This is a 100% all original vintage 1966 Fender Jazz Bass electric bass guitar. This particularly fine example, serial number 165746, is in a conservative 8.75/10 cosmetic condition. It is also in beautifully intact, all original, condition and includes both chrome covers and the original hard case.
While not quite a pre-CBS production piece, all of the significant features are identical to those of a pre-CBS instrument, including: nitrocellulose finish on both the neck and body, gray bobbin pickups, cloth wiring and a gold transitional decal. Specific to ’66 Jazz Basses, it also features a rare first-year set of paddle-shaped tuning machines combined with a bound fingerboard with dot inlays. Paddle-shaped tuning machine keys were replaced by the traditional clover shape in 1969, and the bound fingerboard with dot inlays was discontinued in late-1966, and was updated with block inlays in 1967. Considering these transitional qualities explains why fewer of this variety Jazz Bass are seen compared to both earlier and later versions.
The neck is dated “JUL 66,” and all three of the original pots display the date code “304-6617.” The bass weighs an average 9 lbs. and 7 oz., and feels great to play when sitting down or when attached to a strap.
The neck is perfectly straight, and the action is surprisingly low. Comfortable and accessible regardless of personal preference, the neck profile feels fantastic. The binding really enhances mobility, and the gentle neck wear is that which Fender has been trying to recreate on their Relics. The frets exhibit expected minimal wear on the first 5-6 frets. In addition to light and attractive finish fading, there is also beautiful weather-checking on the front and back of the headstock. The tuning machines are near pristine, and the original decal is perfectly intact.
The body is in correspondingly excellent cosmetic condition, with two small areas of isolated finish wear from where a player’s arm would rest. While there is limited belt buckle wear, there is a strange superficial scratch pattern on the back of the body. Although it is not through the finish, and is hard to both photograph and see with the naked eye from a reasonable distance, it will be visible under harsh light at a particular angle. There are expected random dings on the side of the body, although not through the finish. The body finish is also slight faded, however, it is still surprisingly fresh with distinct color separation.
Perhaps most importantly, this bass sounds incredible. Both pickups sound great and truly translate the natural acoustic resonance. This era Jazz Bass is famous for sounding particularly warm and rich, with the ability to achieve highly present punch, slap, and percussive pronunciation.
The case is in very excellent condition as well. All case hardware works perfectly and looks great, while the orange interior is fresh and void of odor and stains.