. This is due in part to the bridge pickup location, which is a little closer to the bridge than the standard or '60s jazz bass. My only problem with the instrument is that it's not a dead on reissue. It's a very close replica. It's little things like the logo design, the serial number location, and the fingerboard/inlay choices available. Minor things that don't really affect playability, construction, or someone who just wants a great instrument.
Now on to this instrument:
Essentially anything that made the 75 reissue cost more than a standard jazz bass was eliminated all short of the block inlays. The 3 bolt neck with tilt function and the bullet truss rod. In my eyes, this is what made the 75 jazz bass truly stand out in adjustability standards. It could be set up easily, quickly and perfectly every time. Now anytime a set up is necessary on this the neck must go on and off. This is a real pain for anyone who lives in a climate that varies quite a bit.
There was also the strange redundancy between Fender USA and Fender Japan where they were both making a 75 reissue. The Japanese model was even further from a true reissue in that the pickups were in the '60s position.
Don't get me wrong, I love how this looks, and it probably sounds just as good as my 75 reissue. I only wish that instead of making this, they expanded the colors of the '75 reissue. The only ones available before were natural ash with either a maple fingerboard with black blocks and binding, or a rosewood board with pearloid blocks and white binding. Would have preferred a maple board with pearloid inlays like the neck here, but that's splitting hairs. Great bass no matter what it looks like.
|Model Name:||American Vintage '74 Jazz Bass®, Bound Round-Laminated Rosewood Fingerboard, 3-Color Sunburst|
|Body Shape:||Jazz Bass®|
|Neck Shape:||"U" Shape|
|Scale Length:||34" (864 mm)|
|Fingerboard:||Bound Round-Laminated Rosewood|
|Fingerboard Radius:||7.25" (184.1 mm)|
|Number of Frets:||20|
|Nut Width:||1.475" (37.46 mm)|
|Position Inlays:||Pearloid Block|
|Truss Rods:||Vintage-Style Heel Adjust|
|Head Stock Binding:||White|
|Neck Plate:||4-Bolt Serialized|
|Bridge Pickup:||American Vintage '74 Single-Coil Jazz Bass|
|Neck Pickup:||American Vintage '74 Single-Coil Jazz Bass|
|Controls:||Volume 1. (Middle Pickup), Volume 2. (Bridge Pickup), Master Tone|
|Bridge:||4-Saddle American Vintage Bass with Single-Groove Steel "Barrel" Saddles|
|Tuning Machines:||Fender '70s Vintage-Style Stamped Open-Gear|
|Control Knobs:||Black Plastic|
|Strings:||Fender® USA Bass 7250M, NPS (.045-.105 Gauges)|
|Unique Features:||Mounted Chrome Pickup and "F" Bridge Cover with Vintage- Accurate Positioning, Upper-Mounted Thumb Rest, Four-Bolt "F" Neck Plate, Walnut "Skunk" Stripe, White Neck Binding with White Pearloid Block Position Inlays|
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