The Company Line

Too bad I can’t have the James Bond theme playing in the background as you read this. Oh well, use your imagination! Anyway, Fender’s been doing the electric bass thing for 75 years now, which is the Diamond Anniversary in traditional terms. And we’ve spoken many times about the well-known history in a bit more detail, so I won’t re-re-cover it here. Instead, let’s just focus on these two basses. So how do they come up with some special anniversary Jazz Bass models, which represent a culmination of the entire history of the “standard” J-bass, but without specifically targeting a particular genre/era of J-basses, so it’s more of a generally applicable homage, while at the same time, not violating the essentially maintained pedigree? Enter the two 75th Anniversary models. One very affordable made-in-Mexican model, and a finer top-of-the-line, limited-run USA Commemorative model. Fender is also releasing a new book about their history coincidentally with these instruments, and I hope to get a copy, but we won’t talk about that book in this review … just the gear. However, don’t forget to check out my video interview with Director of Product Management, Allen Abbassi!

Fender 75th Anniversary Jazz Bass®

Fender 75th Anniversary Jazz Bass®

Details

Let’s start with a quick comparison chart between USA Commemorative model vs the MIM anniversary model, which will save a lot of written language.

 75th Anniversary Commemorative Jazz Bass® (USA)75th Anniversary Jazz Bass® (Mexican)
Price$2,049.99$849.99
HardwarGold with HiMass™ Vintage BridgeChrome, standard bridge
PickupCustom Shop 60’s Jazz Bass, single coilVintage-Style '60s, single-coil
Neck

  • Maple neck

  • Slim “C” profile

  • Rosewood fingerboard

  • Hand rolled edges

  • Sculpted heel

  • 1.5” bone nut

  • White dots

  • 20 frets

  • 9.5” radius


  • Maple neck

  • Modern "C" profile

  • Maple fingerboard

  • Standard edges

  • Standard heel

  • 1.5” synthetic bone nut

  • Black dots

  • (same)

  • (same)

BodyAsh, 3-Ply Mint/Black/Mint pickguardAlder, 3-Ply Black/White/Black pickguard
Finish

  • Body: 2-Color Bourbon Burst

  • Neck: “Super-Natural” Satin Urethane

  • Headstock Face: Gloss Urethane



  • Body: Diamond Anniversary

  • Neck Back: Satin Urethane

  • Neck Front: Gloss Urethane

  • Headstock Face: Diamond Anniversary


Extra

  • 75th Anniversary headstock ingot,

  • stamped anniversary neck plate,

  • certificate of authenticity


75th Anniversary neck plate
CaseCustom Inca Silver molded hard shellDeluxe Gig bag

As you can see, it’s more than just a case of “the same thing, just more attention to detail.” They are two very different takes on “something special” for the 75th anniversary celebration. Also, unlike some previous commemorative models, neither one of these basses pays homage to any specific genre of J-bass. The MIM model, while also using vintage-style pickups, doesn’t have as much of a “vintage” sense to it as the Commemorative model. I feel the Commemorative model is probably a stronger general statement to the pedigree of the J-bass overall, while the MIM model is just a darn cool J-bass.

Fit and finish

Interestingly, the MIM 75th model is priced pretty much right alongside all the Mexican-made Fender bass models, making this an especially great value, in my opinion. You get the special features that sets this bass apart from those standard models, essentially “for free.” The Commemorative model is a little different, in that it’s priced alongside the higher-end American series basses. But for that extra money, you get quite a few nice upgrades from the standard models.

Fender 75th Anniversary Commemorative Jazz Bass

Fender 75th Anniversary Commemorative Jazz Bass

 

As I said before, there’s a lot more attention to detail on the Commemorative model. Every contour and cut on the body is more refined. The frets are dressed to a greater level of perfection, every edge on the bass is smoother, even the pickup routes just look nicer. Then you get to the rolled edges on the fingerboard, the sculpted heel, and even the simulated clay dots. The specs for the Commemorative say “white dots,” but that’s a simplification. They are actually made of some kind of fibrous resin, akin to something called Bakelite, which was the first plastic made from synthetic components, making it a fitting choice for dots that are supposed to look vintage. Just for kicks, I looked it up, and the technical name is actually “polyoxybenzylmethylenglycolanhydride.”  Yeah, I can’t pronounce it either, but it was fun to look up. Also, I’m not generally a fan of gold hardware on a bass, but in this case – especially since it’s a little bit more of a collectible than an everyday player – it works for me, and looks super classy. The wiring in both models looks just fine. Nothing special, but nothing complex in there, either; and the cavities look fully shielded by paint. In general, you pick up the standard model and it’s a really nice J-bass, but you pick up the Commemorative model, and you get an immediate sense of high quality.

On the gig

I don’t know if this is generally true, but at least for the basses sent to me, the MIM model is a bit lighter than the Commemorative model. The MIM model weighs in at a fairly typical 8.8lbs. Lighter ash is harder to find these days, but I also happen to know alder can be heavy as well. The Commemorative model weighs in at a fairly hefty 10.6lbs, but just for reference, my Japanese Geddy Lee Signature model is alder and weighs in at 10.5lbs. Other than that, they both hang on the neck just fine, just as a great J-bass should. The necks both have that familiar J-bass feel, though the Commemorative model feels clearly better to the hand due to all the extra shaping and the slightly slimmer profile (though not shaved, like the Geddy). Tonally, there’s also a difference. While the MIM model sounds great, the pickups in the Commemorative model just sound better. They’re a bit clearer, with more authority, and seem to have a broader soundscape. Other than that, they’re both worthy of the gig, and can cover the usual broad base of styles a good Jazz Bass can cover. The bridge pickups are burpy, the neck pickups are fat and earthy, and the blended sound is the definition of classic funk. It’s good stuff.

Fender 75th Anniversary Commemorative Jazz Bass

 

The Bottom Line

Yes, these are yet a couple more iterations to the long line of J-basses from the company that invented it. But what’s great about both of these basses is that they both represent at least something a little bit new. It’s extremely difficult to iterate with value and meaning when you have to spend so much effort preserving the long pedigree everyone demands of a J-bass, but Fender seems to live within those guardrails very nicely, and these two basses are no exception. I can honestly recommend either one of these to anyone whose budget allows.
Fender 75th Anniversary Commemorative Jazz Bass
Fender 75th Anniversary Commemorative Jazz Bass
Fender 75th Anniversary Jazz Bass®
Fender 75th Anniversary Jazz Bass®

GENERAL INFO -75th Anniversary Jazz Bass

Manufacture:Fender
Website:https://www.fender.com/en-US/electric-basses/jazz-bass/75th-anniversary-jazz-bass/0147562360.html
Model:75th Anniversary Jazz Bass
Made In:Mexico
Warranty:2-Year Limited
Body:Alder
Neck:Maple
Fingerboard:Maple
Bridge/color:Fender 4-saddle, chrome
Nut (Guide):Synthetic bone
Tuners/color:Standard Open-Gear, chrome
Knobs/color:Vintage style plastic, black
Pickguard:3-ply black/white/black
Control cavity cover:n/a
Pickups:Vintage Style ‘60s Single-Coil Jazz Bass
Preamp:n/a
Controls:Volume, volume, tone
Body Finish:Gloss polyester
Neck Finish:Satin urethane
Scale Length:34”
Number of Frets/Positions:20
Strings:Fender USA 7250M nickel plated steel
Gauge:.045, .065, .085, .105
Fingerboard Radius:9.5”
Accessories:Deluxe gig bag
Options:None
Price:$849.00
Fender 75th Anniversary Jazz Bass®
Fender 75th Anniversary Jazz Bass®

GENERAL INFO -75th Anniversary Commemorative Jazz Bass

Manufacture:Fender
Website:https://www.fender.com/en-US/electric-basses/jazz-bass/75th-anniversary-commemorative-jazz-bass/0177562833.html
Model:75th Anniversary Commemorative Jazz Bass
Made In:USA
Warranty:Limited lifetime, non-transferrable
Body:Ash
Neck:Maple
Fingerboard:Rosewood
Bridge/color:HiMass™ Vintage, gold
Nut (Guide):Genuine bone
Tuners/color:Pure Vintage ‘70s, gold
Knobs/color:Vintage style plastic, black
Pickguard:3-ply Mint Green
Control cavity cover:n/a
Pickups:Custom Shop ‘60s Single-Coil Jazz Bass
Preamp:n/a
Controls:Volume, volume, tone
Body Finish:Gloss urethane (2-color Bourbon Burst)
Neck Finish:Satin urethane
Scale Length:34”
Number of Frets/Positions:20
Strings:Fender USA 7250M nickel plated steel
Gauge:.045, .065, .085, .105
Fingerboard Radius:9.5”
Accessories:Deluxe molded hardshell case
Options:None
Price:$2,049.99
Fender 75th Anniversary Jazz Bass®
Fender 75th Anniversary Commemorative Jazz Bass