Fender Jaco Pastorius Jazz Bass vs Player Mustang Bass PJ

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Fender Jaco Pastorius Jazz Bass
Playability
72
Sound
81
Build
72
Value
65
Score
75
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Fender Player Mustang Bass PJ
VS
Playability
70
Sound
81
Build
69
Value
78
Score
73
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Reasons to Get
Fender Jaco Pastorius Jazz Bass over Player Mustang Bass PJ

Country of Manufacturing
United States vs Mexico
Built with higher quality standards
Volume Knobs
2 vs 1
More volume control
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 Player Mustang Bass PJ over Jaco Pastorius Jazz Bass

Release Year
2021 vs 2019
From a more recent year
Frets Height
Taller vs Shorter
Easier to press down strings and bend them
Switch Positions
3 vs 0
More tone options
Number of Frets
19 vs 0
Allows to reach higher notes
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
78 vs 65
Better price/quality relationship

Other Key Differences
Fender Jaco Pastorius Jazz Bass vs Player Mustang Bass PJ

Bridge Pickup
Fender American Vintage Single-Coil Jazz Bass vs Fender Vintage-Style Single-Coil Jazz Bass
Different Bridge Pickup

Shared Features
Fender Jaco Pastorius Jazz Bass vs Player Mustang Bass PJ

Body Wood
Alder
Same Body Wood
Neck Wood
Maple
Same Neck Wood
Fretboard Wood
Pau Ferro
Same Fretboard Wood
Headstock
4
Same Headstock
Nut Material
Synthetic Bone
Same Nut Material
Strings
4
Same playing style
Body Type
Solid Body
Feedback free
Tone Knobs
1
Same tone control
Pickups
SS
Beautiful cleans
Nut Width
1.5'' (38.1mm)
Same string separation at the nut
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
  • 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
  • Expensive Wood
  • 21:1 Tuner Ratio
  • Active/Passive Preamp

Table of Contents

Price History Comparison

Fender Jaco Pastorius Jazz Bass Prices

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Which One is Better?

After going through our comparison algorithm, the results show that the Fender Jaco Pastorius Jazz Bass is probably the better product overall with its final score of 75 compared to the Fender Player Mustang Bass PJ's 73 score, although not by a lot.

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

If you got small hands, you'll probably feel more comfortable playing the Fender Jaco Pastorius Jazz Bass.

Which One is Better for Beginners?

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

The Fender Player Mustang Bass PJ 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 Player Mustang Bass PJ
  • 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 Player Mustang Bass PJ Overview

  • From Fender's 2021 Player Mustang series
  • Made in Mexico
  • 4 strings
  • 30"'' scale
  • 9.5" Fretboard Radius
  • Alder body
  • Maple neck
  • Pau Ferro fretboard
  • Bridge pickup: Fender Vintage-Style Single-Coil Jazz Bass (Single Coil/Passive)
  • Neck pickup: (/)
  • 1 volume and 1 tone Bell knobs
  • 3-way Switch
  • 4-Saddle Standard bridge
  • Bass C Shape Bolt-On neck
  • 19 Medium Jumbo frets
  • Fender Vintage-Style tuners
  • Weight between 7.625lbs (3.5kgs) and 7.813lbs (3.5kgs)
  • 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
Pau Ferro wood pattern used for guitar building
Pau Ferro
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.

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.

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.

Winner: Tie.

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

The Fender Player Mustang Bass PJ gives you 3 switch options while the Fender Jaco Pastorius Jazz Bass gives you 0. This means that the Fender Player Mustang Bass PJ gives you more options to find the right pickup combination for the type of sound you want to achieve

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

The Fender Jaco Pastorius Jazz Bass doesn't come with pickup switching options.

Fender Player Mustang Bass PJ pickups switch and push knobs diagram
Fender Player Mustang Bass PJ's switch options

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

Winner: Fender Player Mustang Bass PJ.

Final Sound Quality Scores

Fender Jaco Pastorius Jazz Bass
Pickups 100
Sustain 65
Versatility 77
Tuning Stability 80
Sound 81
Fender Player Mustang Bass PJ
Pickups 100
Sustain 65
Versatility 80
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 Player Mustang Bass PJ.

Country of Origin

The manufacturing country can tell a lot about the build quality of an instrument. The Fender Jaco Pastorius Jazz Bass is built in United States while the Fender Player Mustang Bass PJ is made in Mexico.

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.

Mexico has been for a long time where Fender has built their semi-premium series. If you don't want to overpay for a wellp-built instrument, a guitar built in this country by a good brand always offers good value for the money.

Winner: Fender Jaco Pastorius Jazz Bass

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 Player Mustang Bass PJ's are Fender Vintage-Style

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 Player Mustang Bass PJ
  • Synthetic Bone Nut
  • Top Brand Pickups
  • Cheap Fret Wire (NS)
  • No Locking Tuners
  • Made in Mexico
  • 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 Jaco Pastorius Jazz Bass
Quality of materials 51
Features 70
Quality Control 95
Build Quality 72
Fender Player Mustang Bass PJ
Quality of materials 66
Features 70
Quality Control 70
Build Quality 69

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
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 Jaco Pastorius Jazz Bass's Scale Length
Fender Jaco Pastorius Jazz Bass's Scale Length
Fender Player Mustang Bass PJ's Scale Length
Fender Player Mustang Bass PJ'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 Player Mustang Bass PJ 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
Both guitars have the same 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 Player Mustang Bass PJ 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 Player Mustang Bass PJ Fingerboard Radius
Fender Player Mustang Bass PJ'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 Player Mustang Bass PJ'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 Player Mustang Bass PJ favors large hands more than the Fender Jaco Pastorius Jazz Bass.

Fender Jaco Pastorius Jazz Bass:
Big Hands
Small Hands
Fender Player Mustang Bass PJ:
Big Hands
Small Hands

Fret Size

Fender Jaco Pastorius Jazz Bass Frets Size
Fender Jaco Pastorius Jazz Bass's Frets Size
Fender Player Mustang Bass PJ Frets Size
Fender Player Mustang Bass PJ's Frets Size

The Fender Player Mustang Bass PJ 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 Player Mustang Bass PJ
Bending & Vibrato Ease 80
Chord Playability 70
Solo Playability 60
Playability 70

Specs Side-by-Side

Fender Jaco Pastorius Jazz Bass vs Player Mustang Bass PJ
General Fender Jaco Pastorius Jazz Bass Player Mustang Bass PJ
Brand: Fender Fender
Year: 2019 2021
Configuration: SS SS
Strings: 4 4
Made in: United States Mexico
Series: Jazz Bass Player Mustang
Colors: Sunburst Gold, Sunburst, Natural
Left-Handed Version: No No
Body
Type: Solid Body Solid Body
Body Material: Select Alder Alder
Bridge: 4-Saddle American Vintage Bass 4-Saddle Standard
Neck
Neck Joint: Bolt-On Bolt-On
Tuners: American Vintage Reverse Open-Gear Bass Fender Vintage-Style
Fretboard: Pau Ferro Pau Ferro
Neck Material: Maple Maple
Decoration: White Dot
Scale Size: 34" 30"
Shape: Bass C Shape Bass C Shape
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'') 38.1mm (1.5'')
Electronics
Bridge Pickup: Fender American Vintage Single-Coil Jazz Bass (Single Coil / Passive) Fender Vintage-Style Single-Coil Jazz Bass (Single Coil / Passive)
Middle Pickup: Fender Vintage-Style Split Single-Coil Precision Bass (Single Coil / Passive)
Neck Pickup: Fender American Vintage Single-Coil Jazz Bass (Single Coil / Passive)
Switch: 0 Way 3 Way
Knobs: Dome Bell
Pickup Mods: None None
Volume Controls: 2 1
Tone Controls: 1 1