Jazz bass pickups, too many choices!
Looking for a little help on choosing some new passive pickups for my MIM Fender jazz bass. I've read the "stickys" and lots of online reviews. I guess it's just information overload at this point!
I like the overall sound of the stock pickups, the main thing I am looking for is more output, as the stock ones seem noticeably weaker than on other basses I've tried or own. I'd like to stay in the $100-$150 range for the set.
Any suggestions would be appreciated.
First, check your pickup height against the Fender Setup Guide specs just to make sure you're in the ballpark. Pickup height has a lot to do with output and tone. The Fender specs are just a starting point and your ears are the ultimate judge but if you're 1/8" lower than spec you can safely raise them and expect an increase in output.
As far as pickup choices go, if it's output you want while keeping single coil tone then Duncan Quarter Pounders will get you there. The DiMarzio Ultra Jazz are also pretty high output and have a more modern jazz tone. You can also add a preamp to your existing setup which will give additional output and EQ options.
Admittedly, I haven't tried a lot of different jazz pickups, but I loved the tone from the Fender Custom Shop 60's pickups that come on the new American Std. Jazz. Good thing about these is you can try them out before you buy them. Bad thing is they're at the top of your budget.
I had the problem too with my MIM Jazz where the output was really low even with the pickups close to the strings. I bought a boost only preamp that gives you something like 12 db of clean boost. It was cheap, and since I liked the stock pickups enough not to find it worth spending a hundred or more on replacements, that was the wisest choice for me. love it now. Helps drive my amp and effects better too.
Maybe the older American Standards or the Vintage PUs are an option. Both have at least Alnico Magnets and come closer to the "real" thing than the Mex PUs
BTW - it is really the output you are missing or might it be the so called "Fender Growl" the JBs are famous for :) ?
You can also try a series/parallel mod if your up for it. Parallel is stock setup whereas series gives you a fatter tone, much like a p bass.
I agree with testing1two ...
First check the PU hight ...
And the Fender advice is not a must but a may!
Eventually "Stratitis" may appear (strings sound like with a chorus effect) if the magnets influence the strings too much. But on a JB, the strings might touch the PUs when playing had.
Make the PUs as close as possible / you and the bass feel good. You can also put a piece of wood or cardboard under the foam of the PUs - if the foam won't let them get higher! The nearer the PUs are, the more output you get ...
The amp also has a gain control ...
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