1960 saw the introduction of the iconic Jazz Bass design. With its slim neck and pair of single coils it created a whole new Fender bass sound that has held up ever since. Through a myriad of versions, reissues, signature models and variants over the years Fender have just released the American Original series of instruments harking back to these highly regarded time periods. Let’s see if the Original 60s will keep the vintage aficionados happy….
Combining vintage elements with some newer processes the American Original features an Alder body, Maple neck and a Round Lam Rosewood board. Tall frets; a vintage-style bridge; a 9.5 fretboard radius; bone nut and clay dots all add to the ‘60s feel and look and this particular model came in a classic Candy Apple Red, while the other options available are Three Tone Sunburst and Olympic White. I also like the decision to include the ashtray cover in the case, rather than have it pre-drilled, so you can add it if you wish or leave off unscathed.
Instantly the 9.5 radius felt good; that slimmer ‘J’ neck but with a slightly flatter board gives you the feeling you can move around a little quicker. Overall the instrument felt balanced and the action and setup on this example were great. Fender’s own Pure Vintage 64 single coils are the pickups of choice. Made with vintage bobbin construction, cloth wiring and wound to exact Fender specs they seem to have all the punch and bobble of a good sounding Jazz Bass. As a high quality workhorse, the American Original 60s Jazz really seems to fit the bill.
Many a bass player has spent time looking for that classic Jazz Bass that has the bit of magic. Whilst there are some great instruments out there in the vintage world there are also a lot of basses that have had a tough life, haven’t been looked after and don’t really play well or sound super – yet they command big dollars. For the working player wanting a super solid Jazz Bass in the ‘60s mould that can stand up to lots of gigging and won’t cost you five figures, the American Original might be the go. Extra points for the beautiful plush lined G&G case adding to the overall ‘60s package. A great instrument from the iconic brand that will no doubt be a big hit.
Hits and Misses
Nice vintage touches