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How do SX J pups compare with Dimarzio Ultra Jazz and Model J pups?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by fourstringbliss, Jan 14, 2013.


  1. fourstringbliss

    fourstringbliss Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2003
    Location:
    Puyallup, WA
    I have two SX Jazzes and am thinking about replacing the pickups in one of them. I like the sound of the pickups but I don't need two basses that sound the same. However, I want to avoid buying and installing a new set of pups if they're going to sound similar to what I already have.

    Has anybody here compared SX Jazz pups to either of these pickups?

    Please only constructive comments. Please don't waste our time saying things like, "SX pups suck!".

    Thanks! :D
     
  2. punisher911

    punisher911

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2005
    Location:
    Warren, MI
    I have the powder blue Ursa 4, aka Jag copy. I'm with you.. the Bass is beautiful, sounds good, and plays well. I am just preferring a different sound these days.. From what I have read, Model Js are quite a different sound than normal J pups as is.. So I doubt you'll waste your money buying them and having a redundant sound compared to another J pup'd bass. For the record, I plan to put some Model Js in my SX. Plus adding the push/pull series/parallel option for more tonal variety.
     
  3. SigiZ58

    SigiZ58

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2012
    Location:
    Switzerland, Bern
    I have a SJB 62 SX. It is a nice instrument. But the pickups are the same you can buy for 5-10$ from Chinese/Honkong EBay Shops. Same values, same wire colors.
    Sound ok, but no fun when you play only bridge pickup for Jaco sound - sounds terrible. Together full volume it is ok.

    I tried DiMarzio DP123 and also used Duncan Designed Alnico from a Squier VM Fretless.

    Result: The Duncan Designed Alnico are already GREAT Enhancement to SX Pickups. As SX uses alder, the sound is really nice. The DiMarzio stayed in the VM. They sound great, but colours the sound. This colouring I like on the VM, as it is a cheap Agathis body, it fits together :)
    I prefer naked the sound of the real Alder, so here I prefer the Duncan Designed. But.... If you don't necessary need the hum-freeness of the Di Marzio, I would go for the Fender Vintage Jazz Bass - here they are even cheaper then the DiMarzio. The Vintage beat the Duncan Designed PUs by far.

    But Finally - The DiMarzio are very special - Both of them. It is very dependent on what you expect. Vintage ? Punchy ? Fat ?
     
  4. pbass2

    pbass2 Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2007
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    I'm a big fan of Model J's as I post every chance I get around here;)
    They completely transformed my Geddy from anemic, to fat and punchy. However they really don't sound like traditional jazz pickups--they are similar to P pickup in a jazz housing. Very punchy in the mids and low mids. Solo the front pickup and your J can be almost "p-like"...
    If you have 2 jazzes and want variety I think having one with DP123s is a great idea--will certainly sound different, and it's a KILLER sound!
    I've also used the DiMarzio Ultra Jazz pickups--they are BIG sounding, as in big and "wide"--lots of very solid lows, though a bit scooped in the middle.
     
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  6. SigiZ58

    SigiZ58

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2012
    Location:
    Switzerland, Bern
    Absolutely +1.

    What I wanted to say is:
    If you have to SX Jazzes, why not give one a "real" JB Sound :). SX PUs definitely are not giving JB Sound.
     
  7. fourstringbliss

    fourstringbliss Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2003
    Location:
    Puyallup, WA
    You're right, SX pups do not have a classic JB sound. The magnets are ceramic, and the new ones have big magnets. They have a more aggressive sound, but it's a good sound.

    SX pups have improved as of late. I bought an SX J about a year ago and the pickups were just resting in the pickup covers and came out easily. I recently bought one of their MM/J basses only to find that both the MM and J pups were epoxy sealed and that the MM was an actual 4-wire pickup - not the typical 2-wire MM you'd expect from an import.

    My concern about going with Dimarzio Model J's is that they are made of similar materials as the stock J's that are in the bass now and would sound similar as well. Your suggestion of going with a more traditional J pup makes sense. Maybe I should go with Dimarzio Area J's in my other bass.
     
  8. pbass2

    pbass2 Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2007
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    The materials may be similar, but the build of the Model J is really a humbucker--it's a split coil like a P, in a J bass housing, as I understand it. And they sure sound like it!
    So yeah, if you want a traditional J sound, then I wouldn't get them.
     
  9. fourstringbliss

    fourstringbliss Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2003
    Location:
    Puyallup, WA
    You know, the truth is I don't know what I'm looking for. All I know is that I have two SX J's and they sound pretty much the same. I'm going to keep the stock pickups on the MM/J and probably add a Ric neck pup between the J neck pup and the neck. I'm looking to change the pups on the J/J that I've got so it sounds different from the other one.

    I might route the pickup cavities to fit Bartolini BC4 size pups and use Nordstrand Big Splits or something from SGD Lutherie. It would be good to keep the routes the same and just install a different kind of J pup for a different sound.

    My first step should be to take the bass as is to GC and compare the sound to other J basses to see what I'm looking for.
     
  10. SigiZ58

    SigiZ58

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2012
    Location:
    Switzerland, Bern
    Honestly speaking: You have a bass with MM/J and another one with J/J configuration and they sound similar ? That doesn't speak for the PUs. A MM Pickup is a complete different animal then a J-PU. I would say ok when you use only the neck PU and then they sound similar :)

    A MM PU cries for active Electronic, it has normally a fat, very bassy sound with nice crispy highs. A J-Bridge PU should sound a bith thin and mellow - for example a bit like Jacos sound. Both full up a Power Sound for funk or rock with scooped mids. With an MM in that position, both full up could become easy a bit exaggerated with the lows I guess....

    It is a very wise decision to go into the shop and find out what you are looking for. Try a real JB and also one with MM Pickup to get the feeling for the "Base" Sounds.

    I think you will find what makes you happy :)
     
  11. pbass2

    pbass2 Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2007
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    I will say this, if you're gonna use the bass for rock, I find both the Model Js and the Ultras to be totally excellent choices---the Model Js if you want to punch out of the mix like a P, and the Ultras if you want to envelope the band with a big deep sound with a clear articulate high end (but less mids). I used the Ultra Js in a 3-piece power trio setting and they were awesome--huge supportive sound with a nice "notch" in the mids for the chunky guitar to sit in. Did I mention I love these pickups?;)
     
  12. fourstringbliss

    fourstringbliss Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2003
    Location:
    Puyallup, WA
    I should clarify something. The MM has four wires and I installed a switch that lets me choose front/both/rear coils. I usually play the bass with the front coil and the J neck together and so it sounds 60'sish Jazz like. With the neck and front coil on both basses sound pretty similar.
     
  13. SigiZ58

    SigiZ58

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2012
    Location:
    Switzerland, Bern
    That makes sense..... I see
    So check out in store how you planned because this willhelp you find out what you are looking for. The only problem that stays is that people have different opinions with pickups.
    But you will have to have luck to find basses equipped with PUs you are interested in. Nevertheless this will help you to see a bit more clear.
     
  14. fourstringbliss

    fourstringbliss Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2003
    Location:
    Puyallup, WA
    Yup. I might just go with Dimarzio Area J's for a vintage type of sound. I might go crazy and install something completely different as well. Maybe a J bass with Thunderbird pups or something like that. Thanks!
     
  15. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2004
    Location:
    New York, NY
    That's a very accurate take, IME... :meh:

    I own a set of Model Js in my Carvin LB70F (fretless), and a set of Ultra Jazz in my LB70 (fretted). Each set works very nicely for its intended application.

    For me personally, the Model Js took a bit of adjustment, as I hadn't been chasing that kind of sound in quite a few years. But their ballsy, aggressive attitude was just what the doctor ordered to make a great modern fretless tone.

    The Ultra Jazz, on the other hand, was like easing into a warm bath: Deep, wide, powerful lows, with hi-fi clarity. Modern & refined. That's my sound! :cool:

    MM
     

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