Sunday, August 23, 2015

1993 Fender Japan JB62G-70 Jazz Bass Review


Boy, the folks at Fender Japan sure came up with a lot of cool stuff over the years, and I was very sad to hear they shut down operations earlier this year. One of their gems is this really cool 1993 JB62G-70 Jazz Bass I picked up on a recent trip overseas.

As always, a little deciphering needs to be done on the model name. JB means that this is a Jazz Bass, 62 means that it is a copy of a 1962 model (sort of), G stands for gold hardware, and 70 is the price in Yen (70,000 Yean when it was new). This is a rare model that was only made in 1993, and it was available in three colors: see-through green, see-through red and see-through blue. This one is the latter, which the factory called Clear Charcoal Marine (CCM in the catalog).

As this was a one year only model, specs can be a bit iffy. The catalog says that the body is made of American Basswood, but it looks like light northern ash or Sen wood to me. But everything else seems pretty straightforward to me. This bass looks awesome with its pretty clear poly finish and the 3-ply pickguard.

The neck is slim with a pretty rosewood fretboard. The 20 original frets are vintage sized, and there are nice full-sized tuners, not the wrong-looking small base tuners that are found on the cheaper models. The logos all look right (except for the contour body one, which is not in the right place) and they even put the extra strap button on the back of the headstock. But still, nobody is going to mistake this thing for a 1962 Fender Jazz Bass.

The hardware is all gold, even the pickguard screws. As always, gold stuff does not hold up well, so it is mostly faded, but it is still pretty fly. There are the usual Jazz Bass volume/volume/tone knobs connected to the single coil pickups. No big surprises here.

The overall condition of this instrument is very good, with just normal play wear. The original frets are in good shape and are still level, – the craftsmanship is first rate. The pickups are surprisingly beefy, with more output than most of their Japanese counterparts. What more could you want?

I set it up with roundwounds, and it has a nice medium action, a fast neck, it looks good, and it sounds exactly like a Jazz Bass should. It is not terribly heavy, either, coming in at 9 ½ pounds. With the strong dollar, you cannot beat the prices of these instruments either, especially if you pick one up overseas. There is nothing on the used market in the US that can even compare at this price point. If you are looking for a solid Jazz Bass, you need to check one of these out if you can find one!


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