Fender CS 1960 vs Flea Bass

What’s similar?

  • Body shape
  • Truss rod
  • Stacked VTVT design
  • Lightweight
  • To my ears; both have less high-mids and more low-mids. Compared to a regular VVT jazz bass, I could get closer to the P-Bass thump.
  • They are meant to look old, so I don’t mind damaging the finish by accidental hits
  • Tuners work in reverse, will take a little time to get used to
  • Single coil hum

Flea JB highlights

  • Rare color
  • Affordable; yet gig-worthy. Ideal for the road or risky gigs
  • Very good sound & feel for its price
  • C-shaped neck is overall playable for the general public
  • Obviously artificial relic work
  • Needs some fretwork
  • Pick guard is too tight. It’s not easy to take it out & in.
  • Comes with crappy gig-bag with awful backpack straps

CS JB highlights

  • Sounds like a truck (that’s a compliment). Very woody, deep, yet articulate sound
  • Has two piece alder body – probably supports the overall sustain
  • Sanded neck feels great
  • Quarter sawn neck is known to be very stable
  • CS is known to use the best woods & craftsmanship available; I can confirm that by the sound & overall feel of the instrument
  • The nitrocellulose lacquer finish will wear in no time, and the bass will turn into an organic relic
  • Comes with glamorous hard case
  • Expensive
  • U-shaped neck might not be preferred by everyone
  • Ashtrays obviously need to be removed
  • Pick guard needs a dent for easier truss rod access

Verdict

Overall speaking; the sound & feel of the CS bass really is better than the Flea JB. It would be the first jazz bass I reach for.

“Better” is obviously a subjective statement. It is hard to describe, but to me; the sound is full, rich, vibrant and “woody” (for lack of a better term). It’s like, on some active basses, you hear the EQ more than you hear the wood. On this passive bass, I hear the “wood” more than other passive basses – if that makes sense.

However, Flea JB isn’t a bass to scoff at. I would gladly gig with it, and I see any player taking it to the road or risky gigs already.

Is the sound / quality difference worth the enormous price difference? That’s a question only the player can answer. My FAQs on bass guitar & minimalism can help you decide though.

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