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Mark Dixon

Fender Select Active Jazz vs Suhr Classic J-bass

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Buddy of mine is contemplating between these two:

Fender Select Active Jazz
[url="http://www.fender.com/en-GB/series/fender-select/fender-select-active-jazz-bass/"]http://www.fender.co...tive-jazz-bass/[/url]

vs

Suhr Classic J-bass
[url="http://www.soundpure.com/p/suhr-classic-j-2-tone-sunburst-18139/5519"]http://www.soundpure...urst-18139/5519[/url]

Which would you choose and why? I know the Select Active is brand new, but assume it is just a better spec American Deluxe Jazz?

I've had about 5 Fender Jazz basses over the years, always moved them on because each one had some flaw I couldn't live with, so I'd struggle to be objective.

The new Select Active does look nice, but Suhrs always seem to be better made, though not tried a Suhr bass myself.

Anyone got experience here to add..?

Thx,
Mark

Edited by Mark Dixon

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[quote name='Musicman20' timestamp='1357825437' post='1929003']
I wouldn't pay that for the Select Jazz. Nice, but its a Fender pre so probably not that great.
[/quote]
Thx Musicman, could you elaborate on what you see as the limitations of the Fender pre? I presume it is the same as the Deluxe Jazz pre, which was limited in tones, compared to say a Sadowsky..?

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Mian advantage to the Fender is that it will hold its value better than the Suhr - far more popular brand that everyone has heard of. If on the other hand, moving the bass on is not a consideration then Suhr's are excellent, although I have seen one of them put together with Warmoth parts. May work out cheaper/better to look at another luthier build.

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[quote name='Mykesbass' timestamp='1357831188' post='1929192']
Suhr's are excellent, although I have seen one of them put together with Warmoth parts.
[/quote]
Good grief.. was this recently?

I suggested he looks at a Sadowsky metro, surely better than both..

Edited by Mark Dixon

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[quote name='Mark Dixon' timestamp='1357831744' post='1929208']
Good grief.. was this recently?

I suggested he looks at a Sadowsky metro, surely better than both..
[/quote]

About 6 years ago - a luthier I know had one in to do some set up work on (fabulous guitar) but was quite schocked when he took the neck off to see Warmoth stamps on both neck and body.

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Yeah, for 2 grand I'd go for a Sadowsky or Nordstrand instead.

Nothing wrong with the Fender or Suhr, just I think there's better quality for the money elsewhere.

Truckstop

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if its £2K and he wants a boutique active Jazz, then Sadowsky.

Or, find an amazing Fender American Standard Jazz (they are out there) and buy a top notch pre amp and save a LOT of money and get basically the same thing. Sadowsky sell their pre in pedal or load in format.

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I'd buy a USA Standard Fender that you know plays well and pimp out what you think may want to change and spend the rest on lots of other stuff. :)

OH thats just what Musicman20 just said :).

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Lots of luthiers out there building superior SuperJazzes to Fender - with the London Bass Guitar Show less than 2 months away I'd be inclined to hold on a bit, attend the show and check out what's available...I remember trying a very nice Clover a couple of years ago...

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John Suhr makes some excellent basses. A really good Suhr is up there with the best of NYC made Sadowsky basses and maybe offers something a bit different as well. Some of them also have those fab deep quilted maple tops that are similar to the flashier Sadowsky NYC models as well.

Main problem is that you need to try it to see what it's like. Of course this is true of any bass but because the Suhr is a bit rarer there's always a chance that it might not suit what he's after.

I'd say it's a way nicer bass than anything other than a CS Fender.

The issue with a Suhr, and pretty much any other 'super-jazz' other than Sadowsky, is that it will lose value quickly. Of course this only matters if/when you come to sell. If you find something you really like then you'll keep it for ages and it's worth whatever you paid for it (and more!).

I've watched Sadowsky prices pretty closely and the NYC models have revived a bit recently. I know of at least two that have sold for top dollar prices over here in the last 2-3 weeks. People buying up at this end of the spectrum (circa £2K for a nice one) aren't as hit by the recession as a lot of regular buyers.

The Metros are fine basses as well but they aren't as desirable as an NYC and have maybe dropped a bit more in value - which probably makes them even better buys on the used market :)

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This Fender Select Active Jazz basically looks to be an American Deluxe with a fancy maple top . Definately nothing special and with a very mediocre preamp , at best . I wouldn't neccesarilly be too put off by the Warmouth thing with the Sur - Warmouth make the bodies for quite a few other manufacturers from time to time - but for that kind of money there are plenty of other options , including the Sadowsky Metro you mention , or an American Standard Jazz with either an external preamp such as a Sadowsky or Aguilar ect , or a reto-fitted internal preamp such as the East J Retro , all of which will sound far superior to the preamp in the Fender Select bass .

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[quote name='Dingus' timestamp='1357843972' post='1929488']
. I wouldn't neccesarilly be too put off by the Warmouth thing with the Sur - Warmouth make the bodies for quite a few other manufacturers from time to time -
[/quote]

Reason I raised this was not to knock Suhr but to highlight the better value options with your own, home grown luthier vs a boutique brand. Price up your favourite Warmoth body and neck and that should leave you and said luthier with a fair bit to play with.

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My view is that a Suhr will beat a Sadowsky or Fender any day of the week easily.

Yes they lose their value easily, but purely becuaser their not as known, but why would you want to re-sell it? They're great instruments.

I have also done a self build fretless using some Warmoth parts, which are also great. But if your worrying about a Suhr losing value, then you've got a shock when it comes to re-selling a self build which NO ONE has heard of. If you get my drift!

For the money I would go with a Suhr, quality well made guitars that aren't as mass-produced than the Fender Select's. I work in a music shop abnd have seen some of the selects come in at the factory on a rep sales course. - They are sh*t, lol. Not worth the money in my view.

You won't be dissapointed with the Suhr range.

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sorry to revive an old thread but Suhr basses nowadays have nothing to do with Warmouth. that goes back to the Pensa/Suhr days.

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I'd get a Pensa NYC over both of them, certainly wouldn't spend that much on a new Fender if resale price were an issue for the buyer.

The problem I've noticed is that the super Jazz style models of anything do seem to be depreciating more than they ever were, although I'd guess that the current market for second hand instruments on the whole is not good at the moment which is the major factor for this. I'm not convinced by the overall look of the Suhr but having played quite a few of the NYC based Pensa instruments I would say that of all the preamps available on the super Jazz style market, the Pensa has sounded to my ears to be the best. A Sadowsky would be great too but I'm fairly convinced I can't get on with the sound of them anymore, that's purely my preference though. I'd look at Mike Lull too.

I'm pretty certain I've played the bass in this clip below, if it wasn't then it was an identical instrument that sounded as good

[media]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sgmYcaDJqIU[/media]

Edited by risingson

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what is the point of buying a jazz or precision if it aint a fender.if a manufacture aint got the ability to redesign the guitar they aint worth the money,,,,its like buying a rollls Royce that looks exactly like a rolls Royce but is supposed to be better,if you want to buy a guitar if that looks like a jazz its got to be a fender jazz

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[quote name='lazybones' timestamp='1385244774' post='2286146']
what is the point of buying a jazz or precision if it aint a fender.if a manufacture aint got the ability to redesign the guitar they aint worth the money,,,,its like buying a rollls Royce that looks exactly like a rolls Royce but is supposed to be better,if you want to buy a guitar if that looks like a jazz its got to be a fender jazz
[/quote]

Why has it got to be Fender ?

The idea of a super jazz, is that it's well, a super jazz : )

Usually with the buyers choice of pickups and electronics, and almost always better made :)

And it's not that the builder hasn't got the ability to build something different, it's that the buyer wants a jazz or P bass, but with their choice of pickups etc, and the better build quality, and maybe just slightly different neck profile or fingerboard radius. Maybe they intend to use it without the pickguard, something you can't do on a new fender because of the routing holes all over the front.

Edited by ambient

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[quote name='lazybones' timestamp='1385247158' post='2286170']
i cant understand the reason to but a guitar that looks like a fender but aint,,,
[/quote]seems quite well explained to me. :blink:

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[quote name='lazybones' timestamp='1385247158' post='2286170']
i cant understand the reason to but a guitar that looks like a fender but aint,,,
[/quote]

Usually because it might be better made, sound different, feel nicer to play etc. etc.

Fender make some fine instruments but a lot of the classier specialists can add things that people want that a mass market brand like Fender can't really handle.

Something like a Modern body version of a Sadowsky (surely the leading 'super-jazz' brand in terms of volumes sold and reputation) feels very different and sounds quite unlike any Fender I've ever played. It still looks essentially like a Fender but it's a very different beast.

I don't think there's a really accurate car analogy for this because there isn't a generic car in the same way that there's a Fender-bass.

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[quote name='bubinga5' timestamp='1385238735' post='2286064']
im loving those Pensa's. what was the neck like Ris.? ive heard they are Pbass big.?
[/quote]

It's been about 7 or so months but as my memory serves me the necks were perfectly manageable, flat in profile maybe for the 5? The 4 I tried was was not quite as thick as the '71 Jazz I'm used to, let alone my '78 P which is pretty beefy so I'd say they were fairly normal J profile. Their preamp is really impressive. I always find Sadowsky preamps overpowering but the Pensa was very musical. Push/pull for series wiring too which sounded awesome, nice substitute for a lack of mid control.

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