How to "un" brighten a Jazz?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Jawbone, Jan 3, 2013.


  1. Jawbone

    Jawbone

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    I have a american standard jazz with LaBella flats and just replaced the PUPs with the '60s vintage custom shop pickups thinking it would give me more growl and less brightness. My main rig is a Ampeg SVT-4Pro and for practice an old GB Shtl 6.0. It definitely has more bite (hotter) and a sharper clarity to the tone, but the brightness is still there.

    I down loaded the schematic from the Fender site and it says it has a .05 microfarad cap on the tone pot. The pots are all 250K. In order to lower the brightness would I use a larger or smaller size cap? Would changing the pot to a lower or higher resistive value change anything?

    I read the PUP reviews in the sticky and the vintage Fender pups seemed to be the right fit. I'm also going to try the DiMarzio Ultras to see if there's any difference.

    I have a P bass so suggesting buying a P is not an option.
     
  2. Mykk

    Mykk

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    You want to go higher cap value to roll off more highs. I use .1uf caps in a couple of my basses. You don't want much more than .1uf value, even then it takes the volume down as you roll treble off.

    You may also want to consider wiring the pups in series:

    Using this schematic it was just the right sound I was going for in a couple of of my passive J-basses. However I used the basses original 250K pots.

     
  3. line6man

    line6man

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    As stated above, higher capacitance to lower the frequency cutoff of the filter, and lower resistance to load the pickups and lower the resonant frequency.
     
  4. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned

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    I'm not sure how you are going to get growl with flats and a cap larger than .05µF. You will just get mud.

    I'm assuming you keep the tone control off? No one will hear what notes you are playing! It might sound god right in front of the amp, but in the room it will be a vague boom.

    If you want to remove the top and and keep the mids, which is where the growl is, use a smaller cap like .02µF. You can even wire that directly across your output, and keep the tone control to further muddy the waters.
     
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  6. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are.

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    What type of cab(s) are you using?

    I've used a Fender Jazz for many years and "bright" wouldn't be a term I'd apply to my tone, even when using various amps/cabs.

    Right now I'm using an active/passive '82 Ibanez Musician P/J with dead ground wounds (pick/pluck) that can pretty much get any tone and it's pretty easy to dial it in from the bass, even in passive mode. Cut the highs, boost the mids a bit, cut the bass a bit.

    Since my jam band has two guitarists (one who also switches to keyboards as needed), I use a lot of palm muting to keep the ringing of notes to a minimum since there's a lot of sound already going on. We rent a studio with back line so I use whatever amp is there and can get the tone I need from any of them.

    I checked the Ampeg manual, and since you have a treble (+14,-19) tone control on the amp, 3 bands on the 9 band eq (2k:-8+8,5k:-9+9,8k-10,+10)., and a bright and ultra bright switches available plus the tone control on the bass, seems to me that it would be pretty straight forward to dial out the "brightness".

    What are your amp, cab tweeter and bass guitar tone control settings? What type of music does your band play.

    Have you gone FOH at a gig to hear how your rig sets in the mix? Usually a lot of the bass tone "brightness" is lost FOH depending on the mix.
     
  7. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

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    Vintage style pickups are pretty bright, and so are Labellas. They're thumpy but they have this really piercing treble response as well. You might consider a change to less bright pickups, like DiMarzio Model J's or Duncan Quarter Pounders, or less bright strings.
     
  8. RedMoses

    RedMoses Supporting Member

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    Start with strings, Maybe Black Tape wounds?

    Amp settings, Roll of the mids and treble, still too bright?
     
  9. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

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    Black tapewounds are sometimes thumpy and not bright but not always. Fender tapes might as well be roundwounds as far as I'm concerned.
     
  10. Jawbone

    Jawbone

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    I couldn't have described it better - but there a great definition "piercing treble response". That's it!

    Thanks for all the advice. I think I'll try a larger cap first since I like the LaBelle thump (and the caps alot cheaper since it's sitting on my work bench). The more I was thinking about it I probably need to scoop the mids a bit. The low end is pretty close to where I want it but the D and especially the G strings are too bright for my taste.

    Never tried tapewounds, but sounds like something to experiment with in the future.

    Since I'll have the soldering iron out I'm also going to install the push/pull switch to give me the series/parallel option. Heard a lot of good things about this mod on a Jazz.
     
  11. maturanesa

    maturanesa

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    Buy some overwounded pups if you want less treble
     
  12. Marial

    Marial Pooped Gold Supporting Member

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    Have you tried rolling your volume knobs back twenty percent and your tone knob back a bit? Might be your cheapest, least invasive, option. That's how I tamed my Jazz's crispy top end.
     
  13. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned

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    Yep. Most of the Sly and the Family Stone tracks with Larry Graham were nylon tape wounds (I think LaBella), as well as John Entwistle's solo on My Generation (Rotosound?)! Oh and Graham Maby on the Joe Jackson stuff.

    I've used the Labella and Rotosound black tapewounds, and they are pretty bright.

    Maybe get a coiled patch cord? They suck the highs away.
     
  14. "Q"

    "Q"

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    I get the feeling the OP is not using his tone control rolled off all the way. I think the tone rolled off all the way with a smaller cap is the sound he's looking for because, with the cap he's got on there now it just can't be "bright".

    This does make me wonder what a set of SD hots wired in series with a small cap wired across like Dave said would sound like. I wonder if it would even be useable?
     
  15. eddiemac

    eddiemac

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    When faced with the same dilemma, having tried Fender CS 60's, Aero's, etc., I put in some Seymour Duncan Hot Jazz pickups with Labella flats. To my ear and that of the bandleader, the problem was solved. Rolling off the volume pots some, with the tone down, seems to help too (as mentioned above).
     
  16. Stone Soup

    Stone Soup

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    I'm sorry. I have to disagree on the LaBella comment. I have never heard "piercing". Not ever. :confused:
     
  17. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned

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    [QUOTE="Q";13667047]I get the feeling the OP is not using his tone control rolled off all the way. I think the tone rolled off all the way with a smaller cap is the sound he's looking for because, with the cap he's got on there now it just can't be "bright".[/QUOTE]

    +1

    In one of my passive basses I have a .02µF tone cap. When you turn the control to zero you get this cool sound, with the just highs chopped off, and a nice midrange growl.
     
  18. David Jayne

    David Jayne

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    This This This This This. Oldest trick in the book. The volume controls are tone controls.
     
  19. Toptube

    Toptube

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    Feb 9, 2009
    Using your favorite strings I would try A:

    turning down high mids or if you have a parametric control, finding a frequency that sounds less harsh to you. Also try turning highs down a bit. But I find the harsh and/or clacky tones are mostly in the high mids. Highs deal more with finger noise and how sweet or abrasive the overall top end sounds.

    B. lower your pickups. If they are too close to the strings, they will sound more harsh and could have eq spikes that are tough to deal with.

    neat trick, lower one pickup at a time. You can shape some cool tones with uneven pickups.



    C. Let your strings get old. My favorite "aged" roundwound strings are Rotosound Swing Bass 66 steel or nickel version (both sound great aged on a Jazz/Jaguar bass) or GHS progressives, if you want a tighter, less warm character. It may seem weird because there is a lot of hype about new and "fresh" strings. Let them stay on the bass for a couple of months. You will probably like it a lot.

    If none of that helps I would try a new speaker/cab. Although Ampegs have never struck me as particularly "high" in their overall character.
     

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