The Fender Jazz bass (or J-bass) is a classic instrument, as well known and played today as any other bass. It found favour with so many bass players, from legends like Noel Redding of the Jimi Hendrix Experience and Jaco Pastorius (who now have signature models) to small time artists who just love that thin neck, and bright sound.
The Jazz bass was launched in 1960; a two-pickup companion to the Fender Precision.
In the late fifties, buyers were still wary of solid-bodied basses, being used to upright acoustic basses, and so string mutes were standard until 1962, giving a more 'upright bass' sound.
As the sixties wore on, this became less relevant, and the Jazz bass was accepted for what it was.
The bass went from strength to strength, and has been made ever since, with only minor changes in half a century of manufacture. Vintage Jazz basses change hands for very large sums; not only are they highly collectable, they are also desirable players instruments, particularly amongst jazz and funk musicians.
The following description is taken from the 1969 Fender Lovin' Care catalog
Tops in sound at the bottom of the musical register.. Jazz bass by Fender. Included among its design features are two separate pickups, each having eight pole pieces to capture the full vibration of the string in the magnetic field giving full string tone responses and precluding fading or decay.
The tone and pickup mixing circuit employs a separate volume control for each pickup a single tone control operating both pickups. In this manner, any degree of bass and tremolo may be attained with further tone values increased or decreased by using individual volume controls.
The Jazz Bass "off-set" waist design contributes greatly to playing ease and comfort of the player. It places the arm in a natural position over the strings which facilitates playing technique. In addition, the portability and light weight of the Jazz Bass will be readily appreciated by every bassist. It afford ease of movements on stage and ease of storing. Individual bridges are adjustable for perfect string lengths and heights, and the truss-rod reinforced neck is adjustable to retain alignment. Extremely slender, the comfort feel of this neck is readily noticeable. Binding and inlaid position markers add beauty and make fretting easier.
Available in shaded Sunburst or in selected custom colors. Left-hand models available by special order
Electric bass advertisements originally published from 1963 onwards. Click on the images for larger copies. Check out other vintage Fender advertisements
Fender Jazz - The most imitated guitar in the world (1963)
Early sixties Fender advert for three guitars and one bass - the Jaguar, Jazzmaster, Stratocaster and Jazz bass, highlighting the design and components that made these guitars: bridges, pickups, etc
Fender Jazz - Quality Means Confidence (1963)
Early sixties advert for the Fender Jazz bass and the Stratocaster guitar
Fender Jazz - The Most Imitated Guitars In The World (1965)
Mid sixties Fender advert featuring the Fender Jazz bass, Fender Jaguar guitar, Fender Wildwood acoustic, and a new model, the Fender Bandmaster amplifier.
Fender Jazz - The Name that Makes the Difference (1966)
This mid sixties advert shows a Fender decal being applied to a Jazz bass. Despite the model depicted, this is really an advert for the Fender company rather than any individual model.
Fender Jazz - Full Color Sound (1967)
From Fender Musical Instruments, representing the complete musical spectrum with a selection of master-crafted guitars and amplifiers. See the complete line of Fender Musical Instruments at any aut...
Fender Jazz - Get Fenderized (1967)
Heavily promoted advert / Competition for Fender in 1967, giving the opportunity to win a 'bandfull' of instruments. The first prize was a Fender Jaguar and Jazzmaster guitar, Jazz bass, Bassman an...
Fender Jazz - Full Color Sound (1967)
Advert for the Fender display at the June 1967 NAMM show in Chicago, USA. It features a number of instruments 'representing the complete musical spectrum': a Jazz Bass, a Coronado II electric acous...
Fender Jazz - Fender. What more need we say (1971)
just that Fender guitars are played by stars the world over - from big-beat blues to folk music, c&w to acid rock. The greatest guitars in the world
UK Dallas Arbiter (Fender distributor) fe...
Naturally the Jazz bass, as a mainstay of the Fender line is included in all major catalogues from its launch, a selection of which are reproduced on this site. Click on the images below to see the Fender Jazz in each of these catalogues.
1964 1965 Fender catalogue - The Jazz bass is on page 2
The Jazz Bass represents the standards by which others will be compared
The 1965 1966 Fender catalogue - the Fender Jazz bass was included on page 3
1968 catalogue Fender Musical Instruments on the Go
The Jazz bass appears on pages 8-9
The basses are all on page 4 in this brochure
No matter what kind of music you're playing, the Jazz Bass really grooves
The Jazz bass appears on page 20
The "thin neck" bass with two pickups for full string tone
Fender have published regular list of replacement parts for their instruments, along with part numbers. Some of these parts lists are reproduced here
Need the value of your guitar? The Official Vintage Guitar Magazine Price Guide 2023 is out now