Dark bass, interested in changing neck
A couple of years ago, I bought an AVRI 62 jazz bass (rosewood neck). This was my first real working bass, and to be honest I wasn't sure at the time what I was looking for. I thought I wanted a true "Vintage" sound. I've enjoyed this bass a lot and I love it's vibe, but it's sound just isn't exactly what I want from a jazz. I've done some mods (listed below) but it still isn't quite "there." I'd say it's 85% what I want, but that last little bit is bugging me.
It is quite "woody" and dark. It's not a bad sound at all, but I would consider it quite dark. I LOVE it's sound when I first change strings but that sound lasts for a few hours...then dark again. It's easy for the bass to get lost in the mix when recording--without applying dramatic amounts of eq or overdrive.
I have a friend that has a Geddy Lee jazz and I really like its sound. Very forward. Sounds much more like "a jazz bass" to me.
All that said, I'm debating either selling the bass or perhaps just changing its neck to maple, medium jumbo frets, 9.5 radius and then selling my neck on ebay to help cover costs. Perhaps a usa deluxe neck, or fender select. I would really like to keep the bass because I've played some neat places with it and lived life with it.
What I've done to it so far:
-replace fender stock "vintage" bridge with Badass bridge
-replaced the stock pups with Lollar Jazz bass pickups
-Brighter tone cap (can't remember the exact spec--but a little brighter than the original spec)
-Changed from 2 knob stacked pots to standard 3 knob config with 250k CTS pots
Seeing that I've changed these components, the only thing left in my mind would be the neck or the frets. Maybe maple would brighten it up?? I'm not crazy about vintage frets anymore, and I've read that vintage frets can sound darker and more woody. FYI, the bass has been setup properly, and it plays great.
I know USACG makes great necks, and I'm also watching the "Stratosphere" ebay store. They have some good looking Fender Select necks and USA deluxe necks.
Any advice before I make a move?
I don't think a neck will do it for you. You could give it a try and keep the original neck until you see what happens, I suppose. Pickups and strings will make the biggest difference, IME.
What types of strings have you tried? They can make huge difference.
Also, 500k pots may help a little.
Also, unplugged the bass just sounds darker than I want.
An AVRI bass is not exactly a cheap bass, so I would NOT suggest changing the neck. It will hurt the value of it. Maybe the problem is your amp. That might be the biggest problem with the "dark" sound you describe.
Strings, 500k pots, maybe the pickups. I don't think the neck will make that big of difference. Have you considered adding a preamp and going active?
Given all the changes you have made it is no longer an AV '62 Jazz Bass. :hmm:
Better you should put all the original parts back on and sell the bass, then find something you really want?
Does your friend with the Geddy play with the same strings and he/she tried theirs through your amp?
The position of the bridge pickup in the Geddy makes a big difference in tone even though it's only back about a quarter of an inch. You should return your AVRI to stock and sell the new parts but only AFTER you get your own Geddy since you like that tone.
Then, if you need those other parts to fine tune things you will have them as option. Once you find your tone, you can sell the other parts to defray the cost of the new Geddy.
The next step after modding your Fender to the fullest extent, would be going boutique. Ever tried an all maple U.S. Spector? I don't think a maple fingerboard will complete the grind tone you're after. It's really about the body wood, and some brass would also help.
What strings are you running? They are one of the biggest and most overlooked tone contributors.
I agree with the type of string comments. This is the biggest factor in your tone.
It sounds like you want a more modern sounding jazz bass. Maybe try a Sadowsky outboard preamp? FWIW, I'm not sure most of your mods have been in the direction you seem to want to go. Tonal changes due to bridges are at best, the subject of debate. I have no idea what a "brighter cap" is - a no load tone pot would be more effective, and even then the change is subtle. Switching to VVT may have been a step in the right direction, and Lollars have an excellent reputation, but I think they are more about capturing that woody tone you are trying to avoid.
You maynot want to listen to me, though. I don't buy into things like the size of the frets affecting tone. I just don't buy it.
Try some stainless strings like Foderas- Jason at BassStringsOnline (tell him you're a TB member and get a nice discount) can help you out with choice/ gauges.
Also, 500k pots may help.
First, tho, if possible- try your bass on a different amp:
they each have a different voice and finding a complimentary match may be what you need.
Try some DR Hi-Beams strings. D'Addario strings sound dull to me.
I'm in the opposite situation. I have an American special jazz with the graphite stiffening rods and think the sound is too forward. Maybe we could swap it it seems right. ?? Can you send pics to my email? email@example.com I'm on my phone and can better handle this at home. Thanks. Bob
If you absolutely love the way the bass plays and feels, I'd recommend trying a set of DR Hi-Beams and swapping the Lollar pickups (which are awesome but definitely on the darker/warmer side) for a set of 70's wind pickups; Aguilar's would get my vote, but Nordy's would be excellent as well.
If you aren't totally in love with everything about the bass aside from the tone, I'd recommend returning it to stock, selling it, and finding something that really has the voice and feel you're looking for; the comments suggesting a different amp are on the money as well, if you're looking for something brighter and more aggressive try starting with GK.
And no, vintage style frets absolutely do not make a bass sound darker; every Dingwall made uses vintage banjo sized frets (absolutely tiny) and they have some of the clearest, brightest, most modern tones I can think of ;)
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