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1974(?) Jazz pickup question

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Giraffe, Oct 24, 2006.

  1. I recently traded a dealer for a Jazz Bass with a blond ash body and a maple fingerboard with pearl block inlays. The serial number (602xxx) is stamped into the four-bolt neck plate. There is no date written on the neck heel or anywhere else, which I understand is consistent with the 1974 birthdate suggested by the serial number. The slightly musty-smelling black tolex case appears to be right. The overall condition of the whole package seemed to be what one would expect of an instrument that had been played a bit, and stored for a bit as well. My question concerns the originality of the pickups.

    The pots are dated 2004, and the ceramic capacitor looks fairly new as well. The filth buildup pattern on the top indicates that an aftermarket bridge was installed at one time, although all parts up to here appear to be period correct (except for the missing thumb rest and bells). The most likely conclusion was that the bass had been modified and/or repaired in the past but original parts might have been re-installed.

    Both pickups have the thin copper plates in the pickup cavities, and the sponges are "melted" onto the plates and the bottoms of the pickups fairly well. What I can see of the brown/tan cardboard flatwork looks original enough to me. The neck pickup is wound with the dark purplish wire I've seen on Fender guitar pickups from this period, but the bridge pickup wire is obviously different, being bright copper in color.

    Could I conclude that the bridge pickup is not original, or did Fender use different wire for the two pickups? They certainly could have done it this way, or the bridge pickup may be a rewind with different wire.

    Both pickups sound great. I searched this to no avail. I'm sure vintage enthusiasts have seen a few of these and know what it should look like. I tried the Pickups and Luthier's Corner with no luck.
  2. Any ideas about this?
  3. I have a set of original 74's and they both have the same bright copper wire you described. Nothing dark purplish at all.
  4. Thank you both very much for the responses!

    So maybe the neck pickup (with the dark purplish winding) is the rewound or replaced pickup, eh? Leave it to another guy from Rhode Island to get me really confused!
  5. Thanks a lot, SMASHER. I assume that was an aftermarket shielding job? I've never shielded Jazz pickups, and I was always curious how that process might affect the tone. Could you hazard a guess at how the shielding might have affected the tone of those pickups, if at all? I know guitar players who have done it, but no one ever seemed to have a strong opinion on the affect on tone. I like to do the control cavity, maybe use shielded wire between the pickup cavities and control cavity, and occasionally if I really feel ambitious I might do the pickup cavities, but I never shielded the sides of the coils themselves.

    I hope its not worth the trouble. I don't want more work.
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