Fender American Vintage II 1966 Jazz Bass vs Aerodyne Special Jazz Bass

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Fender American Vintage II 1966 Jazz Bass
Playability
72
Sound
81
Build
74
Value
66
Score
76
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Fender Aerodyne Special Jazz Bass
VS
Playability
72
Sound
81
Build
67
Value
78
Score
73
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Reasons to Get
Fender American Vintage II 1966 Jazz Bass over Aerodyne Special Jazz Bass

Frets Height
Taller vs Shorter
Easier to press down strings and bend them
Neck Profile
Bass 1966 U vs Bass Modern C
Comfortable neck with more grip
Paint Finish
Nitro vs Poly
Thin finish that creates aging marks faster
Fretboard Radius
7.25'' (184.2mm) vs 12'' (304.8mm)
More curved fretboard helpful to play chords without muting strings

Reasons to Get
Fender Aerodyne Special Jazz Bass over American Vintage II 1966 Jazz Bass

Neck Profile
Bass Modern C vs Bass 1966 U
Comfortable neck that works for most people
Paint Finish
Poly vs Nitro
Resistant paint that ages well
Fretboard Radius
12'' (304.8mm) vs 7.25'' (184.2mm)
Flatter fretboard makes it easier to play single notes and bend
Avg. Weight
8.6875lbs (3.9kgs) vs 9.25lbs (4.2kgs)
Tends to be lighter
Value Score
78 vs 66
Better price/quality relationship

Other Key Differences
Fender American Vintage II 1966 Jazz Bass vs Aerodyne Special Jazz Bass

Bridge Pickup
Fender Pure Vintage 66 Single-Coil Jazz Bass vs Fender Aerodyne Special Single-Coil Jazz Bass
Different Bridge Pickup
Middle Pickup
Fender Pure Vintage 66 Single-Coil Jazz Bass vs Fender Aerodyne Special Single-Coil Jazz Bass
Different Middle Pickup
Body Wood
Alder vs Basswood
Different Body Wood
Fretboard Wood
Rosewood vs Maple
Different Fretboard Wood
Nut Material
Bone vs Synthetic Bone
Different Nut Material

Shared Features
Fender American Vintage II 1966 Jazz Bass vs Aerodyne Special Jazz Bass

Neck Wood
Maple
Same Neck Wood
Headstock
4
Same Headstock
Strings
4
Same playing style
Body Type
Solid Body
Feedback free
Switch Positions
0
Same pickups versatility
Volume Knobs
2
Same volume control
Tone Knobs
1
Same tone control
Pickups
SS
Beautiful cleans
Number of Frets
20
Same maximum octave
Nut Width
1.5'' (38.1mm)
Same string separation at the nut
Bridge
Fixed
Good sustain and needs no set-up
Scale Length
34'' (863.6mm)
Same string tension and fret separation
Pickups Power
Passive
Cleaner sound and no battery needed
Neck Joint
Bolt-On
Allows you to detach and swap the neck
Type of Frets
Vintage Tall vs Medium Jumbo
You'll feel the fretboard when pressing down the strings

Common Strengths

  • High-Quality Nut
  • From a High-Quality-Standards Country
  • Top Pickup Brand

Common Weaknesses

  • Neck-Through Build
  • Pickup Alter Switch/Knob
  • Weight Relief
  • Retainer Bar
  • High-Quality Frets
  • Compound Radius Fretboard
  • Luminescent Sidedots
  • Strap Lock
  • 21:1 Tuner Ratio
  • Active/Passive Preamp

Table of Contents

Price History Comparison

Fender American Vintage II 1966 Jazz Bass Prices

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Fender Aerodyne Special Jazz Bass Prices

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Which One is Better?

After going through our comparison algorithm, the results show that the Fender American Vintage II 1966 Jazz Bass is probably the better product overall with its final score of 76 compared to the Fender Aerodyne Special Jazz Bass's 73 score, although not by a lot.

The Fender American Vintage II 1966 Jazz Bass wins when it comes to build quality. On the other hand, the Fender Aerodyne Special Jazz Bass has the upper hand when it comes to value for the money.

If you got small hands, you'll probably feel that the Fender Aerodyne Special Jazz Bass is easier to play.

Which One is Better for Beginners?

Both meet 3 out of our 6 criteria items for beginner friendliness. This takes into account the type of frets, scale length, nut width, bridge type, fretboard radius, and neck profile to determine the easiest combination for new players. If you're looking for your first bass to learn how to play, you can't go wrong with either of them.

New Player Friendliness

Fender American Vintage II 1966 Jazz Bass
  • Comfortable shape
  • Tall frets
  • Comfortable neck
  • Comfortable fretboard
  • Narrow nut
  • Short scale

New Player Friendliness

Fender Aerodyne Special Jazz Bass
  • Comfortable shape
  • Tall frets
  • Comfortable neck
  • Comfortable fretboard
  • Narrow nut
  • Short scale

Nevertheless, when it comes to choosing an instrument, you should pick the one more compatible with your personal style. Still, below we'll try you to give you our results as objectively as it's possible to help you decide.

Fender American Vintage II 1966 Jazz Bass Overview

  • From Fender's 2022 American Vintage II series
  • Made in United States
  • 4 strings
  • 34"'' scale
  • 7.25" Fretboard Radius
  • Alder body
  • Maple neck
  • Bound Round-Laminated Rosewood fretboard
  • Bridge pickup: Fender Pure Vintage 66 Single-Coil Jazz Bass (Single Coil/Passive)
  • Neck pickup: (/)
  • 2 volume and 1 tone Dome knobs
  • Pure Vintage 4-Saddle with Threaded Steel Saddles bridge
  • Bass 1966 U Bolt-On neck
  • 20 Vintage Tall frets
  • Pure Vintage ‘Lollipop’ tuners
  • Weight between 9.125lbs (4.1kgs) and 9.375lbs (4.3kgs)
  • Compare Specs >

Fender Aerodyne Special Jazz Bass Overview

  • From Fender's 2022 Aerodyne Special series
  • Made in United States
  • 4 strings
  • 34"'' scale
  • 12" Fretboard Radius
  • Basswood body
  • Maple neck
  • Maple fretboard
  • Bridge pickup: Fender Aerodyne Special Single-Coil Jazz Bass (Single Coil/Passive)
  • Neck pickup: (/)
  • 2 volume and 1 tone Dome knobs
  • Babicz Z-Series FCH-4 Bass bridge
  • Bass Modern C Bolt-On neck
  • 20 Medium Jumbo frets
  • Standard Open-Gear tuners
  • Weight between 8.625lbs (3.9kgs) and 8.75lbs (4kgs)
  • Compare Specs >

Sound Quality Comparison

The wood used in an electric guitar or bass is not as important to determine the final tone. However, some people prefer specific wood types, so we'll take a look at those first. Then, we'll take a look at the electronics to determine the versatility and sound quality of each instrument.

Woods Used in Both

Maple wood pattern used for guitar building
Maple

Maple is one of the most popular necks for good reasons. It is a strong wood that is relatively cheap to make and looks beautiful. The highest quality maple is the hardest that comes from North America. Find out more about Maple.

Woods Used in the Fender American Vintage II 1966 Jazz Bass

Rosewood wood pattern used for guitar building
Rosewood
Alder wood pattern used for guitar building
Alder

Rosewood is an almost purple-looking wood that is used mainly for fretboards since it's heavy, rare, and expensive. It's sometimes used on acoustic guitar bodies to create stronger warm tones. Find out more about Rosewood.

Alder is the most popular wood that Fender uses in most of their guitars nowadays. Even though they say it's because of its balanced tone with an emphasis in the upper midrange, it probably is because it isn't too expensive, and it's also pretty lightweight—more than Mahogany. Find out more about Alder.

Woods Used in the Fender Aerodyne Special Jazz Bass

Basswood wood pattern used for guitar building
Basswood

Basswood is a lightweight type of wood that isn't as expensive as other popular choices for guitar building. It gives more power to the mid-range frequencies. Its color can vary from pale white to light brown. Find out more about Basswood.

Winner: Fender American Vintage II 1966 Jazz Bass.

Pickup Configuration

Both pickup configurations are SS. SS is the classic Telecaster configuration. It's used mainly for playing clean or with low-gain distortion, and it's very popular for the country genre because of their brightness. It doesn't give you as much versatility as a Strat SSS configuration, but you might like the cleaner look of a guitar body with fewer pickups.

Pickups Quality

Both come with some of the top pickups on the market. You can't go wrong with either of them. You'll probably never need a pickup upgrade.

Both use Passive pickups. This is what's used for most music genres. They have a regular output and will serve you for both high-gain and clean tones. The alternative (Active pickups) offer a higher output that is mostly used for heavy music.

Preamp Circuit

A preamp in an electric bass functions as an electronic circuit that acts as an interface between the bass's pickups and the amplifier. Its main purpose is to amplify and customize the bass's initial signal before it reaches the amplifier, offering enhanced control over factors like tone, volume, and sound attributes. Preamps typically come equipped with tone adjustments, equalization options, and sometimes built-in effects, empowering bass players to fine-tune their sound to suit their personal preferences and the musical environment.

Both basses have a Passive preamp.

Passive: A bass with a passive preamp lacks an onboard electronic circuit for tone shaping and signal boosting. Instead, it relies solely on passive pickups and basic tone controls, typically consisting of volume and tone knobs. Passive preamps don't require an external power source like batteries, making them low-maintenance and dependable. While they offer a simpler and more straightforward tonal character, passive basses are appreciated for their warm and vintage sound, often favored in genres like classic rock, blues, and funk. They are an excellent choice for musicians who value the simplicity and timeless appeal of their instrument's tone without the need for active electronic components.

Winner: Tie.

Versatility Comparison

Some instruments offer you more ways to explore your creativity than others. Below you'll find how both compare when it comes to versatility.

Switch Options

Both are equal when it comes to the pickup switching option.

Neither of them come with some kind of coil split or pickup mod option. This makes both lacking in terms of versatility.

In this case, both of them lack pickup selector.

When evaluating versatility, we also take into consideration bridge and neck joint type, number of frets, switch options, amount of pickups and more.

Winner: Tie.

Final Sound Quality Scores

Fender American Vintage II 1966 Jazz Bass
Pickups 100
Sustain 65
Versatility 77
Tuning Stability 80
Sound 81
Fender Aerodyne Special Jazz Bass
Pickups 100
Sustain 65
Versatility 77
Tuning Stability 80
Sound 81

Build Quality Comparison

When it comes to build quality, we like to take into account everything used to build the instrument. This includes materials, hardware and the quality control expected depending on the country where it was built. Let's see how the Fender American Vintage II 1966 Jazz Bass compares to the Fender Aerodyne Special Jazz Bass.

Country of Origin

The manufacturing country can tell a lot about the build quality of an instrument. Both in this comparison where made in United States.

The United States is considered one of the best electric guitar manufacturers in the world. A guitar made in this country is supposed to have world-class quality control. Nowadays, guitars made in other countries can beat some of the ones made in the US, but most of the time, this country offers the best you can get. Of course, that comes at a price.

Winner: Tie

Nut Material

If you want your bass to stay in tune and sound good, you need a well cut nut. Nut quality can be inconsistent even when comparing two copies of the same model. The best way to make sure you're nut will be well done is by getting a nut made by an expert company like TUSQ or Micarta.

The Fender American Vintage II 1966 Jazz Bass has a Bone nut. It's a type of nut found in high-quality instruments. They sound similar to Ivory since they give a lot of sustain and a bright sound (at least when striking open strings). The only problem they can run into is that you may get a bone piece that simply doesn't sound as well as others because that's just how natural materials are.

On the other hand, the Fender Aerodyne Special Jazz Bass comes with a Synthetic Bone nut. Bone is the best natural material for guitar nuts. However, its tonal properties can be inconsistent. That's the problem that synthetic bone fixes. This is much better than using a plastic nut because the nut is more slippery—which helps with tuning stability—, and it gives your open strings rich harmonics.

Winner: Tie.

Fret Material

Most fret wire is made of nickel silver. This material eventually wears down after a lot of use and most instruments end up needing a complete fret replacement. However, some expensive models come with stainless steel frets. This is what you should aim for if you can afford it.

Unfortunately, none of them come with stainless steel frets.

Winner: Tie.

Tuners

Both come with regular tuners. The Fender American Vintage II 1966 Jazz Bass's are Pure Vintage ‘Lollipop’ while the Fender Aerodyne Special Jazz Bass's are Standard Open-Gear

Winner: Tie.

Neck Joint

Contrary to popular belief, the difference in sustain and tone that some neck joints give to a bass is simply unperceivable—if they're all well built. However, some of them do have advantages over the others.

Both have a Bolt-On neck joint. This neck is joined to the body by 4 bolts that you can simply unscrew. This allows you to replace the neck or take it off for travel. It's the most common and cheapest way to build a guitar.

Winner: Tie.

Here is the list of features that were considered when choosing the winner in the Features subcategory:

Strengths & Weaknesses
Fender American Vintage II 1966 Jazz Bass
  • Made in United States
  • Expensive Wood
  • Bone Nut
  • Top Brand Pickups
  • Cheap Fret Wire (NS)
  • No Locking Tuners
  • No Neck-Through Build
  • No Push Knob or Extra Switch Option
  • No Weight Relief
  • No Luminescent Inlay
  • No Active Preamp
  • No Compound Radius Fretboard
  • No 21:1 Tuner Ratio
  • No Retainer Bar
  • No Strap Lock
Strengths & Weaknesses
Fender Aerodyne Special Jazz Bass
  • Made in United States
  • Synthetic Bone Nut
  • Top Brand Pickups
  • Cheap Fret Wire (NS)
  • No Locking Tuners
  • No Expensive Woods
  • No Neck-Through Build
  • No Push Knob or Extra Switch Option
  • No Weight Relief
  • No Luminescent Inlay
  • No Active Preamp
  • No Compound Radius Fretboard
  • No 21:1 Tuner Ratio
  • No Retainer Bar
  • No Strap Lock

Final Build Quality Scores

Fender American Vintage II 1966 Jazz Bass
Quality of materials 56
Features 70
Quality Control 95
Build Quality 74
Fender Aerodyne Special Jazz Bass
Quality of materials 51
Features 70
Quality Control 80
Build Quality 67

Playability Comparison

Let's now compare their playability. Bear in mind that the instrument will feel different depending on your hand size and play style. That's why you should always test before buying. But if you can't or want a second opinion on it, we can still take a look at each of the important measurements of the instrument for you. This way, we can predict how easy a bass might be to play, or how different it will feel compared to the other.

Remember that, even though the difference might seem small, every inch counts when it comes to feeling of the instrument in your hands. Any variation can completely change how comfortable a bass feels in your hands.

Nut Width

Fender American Vintage II 1966 Jazz Bass Nut Width
Both Guitars Have The Same Nut Width

The nut width will affect the separation between strings at the nut. In this comparison, both have a nut width of 38.1mm (1.5'').

This is within the most common range of nut widths for a 4-string bass. It offers a good balance of string separation at the nut. It's the size that most guitarists prefer as it gives them just enough space to play open chords without muting the strings, but without spreading the strings too wide and making bar chords difficult to perform.

Scale Length

Fender American Vintage II 1966 Jazz Bass and Fender Aerodyne Special Jazz Bass's Scale Length
Both have the same scale length

The scale length is one of the things that influences playability the most. This is the distance between the nut and the bridge and will affect everything from low action allowance, difficulty to perform bends, fret separation, and even tone.

In this case, both have a scale length of 34".

This is a scale used for baritones and guitars with more than 6 strings. Since the scale is so long, the tension of the strings will be higher. This means that bending will require a lot more strength than with a shorter scale. However, it also allows you to use really low tunings without causing fret buzz and without needing to increase your string gauge too much.

Lastly, remember that you can also affect the tension of the strings by changing your string gauge. You can use a thicker gauge for more tension and a lighter one for less tension.

Neck Profile

Fender American Vintage II 1966 Jazz Bass Neck Profile
Fender American Vintage II 1966 Jazz Bass's neck profile
Fender Aerodyne Special Jazz Bass Neck Profile
Fender Aerodyne Special Jazz Bass's neck profile

No single neck shape is better than others. However, most people tend to prefer a thinner necks because it doesn't get in their way when playing fast and most hand sizes can adapt to it pretty well. However, some people still prefer thicker necks for a better grip, especially if they have big hands.

In this case, both have different neck shapes:

The Fender American Vintage II 1966 Jazz Bass has a U type of neck. This is also referred to as ''baseball neck'' because of its shape. It's usually thick, which is why some people with big hands like it. However, they can also be thin, similar to a C shape, but with more shoulders for a better grip.

The Fender Aerodyne Special Jazz Bass, on the other hand, has a C neck. This is what you'll find in most modern guitars. Most people feel like the thickness of a C neck is simply the less intrusive one for playing fast, while at the same time allowing you to grab the neck easily for resting if you want to.

Fretboard Radius

Fender American Vintage II 1966 Jazz Bass Fingerboard Radius
Fender American Vintage II 1966 Jazz Bass's Fingerboard radius
Fender Aerodyne Special Jazz Bass Fingerboard Radius
Fender Aerodyne Special Jazz Bass's Fingerboard radius

Most bass fretboards are not flat; they usually have a curve or arc across their width. A curved fretboard will make it easier to perform chords without muting strings, while a flatter one will make it easier to play single notes, which is good for bending and soloing in general. The best fretboards have a compound radius that varies across the fingerboard, but they're not common since they take a lot more work to build.

In this case, the Fender American Vintage II 1966 Jazz Bass's fingerboard radius is smaller, which means it's more curved than the Fender Aerodyne Special Jazz Bass's. This extra arc will make playing chords easier in this model. You won't be as likely to mute the strings, especially if you have big hands. However, playing single notes and bending will be easier on the Fender Aerodyne Special Jazz Bass.

Hand Size Comfortability

Everyone has a different hand size, and that's why it's recommended to try a bass before buying, even if others tell you that it's comfortable to play. However, we can know whether a bass favors small or large hands just by knowing its exact measurements.

And after taking into account the scale length, nut width, neck profile and fretboard radius, we can conclude that the Fender American Vintage II 1966 Jazz Bass favors large hands more than the Fender Aerodyne Special Jazz Bass.

Fender American Vintage II 1966 Jazz Bass:
Big Hands
Small Hands
Fender Aerodyne Special Jazz Bass:
Big Hands
Small Hands

Fret Size

Fender American Vintage II 1966 Jazz Bass Frets Size
Fender American Vintage II 1966 Jazz Bass's Frets Size
Fender Aerodyne Special Jazz Bass Frets Size
Fender Aerodyne Special Jazz Bass's Frets Size

The Fender American Vintage II 1966 Jazz Bass has Vintage Tall frets, which should be taller than the Fender Aerodyne Special Jazz Bass's Medium Jumbo frets.

Some people prefer taller frets because they result in more sustain since the strings get pressed cleanly without interference from the fretboard. However, if they're too tall—like Jumbo frets—, you might change the pitch of the strings accidentally if you press too hard because you won't be touching the fretboard with your fingers. This is also why some guitarists with a heavy grip prefer smaller frets. They like to feel the fingerboard to avoid pressing down too hard and getting out of pitch.

Final Playability Scores

Fender American Vintage II 1966 Jazz Bass
Bending & Vibrato Ease 65
Chord Playability 100
Solo Playability 50
Playability 72
Fender Aerodyne Special Jazz Bass
Bending & Vibrato Ease 75
Chord Playability 70
Solo Playability 70
Playability 72

Specs Side-by-Side

Fender American Vintage II 1966 Jazz Bass vs Aerodyne Special Jazz Bass
General Fender American Vintage II 1966 Jazz Bass Aerodyne Special Jazz Bass
Brand: Fender Fender
Year: 2022 2022
Configuration: SS SS
Strings: 4 4
Made in: United States United States
Series: American Vintage II Aerodyne Special
Colors: White, Sunburst, Green Blue, Gray, Burst
Left-Handed Version: Yes No
Body
Type: Solid Body Solid Body
Body Material: Alder Basswood
Bridge: Pure Vintage 4-Saddle with Threaded Steel Saddles Babicz Z-Series FCH-4 Bass
Neck
Neck Joint: Bolt-On Bolt-On
Tuners: Pure Vintage ‘Lollipop’ Standard Open-Gear
Fretboard: Bound Round-Laminated Rosewood Maple
Neck Material: Maple Maple
Decoration: White Pearloid Dot 7mm Black Pearloid Dots
Scale Size: 34" 34"
Shape: Bass 1966 U Bass Modern C
Frets: 20 Vintage Tall Nickel Silver 20 Medium Jumbo Nickel Silver
Fretboard Radius: 7.25" 12"
Nut: Bone Synthetic Bone
Nut Width: 38.1mm (1.5'') 38.1mm (1.5'')
Electronics
Bridge Pickup: Fender Pure Vintage 66 Single-Coil Jazz Bass (Single Coil / Passive) Fender Aerodyne Special Single-Coil Jazz Bass (Single Coil / Passive)
Middle Pickup: Fender Pure Vintage 66 Single-Coil Jazz Bass (Single Coil / Passive) Fender Aerodyne Special Single-Coil Jazz Bass (Single Coil / Passive)
Neck Pickup:
Switch: 0 Way 0 Way
Knobs: Dome Dome
Pickup Mods: None None
Volume Controls: 2 2
Tone Controls: 1 1