If you're bewildered by the sheer number of pimped out guitars and basses that Fender has released in the past year, well, the influx isn't quite over yet.
Following in the wake of the recent Blacktop and Pawn Shop Series models, Fender has now unveiled its highly affordable Chinese-made Modern Player Series, consisting of four electric guitars and three basses.
"First impressions make you wonder why haven't weseen a Jazz with these useful mods incorporated into it before?"
The reason for all this activity is simple: new blood. If you own a Strat, Tele, Precision, Jazz or anything else with Leo's surname on the headstock, well, they've already got you hooked. It's the newbies that Fender is hoping to attract.
But don't take that to mean that there's not something interesting in the Modern Player range for you if you're one of the Fender faithful.
First impressions of this Jazz Bass make you wonder, why haven't we seen a Jazz with these useful mods incorporated into it before? Well, the truth is we have seen JBs with this feature set previously, but never at such a pocket friendly price.
Everything that you'd expect from a standard sixties Jazz Bass is here, but with a pair of double-sized Jazz humbucking pickups for a really great look and the promise of bigger fatter sounds.
Essentially we don't want the look of the Jazz to be messed about with but we feel these pickups and modern bridge unit are perfectly acceptable and, as we find, the sounds support the notion.
Everything here is pretty much the same sound as you would expect from the regular configuration only there's more of it! The humbuckers add increased solidity to the overall sound and more generous blending.
The tightness associated with standard single-coils is still there if you wind back the volume controls a tad, but running flat out gives extra body and projection, particularly when blending and, let's face it, that is the name of the game with a Jazz.
We are impressed with the quality and little evidence of cost cutting in looks, sounds or overall feel. This Jazz offers a meaner edge to the sound, yet still produces those classic tones.
All in all, the Modern Player Series is a great idea and beautifully executed. They might be aimed at Fender newbies, but there's plenty to appeal to more experienced players too. And with the world economy in meltdown the lowly prices seem rather attractive - to all of us!