Empress JB-5 joins the fold.

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Empress JB-5 joins the fold.

Postby Nedmundo » Sun Aug 25, 2019 5:48 pm

I've wanted a JB-5 since they were introduced, because I've wanted a passive five to complement my M-2500, and I've missed having a J5 after selling my 2008 Fender Jazz V a few years ago. I've considered ordering a new one, but I'm not in a band, so I haven't been willing to spend that much. I've therefore kept a watchful eye for used ones, hoping for my desired specs of empress body, 12" fretboard radius, and ideally a quartersawn neck. As you can guess, nothing like that showed up.

But the other day, on a popular bass forum, someone in my metro area offered up a Clear Orange/rosewood JB-5 in empress for a very attractive price, so I had to check it out. I didn't think I'd like it with the standard 9.5" radius, but couldn't pass up the chance to try before buying.

So I met the seller outside a local Sam Ash, and found I loved the neck despite the radius. So, with a nice discount for a local sale, I just went for it. It weighs about eight pounds, so already my other basses feel like anvils, and the tone is outstanding. I think the radius works for me because the JB-5 neck has a slim rear profile. It's extremely comfortable, and provides similar playability to my M-2500. Would I prefer a 12" radius? Probably, but this neck feels great. I'm still getting the setup dialed in and I'm not crazy about the strings, but it's already in gig-worthy shape, and I easily prefer it over my old Fender Jazz V. The tone is about the same, but the G&L has much better playability IMO, and of course it's lighter.

One oddity: It came with a genuine G&L hard case, which the seller said came with the bass when he bought it used. But the bass doesn't fit properly, and looking at my other G&L cases I think I understand why. My four-string JB's case is about a half inch longer than my M-2500's, I assume to accommodate the four-in-line headstock as opposed to the M's 3+2. It seems this JB-5 has a case for a 3+2 headstock, so the D string tuner key has to be turned parallel to the side of the case for it to fit. Strange. It doesn't matter much to me, so I've decided to be amused by it instead of annoyed by it. I don't bring hard cases to gigs, so no big deal.
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Joined: Thu Nov 19, 2009 10:51 am

Re: Empress JB-5 joins the fold.

Postby Ken Baker » Sun Aug 25, 2019 6:21 pm

OMG!!! A POST!!!

Congratulations on the score!

Got pics? We like pics!

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Ken Baker
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