Fender Jazzmaster Ultralight....first impressions

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by VaughnC, Sep 22, 2006.

  1. VaughnC

    VaughnC Supporting Member

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    First impressions.....not a bad amp.

    I noodled with the JM amp by itself for about half an hour before I A/B'd it with my other amps just to get a feel for what the amp is trying to do. With my favorite Strat and the tone controls at noon, the amp has kind of a Fendery neutral tonality but not what I'd call sterile. It just made my Strat sound about like what I think a Strat should sound like but without any odd coloration that I'd want to try and EQ out. The 1X12 cab is quite small, very light, and just large enough to enclose the lightweight Neodium (sp) speaker. I can easily pick up the speaker cab with one finger but it surprised me how full it sounded for its size. I then tweaked the tone controls for the best sound and, considering the small cab, the rig didn't sound too bad. The bottom end is deeper than my Roland Cube 60 and it has a nice feel to it....not too tight or too loose, sorta like a tube amp with a solid state rectifier.

    The digital effects are decent but you only have control over their depth and not their time....but there are a few time presets for each effect. You can also have delay & reverb simultaneously, chorus, vibrato, or a leslie simulation. There are also seperate FX controls & FX on/off footswitches for each channel.

    The OD channel sounds ok....neither raspy or mushy but I haven't played with that channel very much yet. However, it has a good OD range from just over the edge to approaching metal. To my ears, the OD channel sounds slightly more tubey than the clean channel.

    The amp is rated 250 watts so there's lots of clean headroom available for those who like that aspect. The clean channel can be very loud & clean....but with decent tone too. Compared to my Roland Cube 60, the Roland seems to have a low mid hump that I don't hear in the Fender, which is tonally more even to my ears.

    Don't know if it's a keeper yet but I definitely didn't reach for the packing tape after the first few notes. My first impression was that the Fender sounds better than the C60....but does it sound $600 better? Time will tell ;).

    More to follow....later!
    [​IMG]
     
  2. bluesdoc

    bluesdoc Gold Supporting Member Gold Supporting Member

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    Thanks Vaughn. When's the next gig?

    Looking forward to 'later' :)

    jon
     
  3. Boogs

    Boogs Member

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    I like the solid-state into 15" thing...good way to gently soften up a solid state. At least it used to work for a clean-based sound in my last gigging band. I used a Yamaha G100-115.
     
  4. VaughnC

    VaughnC Supporting Member

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    Next Saturday.....a private affair so I'm not sure if I'll be able to "open her up" to see what she'll do. So we'll see! I've got 45 days to kick the tires ;).
     
  5. jeak

    jeak Member

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    Vaughn, thanks for the review. Been looking forward to it.

    Have you ever played any of Fender's Dyna-Touch III amps? I once tried the Stage 1600 and felt much the same way you do about the Jazzmaster. But I thought it sounded quite large and open with its 2x12 open-back configuration. It's not as lightweight as the JM (it's around 50 pounds), but it might float your boat better if the JM doesn't make the cut.

    And if 50 pounds is too much, there are a couple of 1x12 combos in the Dyna line as well. I tried one of them (I think it was the 900), and to my ears it beats the Cube 60. Just my opinion, of course.

    Hey, Boogs, I used to have a Yamaha G100-115 too!
     
  6. bluesdoc

    bluesdoc Gold Supporting Member Gold Supporting Member

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    So, isn't 250W into 2 ohms kind of deceptive? I mean, that's like a 60 W amp into 8 ohms, right?

    jon
     
  7. VaughnC

    VaughnC Supporting Member

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    I don't quite follow you. Whether the optimum load is 2 or 8 ohms, 250 watts are 250 watts and 60 watts are 60 watts into the optimum load.

    The tricky part is at what % of distortion the power readings were taken. The standard is said to be 5%, but sometimes you have to read between the lines ;).
     
  8. VaughnC

    VaughnC Supporting Member

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    Never tried the Dyna amps. My idea behind an amp like the Jazzmaster, Roland C60, or the Crate Power Block is to have a small, light, but decent sounding gigging amp, with good clean headroom, for gigging situations where my larger tube amps aren't practical. However, I will always have a good tube amp in the stable for when the situation calls for it.
     
  9. VaughnC

    VaughnC Supporting Member

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    With my first impression, the FX seem adequate....but I haven't really played with them too much yet. With my first sit with the amp, I was mainly focusing on tone and clean headroom. I'll get into the other details as I get more of a feel for the amp and how it reacts to my input.
     
  10. Brooks

    Brooks Member

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    yep. 70w 10" eminence copperhead inside. i use this when we rehearse at the drummers house every now and then. used it on a quick 1 set gig recently. not bad!
    [​IMG]
     
  11. monkmiles

    monkmiles Supporting Member

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    Just stumbled across a couple Fender Jazzmaster Ultralight threads I had missed...

    VaughnC, how are you liking yours? I've had mine for a while and still really like it.
     
  12. Zim

    Zim Member

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    How do these handle pedals?
     
  13. VaughnC

    VaughnC Supporting Member

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    Seemed fine at home but didn't like it in a gigging context....sounded a little too boxy for my taste. Oh well, my curiousity has been satisfied....I returned it. Decent amp, but just not for me.
     
  14. riffmeister

    riffmeister Gold Supporting Member

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    What is the impedance of the speaker you are using?
     
  15. monkmiles

    monkmiles Supporting Member

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    Just curious, what style of music were you playing with it?
    By the way, that dual channel mod you have for TS9's from your sig looks pretty cool. You might hear from me when I have some spare cash.

    I haven't tried many but the couple overdrives I tried (TS9, Sparkle Drive) both sounded good through it. Didn't notice much difference in how it handled them compared to my tube amp.

    I'm using the matching cabinet which is 2 ohm. So at 2 ohm, it's 250 watts. [SIZE=-1]Raezers Edge cabinets, which alot of jazzers use, suggest their [/SIZE]4 ohm Twin 8 cab.
     
  16. billyguitar

    billyguitar Member

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    I have gigged an Evans JE150 a lot so I am familiar with it's tone. If you're familiar with that sound or a Polytone, how do you think the Fender compared?
    I had a Fender Stage 1000 dynatouch 1x12 combo for a while. Forget the lead channel but the clean channel was quite good. The builtin effects were nice. It did have a low level distortion that was there all the time. Play a nice fat chord and listen to it tail off. As it does I would start to hear a 'hashy' sound being added. I sold that amp. Still have the Evans!
     
  17. googoobaby

    googoobaby Member

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    I've tried an older Polytone and own the Fender and like the Ultralight better. It's warmer, plus I like the effects, and surprisingly to me, the overdrive channel.
     
  18. monkmiles

    monkmiles Supporting Member

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    I've never tried an Evans, but I have tried a Polytone and I prefer the Jazzmaster Ultralight to it. Both have a great clean tone, but the Fender just has more between the 2nd channel (which is useable), the effects, its portability/power when used with the matching cab, etc. Little cool thing: the feet of the head stay snug onto the cabinet by the use of little magnets. :)
     

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