This bass is Fender's take on the SUPER JAZZ BASS concept. This term was created by some companies that made an effort to update the good old Jazz Bass and make it useable in modern Jazz, Fusion and Pop-Rock music. In the early 80's keyboard bass was replacing electric bass to a good extent, so companies had to come up with instruments that had better electronics and could prove to be versatile in the studio. Many players incorporated active electronics in their instruments in order to get the sound they needed, and the Super Jazz Bass concept was born.
If there's a classic brand in the bass business, that is FENDER. Having invented the electric bass in 1951, people expected Fender to come up with classic designs, and it was other companies who actually started the "upgraded" idea.
As you probably know, Fender are now in one of their periods, and tis translates into better instruments than ever.
The Fender Custom Shop is a specialized branch that takes care of on-offs custom ordered by customers. At the same time, the guys at the Fender Custom Shop also make a number of basses following these two lines:
- Re-creations of classic Fender desings ('64 Jazz Bass, '59 Precision, etc.), with the choice of different finishes: New Old Stock, Closet Classic and Relic.
- Custom Classic basses
The bass we have bere belongs to the latter cathegory. Custom Classic basses are based on tried and tested designs, but incorporating many of today's advancements in electronics, finishes and ergonomics. These are the most advanced Fender basses you can buy.
Fortunately, rather than go extreme, Fender have taken great care that Custom Classic instruments deliver a familiar tone with the advantage of active electronics (higher output, flexible tone shaping, etc.).
Looking at the bass you'll realize that waist contour is slightly slimmer than usual, plus cutaways are deeper for easier access to the dusty end of the 21 fret fingerboard.
Pickups were a very important part of this desing. Fender wanted pickups that had a classic Jazz Bass type of sound, but with 0 noise for perfect studio and stage performance. Humbucker pickups effectively remove the noise, but obviously change the sound dramatically. This research led to Fender's design of the Noiseless series of pickups following the "stack" concept where there are two individual coils, one sitting on top of the other. The bottom pickup is wired in reverse and effectively removes the 60 cycle buzz but is not connected to the output, so you get a pure single coil sound because you only hear the top pickup. Congratulations, Fender.
Now that the bass has perfect pickups (Classic and with no noise), it was the time to design a good preamp, and Fender really did their homework coming up with a 3 band EQ that matches this bass perfectly in every sense.
The bridge allows you to string in the standard fashion (top load) or through the body for extra sustain.
The overall aspect of the bass also reflects Fender's concern for a bass that looks classic but has modern features. You get a bass with some classic touches like the block inlays in the fingerboard and the tortoise 4 ply pickguard. The output jack has been moved to the side of the bass so you still see a familiar plate with 4 holes on the body.
The polished satin urethane finish is probably one of the best in the market today, with a perfect combination of wood protection and comfortable feel. The modern "C" shape neck also makes playing this bass a joy.
Plug in this axe and you'll put a smile on your face. You get an unmistakeable Fender sound, but with a nice extra punch to it that makes the notes jump out of the instrument.
The onboard EQ proves to be extremely effective and one of the 3 bands performs perfectly. The Bass control has been centered around 30 Hz, which is a bit lower than usual; this produces a great low end fundamental that never turns muddy. The Mid control operates at 1 kHz, which is higher than usual; this allows you to cut the mids and get a really "scooped" type of sound if so yo need. The Treble can provide extra detail on the high end if you want it, but is also very effective at cutting, and works almost like a good old passive tone control, which will be very useful if you want to get a warm classic sound from this bass.
The low B performs really well, so if you are looking for a really nice Fender 5 this is it!
To sum up: a bass with classic looks, classic sound, but also modern comfort and performance.