FENDER American Ultra Jazz and Precision
Bass Player|April 2020
FENDER American Ultra Jazz and Precision
Yet more Fender P and J variants, you say? Let’s see what Stuart Clayton has to say, in this in-depth first look at the new Ultra series
Stuart Clayton

The latest offerings from Fender come in the form of the American Ultra series, an evolution of the American Elite range, aimed at ‘discerning players who demand the ultimate in precision, performance, and tone’. These new models consist of Jazz and Precision basses—the latter with a PJ pickup configuration—with a five-string Jazz option also available. Retailing at $2,009 apiece, they occupy that tricky space at the top end of the mid-range price bracket. With that figure in mind, we’ll be expecting good things. We were sent the four-string Jazz and Precision basses for review.

Build Quality

Each instrument comes with a moulded hardshell case that has a TSA-accepted centre-locking latch, a ‘military grade’ outer shell, and a comfortable handle. The instruments themselves are certainly eye-catching: our Jazz bass might appear black, but it’s actually a very deep bronze color referred to as Texas Tea. Paired with the gold-colored aluminium pickguard, maple board and black Pearloid blocks, it’s suggestive of the instrument’s rich heritage, whilst more modern accoutrements such as the chrome HiMass bridge remind us that we’re looking at an instrument built for today’s player.

Our Precision bass boasts similar good looks: a Mocha Burst finish, this time paired with a four-ply Tortoiseshell pickguard, rosewood board and dot inlays. Each neck has a modern D profile and the latest versions of Fender’s Ultra Noiseless Vintage pickups, which offer single-coil tones without the usual hum. Each of our review instruments is finished to a high standard: fretwork was exemplary, the factory-set action is well suited to most players, and a quick peek under the hood reveals neat, minimal wiring. Battery access is simple, with two flip-top hatches on the rear of the instrument housing the 9V batteries.

Sounds And Playability

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April 2020