|Body And Neck:
Since 2003, Fender’s Aerodyne has been a popular addition to the iconic brand’s bass line, and it’s easy to see why – it’s a real grown-up bass. This modern Aerodyne Jazz Bass is both elegant and powerful, with minimalist style and premium appointments that see it sit comfortably in our chart on the best basses under $1000. After such an introduction, let’s check out what it can offer you.
Emerging from the shadows, the Aerodyne is a dark, simple and refined bass – no nonsense, but with plenty of style. The body takes the classic Jazz Bass double-cutaway shape, with a delicious all-black urethane finish on both the body and familiar Fender headstock, broken up only by the tasteful cream side binding and smoked-chrome hardware.
The body is made from solid basswood and features a lovely satin-finished bolt-on maple neck, with a C shape, dark stained rosewood fretboard, and 20 medium jumbo frets. So aside from looking good, it plays very well indeed with a low, fast action. There are no fret markers on the face, to keep the look as minimalist as possible, although you will find dot markers on the side of the fretboard for convenience.
Coming from Fender’s Japanese factory, the craftsmanship on display is excellent, and feels like some attention has gone in to making this Aerodyne. Pretty much top marks!
This Aerodyne features two pickups in Fender’s classic PJ configuration – a standard single-coil Jazz Bass pickup at the bridge, with a standard split Precision Bass single-coil in the middle. To help dial in your desired sound there are three very sexy smoked-chrome knurled dome control knobs; one volume control for each pickup along with a master tone control.
Elsewhere the hardware is fine – pretty solid, although no more than you’d expect at this price range. There’s a relatively standard chrome four-saddle bridge, and matching chrome open-gear tuners, along with a synthetic bone nut and a black Strat output jack. The only slight let down is that it doesn’t come with a case or gig bag – at this price you may expect one.
It’s genuinely difficult to find a bad sound on the Aerodyne Jazz Bass – it sounds just as smooth as it plays. The PJ pickup combination also makes it a very flexible bass and its tonal range is excellent, from clean glassy highs to deep rumbling lows. The growling bridge pickup combines nicely with the powerful middle split-coil, and it’s just as comfortable being tuned right down for metal playing as it is in a relaxed jazz lounge.
This is a bass that just screams ‘perform with me’ – it needs to be seen on stage. While the hardware isn’t as innovative or premium in feel as other basses in this price range, the Aerodyne’s biggest asset is its gorgeous black body and silky smooth playability, matched by its superb range of tones. For a bass that falls nearly two hundred bucks short of the $1000 mark, it offers excellent value.