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jazz bass: Neck Vs Bridge pup

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Langueta, Aug 11, 2010.

  1. Langueta

    Langueta Guest

    Jul 9, 2007
    What I don`t like about the Jazz bass is this it seems with the neck pup soloed tone is fat and big, sometimes the bridge pup soled is a little thin.
    With the volume at max if you change from neck to bridge pup it seems it lowers the output volume.
    Do you notice this or I am a bit crazy???

    I am having the roscoe beck of a friend I am planning to buy it. It is the only thing I don`t like of the bass. It is a great bass overall, better than my sr5, however that thing of the pups I don`t like.
    I have asked a luthier and he told me that was normal in every jazz bass.
    The RV5 has a switch to change the pickups, it seems when I change from neck to bridge the output volume lowers a bit.
  2. snyderz

    snyderz Supporting Member

    Aug 20, 2000
    AZ mountains
    Crazy as a Jay Bird. The neck and bridge pickups have different tones. That's why there is a neck pickup, and a bridge pickup. You can dial in whatever you are in the mood for.
  3. hdracer

    hdracer Supporting Member

    Feb 15, 2009
    Elk River, MN.
    I have 2 Jazz basses they do not do what you are describing. the pups sound different. What year & model do you have?
  4. Bigjohn


    Mar 5, 2010
    I like the sound of BOTH. That's the classic sound.
    But the neck pickup solo can sound p-bass-ish, which is useful.
    Bridge pickup solo is trickier and less beefy but it can sound good.
    I think Jaco played bridge pickup solo a lot.

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  6. woolysock


    Jul 23, 2006
    Vancouver Canada
    When using the bridge pup some folks roll off the treble a bit and play over the bridge pup for a meaty middy punchy tone. Check it out ;-)
  7. David Jayne

    David Jayne

    Jan 16, 2006
    Brookfield, CT
    This is normal. The bridge pickup puts out a lot less low end, so it seems quieter than the neck pickup. Everything you've described is perfectly normal.
  8. 4Mal

    4Mal Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    I set my rig up for my tone with both pickups full up. IAs the pickups are loading each other, there is a slight volume drop. I've already compensated for that at the amp so when I solo, I roll off the bass pickup a little bit. I get the volume increase and a nice punchy mid range to go with it. Rolling the bass pickup back in pulls me back into the mix.

    It's a quirk of the J setup but it can sure be worked to your advantage.

    What I don't do - ever - at least not live - if use the neck or the bridge pickups solo'ed - that is too drastic a departure from my 'in the mix' tone and messes with the overall band mix too much for me to find it advisable.
  9. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2009
    that just means you need to adjust the pickup heights until the volume is about equal between the two.

    you'll still have more lows from the neck and more highs from the bridge, but by lowering the neck (especially on the bass side) and raising the bridge you can get their overall output to be about the same.

    (calibrating them this way will also improve the "both on" sound.)
  10. bassyRyan

    bassyRyan Banned

    Jul 11, 2010
    What you are describing is the nature of the beast. The quirks of the jazz take a little getting used to. Try compensating for volume dip at your amplifier. This is just how two single coils react to each other.
  11. acebase62

    acebase62 Supporting Member

    Jun 29, 2010
    Anyone notice different results with hum-cancelling J pickups?
  12. whatiswhat


    Mar 11, 2010
    Joplin MO
    I know what you're saying about the pickups not sounding too great on their own. I only play mine with the neck at 8 and the bridge at 4
  13. Derek Kiernan

    Derek Kiernan

    Aug 30, 2008
    Princeton, NJ
    I have a much easier time getting a full sound from the bridge position in a J45 set from Bill Lawrence, but that has to do with the specific design and not the fact that it's hum-canceling. They have pretty strong sensitivity to height adjustments that lets you get a lot more fundamental content out of the bridge position. I try to back the neck down to balance tonally with the bridge, so the major tonal differences between single selections have more to do with the balance between the first few harmonics than highend/lowend.
  14. "T"


    Apr 6, 2010
  15. ahbassman


    Dec 8, 2009
    Dallas, Texas
    I love the neck pup!!!! So warm and full!
  16. Langueta

    Langueta Guest

    Jul 9, 2007
    I am having the roscoe beck of a friend I am planning to buy it. It is the only thing I don`t like of the bass. It is a great bass overall, better than my sr5, however that thing of the pups I don`t like.
    I have asked a luthier and he told me that was normal in every jazz bass.
    The RV5 has a switch to change the pickups, it seems when I change from neck to bridge the output volume lowers a bit.
  17. 4StringTheorist


    Jan 19, 2008
    near Ft. Worth, TX, U.S.A.
    +1 The bridge pickup a bit closer to the strings to increase its relative volume slightly is a great thing.
  18. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    With stock Jazz pickups the bridge and neck are wound exactly the same. The DC resistance on the bridge pickup reads a little higher because the bobbin is longer, so there is slightly more wire on it.

    But the number of turns is where you get your output (all other things being equal). The neck pickup location will always be louder and fuller sounding.

    Back then instruments didn't have pickups specially wound for bridge and neck, they just used the same pickups in both locations. It's the way it was always done, but isn't the best way to do it. You can EQ your amp for a good solo bridge tone, and then your neck pickup will be too muddy.

    These days it's common for bridge pickups to be wound hotter. I feel this is important because you get less string motion closer to the bridge, which equals less volume, and of course it sounds brighter closer to the bridge than the neck.

    So, the bridge pickups on a Jazz bass are a bit on the thin sounding side IMO. I wind my bridge pickups hotter, and voice them with more low end to work better at that location.
  19. sum16


    Nov 16, 2008
    About what "Bigjohn" and "4Mal" mentioned, I totally agree to what they said.

    On the jazz bass if you want a great sound and to be "in the mix" without getting a lot of volume peaks, the best way is to keep both pickups on full.

    I really like the sound of both pickups on Solo but they dont fit in a band setting. At least they wont get in the mix without getting to loud or too quite.

    Actually they sound so great if you're playing a solo. for example, if you're playing a solo with distortion the bridge pickup sounds best for that. And for tapping the neck pickup sounds awesome.

    But you can always play with the sound you like either Both pups, solo bridge or solo neck.

    At the end, we are playing to make good music, feel good and have fun.
  20. ahc


    Jul 31, 2009
    No. Virginia
    The Roscoe Beck Jazz has a Master Tone control with Push/Pull Mid Shaping Feature. What this does (I believe) is lower the output of the neck pickup to more closely match the bridge pickup. This may help you if you haven't tried it.
  21. mccartneyman


    Dec 22, 2006
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Managing Editor, Bass Guitars Editor, MusicGearReview.com
    FWIW, Joe Osborn used and may still use only the neck PUP On his Jazz because he thought adding the bridge PUP made it sound bad. I favor either front alone or both full up.

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