Punk-pop blink-182 bassist Mark Hoppus has had a signature bass in the Fender catalogue since 2002. A curious hybrid between a Precision and Jazz, the Mark Hoppus Jazz Bass sports features from both classic instruments: a standard Jazz bass contoured body with through-body stringing with a neck and pickup from a Precision. The current updated version has the split pickup reversed, with the upper half now on the treble side for the D and G strings and the lower half now on the bass side for the E and A. It’s available in White Blonde or Surf Green.
Features include a lighter weight ash body, a maple neck with the modern ‘C’-shape that is now so popular, a rosewood fretboard with a 9.5″ radius and medium jumbo frets. The width of the fingerboard at the nut is 1.625″, which is wider than the 1.5″ standard measurement for the Jazz Bass and oddly, although Fender designates this instrument a Jazz, the decal is from a Precision. A true hybrid indeed. Fender has installed a powerful reversed Seymour Duncan Basslines SPB-3 Quarter Pound split-coil Precision Bass pickup with only a single chrome control knob. There is no separate tone knob. It has also fitted an American series plate bridge with Standard series saddles and screws and a one-piece pickguard; a four-ply white pearloid on the Surf Green model, and a four-ply tortoiseshell on the White Blonde model.
Close up inspection of the review bass – the White Blonde version – reveals that the finish is semi-opaque, revealing the grain of the ash. Also noticeable is the placement of the pickup; it’s positioned slightly further toward the neck than a regular Precision which has the effect of reducing the attack in the treble frequencies, hence the absence of a tone control which would serve no real purpose. Overall, the bass produces an ‘edgier’ tone than a regular P-bass and is less versatile than a Jazz, which is capable of sounding mellow and trebly sounds depending on pickup blend.
Built specifically for the artist, the Mark Hoppus Jazz Bass is unapologetic about being a one-sound instrument but it’s interesting enough and with its slightly different take on the idea of how a Fender bass should look and sound, should appeal to a wider audience than just blink-182 fans.