Jazz Bass Special options
I've got an 86 MIJ fretless Jazz Bass Special that I'm trying to get the most out of. It's a PJ config, VVT, with a pickup selector switch and the TBX tone control. I have kind of settled on using tapewounds on it, probably the standard La Bella gauge since I have their lights on it right now and the tension is too low.
My dislikes: The noise... it's got a single-coil jazz that I almost always leave out of the picture because it seems to thin out the sound too much and add hum. Also with the tone circuit, I have it nearly always maxed out to the high-cut side... I'm not completely sure what use the bass-cut has for me.
My likes: The way it plays and the having tapes on it. They seem to keep a strong fundamental and play well with the rosewood fingerboard. Definitely a tone I'd like to have loud and proud.
What I'm looking for: Better noise cancellation and punch. I already have a jazz that has stainless roundwounds for getting the aggressive, in your face sort of tone. I'd like this bass to be kind of the foil to that. I've also gotten rid of a nice fretless before and in retrospect, I think it was too modern-sounding and hi-fi, and it got abrasive with rounds on it. As I said I'm fairly happy with the P pickup solo'd and the tone dimed backwards but I know there are ways to get more happy sound out of this bass.
I'm capable of soldering/basic set-up and I'd like to keep the budget reasonable (<$200) since I'm not really a pro.
bump - mine's noisy too, someone who knows please :help:
A split coil Jazz pickup (humbucker) and/or a a good shielding job are the first things that come to mind.
I'd try putting a pair of Bartolini Original Series in there. I know: a lot of people just suggest Barts regardless of what the OP is really asking for, but in your case I think it might actually suit your needs. They are punchy but not agressive or in your face, just warm and smooth.
From there, you could leave it alone or go bonkers and put a preamp in it for more tonal options. Those are very good basses - well worth upgrading.
My fretted 1985 MIJ JBS (VVT, pickup switch, TBX) came stock with the larger than stock PJ pole pieces. The J pickup was noisy, and the switch became noisy after time.
I replaced the pickups with SD Vintage P and Hot Stack J, and just disconnected the 3 way switch. I prefer the sounds after the modifications.
By original series Barts I'm assuming you mean the 8S and 9J1? That jazz is a split coil so that goes along with the first suggestion. Kinda torn on whether I should look into the 8S or 8SU.
acebase, any reason you didn't go with the quarter pounder P? I totally get the Hot Stack for the jazz position. Are the pickups fairly balanced in output? Do you favor/solo the J pickup at all? And would you say the tone is fairly bright? I kind of don't want it to be too obvious that it's a fretless, just have the slightest extra buzz, and I think dark pickups is a fairly good way to achieve that. I have already purchased a replacement for the switch... Sorry for all the questions... I take my equipment as seriously as I should take my playing haha.
Thanks for the responses!
I prefer the sounds of a vintage P pickup more than the QP. The TBX and 500k volume pickups will allow a more clarity than normal tone and 250k volumes IF you open them up. If you don't want that, just lower the TBX tone and get a more mellow thump.
If both are on full, the P tends to sound a little louder, especially since the J is closer to the bridge in the JBS (like 70s J bridge position). I usually run the J on full, and lower the P volume slightly. If I need more pure P tone (Motown, etc) I lower or turn off the J.
The Hot J Stack is not real loud, but works well with the Vintage P in this instrument. I adjusted pickup heights to get the 2 volumes a little closer. I usually play a JJ, but the PJ is a cool combo.
A Dimarzio Area J bridge or Area PJ set would probably be a good combo as well.
On fretted basses I find them a bit dull, actually, but I don't have much experience with their newer, confusingly-named "classic series" p'ups, which, I imagine, would be nicer on a fretted bass. To me, the original series is the signature sound of Bartolinis - but that's just my ears!
I do have some experience with the classic bass series, which I also find hilariously backwards. I tried a set of the brighter split coil version in a fretted jazz and perhaps they would work well with a preamp but completely passive they were quite abrasive. The deep version, however, has found a fairly permanent home in the bridge position, with a Model J in the neck position to provide the crushing, near P-bass tone, making a quite versatile bass.
I'm going to take your (Lo-E) recommendation on the pickups, go with the darker P... the 8S, seeing as the J is in the 70's position, creating more presence. I would like to be able to get a nice solo'd bridge sound so hopefully the Bart can hang. The idea of 500k pots hadn't really crossed my mind but that could slightly offset the darkness of the 8S, hopefully favorably. Thanks for the idea, acebass! I feel like the TBX control will be much more applicable with the voicing of these pickups. Was considering changing the cap value for something even darker, but I don't want to create indistinguishable sludge!!
Of course I'll try to be as scientific as possible with this, perhaps I'll make some soundclips before/after? I may end up changing the strings early this week in order to have a few days with the new gauges first. Thank you! I love talkbass!!
The 500K idea is a good one if you are planning to keep this bass passive, but I'd try it first with the stock configuration first. If it ain't broke, why fix it? If it's too dark, whip out the 500K! ...and I'd leave that cap alone for the exact reason you stated.
After a lot of years of tinkering and modifying basses, I've found that my favorite arrangement for fretless is passive p'ups and an onboard preamp. While I have a bypass option on most of my active basses, I almost never bypass the fretlesses. I like having the added upper partials that the lower impedance output provides, even if I'm not using active EQ. Based on that experience, I would encourage you to go for a Bart preamp in there as well, but by all means; try the stock config first and leave it alone if you're happy with the results.
I have a feeling this bass will be a monster.
My 1985 JBS (passive) came stock with 500k volumes and the TBX tone/big pole piece pickups I already mentioned.
I later replaced the volume pots, but kept them 500k in case I needed a little extra clarity. Turning them down when not needed has worked good for me.
Interesting! I looked up the schematic and it does have 500k pots included. Mine are marked 4072 then lower on the pot it says 99k... I am not sure what this means but since it's presumably stock, I think they are 500k. That would explain some of the inherent brightness I've gotten from this bass!
If in doubt you can always unsolder it and measure, but for now, just try the new p'ups as-is and see if you even need to make any further changes.
I've been quite happy with the pickups, I'm thinking perhaps I should switch the pots, I want it to be darker yet. I'm taking it in to have the nut filed for 60-115 LaBella tapes tomorrow. That's going to be the first step, then I'll look at the volume pots.
|All times are GMT -6. The time now is 08:17 PM.|
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.6.12
Copyright ©2000 - 2013, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.