Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Fender Geddy Lee Jazz Bass Review


Geddy Lee of Rush is a legend in the bass community, and he is a joy to watch during live shows as he is an incredible player. Over the years he has used basses from Rickenbacker, Steinberger, and Wal, but Fender is the only company that has honored him with a signature model.

The Fender Geddy Lee Jazz Bass was introduced in 1998 as a replica of the 1972 Fender Jazz Bass that he bought in a Kalamazoo, Michigan pawn shop. They have been a good-selling model and are still being made today.

These basses have an alder body finished in black poly, or in 3-tone sunburst (as of 2009). They are loaded up with a couple of passive vintage single-coil pickups, wired through the traditional volume/volume/tone controls.

The hardware is chrome, and includes large-plate vintage tuners and a Leo Quan Badass II bridge.

The neck is the most special part of the bass. It is poly-finished maple with black blocks and binding, as well as Geddy’s signature on the back of the headstock. The fretboard has a 9 ½-inch radius fretboard with 20 medium-jumbo frets set into it. The profile is completely different than other Jazz Basses I have played. It has the expected 1.5-inch wide bone nut, but it has a very thin C-shape to it.

These basses are all made by Fender in their Japanese workshops, and the craftsmanship is top-rate. The finish is glossy and even, and the fretwork and neck pocket fit have been great on every example I have seen.

I have owned 6 of these basses, and they all played and sounded great. I had each of them set up with Rotosound Swing Bass 66 Stainless Steel round-wound strings, just as Geddy uses on his.

But, I have had necks go bad on two of them, which required that they be sent back to Fender for replacement. I think this is because they have made the necks so thin that they became unstable. Admittedly this is a small sample, but 33% is not a very good failure rate.

The Fender Geddy Lee Jazz Bass has a list price of $1399.99, and a street price of $1000. This includes a deluxe gig bag and a nice warranty, Check out the new sunburst Geddys, they are breathtaking!


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