I’m looking to update my 2004 Fender Aerodyne 4-string passive Jazz bass and some advice from the TB community would be greatly appreciated! I will have help once the final decisions are made, but I am still nervous, nonetheless, as this will be my first time attempting anything of this magnitude on an electric instrument. This bass is very important to me and I want to make sure that my choices are solid… If anyone is curious on how a Fender Aerodyne Jazz looks and sounds, YouTuber Patrick Hunter did a good review of one a few years back (although mine is a bit older) - Fender Aerodyne Jazz Bass Originally, I was looking at updating the pickups, bridge and tuners, but now I’m second-guessing whether or not to take the plunge on pickups. Everything, aside from the addition of Strat-style VVT knobs, is stock just the way it was purchased 16 years ago. The stock PJ pickups still sound pretty decent, and of course I’d like to save the $$$, but I guess I’ll let the community persuade me in either direction. I will drop the extra if it will make a great difference. With pickups included, I would like to stay around $500 max, if possible... If I do decide to change the pickups, my friend that will be helping me has advised me to go with a 500K potentiometer and a .047 capacitor - Fender 500K Split Shaft potentiometer I know nothing of how to wire and solder. He will be teaching me. Thoughts on the potentiometer? 500k too much? Should I go 250k?... Pickups: If I go with new pickups, I think I’ll want to stay with Seymour Duncan. I have entertained other brands and understand that there are some good quality products out there. Their passive pickups sound the best to me in the demos I’ve listened to. Although, I am asking for advice. I’m open to hearing why another brand will be better… Originally, I was planning to go with the SD Quarter Pound PJ set and call it a day, but after looking at the tone profile on their website and listening to some demos, I feel like they are lacking too much midrange. The output is very powerful, but they just sound too scooped in the midrange to my ear… I subscribe to The Bass Channel on YouTube and came across some well done demos comparing Seymour Duncan pickups. They are very thorough if anyone is interested in checking them out: SD Precision pickup demos SD Jazz pickup demos They explore many options, but none are in a PJ setup, but I was still able to get an idea of the sound I liked from each. My favorites were: SD Apollo Jazz bridge pickup SD Antiquity II P-Bass pickup Since I’ve never seen these pickups together in a PJ setup, I was curious if they would play well together. Here’s part of an email I sent to Seymour Duncan asking for their input: “...how well will the Antiquity II P-pickup blend with the Apollo J bridge pickup? The very well done YouTube demos that I’ve listened to on The Bass Channel have led me in this direction. Although their demos on the Jazz and Precision pickups are separate and I cannot seem to find anyone in any bass forum, video, etc., that is using this combination in their P/J setup. The idea is for the tone to be very bright and punchy while still retaining a consistent, well-saturated low-end. I’m thinking the low-end on the QP PJ’s will be too “boomy” for my taste and, unless I split my signal, will cause undesired “pumping” from my compressor pedals. The Antiquity II/Apollo pickup combination seems, theoretically, that it would play well with high-gain distortion pedals and amps with no added noise or interference at high volumes. This is right up my alley, as blending different voices of distortion, fuzz and overdrive in parallel sounds amazing when fed the right bass signal! I also plan on adding thicker gauge (50-110) DR High Beams stainless steel strings to the bass once the pickups are changed. I’m not looking to go all-the-way vintage with my tone either, but there’s just something that I love about the overall smooth consistency and midrange feel of the Antiquity II. Alone, I favor it over the Antiquity and the SPB 1-4 from the demos I’ve listened to. I’m drawn more to the Apollo Jazz bridge over the Antiquity II Jazz bridge due to the fact that the Apollo is a linear humbucker. I feel this bridge is a must since I’ve had frustrating issues with grounding noise before. Not in my current bass, though. I also like its uniquely bright, punchy, harmonically rich upper midrange tone. The only concern is that the Apollo’s output volume will not be enough to flavor the Antiquity II P-pickup to taste…” Seymour Duncan rep Justin Jacoby replied: “Thanks for reaching out. It sounds like you've done your research! I think this would be a great combination of pickups based on everything you have described. The Apollo is essentially modernized version of a "traditional" jazz bass pickup, meaning you'll get a classic jazz bass tone but without any excess noise or hum and a little extra boost. Both the Apollo and Antiquity P Bass use an Alnico V magnet and should pair very nicely together, volume and tone wise. One thing worth mentioning about the aesthetic, the Apollo plastic covers are more of a housing and cannot be replaced. They have a bit of a matte finish. Our P-bass pickups and all other J-bass pickups have a more glossy cover.” I honestly don’t think I’ll mind the aesthetic differences if the sound is right. Does anyone here utilize this PJ setup? What does everyone think of this combo? Or should I just stick with what I already have? I’m open to ideas... *Intended price range based on research: $139 - $239 Bridge: The bridge is what prompted me to start updating in the first place. I’ve always had issues with the stock bridge. Amongst other issues, the most predominant problem has been a very annoying fret buzz around the 17th fret of the D-string. My E-string has got closer to the pick up over time as well. It cannot be played without clipping... I’ve been looking into two different styles. The one I originally decided to go with was the - KSM Foundations 4-string Nickel/Nickel, slotted The big concern I have is if this bridge will fit my particular bass. I read a forum out there in the online ether that stated the Aerodyne Jazz didn’t have enough space for a bigger, heavier bridge due to having a thinner body design. That’s what made me cautious to make a move without seeking the proper advice first. I can’t find the original forum where I read that, but I’ve only seen the issue come up once. It would be quite the chunk of change to drop if it wouldn’t work out. I love how customizable it is and I see no springs! The next bridge on my radar is the - Leo Quan Badass II I found out about this bridge via word-of-mouth. The guy that recommended this said it’s a “must” if I have a P-Bass. The issue I have right off the bat is that this bridge appears to just be a heavier, more updated version of my stock bridge. I see similarities, and it turns me off. It is, however, $60 less that the KSM... Price won’t be a concern if the result is noticeably better. Open to any other suggestions… *Intended price range based on research: $110 - $179 Tuners: This is where I’ll need a good bit of advice. I have no idea on what direction to go. My current E-string tuning machine needs to be turned multiple times before it “latches” to the string (for lack of a better term) and is able to tune properly. It also has issues of dropping out of tune often. All 4 tuning machines have become discolored over time as well... The main brand that comes up is Hipshot. I’ve read where many people swear by them. The HB7 seems to be the most popular. It would be cool if I could drop to D or C on a whim. Not sure if this particular style does that. If not, I’d like to be directed to a set that does. Seems very useful and fun. Regardless, the HB7 are quite pricey. Does the quality justify the price tag? - Hipshot HB7 Bass Tuning Machine Although, I have found things like this online that would seem to do the job very well and would be able to free up money to put toward the pickups or bridge - StewMac Adjustable Tension Bass Tuner Set *Intended price range based on research: $45 - $150 Are there any other updates that I should know about? I’m here to learn! I know others would suggest that the nut should be replaced. I’m not sure about that as this would be the first time I’ve updated a bass. I don’t know how to check or test that... In case my style of play would be important, I’m a fingerstyle player that tends to attack the strings pretty aggressively. I rarely use a pick, but I attempt to emulate the initial transient attack of a pick. I have always preferred nickel roundwounds, but I’m planning on trying out a set of heavier gauge DR Hi Beams for drop-tuning. The ER-50’s (50-110) seem to be what I may be looking for. I have wanted to move toward stainless steel for quite some time. I always prefer to err on the side of a brighter tone and roll of treble as needed. I’m not much on slapping or tapping. Not that I don’t enjoy it. I’ve explored both, but only for occasional emphasis... After years of playing, I’m only just now starting to learn my instrument. As I mentioned earlier, this bass is very sentimental to me and has always been my favorite sounding bass when I come back to it. I’d like to give it the treatment it deserves. Thanks in advance for any input! I look forward to your responses!