Fender Jaco Pastorius Jazz Bass vs American Performer Mustang Bass

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Fender Jaco Pastorius Jazz Bass
Playability
72
Sound
81
Build
72
Value
65
Score
75
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Fender American Performer Mustang Bass
VS
Playability
70
Sound
81
Build
74
Value
75
Score
75
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Reasons to Get
Fender Jaco Pastorius Jazz Bass over American Performer Mustang Bass

Nut Width
1.5'' (38.1mm) vs 1.625'' (41.3mm)
Favors small hands, easier bar chords and other shapes
Paint Finish
Nitro vs Poly
Thin finish that creates aging marks faster
Scale Length
34'' (863.6mm) vs 30'' (762mm)
Lower action and brighter natural tone
Fretboard Radius
12'' (304.8mm) vs 9.5'' (241.3mm)
Flatter fretboard makes it easier to play single notes and bend

Reasons to Get
Fender American Performer Mustang Bass over Jaco Pastorius Jazz Bass

Frets Height
Taller vs Shorter
Easier to press down strings and bend them
Number of Frets
19 vs 0
Allows to reach higher notes
Nut Width
1.625'' (41.3mm) vs 1.5'' (38.1mm)
Less likely to mute strings by accident and more space for fingerstyle
Paint Finish
Poly vs Nitro
Resistant paint that ages well
Scale Length
30'' (762mm) vs 34'' (863.6mm)
Easier bending, shorter fret separation and warmer natural tone
Fretboard Radius
9.5'' (241.3mm) vs 12'' (304.8mm)
More curved fretboard helpful to play chords without muting strings
Value Score
75 vs 65
Better price/quality relationship

Other Key Differences
Fender Jaco Pastorius Jazz Bass vs American Performer Mustang Bass

Bridge Pickup
Fender American Vintage Single-Coil Jazz Bass vs Fender Yosemite Single-Coil Jazz Bass
Different Bridge Pickup
Fretboard Wood
Pau Ferro vs Rosewood
Different Fretboard Wood

Shared Features
Fender Jaco Pastorius Jazz Bass vs American Performer Mustang Bass

Body Wood
Alder
Same Body Wood
Neck Wood
Maple
Same Neck Wood
Headstock
4
Same Headstock
Nut Material
Synthetic Bone
Same Nut Material
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
Bridge
Fixed
Good sustain and needs no set-up
Pickups Power
Passive
Cleaner sound and no battery needed
Neck Profile Type
C
Comfortable neck that works for most people
Neck Joint
Bolt-On
Allows you to detach and swap the neck
Type of Frets
Fretless 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 Jaco Pastorius Jazz Bass Prices

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Fender American Performer Mustang Bass Prices

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Which One is Better?

After going through our comparison algorithm, the results show that both instruments scored 75 out of 100, which makes them similar in terms of quality.

The Fender American Performer Mustang Bass wins when it comes to build quality, value for the money. On the other hand, the Fender Jaco Pastorius Jazz Bass has the upper hand when it comes to playability.

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

Which One is Better for Beginners?

If you're looking for your first bass to learn how to play, the Fender American Performer Mustang Bass is the better choice.

The Fender American Performer Mustang Bass meets 5 out of our 6 criteria items for beginner friendliness, while the Fender Jaco Pastorius Jazz Bass meets only 2. 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.

New Player Friendliness

Fender Jaco Pastorius Jazz Bass
  • Comfortable shape
  • Comfortable neck
  • Comfortable fretboard
  • Tall frets
  • Narrow nut
  • Short scale

New Player Friendliness

Fender American Performer Mustang Bass
  • Comfortable shape
  • Comfortable fretboard
  • Tall frets
  • Short scale
  • Comfortable neck
  • Narrow nut

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 Jaco Pastorius Jazz Bass Overview

  • From Fender's 2019 Jazz Bass series
  • Jaco Pastorius Signature
  • Made in United States
  • 4 strings
  • 34"'' scale
  • 12" Fretboard Radius
  • Select Alder body
  • Maple neck
  • Pau Ferro fretboard
  • Bridge pickup: Fender American Vintage Single-Coil Jazz Bass (Single Coil/Passive)
  • Neck pickup: Fender American Vintage Single-Coil Jazz Bass (Single Coil/Passive)
  • 2 volume and 1 tone Dome knobs
  • 4-Saddle American Vintage Bass bridge
  • Bass C Shape Bolt-On neck
  • 0 Fretless frets
  • American Vintage Reverse Open-Gear Bass tuners
  • Compare Specs >

Fender American Performer Mustang Bass Overview

  • From Fender's 2019 American Performer series
  • Made in United States
  • 4 strings
  • 30"'' scale
  • 9.5" Fretboard Radius
  • Alder body
  • Maple neck
  • Rosewood fretboard
  • Bridge pickup: Fender Yosemite Single-Coil Jazz Bass (Single Coil/Passive)
  • Neck pickup: (/)
  • 2 volume and 1 tone Bell knobs
  • 4-Saddle American Performer Mustang Bass bridge
  • Bass Modern C Bolt-On neck
  • 19 Medium Jumbo frets
  • Fender F Light-Weight Vintage-Paddle Keys with Tapered Shafts tuners
  • Weight between 8.063lbs (3.7kgs) and 8.313lbs (3.8kgs)
  • 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
Alder wood pattern used for guitar building
Alder

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.

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 Jaco Pastorius Jazz Bass

Pau Ferro wood pattern used for guitar building
Pau Ferro

Pau Ferro has a dark, chocolate-like color with straight dark grains that is being used as a replacement to Rosewood due to the regulations. It produces a warm tone that is somewhere between Mahogany and Rosewood. Find out more about Pau Ferro.

Woods Used in the Fender American Performer Mustang Bass

Rosewood wood pattern used for guitar building
Rosewood

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.

Winner: Fender American Performer Mustang 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 Jaco Pastorius Jazz Bass
Pickups 100
Sustain 65
Versatility 77
Tuning Stability 80
Sound 81
Fender American Performer Mustang 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 Jaco Pastorius Jazz Bass compares to the Fender American Performer Mustang 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.

In this case, both have Synthetic Bone nuts. 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.

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 Jaco Pastorius Jazz Bass's are American Vintage Reverse Open-Gear Bass while the Fender American Performer Mustang Bass's are Fender F Light-Weight Vintage-Paddle Keys with Tapered Shafts

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 Jaco Pastorius 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
Strengths & Weaknesses
Fender American Performer Mustang Bass
  • Made in United States
  • Expensive Wood
  • Synthetic 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

Final Build Quality Scores

Fender Jaco Pastorius Jazz Bass
Quality of materials 51
Features 70
Quality Control 95
Build Quality 72
Fender American Performer Mustang Bass
Quality of materials 66
Features 70
Quality Control 85
Build Quality 74

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 Jaco Pastorius Jazz Bass Nut Width
Fender Jaco Pastorius Jazz Bass Nut Width
Fender American Performer Mustang Bass Nut Width
Fender American Performer Mustang Bass Nut Width

The nut width will affect the separation between strings at the nut. In this comparison, the Fender American Performer Mustang Bass has the wider nut with 41.3mm (1.625'') vs 38.1mm (1.5''). This is a 3.2mm (0.125'') difference

This means that it will be more difficult to do bar chords on the Fender American Performer Mustang Bass, especially closer to the nut. However, it's also easier to play without muting strings accidently. This favors people with big hands.

Scale Length

Fender Jaco Pastorius Jazz Bass's Scale Length
Fender Jaco Pastorius Jazz Bass's Scale Length
Fender American Performer Mustang Bass's Scale Length
Fender American Performer Mustang Bass's 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.

The Fender Jaco Pastorius Jazz Bass has the longest scale: 34". The Fender American Performer Mustang Bass is only 30" long. This is a 4'' (101.6mm) scale length difference.

This longer scale means that the strings need more tension to get in tune. This is good if you want to avoid fret buzz, which can happen when the strings are too loose and touch the frets while vibrating. This is especially important when playing in lower tunings. This will also let you reduce the gap between fretboard and strings (low action) to make them easier to press down. However, this higher tension will also make it harder to perform bends and vibratos as the strings will feel stiffer.

This also means that the frets have a longer separation between each other, so this will make it harder for people with smaller hands when playing some chord positions.

Another characteristic of a longer scale is that it makes the bass sound 'snappier' or brighter. This is due to the extra separation between harmonics and overtones produced by the tension. This influences tone more than any other factor (except the pickups).

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 Jaco Pastorius Jazz Bass Neck Profile
Fender Jaco Pastorius Jazz Bass's neck profile
Fender American Performer Mustang Bass Neck Profile
Fender American Performer Mustang 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.

Both the Fender Jaco Pastorius Jazz Bass and the Fender American Performer Mustang Bass have a C-shaped 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 Jaco Pastorius Jazz Bass Fingerboard Radius
Fender Jaco Pastorius Jazz Bass's Fingerboard radius
Fender American Performer Mustang Bass Fingerboard Radius
Fender American Performer Mustang 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 Performer Mustang Bass's fingerboard radius is smaller, which means it's more curved than the Fender Jaco Pastorius 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 Jaco Pastorius 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 Performer Mustang Bass favors large hands more than the Fender Jaco Pastorius Jazz Bass.

Fender Jaco Pastorius Jazz Bass:
Big Hands
Small Hands
Fender American Performer Mustang Bass:
Big Hands
Small Hands

Fret Size

Fender Jaco Pastorius Jazz Bass Frets Size
Fender Jaco Pastorius Jazz Bass's Frets Size
Fender American Performer Mustang Bass Frets Size
Fender American Performer Mustang Bass's Frets Size

The Fender American Performer Mustang Bass has Medium Jumbo frets, which should be taller than the Fender Jaco Pastorius Jazz Bass's Fretless 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 Jaco Pastorius Jazz Bass
Bending & Vibrato Ease 85
Chord Playability 60
Solo Playability 70
Playability 72
Fender American Performer Mustang Bass
Bending & Vibrato Ease 80
Chord Playability 70
Solo Playability 60
Playability 70

Specs Side-by-Side

Fender Jaco Pastorius Jazz Bass vs American Performer Mustang Bass
General Fender Jaco Pastorius Jazz Bass American Performer Mustang Bass
Brand: Fender Fender
Year: 2019 2019
Configuration: SS SS
Strings: 4 4
Made in: United States United States
Series: Jazz Bass American Performer
Colors: Sunburst White, Sunburst, Green, Red
Left-Handed Version: No No
Body
Type: Solid Body Solid Body
Body Material: Select Alder Alder
Bridge: 4-Saddle American Vintage Bass 4-Saddle American Performer Mustang Bass
Neck
Neck Joint: Bolt-On Bolt-On
Tuners: American Vintage Reverse Open-Gear Bass Fender F Light-Weight Vintage-Paddle Keys with Tapered Shafts
Fretboard: Pau Ferro Rosewood
Neck Material: Maple Maple
Decoration: White Dot
Scale Size: 34" 30"
Shape: Bass C Shape Bass Modern C
Frets: 0 Fretless Nickel Silver 19 Medium Jumbo Nickel Silver
Fretboard Radius: 12" 9.5"
Nut: Synthetic Bone Synthetic Bone
Nut Width: 38.1mm (1.5'') 41.3mm (1.625'')
Electronics
Bridge Pickup: Fender American Vintage Single-Coil Jazz Bass (Single Coil / Passive) Fender Yosemite Single-Coil Jazz Bass (Single Coil / Passive)
Middle Pickup: Fender Yosemite Split Single-Coil Mustang Bass (Single Coil / Passive)
Neck Pickup: Fender American Vintage Single-Coil Jazz Bass (Single Coil / Passive)
Switch: 0 Way 0 Way
Knobs: Dome Bell
Pickup Mods: None None
Volume Controls: 2 2
Tone Controls: 1 1