Wednesday, March 19, 2014

2011 Nash JB-63 Jazz Bass Guitar Review


Today we are looking at a fabulous Jazz Bass copy: a Bill Nash built JB-63. I was all out of Jazz Basses recently, and this one practically fell into my lap. What could I do?

Bill Nash has been assembling vintage-style guitars since 2001, and has gained a lot of respect and a faithful following because he builds guitars that play very well and sound incredible. These guitars have all received the relic treatment, and they will not build you a shiny new guitar. I’ve asked…

By the way, Bill Nash initials and dates the headstock on each guitar they build, and writes the serial number on the tip of the headstock. And the serial number convention is something I have not seen before. The first two letters of the serial number denote which dealer the guitar was shipped to. In this case it starts with “SND”, because it was originally shipped to Soundpure Music in North Carolina.

Spec-wise, this JB-63 is a fairly faithful reproduction of a 1963 Fender Jazz Bass. It has an alder body with a black nitrocellulose lacquer finish and a dead-on accurate tortoise shell pickguard. The slim maple neck has a C shape and a 10-inch radius rosewood fretboard with a 1 ½-inch width Tusq nut. They installed tall Dunlop 6105 frets on this one, which is a departure from the early 1960s standard.

The hardware is also true to the theme, with Kluson-style reverse tuners and a serrated-saddle bridge. Nash went with Jason Lollar pickups, which I think are the best choice for a J-bass these days. There is no pre-amplifier, just the expected volume/volume/tone pots.

And all of these fabulous things were put together very well by the folks over at Nash Guitars. The craftsmanship is very good, with a comfortable neck and great fretwork. I have not found any dead spots, and the Lollar pickups sound very rich. It does not hurt that it is relatively light, coming in at a touch over 9 pounds.

This is one of the best Jazz Basses I have ever owned, and it should be for a street price of around $1900.

As with all Nash guitars, I am a little hung up on the way this one looks. Even though this one is described as having light aging, I think the relic process goes a little too far -- I guess I do not have to worry about scratching it. Also, there are no bridge cover or pickup cover holes drilled in the bass, which is an oversight for a 1960s Fender replica. If that is all I have to complain about, they must have done a good job!

If you have not had the opportunity to play a Bill Nash guitar or bass, I recommend you give one a shot. It may be the closest you will get to play a pre-CBS Fender.


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