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Aguilar AG-4J-HC Hum Canceling Pup's - First Impressions

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by headband, Dec 20, 2013.

  1. headband


    Oct 18, 2013
    I just purchased these pickups a few weeks ago to install in a RW Jazz bass that I recently purchased that was sold without pickups. This bass also has had the control electronics replaced with CTS pots, switchcraft jack and has a hipshot A style bridge - all part of the purchase.
    I installed the pickups about a week ago, and had been playing them on my practice rig at home. They sound good, not exactly like a vintage single coil pickup, but close. My feel is that the pickup is a bit brighter on the high end, but still very identifiable as the jazz bass sound. My comparison basses are my all original '69 jazz, and my '64 CS jazz.
    Last night used this bass for a live show. My rig is simple, an Epifani UL-902C amp driving a Bergantino AE410 cab. No effects, nothing but a cable between the bass and the amp.
    After a night of using the bass, I can say I am very pleased with the sound and feel. The slight brightness was still there, but what really came through was the strong low end and mids. It sat really well in the mix - the drummer said he could hear me with better clarity, and I also had some comments out front about how the listeners could really hear what I was playing.
    So after one show I am happy. I did particularly like that these pickups are dead quiet. I found myself blending the pickups more to emphasis bridge or neck. I have always done this, but found that it worked very well with these.
    I am not really crazy about the hipshot bridge, and I don't know if this is contributing to the slight high end boost that I am experiencing (but again, this is in comparison to vintage basses, it may sound very much like a 70's PU, I have no way of knowing). I bought a vintage style bridge and will do a swap in the next couple of weeks to see how that impacts the tone.
    Hope I am not boring - just didn't see much posted about these pickups and thought someone might like some info.
    talkbox_64 and Tunaman like this.
  2. headband


    Oct 18, 2013
    I've used these pickups for several shows now, and can give a little better feedback. My point of view is that of a performer in live venues. I play out often (2 to 3 nights/week) and so am much more concerned about how a bass performs on a stage than how it sounds in my living room.
    First, for the most part they deliver a single coil sound, but not exactly the same. I notice this most at the extremes (all bridge or all neck pickup). They sound good, but different. The bridge is a little more nasally, esp.
    Second, they do what they say they do - the pickups are very quiet.
    Now, the good news is that they sound very good in a live setting. Tone is round, notes are very distinct and clear. I had several people that I know well comment on how well they could hear me last night. The pickups can get the jazz tones I am looking for, they just don't behave exactly like the single coil pickups and that takes a little getting used to.
    The other good news is that although they don't behave exactly like single coils, I am finding that I can get the sound I am looking for by making small changes in pickup volume.
    In other words, small changes in volume between the pickups gives noticeable changes in tone. Add extra bridge - increasingly burpy, Jaco like. Increase the neck, and round out the bottom end. I find myself making these minor changes more often to fit the material we are playing because they make an audible difference at stage volume. Very nice.
    These pickups are keepers and will be staying with this bass.
  3. Isotonic

    Isotonic Supporting Member

    Oct 19, 2011
    Round Rock TX
    Thanks for this review.
  4. zepsongs


    May 7, 2014
    Did you ever swap out the bridge? What musical style do you play? Thx!
  5. Fernando Costa

    Fernando Costa

    Aug 4, 2013
    I use this pups, are amazing, good review, this pups are exactly how you say.
    madjazzbass likes this.
  6. I've got a Fender 74 jazz with a Sadowsky preamp and Fender SCN Pickups, which are also hum cancelling. With the preamp engaged they sound just fine but with the pre in the off position they sound totally lifeless. So originally I was thinking about switching to EMG JVX pickups (possibly with the BTS cirquit) but then I started reading about the Aguilars.
    For this bass I'm interested in getting that Marcus Miller/Alex Al/John Pena type of sound. What do you guys think? Agular or EMG?