A Jazz is a Jazz is a Jazz... or is it?
Every bass should be taken on its individual merits, and this Rick Rosas Custom model is priced competitively at £999 - but does it truly cut the mustard in a market area that is bloated to breaking point?
If classic visuals are what you're looking for, they don't come much simpler or more refined than a Jazz bass in Lake Placid Blue with a maple bound fingerboard and block markers. With clean lines, it's stylish to a fault and with a white three-ply scratchplate and matching headstock, this bass is off to a good start straight out of the box.
The classic offset alder body (ash is an option) style has been maintained, with the usual player-friendly contouring on the front and rear while the gloss-finished body and headstock give the bass a pleasing sheen. The lower cutaway gives unhindered access to the upper regions of the 20-fret maple fingerboard and reassuringly, everything is where it should be.
Although the bass isn't overly heavy, weighing in at 4.2 kilos, there is some noticeable neck-dive, but as usual, once placed on a strap and in a playing position, the instrument balances relatively well.
The oil-finished neck is everything you'd expect of a Jazz neck: slim and slinky, with supreme playability. The neck dimensions are fabulous, with a traditional 39mm nut width, slim C-shaped profile, pristine set-up and no sharp frets in evidence, this truly is a sumptuous neck to play. Pearl block position markers have been used on the front fingerboard facing and black markers on the side of the neck.
The four-bolt neck pocket is as tight as possible and neck stability is improved by the addition of two graphite strips within the neck's construction. Truss rod adjustments can be made with the wheel adjustment at the bass of the neck, so don't expect any neck complications any time soon.
Chrome Hipshot hardware has been used throughout, with reversed open gear machine heads, string tree and a Hipshot A-style bridge, which permits through-bridge and through-body stringing. Lakin-designed single-coil pickups provide those familiar Jazz tones alongside passive twin volume controls and a single tone.
Even before plugging in, this bass exhibits a very lively character: there's no disputing how vibrant and resonant it is.
Plugged in and with no active circuit to cloud its delivery, this bass is every bit a prime example of a desirable Jazz in the sonic department. The control pots offer a progressive increase and decrease through their whole turn, and rolling between each pickup shows a noise-free response.
As expected, the neck pickup has a fatter, more rounded, ballsy signal compared to the bridge unit, which offers a clear, twangy response. Soloing the bridge pickup with a fair degree of the tone control opened up illustrates the honky, single-coil sound that we all recognise.
What was surprising was just how pleasing the overall tone was from either pickup or any mix in between: there's no harshness, thinness or discernible clank. That's not to say that a considerable passive snarl isn't achievable - you just need to dial it in. Slappers will no doubt appreciate the smoothness of the bottom end and crispness in the upper register, while rockers and fingerstyle players will feel equally at home.
This instrument, much like the Precision we looked at previously, is very impressive. When you consider the pricetag, it makes you wonder just what you are getting when some companies charge almost double, if not more, for very similar instruments.
It's very difficult to pick out any faults: some of the colours on offer may be a little uninspiring but then again, they hark back to a classic period. Tonally, this is as good a representation of a passive Jazz as you could hope to find, and the fact that it pulls the player back for more is a good indication of the quality on offer. We suggest you check one out very soon indeed.