Reed James Vintage Vibe Neos
Hey TBers,last week I had the Reed James Vintage Vibe Neo Jazz pickups (VVNís) installed in my J style bass by Max Anderson of Fat Andyís Basses in Mn. The bass is a Warmoth Dinky J body made of ash and routed for a JJ setup.The neck is Rockwood,made by the late Greg Curbowís company,pickups were Sadowsky single coils and it has a Sadowsky 2 band preamp. I play and teach a variety of styles including rock,jazz,gospel,funk and r&b. In each of these settings the bass sounded good and I would always receive compliments on its tone.
After hearing a clip of the VVNís I decided to give them a try. The sounds that these pickups produce is awesome. Iíve been playing for over 25 years and through the years Iíve tried numerous pickups including ,Sadowsky,Nordstrand ,DiMarzio and Bartolini. The Reed James VVNís are hands down the best pickup Iíve ever used. The VVNís give the same tones as the single coils but without any noise. And when I say no noise I truly mean ďno NoiseĒ. With the onboard Sadowsky pre off and the amp settings flat the VVNís produced a wealth of tones ranging from James Jamersonís P bass tone,Jacoís but with frets and what I like to call a ďpoliteĒ Marcus tone to name a few. I tried this with several different amps and the results were the same each time, the VVNís sounded good with no amp EQ. With the Sadowsky pre engaged the bass turns into another animal, the clarity of the tones is magnified and the polite Marcus tone is replaced by a pleasant aggressive Marcus tone.
Because of the clarity of the VVNís I had to adjust my amp settings because a little EQ goes a long way with these pickups. When I had the Sadowsky pickups in the bass my normal starting point for amp settings for treble and bass was 5 while the mids settings would range from 0 to 4 approximately. With the VVNís the amps settings starting points are somewhere around 2 or 3. With settings of 2 or 3 I get the same tones the Sadowsky single coils and more. While the single coils sounded good I found that I in order for them not to have increased buzzing one pickup had to be completely off or had to have both pickups at the same volume. Because the VVNís are noiseless I was able to dial in various tones using different bridge and neck volumes.
If youíre looking for a versatile pickup that sounds good passive or active and allows you to let the bass itself be the focus of your tone regardless of equipment then give the Reed James Vintage Vibe Neos a try.