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a jazz bass good for jazz

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by mellow yellow, Mar 16, 2014.

  1. Hi to all,
    I have a beautiful Fender CS 1961 jazz bass and a lutherie jazz clone that I'm rebuilding after a change of color.
    I'm using the 1961 but the reports from my friends and bandmates are that it has a sound too aggressive, hard, especially when I try to play over the bridge pickups (à la Jaco). I use Fender 7250 stainless/nickel that I like very much. I have an Epifani UL501+ DIST 112 cab.
    The other bass had a rounder sound, with bartolini pups that I wasn't link so much.
    I like Emg J sound, more versatile and clean than passive single coils (also less drive, less funky, I know but at this time it's a price that I can pay) but I like much more the 1961 for playability (the neck is fabulous) and overall comfort, so I'm in the middle of a decision: to install a pair of Emg J into the 1961 to use it on the most gigs, mainly jazz fusion, or rebuild the jazz lutherie clone with emgs and leave the stock fender single coil pups on the 1961, in this case I'll end to use the jazz lutherie clone for the jazz gigs.
    Any suggestion?
    I hope that my scholastic english will be understandable.
  2. Rusty G String

    Rusty G String

    Mar 19, 2013
    Have you tried changing strings? Those steel strings are really bright. Flat wounds might be better for your gigs. Maybe even tape wounds.
  3. z65


    Dec 12, 2007
    My friend,

    give them Your old bass tone,
    and keep the 61 to play other things.

    I think you need to dilute the g.a.s. ^_^
  4. car_man65


    Nov 14, 2013
    Tape wounds definitely do better for jazz/jazz fusion than your normal rounds. A lot more bass but not completely dead on the upper register like some think. I would try changing your strings before you start messing with pickups.
  5. z65


    Dec 12, 2007
    tape wounds are not too boomy ?

    i think that we have to work more ab right hand touch and position
  6. car_man65


    Nov 14, 2013

    Every bass reacts differently to them so you wont know till you try em
  7. elgecko


    Apr 30, 2007
    Anasleim, CA
    Play closer to the neck and turn down the tone knob...that's free!
  8. car_man65


    Nov 14, 2013

    And maybe turn down the bridge pup too?
  9. z65


    Dec 12, 2007
    maybe i'm not normal ...lol
    but i never played a jazz bass with completely open knobs
  10. petergales


    Dec 29, 2009
    Leeds UK
    I agree. I changed to Chromes flatwound on my jazz bass. Both pick ups on full and the tone at about 50%. I use an Ampeg PF350 and an Aguilar GS112. Cut the mids and treble on the amp with the bass boosted and it sounds really round and full. Lovely jazz sound.
  11. z65


    Dec 12, 2007
    we always think ab jazz and ab an unique bass tone. or instrument.
    great jazz drummer Paul Motian (R.I.P) other than Steve Swallow, he had in the band some other electric bass players, and one of them a Danish guy played a Rickenbacker 4001. lol. i said it all. : )))
  12. kerryg

    kerryg Supporting Member

    Jul 15, 2007
    Vancouver BC, Canada
    I have no doubt that for some flatwounds work very well but jazz (and that raises the question "what kind of jazz?") can be played quite satisfyingly on many types of bass and many types of strings. My own choice is roundwounds.

    99% of what you need to play jazz goes on before the "air gap" that separates your fingertip from the string. Study double bass players and look at the angle their RH fingers make crossing the strings - imitate that and listen for the striking difference in tone, which will let you take any electric bass and draw more of a traditional jazz sound out of it.
  13. z65


    Dec 12, 2007
    yes. right,

    even if the attack will never be the same of the upright, but it can work successfully.
  14. kerryg

    kerryg Supporting Member

    Jul 15, 2007
    Vancouver BC, Canada
    Yes, exactly - the goal will not be to "simulate" the sound of the double bass (long experience says that's best simulated by playing an actual double bass :) ) but by evoking the spirit or "role" of the double bass, which was invariably played with the outside of the RH index finger (between the first and second joints) rather than the tip, providing a warmer, broader, more transparent sound (in the sense of a less "pointed" midrange and a diminution of a characteristic "barking" transient).

    Best advice I ever got walking electric bass from my drummer mentor back in the 80's (a man who'd played with guys like Sinatra and Hope in the sixties and seventies) after "listen to paul chambers" was that walking bass lines are meant to be a stream of quarter notes: the "kicks" (those little percussive offbeat eighth note sounds we drop in between the quarter notes) that sound so great on double bass can quickly become a distracting nuisance on electric since the transient is so much more pronounced and the "kicks" themselves so close in volume to intended notes...
  15. Fender 7250 strings are stainless but nickel plated, so we are in the not too bright area, and after a month or so of use, they turn to be so much rounder but a little confusing.
    The gear has its importance. So, for example, if I use a fretless with flats the kicks will be less pronounced than on a fretted with round wounds.
    By the way months ago I rented a double bass and I quickly realized that I can play less notes than with an electric. Ok, obviously I cannot play so many notes due to my inexperience with double bass, but, for example, I can use, on a ballad, so many semibreve notes (a 4/4 length note) without the needs to fill the end of a bar. A different approach that has nothing to do with the technique.

    @ Z65 I have 2 stack knobs on my 1961 and I'll end to use 2 simple settings: full volume of the pickups for a basic sound, less volume for the neck pickup and playing over the bridge pickup for a jaco sound
    If the strings are new I tend to close the tone of the bridge pickup
    G.A.S. isn't soluble ah ah ah
  16. Jim Carr

    Jim Carr Dr. Jim Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2006
    Denton, TX or Kailua, HI
    fEARful Kool-Aid dispensing liberal academic card-carrying union member Musicians Local 72-147
    Try DR Hi-Beams, dial down the tweeter on the Epifani cabinet, roll a little more treble off the amp, and turn the tone controls on both pickups 30% back from full-on. Carry on!