Fretless 1984 Fender Jazz Bass

Fretless Fender Jazz Bass 1984
Fretless Fender Jazz Bass 1984

This one’s been hanging out in a log cabin in the Texas hill country for the last ten years. For real. The owner was a guitarist, not a bassist, so he only used it occasionally. The original owner may have played it a bit more, as it has a few dings and light buckle rash, but overall it was in exceptional condition for a 30-year-old instrument.

Bridge and pickup covers were missing. Easy parts to add back if desired, but most players take them off anyway. So I left it as is in that regard.

Side note: the serial number tells me that this one was made by FujiGen. From what I’ve read, they made some of the best Japanese Fenders. Between this bass and my similar-vintage Precision, also FujiGen, I’m inclined to agree. Both are outstanding instruments that outplay most American-made Fenders.

Fender Jazz Bass Fretless 1985
Fender Jazz Bass Fretless 1985

That said, it did need a bit of cleaning. I pulled the neck, bridge, pickguard, and electronics plate off to clean and degrease, then gave the metal parts a dip in a naphtha/machine oil mixture to reduce corrosion. The fingerboard was in outstanding shape for a fretless of that vintage, but was still dry and required oiling and conditioning with F-One fretboard oil. With that done, I reassembled it. Worth noting that all screws, bridge saddles, etc were clearly original.

Given the body wear, I used a bit of McGuiar’s Car Show Glaze and hand-buffed it to bring out the shine on the Olympic White finish. Gibson guitar polish finished the job (I’m switching to StewMac Preservation Polish, but using up the last of the Gibson polish first). Whatever polishes you use, make sure they’re silicon-free, as any silicon can complicate future finish fixes.

Fretless Fender Jazz Bass 1984
Fretless Fender Jazz Bass 1984

I then strung it up with Fender flatwounds, .055 – .105, and pretended I was playing upright for a bit. It really evoked an upright sound, but with that warm midrange the Jazz pickups bring out. Drive it a bit, and you quickly achieve that wooly Jaco Pastorius tone.

I then listed the fretless 1984 Fender Jazz Bass  on Reverb.com. It sold recently and shipped out to New Jersey. But I have other vintage guitars for sale on my Reverb.com store, so check them out.

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