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Old June 1st, 2008, 10:50 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Fender Ultralight Jazzmaster vs Jazz King Amps

I am trying to choose between the two and opinions are hard to come by - sound samplews are even more scarce.

Has anyone tried both and what do you think about them? I am more interested in the clean jazzy sound with a little reverb. Of course, with the Ultralight you get much lighter weight as well as effects if you need them. The jazz king touts more of the clean sound but if you want overdrive you can add a pedal. I dont know which way to go.

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Old June 1st, 2008, 03:23 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Hey Georgeatt,
Though I'm still a hippie, 90% of my work for the past 6 or 7 years has been straight ahead jazz. Use a SF Twin Reverb for loud, a Polytone Baby Brute for quiet.
Heard both of those Fenders in Vegas at shows/ lounges, tried the Jazz King. My vote goes to ...

65 Twin Reverb Custom 15. No contest.

For a solid state amp, I'd get a used Peavey, one of their many 100+watts 1-15" or 2-12" amps from the 80s. They made a lot of stuff in the 70s and 80s with country steel in mind, and they're all clean and loud.

Tubes sound better, even clean.

best wishes.
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Old June 2nd, 2008, 09:46 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Whats your impression of the JK?

When you used the Fender JK, what did you think of it. I would think that the tone shaping abilities paired with the 15" speaker would allow for some very jazzy tones. The 65 Twin Reverb Custom 15 would sound great but it is nearly $500.00 more bucks. Some reviewers/buyers of the JK have said they sound as good or better than the tube amps.
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Old June 3rd, 2008, 03:44 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Well, sir,
to my ears, both Jazzmaster and Jazz King sound very similar, that really clear solid state sound. Wouldn't surprise me if they were nearly identical circuits. I get a good sound out of some solid state amps, and I suppose with a little time, I could find a decent tone on one of these, but to me, Fender does tube amps better than solid state. Just too sterile, like playing through a P.A.
For all the hype, I think the same of Evans amps.
Given the choice between Jazzmaster and Jazz King, I think I'd take the Jazzmaster, because one could try different speaker cabinets easily. Also, it's light weight and with, say a 15" Neodymium cab, it'd be a heck of a lot easier on the back, one in each hand or two trips to the truck.. Also could match it with a 1-12" or 1-10" for small gigs or rehearsal. They sound really similar, dark, but not that warm. With some tweaking, I get that sound from my tuck and roll Kustom P.A. head and my old Peavey 1-15 open back cab.
Used Twins are going for $500-600 on Ebay and Craigslist, a better sounding amp. Saw Kenny Burrell a lot in the 70s with a blackface Twin (house amp at the Lighthouse jazz club, also house amp the times I played at the Bluenote, Las Vegas).
But not to ignore your question, yeah, I could get a good enough sound out of either to gig, and the Jazz King has all kind of clean headroom, so perfectly adequate. Speaker has more highs than you'd think, really does sound like a JBL. (I used to use a couple of D-130s for loud jazz gigs, same sound). Hope that helps a little, George. Let us know which one you get.
Best wishes.
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Old June 3rd, 2008, 02:03 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I've never played the Jazz King but I do own and regularly use the Jazzmaster Ultralight. I love it and use it regularly for jazz and occasionally for rock/jamband work. It has two channels, channel 1 being a fantastic clean tone with a switchable voice button that works like a bright switch. The built-in effects are average but useable. I mainly just use the reverb, though I like to play with the vibratone effect. It sounds great with my Eastman guitars and my Les Paul. I'd definitely recommend it. Just know that the 250 watts it produces is through a 2 watt speaker. So the output would be reduced through an 8 ohm speaker. I play it through a 1x12 cab I put together with a 2 ohm Jensen Neo (same speaker that's in the macthing cabinet) and sometimes with another cab that has a 4 ohm Neo. The volume difference between the two is barely noticeable. I still own a tube amp...I use to be a tube only guy but got tired of the tube maintainence and inconsistencies I was getting. I now prefer a good solid state amp (they are out there, like the jazzmaster ultralight).
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Old June 7th, 2008, 10:18 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I'll give the JK a try

I decided to give the JK a run, mainly because of the price difference compared to the Ultralight and the JKs 15" Eminence speaker. Since I already have a small Fender tube amp, I think I'll give the SS amp a spin. I ordered it yesterday.
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Old July 8th, 2008, 04:24 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Very Pleased

One week into owning this amp and I must say that I'm very happy with it. The 15" Eminence speaker adds depth as well as sparkle to the tones. My EJ Strat's tone seems to darken a bit and sound much fuller. It is definitely the clean jazzy sound I was looking for. I have yet to add an effects loop to it to guage its sound with overdrive, etc. But as a clean Amp, this is the one.
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Old July 9th, 2008, 06:45 AM   #8 (permalink)
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My experiences with the Ultralight is turning into a real saga now !

I bought an Ultralight jazzmaster as a quick set up, throw it in the car, easy to use amp for a gig with a very traditional sounding country band where i wanted clean but not TwinReverb weight.
The Jazzmaster paid me back and in spades, it made a wonderful sound and i quickly became hooked and used it for all sorts of gigs, the neodymium speaker was a revelation and the amp sounded big and bold ......... then it expired !!!
So started a seemingly endless saga of finding someone skilled and capable enough to repair it, of course, the warranty had expired, (only a 12 month warranty in the UK).
I have to say between the music store and Fender i have been treated really well, Fenders especially have pulled out all the stops and when the amp was written off (by them) they offered me another (if i waited) or a Supersonic as a replacement, i tore their arm off and took the Supersonic !!
In some ways the SS is a great replacement, yes, it's a good deal heavier and doesn't fit into it's own little bag but sounds a treat and is very versatile, more so than most Fender tube amps.

So , would i recommend the Ultralight ?, well, it sounds great, is easy to move and use and does seem well built but my breakdown just proved that a basic tube amp is easier to service/repair so i tend to think (for me at least) they are more servicable.

I certainly wouldn't recommend against the Jazzmaster though, hopefully mine was just a 'one off' experience.
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