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Fender Flea Jazz Bass vs. Fender Deluxe Active Jazz Bass

Stub Mandrel

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Spent an hour trying these side by side. Both made in Mexico.

First using a small Markbass combo. They both sounded good,  the deluxe maybe marginally brighter. The  bridge pickup on the Flea sounded muted  - even compared to the sound of my Squier Jazz in my head. Controls on the Flea more intuitive than the confusing four knobs on the Deluxe.

Then on a  Rumble 100 - weighs 18lbs!!! - which sorted the sound of the Flea completely. perhaps the vintage pickups just want a more vintage sounding amp?           

This was with both amps on a near 12-o'clock setting.

'Feel wise' and the Flea was in a completely different universe.

The Fender Deluxe was a couple of steps below my 2001 Indonesian Squier - it was nice enough but not inspiring. I did find it surprisingly easy to slap on though, but it wasn't 'left hand friendly'.

Came away with the flea 🙂

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  • 1 month later...


I am sooo happy with this bass.

I've dropped the action VERY slightly and played with the intonation.

I also spent some time with a flexible sanding block on as I felt the fret ends were just a tad rough, certainly not as nice feeling as my Squier Jaguar, but this is partly because the Jag has rolled edges (not known back in 62).

The fingerboard has sucked up three doses of Dunlop lemon oil but seems happy now.

Mercifully I haven't needed to touch the truss rod.

The bridge pickup sounds really good and through my TE combo it's my main choice with tone right up. The neck pickup with tone rolled back is great for songs where i want a cod-upright sound. It's great being able to have tone pre-set to suit each pickup. I've started delving into mixing eth pickups now, to me it sounds best with one pickup right up and a bit of the other mixed in, rather than both on full.

I haven't yet found a 'bad' sound, and its great to plug it into the Trace and get real, rich sounds. It slaps well (as you would hope) but most of the time I'm playing it conventional fingerstyle. It deals with chords nice and clearly.

It's very slightly neck heavy, which is only an issue when playing above fret 12 and it starts to rotate slightly.

The reverse tuners are quite 'quick' but I've had no problems with accurate tuning. It holds tune in the case very well. I also like the factory fit nickel strings - normally I'm a stainless string fan.

I have attacked some of the relicing with the back of a scissors blade, there were multiple small marks that all looked very similar, they are now not much bigger but look more varied and natural. the same is true of the dents, but less obvious (and harder to do anything about).

I'm surprised how much I like the colour. Jack has a (bright new) shell pink Fender Strat with a single humbucker which makes an interesting contrast.

It already feels like an 'old friend' and certainly flatters my playing. I sometimes wander off mid-song because I'm just staring at the lovely aged finish on the back of that lovely slim neck...

I commend this bass to non-Flea fans who want a reliced jazz.

Having said that I think I'll take the performer to the next rehearsal, as now I've got a good solid mental image to compare it to.

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Had a 'living room' practice tonight, but with a middle sized rig turned low. Got some great sounds.

Funny how an amp at low volume in a small room can sound totally different to cranked in a big room, same cab, same bass, same eq. but much more bottom end.

Possibly because the cab has PA type speakers in it (Mackenzie twin-cone).

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1 hour ago, Stub Mandrel said:

It's been long enough now that it's time for a tiny truss rod tweak, 1/4 turn made a big difference. Also interesting how Fender mark the body:


I’ve got the same bass but am a bit nervous about adjusting the action as I’ve never done it at the body end before. Did you have to take the neck off or loosen the neck screws?

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1 hour ago, malbass said:

I’ve got the same bass but am a bit nervous about adjusting the action as I’ve never done it at the body end before. Did you have to take the neck off or loosen the neck screws?

I used a medium flat ended screwdriver that filled half the slot and it was surprisingly easy. I did make that nick though!

Interestingly on assembly i noticed the scratchplate comes pre-nicked at just that point, part of the relicing process?

2 hours ago, Reggaebass said:

I’ve had that circular hole on a few of my jazzes, what’s it for ?

Looks like it's a reference hole for CNC:


For the long answer, Talkbass appears to have a 13-page discussion...

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