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American Standard w/ Custom Shop 60's

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by markbmbass, Feb 20, 2014.

  1. markbmbass


    Apr 19, 2012
    Hi all!

    I just purchased a beautiful Olympic White w/ Am Std J Bass that has the Custom Shop 60's pups last week. Rosewood board, and just a great playing bass!

    However, I have been doing the A/B between it and my Squier Vintage Modified J Bass. From what I can tell so far, the Squier sounds fuller and (dare i say) better than the American.

    This is really bugging me as the price difference in the two basses is significant, and I feel as though this new bass should be thumpin'! Can anyone offer any advice on how to make these sound as full as everyone says the Custom 60's PU's should sound?

    The pickup height came low with the bass, and I have raised the neck pup slightly, but can more if necessary.

    I play through a Markbass Little Tube 800, Zoom B3 (When I want compression or different tonal options) and a GK Neo 212 & 410 stack.

    Any help is appreciated. I almost sent this baby back today, and wanted to give it a go on the forums before I do something impulsive :help:
  2. cv115505

    cv115505 Supporting Member

    Sep 14, 2012
    Oklahoma City
    It's all a matter of perception... I think one of the appealing things about the American STD is the build quality... I think the American STD line is some of the best stuff Fender has put out in years... Another thing to consider may be the strings... are the strings on the Squier newer/older than the Fender?
  3. markbmbass


    Apr 19, 2012
    Thanks for the reply. I really hear a fatter sound coming out of the Squier, and the strings are brand new Elixirs on both basses.
  4. dls119


    Jun 27, 2013
    Northern Virginia
    You may just be used to hearing the Squier. I have a VM that I love and will never stop sining the praises of. The Am. Std.s I've played have all generally played better, have been better constructed, and sound better than my VM, but not by that much...

    ..alternatively, the Squier could just sound better in this case!
  5. markbmbass


    Apr 19, 2012
    It very well could send better I guess. I love that bass! But, should I replace the pups with something that sounds better? And if so, what would be some good choices?
  6. dls119


    Jun 27, 2013
    Northern Virginia
    If the AmStd isn't getting you where you feel it should with the CS pickups, I don't think digging into the electronics will solve anything. It's very possible that this particular bass isn't the bass for you.
  7. narud

    narud Supporting Member

    Mar 15, 2001
    santa maria,california
    It's the pickups. The cs60's are low'ish output and not much going on in the entire spectrum of mids.
  8. JVbass


    Feb 15, 2009
    Cleveland OH
    I think the pup height is still too low for both pups.
  9. I would return and do some more bass shopping.
  10. invalidprotocol

    invalidprotocol Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 2008
    The CS 60's are great pickups but they are not an open sounding full range high output type of pickup. They have a sweeter warmer sound with emphasis in the low mids and lots of texture. Very fingerstyle friendly tone particularly out of the bridge pickup. Not as ideal for pick play IMHO.

    Sound preference is very personal. I've played the VM series J basses and don't think they sound near as good, but not terrible by any means. To each his/her own.

    My '08 didn't come with these pickups and I upgraded to them. When setting the pickup height I raised them until it created tonal issues due to magnetic pull on the strings, then gradually lowered it until it went away. Not a stitch lower. You'll notice that impact from the 12th fret up. Even when set as high as possible the output is still lower.

    If the bass plays well and sounds good otherwise, a pickup change can have a significant impact. There is no shortage of awesome pickups for a J bass and ones that would give you a sound profile closer to what you are expecting. Based on the available options I'd venture to say that a J bass is the best platform for pickup experimentation.
  11. Journey55

    Journey55 Supporting Member

    Jun 10, 2011
    Orlando, Florida
    Put a P-46 in it and see if it helps
  12. Bongolation


    Nov 9, 2001
    No Bogus Endorsements
    Yes, and there's no guarantee any one instrument isn't going to be a dud anyway.

    Never mind that people's minds play tricks on them with this stuff, which is why whenever I do any real work, I do a scrupulously-controlled digital DI test track, before and after.

    It's amazing that A/Bing between the test tracks in the studio almost always reveals it was more or less a waste of time, effort and money for the amount of good it did (if any).

    I personally really dislike the American Standard Jazz (I have one, with the pre-2012 pickups) simply for the really bad choices FMIC made with them -- and don't think the OP would be depriving himself much by offloading his, as he's considering.

    I also suggest he live with the pickups he has in his other bass, in that there's nothing apparently wrong with them to his taste.
  13. bzmnt


    Aug 29, 2010
    I actually have quite a good comparison myself. I recently got myself a '12 Am Std Jazz, with those CS60 pickups mentioned. All I can say is that this bass blew my mind away, very solid, very high quality instrument, but still just a "normal" serial produced bass, which somehow inspires me. It doesn't have any fancy active electronics (which I have in many basses) and no custom tropical woodwork, it is just a bass that's build to last and to be played. After all, the Am Std is "the jazz bass" at the moment.

    Then I was living abroad for one month, our roommate having a VM Jazz bass, the sunburst 60's style model. I played it a lot, even gigged with it. It is a great bass, sounded nice, but having a direct comparison with the Am Std, it can't compete on any level except price.

    Sound preference is very personal, so you might very well like the sound of the VM more than Am Std. But I suggest you hold your horses for still a bit and really play them both live and in rehearsal with the best possible setup. At least to me, the Am Std really gives you more back the more you play it :)

    But if that's not the case for you, then you shouldn't be intimidated with the price or "quality" difference, play the bass you like the most!
  14. ZachariahLee


    Feb 3, 2013
    Don't listen to these tinker nuts here. You bought it, and if you don't like it return. Would you do that with a $4,000 Fodera? Purchase, not like, and change the pickups? No way.......you'd return it.
  15. narud

    narud Supporting Member

    Mar 15, 2001
    santa maria,california
    i changed pickups in my fodera twice:bassist:
  16. OP said its a great playing bass. That's worth keeping it and trying out a pickup swap. I recently replaced '60s CS jazz bass pickups with Seymour Duncan SJB-2s, and am loving them so far. The SJB-1 is also great, but not quite as hot, with a more "vintage" voicing.
  17. ZachariahLee


    Feb 3, 2013
    Narud, the man did a significant price jump to a product that he was sure to be better than his SVM. Perhaps you have the money for the Fodera, now multiply that purchase price by 3 with the hopes of a much better product in hand. If it turned out to sound worse do you still just modify the instrument? Would you really buy a $12,000 instrument and just change the pickups?
  18. ZachariahLee


    Feb 3, 2013
  19. invalidprotocol

    invalidprotocol Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 2008
    In this situation I would evaluate and compare unplugged to take out the pickup out of the equation and evaluate the bass itself. If it didn't sound great unplugged in comparison AND play great, back it would go. If I thought it sounded better unplugged, I'd follow up with the recordings and try to validate what I'm hearing unplugged. The pickups should amplify the sound of the bass. Some pickups have too much coloration or are not voiced well for a particular bass.

    The OP stated it plays great. Its at least a starting point to further evaluate before returning. Granted there is a difference of roughly $1k between the two basses so the overall improvement should be a significant to justify replacement of the pickups in a brand new bass.

    Gotta love a good return policy. If it doesn't live up to expectations send it back.

    OP, best wishes on finding your perfect bass.
  20. stonehenge


    Apr 8, 2011
    Duvall WA
    I put Custom Shop 60s pickups in a Squier CV Jazz thinking it would be an upgrade and was a little disappointed when it didn't sound any better to my ears, as previously stated I find them to be lacking in midrange response and low output, will probably end up putting the stock Squier pickups back in.