I have always been a big fan of Fender of Japan, and today we are looking at one of their 1975 re-issue Fender Jazz Basses, model JB75B-100US. This model was never intended to be exported into the United States, and my friend Bruce in Tokyo found it for me. This is a fairly recent example, though later ones have been hard to date, as the serial number prefixes do not seem to mean much anymore. I figure it is around 5 years old, for what it is worth.
A casual look might lead you to believer that this is a Geddy Lee artist model, as it is a black Jazz with a black blocked and bound neck, but it is not. It has a conventional bridge, no signature on the back of the headstock, and a normal profile neck. It also has US pickups that are a definite upgrade from the Geddy models I have owned and played.
I have been unable to find specifications on this model, but chances are good that the body is alder, though ash is a possibility as this thing is the heaviest bass I have ever owned. Really – it comes in at over 13 pounds!
The original black poly finish is almost perfect, and there are no signs of playwear. The bound neck and frets are also in great shape, and the frets are level and well finished on the edges. The neck pocket fit is tight, and this is one of the cases where the fit and finish of Fender Japan instruments is indeed better than the US-made ones. With its full-sized chrome tuners, this one has just the right look and it is a doppelganger for Geddy’s 72 Jazz that he picked up from a pawnshop in Kalamazoo, Michigan for $200.
It plays absolutely killer, and sounds incredible. It far outshines any of the Geddy Lee Artist Model basses I have seen and played. These are hard to come by, and I have never seen on in the states. If you are looking for a good Jazz Bass, it would be worth importing one of these. Just be sure that you ask how much it weighs first.