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Precision Jazz

September 1st, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments



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Precision Jazz

This article is mostly aimed at helping bass players who are just starting out (or anyone who's unfamiliar with bass gear) get an idea of what's going on out there, and to arm you with the information you want to consider before you start spending a bunch of money. Obviously, someone who's played bass for several years wouldn't need a guide like this since they've been around and learned what basses they like and what works best for them.

And how did they learn all that? Most everyone learns the hard way - buying stuff they end up not liking or wanting. But since you're smart, you're taking a minute to read over this article.

Ok, that being said, there are so many different models and types of basses, and so many competing manufacturers out there, that it really is a buyer's market. At the same time, all those options can make it confusing for someone who's new to this or just isn't sure what to spend their money on. If you're looking for a functional/versatile bass that plays great, sound great, and looks great (as most of us do), you do not have to spend $1000 and up -especially if you're buying your first bass. There are plenty of decent deals out there, and lots of different basses to fit your needs.

By the way, weird body shapes, and wild paint jobs have nothing to do with the quality and playability of a bass. You may want a bass that looks really cool, but ultimately, it needs to be playable in order to have fun with it. All basses work the same, whether they are conventional or radical in style. You want a bass that balances well on your shoulder, isn't too heavy, and has the right look and sound for the kind of music you play. The most important thing about the look of a bass is that you like it. The more it fits you and your music, the more you'll play and enjoy it.

Quality is everything. The "trusted", big name brands became trusted and big because they use good construction materials and perfected their manufacturing "process" well enough to keep costs down and sell their basses at a reasonable price.

In The Beginning...

Leo Fender was the genius guitar builder who first introduced the world to the electric bass guitar in 1951 when he unveiled the first Precision or "P - Bass". The Precision Bass became the industry standard until the release of the Jazz Bass in 1960. These are the two types of electric basses most manufacturers have always patterned their designs after: The Fender Precision Bass and The Fender Jazz Bass.

The "J-Bass" features a tapered neck that's a bit narrower where the neck meets the headstock. They offset the body shape, and used two pickups - one placed up near the neck of the bass and one closer to the bridge -to get a wider tone range. The (unmodified) P-Bass uses one split-style pickup near the middle. Of course there have been some improvements over time, but when you look at the myriad of basses that have been produced since then, you see that most never strayed too far from the original Leo Fender basic setup.

The reason these two models have been so successful is because they sound good, look good, are very playable and are not terribly expensive. Fender basses were a success from the start and so most other bass manufacturers basically copied Leo Fender's design and added their own modifications and personal touches. The Gibson guitar company was one of Fender's first and biggest competitors in the electric bass guitar market. Gibson may have copied Fender's manufacturing process, but they got creative in their own right when it came to design. Gibson basses were fist patterned off of their popular SG and Les Paul guitar designs.

Please read Part 2 of this article for much more info on buying a bass guitar and bass guitar equipment.

Billy Jazz Guy Learn Precision on Beatnik Bongos

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