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Jaydee Basses


joe_geezer

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4 hours ago, 4000 said:

Well the Series 3 is smaller and lighter than the first two versions, albeit essentially more or less the same shape. And really, that’s all Wal have done, come up with three variations of the same thing. The difference is JD historically would build you pretty much anything if you asked. And may still, who knows. And if we’re splitting hairs they actually do more models than Wal, with potentially more options. 

Great post. Jaydee does it at a fraction of the cost of Wal. 

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7 hours ago, 4000 said:

Well the Series 3 is smaller and lighter than the first two versions, albeit essentially more or less the same shape. And really, that’s all Wal have done, come up with three variations of the same thing. The difference is JD historically would build you pretty much anything if you asked. And may still, who knows. And if we’re splitting hairs they actually do more models than Wal, with potentially more options. 

Its the PUs and electronics that make a Wal a Wal and that is mostly down to Ian Waller.  Who knows what else they may have done had he lived.  They never were and are not a full custom shop like JD.  That said, I think Wal basses are generally really well made.  The body shape and neck profile may or may not be your cup of tea, but you don't have as many people cursing Wals for their rubbery necks.  I don't think JD offers the range of models they used to such as the Calibas or Celeste.  Also, I don't think they do as much non-Jaydee work.  John was the man to set-up and repair/restore anything, regardless of what you thought about his own bass models.

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7 hours ago, GeeCee said:

I don't think JD offers the range of models they used to such as the Calibas or Celeste. 

Jaydee will build you whatever you want.

Find a design you like, show them the picture, pay the money and you're away.

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11 hours ago, GeeCee said:

Its the PUs and electronics that make a Wal a Wal and that is mostly down to Ian Waller.  Who knows what else they may have done had he lived.  They never were and are not a full custom shop like JD.  That said, I think Wal basses are generally really well made.  The body shape and neck profile may or may not be your cup of tea, but you don't have as many people cursing Wals for their rubbery necks.  I don't think JD offers the range of models they used to such as the Calibas or Celeste.  Also, I don't think they do as much non-Jaydee work.  John was the man to set-up and repair/restore anything, regardless of what you thought about his own bass models.

Jaydee also built his own pickups and electronics, although I don’t know if that’s still the case. The ‘rubbery’ necks were due to a bad batch of wood in the ‘80s, IIRC. I’ve never heard of it since. FWIW, I’ve had 2 Wals and 2 Jaydees, one of which did indeed have a ‘rubbery’ neck, but. FWIW my Wal Custom had a fingerboard that hadn’t been levelled properly, from new (although I bought it used).

If anything, I’d have described the construction of the Wals as slightly more agricultural. The newer ones may be up there with the best of the best in terms of construction but mine were nowhere near. As I’ve said before, my custom Alembic made them look like I’d made them. 

Which did I like best? Dunno, maybe the Wal Pro (my other was a Custom which I didn’t like as much), but I’ve certainly played JDs as good. 

The last I heard Jaydee were only doing repairs to Jaydee instruments, due to workload. 

 
 

 

 

Edited by 4000
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To be honest, putting forward that one is better than the other is pointless. They’re different instruments and may suit different players, or work better in different contexts. 

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1 hour ago, 4000 said:

To be honest, putting forward that one is better than the other is pointless. They’re different instruments and may suit different players, or work better in different contexts. 

And at very different price points. The top of the range Roadie II at £1455 is remarkable value IMO 

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11 minutes ago, leroydiamond said:

And at very different price points. The top of the range Roadie II at £1455 is remarkable value IMO 

Yes, this is a very good point. A full-blown Starchild with inlays & LEDs would be half the price of a new Wal, maybe even less. 

 

 

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1 hour ago, 4000 said:

Yes, this is a very good point. A full-blown Starchild with inlays & LEDs would be half the price of a new Wal, maybe even less. 

 

 

Beautiful in white with matching headstock. Any idea whether Jaydee use the same pickups/electronics throughout their range of models?

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1 hour ago, leroydiamond said:

Beautiful in white with matching headstock. Any idea whether Jaydee use the same pickups/electronics throughout their range of models?

They certainly used to, although there were variations requested (as with one of mine, which had a more MM-type wind in the rear humbucker cover and coil taps). Jaydee certainly used to make all the pickups and the standard electronics on the MK were active/passive with a 3 band eq and 3 way rotary selector. 

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1 hour ago, 4000 said:

They certainly used to, although there were variations requested (as with one of mine, which had a more MM-type wind in the rear humbucker cover and coil taps). Jaydee certainly used to make all the pickups and the standard electronics on the MK were active/passive with a 3 band eq and 3 way rotary selector. 

I had a Roadie active II for many years and similarly to the MK model, the electronics were active/passive with a 3 band eq and 3 way rotary selector ( no idea whether they were identical to the MK ). I preferred the feel and ergonomics of the Roadie over the MK. It served me well, was an excellent bass and very well put together. I moved it on after many years, due to shoulder issues and had to go lightweight, so invested in a Sadowsky NYC. Another fine bass, but not nearly as unique in terms of design, as the Jaydee. Side by side it appears that alot more workmanship goes into the building of the Jaydee, despite the massive difference in price.

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I remember taking mine to Fylde Guitars for a set-up (they were local at the time) and Roger - who knows a thing or two about making a decent instrument - had nothing but good things to say about John’s workmanship. 
 

Must admit I’ve never owned a Roadie as I always preferred a bit more bling, but thinking about it (particularly with custom narrower string spacing, which I’m sure they’d accommodate), it might be something worth considering in future, depending on the waiting list. 

Edited by 4000
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Don't get me wrong, I am not trying to set-up a who is best argument, far from it, nor am I suggesting that there is anything inherently wrong with JDs.  FWIW, I have one Wal and several JDs, which should tell you what I prefer (though for pension purposes I wish I had done that the other way round).  I guess my point is that times change, these are all instruments designed in the 70s that are played mostly by middle-aged men, myself included (though I am rapidly approaching old-age).  I was just trying to speak to the comment about JD not offering something new and why I am not sure that is going to happen.  A few years back I was talking with Paul Day who was selling his rare early 60's Burns Bison guitars.  I asked him why and he said the same thing, old guitars for old men and he was selling them on while there was still someone left who cared enough about them to buy them.  

BTW, the PUs and electronics (3-band EQ) in the original MK, GA and Roadie models are the same, though you have the choice now for an updated (non-reverse P) PU.  I believe the boards got tweaked and refined over the years.  The PUs and electronics are different in the Calibas and Celeste models (stacked humbuckers with 4- and 2-band EQs, or something like that).

Edited by GeeCee
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5 hours ago, GeeCee said:

Don't get me wrong, I am not trying to set-up a who is best argument, far from it, nor am I suggesting that there is anything inherently wrong with JDs.  FWIW, I have one Wal and several JDs, which should tell you what I prefer (though for pension purposes I wish I had done that the other way round).  I guess my point is that times change, these are all instruments designed in the 70s that are played mostly by middle-aged men, myself included (though I am rapidly approaching old-age).  I was just trying to speak to the comment about JD not offering something new and why I am not sure that is going to happen.  A few years back I was talking with Paul Day who was selling his rare early 60's Burns Bison guitars.  I asked him why and he said the same thing, old guitars for old men and he was selling them on while there was still someone left who cared enough about them to buy them.  

BTW, the PUs and electronics (3-band EQ) in the original MK, GA and Roadie models are the same, though you have the choice now for an updated (non-reverse P) PU.  I believe the boards got tweaked and refined over the years.  The PUs and electronics are different in the Calibas and Celeste models (stacked humbuckers with 4- and 2-band EQs, or something like that).

That is the beauty of where things are at in terms if choice. There are so many different basses out there to suit different requirements. Some makers sporadically introduce new models and others such as Wal, Jaydee and Sadowsky stick to the tried and trusted,  as that is the business model that has been successful for them ( though of these three, as has been said, Jaydee is the only one who will make whatever a customer wants). If a player is not happy with what they have on offer, then they are free to  go elsewhere.  

Jaydee appear to be  a company that are not looking to expand and I get that. It sounds like little more than a family business, which there is alot to be said for IMO. 

I remember attending a 3 day music event several years ago and 90% of the players were using Fender jazz and P basses.  There is alot to be said for the tried and trusted. 

Edited by leroydiamond
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Actually, Jaydee altered the pickups in 2000, hence the current models' spec showing them as SN2000.  I believe they doubled the number of windings(might be exaggerating a bit) which gives the basses more output and punch.

 

I had a mental count-up and have owned a staggering nine Jaydees since 1984, unfortunately all long gone, including two I had built to my spec(all MK shape though).  My favourite in terms of looks and playability was a Mark King series 1, the first and largest of the Supernaturals that John Diggins designed and built.  I gigged a series 2 some years ago in a rock covers band and it was brilliant and I never had neck issues with any of the ones I owned.

 

I used to call in to see John and Andy if ever I was passing and it was always fascinating to see what being built or in the spray booth, invariably there was a Tony Iomni SG guitar in the making.  John used to carry out repairs on all different makes of guitars and basses and I spotted a Status embossed Hiscox case one day.  I mentioned it and John said  "oh we work on any old stinky poo here."  (Mark King was playing Kingbasses by now!)

 

The thing about Jaydees is that they are eye sweet and the name 'Supernatural' is very cool and evocative.

 

 

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Former Jaydee owner here.

I actually swapped a Wal Custom for a beautiful Supernatural back in 87. I loved the legendary Wal pre but just couldn't live with the significant weight, playability and clunky ergonomics.

I loved everything about the Jaydee apart from the weak output/pre. Sadly, I was one of the unlucky ones and in time the neck developed a terminal backbow which would have suited better as a weapon of Robin Hoods choice! Suffice to say I was gutted.

I'm over it now, and as my favourite looking basses I often keep my eyes peeled for a 2nd hand one (rocking horse poo).

That said, the new prices must make them one of the best custom bass build options available.

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11 hours ago, GeeCee said:

Don't get me wrong, I am not trying to set-up a who is best argument, far from it, nor am I suggesting that there is anything inherently wrong with JDs.  FWIW, I have one Wal and several JDs, which should tell you what I prefer (though for pension purposes I wish I had done that the other way round).  I guess my point is that times change, these are all instruments designed in the 70s that are played mostly by middle-aged men, myself included (though I am rapidly approaching old-age).  I was just trying to speak to the comment about JD not offering something new and why I am not sure that is going to happen.  A few years back I was talking with Paul Day who was selling his rare early 60's Burns Bison guitars.  I asked him why and he said the same thing, old guitars for old men and he was selling them on while there was still someone left who cared enough about them to buy them.  

BTW, the PUs and electronics (3-band EQ) in the original MK, GA and Roadie models are the same, though you have the choice now for an updated (non-reverse P) PU.  I believe the boards got tweaked and refined over the years.  The PUs and electronics are different in the Calibas and Celeste models (stacked humbuckers with 4- and 2-band EQs, or something like that).

I don’t see anything wrong with sticking to what you’re good at, but then my favourite basses are Rickenbacker and Alembic. Looking at the waiting list (they’re not accepting new orders until Jan 2022) and the fact that they’re currently only doing repairs on their own guitars, I’d say they’re doing something very right, from a business perspective. They happily cater to a niche market. Of course the time may come when that isn’t the case and they struggle, but you could say that about pretty much everyone. 

I still don’t really see what Wal are doing much different though. They have unique electronics, yes, but how long ago were they originally designed? And apart from a couple of tweaked body shapes (ditto JD) and an apparent slight upgrade in build quality, nothing has really changed.

I’d say the difference in perception is probably mainly due to JD’s apparently unshakeable association - in most people’s mind’s - with the unfortunately ‘80s-locked Mark King/Level 42, whereas Wal have the more-recent Tool bringing them more up to date in the public consciousness, along with the unwavering and fairly timeless Rush fan base. Also, sad as it is, the deaths of first Ian and then Pete almost instantaneously made Wals far more desirable, because you couldn’t get them anymore. There was certainly a time not so long ago when a Wal was a pretty uncool thing, though. I sold my Custom around ‘96 for £550. 

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On 12/06/2021 at 13:37, 4000 said:

 

The last I heard Jaydee were only doing repairs to Jaydee instruments, due to workload. 

 

Yep that is true, i went there about a month or so ago to get a fret dressing and new bridge saddles cut for my alembic and I got it back in 3 weeks and I was told they are working full bore on their own instruments and only take on the odd few simple jobs. 

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  • 2 months later...
On 12/06/2021 at 02:48, GeeCee said:

Its the PUs and electronics that make a Wal a Wal and that is mostly down to Ian Waller.  Who knows what else they may have done had he lived.  They never were and are not a full custom shop like JD.  That said, I think Wal basses are generally really well made.  The body shape and neck profile may or may not be your cup of tea, but you don't have as many people cursing Wals for their rubbery necks.  I don't think JD offers the range of models they used to such as the Calibas or Celeste.  Also, I don't think they do as much non-Jaydee work.  John was the man to set-up and repair/restore anything, regardless of what you thought about his own bass models.


At the moment they’re not doing any repair or mod work on other makes. I’ve been using their services for years, and contacted them to do some work on my W&T 6 string, they wouldn’t do it, they’re just too busy building instruments.

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