In January 2008 we visited the Fender factories in Corona (California) and Ensenada (Mexico), to attend the NAMM show in L.A. Fender launched the updated American Series instruments at the NAMM show, and we are glad to say these are the best American Series guitars and basses ever.
A little bit of history:
In the mid 80's, the CBS owned Fender were producing just a handful of US made instruments, and most of the prodcution actually came from Japan. The quality of the overseas instruments usually surpassed American instruments. When CDB sold Fender to their workers, they made the decision to make great instruments again, just like in the old days. Soon the American Standard Series was born as the most affordable US made instrument with enough quality to bear the "Made in USA" logo with pride, aiming to become an American Icon once again.
Over the years Fender have made subtle changes on the American Series Instruments, and we are glad to see that the 2008 update packs lots of improvements in several departments:
- 30% lighter classical style tuners
- Richer and deeper neck tint for a more elegant appearance, a great-looking glossed maple or rosewood fingerboard and satin back for smooth playability
- Thinner finish undercoat that lets the body breathe and improves resonance
- New high-mass vintage bridge
- SKB molded case
Best of all, the price has almost not changed, so you get a much better bass for the same price. You can find a few of 2007's American Series basses at blowout prices here.
This JAZZ BASS is just great. It offers those classic Jazz Bass tones from the 60's and 70's in an easy to play bass with perfect finish. The bridge pickup has enough bite to pull out all the harmonics in the neck and is great for those fast quarter note lines. The neck pickup is beefy and warm, perfect for rock with a pick. Mix both and you'll get a fat 70's slap.
The good news is that the low B is loud, clear and focused, something not so ususal with Fender fivers. If you have tried Fender 5 string basses in the past, you may have experienced a less than perfect 5th string, with the added problem that the bass did not have that classic Jazz Bass tone. Not the case here: this bass not only has a strong low B, but it actually sounds like the good old Jazz Bass that we've all come to love.
Fender produce some more expesive basses such as the Deluxe American Series (with some refinements and updates), the American Vintage Series (recreations of classic designs) and the amazing Custom Shop Instruments (top quality and attention to detail), but if you just need a powerful workhorse that will you give professional results for years to come, the American Series is for you. We are convinced these basses will become true calssics in a few years and will stand the test of time perfectly.
Kudos to Fender for this great update of the American Series.