Text Box:  Fender Japan, JB62-77FL (1962 Reissue)

Fretless Bass


For quite some time Fender Japan has been a bit of a dark horse, as most musicians have never known quite where their product line fits in with the Fender Musical Family Hierarchy.

The opinion of most players that I have met either in person or online, is that Fender Japan instruments, which are Crafted in Japan (CIJ) sit in the line, between the Made in Mexico (MIM) and Made in America (MIA) instruments and some even say that their quality equals or surpasses that of American made guitars.

Made in Japan (MIJ) instruments are those for intended for export and it must be said that the instruments that Fender Japan produces for their domestic market (CIJ) are usually better than those than are exported to the outside market. For example Jaguar guitars sold in the USA and Europe are usually basswood whilst domestic ones are alder.

The item under review a Crafted in Japan, Fender JB62-77 Fretless Bass, was acquired direct from the Ishibashi Web-Shop in Japan.

Text Box:  Body and Neck

The bass sports a 3-Colour Sunburst finish over an alder body, which is finished in polyurethane (as is the case with most MIJ, MIM, and MIA instruments, except for the MIA Vintage Series). The unbound maple neck is made to look aged with a vintage yellow tint and the fingerboard is a rosewood slab with maple inserts that provide fret marking. This is a long scale bass at 34”. White position makers are used.

Text Box:  Hardware

All the hardware is chromed; tuners are vintage reverse, together with a vintage spiral bridge. Also included in true ’62 style is a round string retainer and a strap button on the back of the headstock. The 4-bolt neck plate has no logo.



Text Box:  Pickups & Electronics

Installed pickups are Vintage American Jazz Bass (these are the same as in the American Vintage Series), the bass is passive and on the usual chrome Jazz Bass control plate are 2 plastic volume controls and one smaller tone control. The volume knobs independently control each pickups volume and can be used to combine both for tonal variation.


This bass comes with an unpadded Fender gig bag. I actually ordered the additional rectangular hardcase, which is similar in style to G&G cases that come with US instruments. This case is certainly very good quality has a large inside compartment for accessories and also has moulded side protection for the bass.

To my surprise a red tortoise pick guard was included in the case should I choose to install it. Also provided is a guitar cord, and documents such as the generic Fender Japan Manual, Warranty etc…unfortunately it’s all in Japanese!


This Fender bass sounds rich and has a very good low-end tone. Having an alder body and thick rosewood fingerboard it sounds deep even with brand new strings. It certainly sounds a lot mellower than my Marcus Miller bass that has an ash body and a maple neck, which is a based on a 77 reissue.

The classic slide sounds usually associated with a fretless bass are easily attainable although, first one must get used to fretting very accurately on the fret line itself to achieve good intonation.

Since purchasing this bass I’ve been listening to a lot of Jaco Pastorius, Paul Simon’s “Graceland” and other music with fretless bass lines and been able to approximate the tone and feel with no problems.


An excellent value for money instrument which, offers many features and superb build quality. This is my second Fender Japan instrument and there is no doubt I will return for more from the land of the rising sun.

By Ernest H Slade


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