John-Paul Jones | Led Zeppelin and the Fender Jazz Bass

Some people really don’t need an introduction and for us, J-PJ is one of those.  A behemoth of 20th-century music, not only for having formed Led Zeppelin with Jimmy Page in 1968 but for his contribution to the world of 60Hz and above started well before the world had clapped ears on Good Times Bad Times, the opening track from their eponymous 1969 debut.

At only twenty years old, J-PJ was arranging some of the best-known hits of the era, including Donovan’s Mellow Yellow, Jeff Beck’s Hi-Ho Silver Lining and a clutch of Yardbirds numbers. In the two years before founding Led Zeppelin, John-Paul Jones had arranged for or played with some of the biggest names in music, including Etta James, Burt Bacharach and Tom Jones, to name just a trio.  It’s worth noting too that J-PJ was a multi-instrumentalist – from triple-necked acoustics to a Moog or a Mellotron, his musical influence should never be underestimated.

But what of his kit?  In the first half of his Zepp days, Jones was a Fender Jazz stalwart, using it on all the band’s tracks up to 1975, peppered with live uses of a Fender bass V and the bass VI, the former of those he described later as “the ugliest bass guitar in the world” – the Fiat Multipla of bass guitars if you will.

Following that guitar’s retirement, J-PJ went on to use Alembic basses, notably a Series II four-string.  You might be able to pick that one up on Nobody’s Fault But Mine and Achilles Last Stand, in particular, both from Presence (1976), but it’s the Fender we want to focus on here.

Here’s one we LOVE, that Candy Cola paintwork just shows the sublime, asymmetric body off to a tee.


Serial Number US12274152
Year 2012
Colour Candy Cola
Body Finish Gloss
Body Wood Alder
Neck Finish Satin
Neck Wood Maple
Fretboard Maple
Frets 20
Scale Length 34’
Weight 9lbs/4kgs
Electronics Passive
Pickups Fender J

Facts and Links about the Fender Jazz Bass

  1. The shape of the instrument is called the “Offset Waist Contour” by Fender.
  2. Designed by Leo Fender and debuted in 1960 – see this guitar on Youtube
  3. See how JPJ used the Fender Jazz Bass in the creation of Ramble On, with Rick Beato
  4. Take a look at the ultimate sorcerer of bass, Jaco Pastorius, again with Rick Beato
  5. And for those of you that want it deep and low, check out the five-string version