upgrade to USA STD jazz pickups?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by mightypants, Feb 12, 2013.


  1. mightypants

    mightypants

    Joined:
    May 22, 2009
    I've got a 3 year old MIM J bass and I've been looking into upgrading my pickups. I've read a bunch of reviews about options that are out there (including the J pickups sticky in this forum), but my budget is pretty tight right now and I don't think I can afford to put $100+ into this upgrade. I saw a pair of used (2011, I think) Fender American Standard pickups for sale, and I thought it might be worthwhile to pick them up as a reasonably cheap upgrade. Two questions:

    1. What would be a reasonable price for a pair of these? I've searched for retail versions of these to get a rough idea what they're worth but I'm not sure if I've seen them anywhere. The Fender pickups I've found online are called "original," "custom," etc., and I don't think any of those are the ones in the US standard basses. Are they available for retail purchase?

    2. Would this upgrade make much of a difference? I know sound quality is very subjective, but I'd be interested in any thoughts people have. I like a nice warm bass sound. I mostly play jazz and pop/R&B, a little rock here and there but rarely anything I'd call hard rock. Most of the time, I play with all knobs at max and a wedge EQ on my amp.

    I might just wait until I can get something better, but I'm having some work done on my bass in a couple weeks anyway and adding a pickup replacement will be much cheaper if I do it at the same time.
  2. BornboreD

    BornboreD

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2007
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    I might be wrong but American Standards currently come stock with the Custom 60's. I believe they have for the last couple years. Before that "the originals" would have been the stock pick up.
  3. mightypants

    mightypants

    Joined:
    May 22, 2009
    Okay, so I'm looking at either the originals or custom 60s? That sounds pretty good. Is there a way I can verify that these are real Fender pickups? They are used and don't come with any packaging.
  4. milosinka1

    milosinka1

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2011
    Location:
    New Port Richey, FL
    Yes , as I see , you are in need for Fender custom shop 60's pickups. There are stock pickups for American standard J bass from 2008- to now.I bought mine on ebay used for 85 bucks, I believe new ones are $ 160.I don't know really how to differ them from others, but mines sound warm and round, very nice.I suggest you to choose them.
  5. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    how cheap were they?

    even the older american standard pickups would be a real upgrade over the mexis, so if they're under $100 with shipping it might be worth it.

    thing is, for a little over that you could get a pair of duncan vintages, which would be better still.
  6. miles'tone

    miles'tone

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2008
    Location:
    Wales, U.K
    Try looking for a pair of Seymour Duncan Basslines SJB1 second hand. You will know that way that you'll be getting some pickups that are worth the upgrade. I had an Am Standard jazz (ok it was a 2001) and the pickups were thin and lifeless. Tried a couple of post 2008 jazz basses that didn't sound much different IMHO.
    Dimarzio model J's may suit you actually as they are relatively inexpensive new so they're a steal if you find some used, they'll give you a massive improvement tonally and they are naturally voiced with your favoured wedge shape eq-wise.
    (you've obviously seen them get a 5/5 in the j-pup review sticky)
  7. rockamimjazz

    rockamimjazz

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2011
    Location:
    Virginia
    Just installed a set of DiMarzio Model J's (DP123) on my 2008 MIM jazz bass. I couldn't be happier with them. A little more output, more sensitive, and the tones that they produce are very sweet. Well worth the $99 I paid for them.
  8. smoothdave

    smoothdave

    Joined:
    May 24, 2009
    I'm pretty sure Fender didn't go to the Custom Shop pickups in the Jazz until 2012. 2012 pickups were something of an upgrade over the 2011 jazz pickups.
  9. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    the entire line of american standard instruments (guitars and basses) got upgraded.

    before that, american standard pickups were OK, but not great. they did use authentic alnico rod magnets, but instead of old-school fiberboard plates and the wire wrapped right on the magnets, they used 1-piece molded plastic bobbins; this has the effect of insulating the wire away from the magnets with a layer of plastic, which changes the tone slightly from the increased distance.

    OTOH, mexi pickups just have cheap ceramic bar magnets glued to the bottom with steel slugs for polepieces.

    so it's: mexi pickups<old Am Std pickups<new Am Std pickups
  10. Nedmundo

    Nedmundo Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2005
    Location:
    Philadelphia
    I generally agree, but the pickups in my 2008 Jazz V actually have fiberboard plates, and I would say they are great-sounding pickups. They actually remind me of Fralins in their grittiness. Those from my 2003 Am. Series four have plastic bobbins like you described, and I agree they're just good, but still a huge improvement over the MIM p'ups. They're now in a 2010 MIM project J, and they absolutely blow away the stock p'ups.
  11. Laurent

    Laurent Supporting Member

    Joined:
    May 21, 2008
    Location:
    Napa, CA
    +1 on the Seymour. Big upgrade IMHO.

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