Though it looks to be straight from a ’60s catalog, Fender’s 60th Anniversary Jazz Bass isn’t a true reissue. Rather, it’s a “celebration” of the innovation, style, and vibe appreciated by anyone lucky enough to have ever played an original “stack knob” Jazz.
At 9 pounds, 4 ounces, the 60th Anniversary’s alder body is neither featherweight nor bruiser. Dressed in a shimmering nitrocellulose-lacquer finish Fender calls Arctic Pearl, its matching headstock and bound neck are touches that rightfully represent a top-end example. The concentric potentiometers are topped by the requisite stacked Volume and Tone knobs, while reverse-gear tuners, threaded steel saddles, waterslide decal, tortoiseshell pickguard, tall frets, 7.25″ fretboard radius, and ’60s U-profile neck re-create the look and feel of the original made from 1960 to ’62.
Nicely merged with those elements are the model-specific Pure Vintage ’62 Single-Coil pickups, which are reproductions with cloth-wrapped output wire, fiber bobbins, flush-mount pole pieces, and Alnico II magnets. Output measures approximately 7k ohms at the bridge and 6.5k at the neck.
Fit and finish are immaculate, with a well-groomed bone nut, tight neck pocket, and carefully manicured frets. Out of the box, our tester played fast and mean; the stack-knob configuration offers independent/11-position tone control for each pickup, both of which deliver the distinctive punch of their modern counterparts and remain pleasantly quiet for single-coils. The neck is slightly thicker than a modern Jazz, but feels familiar from the narrow 1.5″ nut all the way up the rosewood fretboard.
Fender’s vintage-style hard case is also a home run, with its brown-Tolex covering and famous orange semi-plush interior. For fans of the utilitarian aesthetic, there’s a Roadworn version of the bass with a mid-’60s/C-shaped neck, pau ferro fretboard, no tug bar or chrome covers, and three aged-finish options.
To those who’ve never basked in the glory of playing a “stack-knob,” the 60th Anniversary Jazz Bass hints at what made the “golden era.”
This article originally appeared in VG’s June 2021 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.