Best pups for jazz bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by belair57, Feb 10, 2001.

  1. I'm thinking of buying a MIM Jazz and going crazy with it. Like with a new bridge, pickups, J-Retro preamp, painted headstock, full fret job, etc. I was even thinking of routing out the space for the bridge pickup to accomadate a MM style pickup.[​IMG]
    I wanted to know what would be the best pickups for this project. Let me describe the sound I would like: very warm and bassy, yet punchy, something that cuts through w/o being too harsh, and doesn't make a lot af noise(humming). If you can help with this and/or have any other suggestions thanks.
  2. The kind of sound you are describing can only come from a simple bass with a simple set-up. If the sound you want is the bass sound of the late 60's, 70's hard rock like the Beatles, Zepplin, Areosmith, Santana, Cream, etc., look at the basses that all the bass players used back then. Simple basses with simple set-ups.

    John Paul Jones used a Fender Jazz bass. I believe Jack Bruce started out with a Fender P-bass that only had the single stagered humbucker, I don't know what he switched to after that. Paul McCartney played a Hofner viola bass with one humbucker placed at the bridge.

    If this is the very warm and bassey sound you are looking for then you have to keep your set-up simple. There were no active pick-ups back then, at least not until the mid 70's. A lot also had to do with the amps they used. Usually tube driven amps. A lot of that warm sound came from tube amps.

    My recomendation, :D my opinion is too use the J-style, stacked humbucker pick-ups. If you go to an active/passive system it will act like a pre-amp. But if you want a seperate pre-amp, go to a quality rack-mountable one. One thing to remember, any bass not EQ'd right on any amp will get lost in the mix. Use the amp to your advantage, it's not the volume that determines if you can hear through the mix.

    Good luck with your bass. :D
  3. j3b3r


    Aug 19, 2000
    I have a MIM jazzbass, and i'm trying to sand the paint to natural look and put on a wooden pickguard. it's gonna be cool :)

    I put mine with EMG J's, it's bright and HOT

    If you want warmth , get Bartolini
    J/MM setup is cool, reminds me of lakland.

    Put some active preamp !?!?!


  4. SMG

    SMG Supporting Member

    Apr 17, 2000
    metro Detroit
    You don't hear about them too much, but I would suggest a set of Schaller J-Bass pickups, I believe they are labeled as the "JBX" set. Put a push/pull pot on each volume knob and wire each pickup series/parallel. What you get is noise free pickups (as they are actually humbuckers...I belive two half pickups like old Dimarzio's); a classic 60's J sound when the pickups are in parallel; and a deeper, richer, full humbuking (almost P-Bass sound) when in series. The sound is sort of simular to Dimarzio PAF's, but a bit richer and fuller, IMO. Biggest problem is finding them, I know Stew-Mac carries them, but I don't know of any other dealers off hand that keeps them I stock.

    If you can find any of the old Schaller "Double-J" pickups, those are excellent, too. They are a pain the neck to wire as they have 8 leads, but basicly you just double up each set of wires (2 yellows together as one, etc...). These you can even wire 3 way if you want to install a 3-way mini switch. I have put a set of these in a bass I "rebuilt" and wired each to a 3 way mini and the variety of sounds is incredable. I also put one into the bridge position along with a Schaller P in the middle position, wiring the P to a two way and the Double-J to a three way. Also, an almost infinite variety of sounds.

    Another interesting point on Schaller P, J and Double-J pickups is that you don't lose sound as you dial back on the tone knob. They stay loud and rich, unlike most other Fender and Fender-style pickups!

  5. > I'm thinking of buying a MIM Jazz and going crazy with it.

    Hi, if you're only thinking of it, wait 'til you get it to see what really needs fixing. Maybe nothing.

    Also think of where you're coming from. If you were previously a P-bass player, the hum thing is going to drive you up a wall, so you might (might) want to think about going with humbuckers (if you are a fingerstyle guy who doesn't solo, the DiMarzio Model J pickups are internally split 2/2 and will sound great for a fairly low price).

    Remember the length of the two pickups on a MIM are identical instead of the standard Fender setup where the bridge pickup is longer than the neck pickup. Make sure the pickup manufacturer can supply a set for a MIM.

    Routing any already-routed body is chancy, but routing a MIM promises to be the nightmare of the decade. Peek under a MIM pickguard some time and think it over.

    The only reason I change a bridge on a Fender is if the bent tin one breaks strings on me (they do). If a bent tin bridge works for you, keep it.

    If the frets are good, may as well leave them alone. Every time you work on them, they lose meat. It's like facing the rotors or turning the brake drums on your car. You wouldn't do that if everything's working OK.

    One thing about mods, actually many modified basses are less resellable even if the mods are very cool (that repainted headstock will definitely cause you trouble). And you almost never get your money back out of the mods unless you can unbolt them and bolt the stock pieces back, which routing will definitely prohibit. Think of how your personality is. If you like to flit from bass to bass, this multi-mod concept is going to slam your wallet hard.