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another comparison - model j series vs parallel with sound clips

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by hags2k, Jan 6, 2013.

  1. hags2k


    Jan 27, 2010
    I was tinkering with my jazz last night and was contemplating getting some push-pull pots to do switchable series/parallel wiring on the DiMarzio DP123 model Js i have in there. I wanted to see what the difference was first, so I quickly rewired it for parallel operation for each pickup and recorded a sound clip.

    The first clip (series mode) was actually recorded a few months ago, and I am not sure I changed strings since then, so the difference in string wear is a factor. Even then, the difference in top-end response is pretty clear.



    I think I'll be swapping the regular pots for push-pull pots in the near future. Both sounds are interesting - the series sound has proven to be quite good at getting a punchy sound in a loud mix, but the parallel sound seems to be very much in the realm of "standard j bass" tone. For comparison, here's a clip I recorded with the stock pickups - I actually think the model Js in parallel do a better "standard jazz bass" sound than the stock pickups!


    Anyway, hopefully this is useful to anyone considering the series-parallel mod for their Model J-equipped basses.
  2. Scott in Dallas

    Scott in Dallas Commercial User

    Aug 16, 2005
    Dallas, north Texas
    Builder and Owner: DJ Ash Guitars
    Very nice.

    I installed a mini toggle switch on my jazz bass for S/P and it's worth having. The ability to sort of mimic a P bass sound when necessary makes the bass much more useful. The difference seems more dramatic with my single coil pickups than with the model J. I actually switched back to the stock pickups from the Dimarzios after doing the mod.
  3. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    if you dig the "jazz bass in series" thing, it would be worth trying those dimarzios wired individually in parallel, then wire the pair in series.

    it keeps the beefy series character but cleans up the mud, making the sound a little more comparable to the stock tone.

    (you have 4 coils here, so it's kinda like wiring four 8Ω speakers to make an 8Ω cab; you can do "series/parallel" or "parallel/series" to get the same overall resistance.)
  4. hags2k


    Jan 27, 2010
    This is a great idea - I'm planning on picking up three push/pull pots and using DiMarzio's great wiring diagram to do "series/parallel neck", "series/parallel bridge", "series/parallel both pickups" on the volume, volume, and tone knobs respectively. That's a whole lot of tonal versatility for one instrument, but I think the differences in tone are worth it at this point.
  5. The stockers seemed to have more midrange, the DiMarzios seemed to be a little scooped with a larger/louder low end component (comparing parallel to parallel). Which in the end means that when you turn up the stock ones to get as much low end loudness the midrange will be very prominent compared to the DiMarzios. You'd be sortof raising the "midrange floor" (if there were such a thing) loudness by doing that.

    Tough call, but I think I'd go stock.
  6. jobo4


    Apr 19, 2006
    Austin, TX
    I'm going with Vol Vol Push/pull Master tone which will give me the series parallel option. I tried PPV PPV Tone and didn't care for the individual series /parallel sound. But just my preference.
  7. punisher911


    Jan 20, 2005
    Clawson, MI
    I like the series sound.. Kinda growly and nice... My new favorite sound.
  8. matti777


    Dec 13, 2007
    Edmonton, Canada
    I liked the series sound clip too but am confused about this series/parallel stuff. Are all stock Fender jazz basses wired parallel including the '62 AVRI?
  9. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    yes, all stock fender jazz basses are wired parallel.

    actually, any vintage fender anything is wired parallel; the P-bass is the only old-school fender instrument with series wiring, and that was done within the one pickup as opposed to between two pickups, and even then the coils didn't overlap strings, so it still wasn't really a "series sound".
  10. hags2k


    Jan 27, 2010
    I think it's worth pointing out in case it wasn't clear in my initial post - the difference between the series and parallel clips is entirely with how each individual pickup is wired, not with whether or not they are in series or parallel with each other. In all the clips, the pickups are parallel with each other.

    As walterw pointed out, I think it would be cool to see how the model Js sound in parallel mode but in series with each other. I've ordered some push pull pots, and as soon as I get them installed ill record a couple more clips for comparison.

    As Flux Jetson pointed out, the stocks have an entirely usable sound with a lot of mids, and they do sound good in a mix, but I didn't find their sonic signature to be preferable to the super thick and chunky sound of the model J pickups in series mode. Though there's more top end when playing solo, it didn't come through in the mix for me any better than the model js in series, while the model j series sound has a tremendous punch that really let me hear the bass when playing live and practicing with an amp or with headphones, noticeably more than the stock pickups. I do tend to play rock music primarily, though.

    Both the stocks and the model Js in series had trouble getting a more traditional, "open" jazz sound that I've heard out of some boutique jazz basses, in my humble opinion. I think that the model Js in parallel get closer to that open sound, though, and I'm hoping that between all the configurations and with some push pull pots, ill be able to have thick and chunky as well as a more traditional open sound all at my fingertips. If nothing else, it's fun to experiment with :D
  11. I've been wrestling with which direction to go on my next set of mods. My own Squier VMJ (purchased as a research bass) has been rewired to 2-channel outputs (no tone controls, one volume for each pickup, and one output jack for each pickup) ... http://www.talkbass.com/forum/f8/2-channel-modification-j-many-pictures-908965/

    I've wrung-out just about every exploitive thing that can be done with this setup. My next plan is to begin experimenting with the addition of P/S routings, as well as adding a 3rd pickup in the "fret 24" position, kinda like where the Yamaha Attitude Bass and the Ric 4001/4003 and the Music Man Big Al have their "neckward most" pickups located.

    So it's now a matter of pickup selection and signal routing issues that face me next. This thread and the subsequent audio demos have been very helpful, that is fer sher mangs!
  12. Oh hells bells ... that makes things a little different. I didn't ~pickup~ on that (oh brother! ... sorry for the lousy pun).

    Ok, so the DiMarzio Model-J pickups are humbuckers I take it. And when you were saying "series" you meant that the COILS of each pickup were wired in series, not pickup-to-pickup series routings. Relative pickup-to-pickup routings were all parallel, and relative coil-to-coil routings within each pickup were series. Ok ... now I think I have it. :)

    Well great googly moogly that changes things a bit. YES .. BY ALL MEANS AVAILABLE TO YOU .... get the switching installed and post your findings with well-described routings. Your research will assist a good deal of people! I've already created a folder on my computer and downloaded the mp3s that you've posted so as to keep solid track of the progress. I just need to re-label the tracks to better reflect their wiring and configurations now that I have a more-clear understanding of what you have done.

    Thanks for doing this, you're providing a service here!


    Oh who cares! Heheh .... I'm like you, I play ~rock~ for the most part (a certifiable card-carrying Geddy-tone mongrel). I like that 500hz-900hz emphasis sound. It takes more than just EQing, I mean I have parametric EQs and resonant filters comin' out my ears ....



    ..... it even with ~all of that~ I still come up a bit shy on obtaining what I want.

    So it will be downright intersting to see/hear what you come up with.

    (For more details about the modular-synth bass rig seen here hit the link in my signature).
    Oldschool94 likes this.
  13. hags2k


    Jan 27, 2010
    It's my pleasure, believe me. I'm quite excited to get the new wiring installed and to record more clips. I didn't realize how much it was helping ME to analyze the differences and figure out what kind of sounds I'm going for and what tradeoffs I'm willing to make. But I also figured they'd be quite helpful to anyone else on a similar quest.

    I agree with you on the mids and how important they are - I had a great Ibanez SR bass I ended up getting rid of because, although it FELT quite good to play, I couldn't coax a good, musical midrange out of the pickups, even with onboard EQ. Sterile, lifeless, and no punch in the low mids or cut in the high mids. That's one thing I have not been lacking since I started playing Fender basses, though - even with stock pickups, they are a tremendous improvement in sound for playing the kind of music I do.

    Ohhh man, I'm going to get in trouble at work today if I keep finding interesting threads like the one you linked in your signature to read. Won't get anything done! That is quite a setup you have there, and I'll definitely be checking it out later today.
  14. azwipe

    azwipe Supporting Member

    Jul 9, 2013
    Washington, DC
    Really curious as to how this turned out. In particular, I'm wondering if combining the bridge pup in series with the neck pup in parallel produces good results. Since the parallel pup supposedly has less output, does this result in that 100% bridge/90% neck J-bass sound even when they're both all the way up?

    Wondering about this as I'm thinking about replacing one of my volume knobs with a selector switch.
  15. hags2k


    Jan 27, 2010
    I started playing around with series-parallel switching on a pickup by pickup basis and actually gave up on the project since the results were so... disappointing. The volume differences between running one pickup in series and the other in parallel were too much, it required a lot of fiddling, and the sound wasn't anything particularly special. I also never quite managed to coax enough of a traditional jazz bass sound out of the instrument to keep me satisfied, even with all the of the different settings and circuit wiring options.

    Honestly, after messing around with it for a few weeks, I decided to do a complete 180 - I sold the Model Js and put a set of Nordstrand NJ4 single coils in the bass. Maybe the bug will bite me again, but it's been nearly 9 months now and I haven't been tempted to tinker with the electronics since then.

    Probably not the answer you were hoping for, but that is how my journey ended.