ESP 400 Series Jazz
Made In: Japan
Specs: Alder body, one-piece maple neck, rosewood fretboard
Electronics: 2 x JS-130 pickups, passive circuit
Controls: Volume x 2, Tone
In early 1993 this bass was offered to me for IR£300. I had been looking for a new bass and, at a time when late 70’s Fender Precisions could be bought for IR£250, it wasn’t cheap, even though it was used. I paid the sum, got the bass and, to this day, this is the bass by which all others are judged. Sometimes reproductions can surpass the originals and I’d definitely say this is one. Like the Bacchus P, it does everything you could want from this kind of bass, but it has something extra which makes it exceptional.
The guy I bought it off had painted Tank Girl – yes I know – on it which had left some dark shadows in the gloss coat so I sanded most of that off shortly after buying it. It left me with a slightly battered looking bass, but it played and sounded amazingly well. Some instruments are just better than others for reasons you can never quite pinpoint and this is one. Despite being someone who habitually likes to prick around with guitars, modify them and replace bits, this one is still all stock. This is the bass which steered me towards bypassing amp EQ sections. Plug in and go, it has always been the way with this one. I asked ESP to date it but seemingly they lost a lot of documents in a fire a few years back, the closest date they could give me was between 1987 and 1989.
I gigged it all through the 90’s and 00’s and it has taken a fair amount of abuse, it has seen better days but I have yet to play another J bass which even comes close. Many have taken a shot at the title but the ESP remains the champ.