Better pups for Fender Jazz .. what kind, where from, etc

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Seph, May 15, 2001.

  1. Seph

    Seph Guest

    Feb 6, 2001
    Lompoc, CA
    Hey everyone. Last time I posted here I was asking for amp advice (and ended up getting an Ampeg BA-115 at a great price, thanks to everyone who recommended it if anyone remembers that far back :)

    Now, after months of going back and forth with all the repair shops around here (they all suck) and checking the prices of replacement parts, I've come to the conclusion that I'm better off getting a new bass than replacing the preamp and pickups in my Ibanez (even if it sounded like a dream, it feels like a little toy, and the tiny neck hurts my hands anyway), and I'm thinking MIM Fender Jazz, but I'd also like to get some replacement pickups to go along with it.

    The problem is, I don't know what kinds I should be looking at, and I can't seem to find anywhere on the internet that carries more than a handful of pickups. I'm figuring that I'd probably be going with EMG, as they're relatively good quality and inexpensive from what I understand.. but which model? I like the EMG tone from what I've heard of it (very little), and beyond that the only other pups that come to mind are Bartolini (don't like em and too expensive), Seymour Duncan (no clue) and Lace Sensor (also no clue).. beyond that I'm pretty much in the dark.

    So, I guess what I'm asking for is this:

    1. Where can I get an idea of what different kinds of pickups would sound like in the same bass without actually buying and installing them? I know a few places I can read reviews, but I'm wondering if there's somewhere out there with some sound clips I could check out so I can form my own opinion.. ?

    2. If I was to go with EMG, what lines should I be looking at? Once again, I don't really know where to start. I like passive sounds, but not really "vintage" sounds, if that makes sense. "Clear" is good, "bright" is not so good. Growly is good. Round is bad. Geddy Lee on Moving Pictures is a good point of reference, though I'm not under any impression that I'm going to sound like that. I like Cliff Burton and Jason Newsted too (even though their tones seem kinda mutually exclusive.. laugh) Hope that helps.

    3. Once #1 and #2 are taken care of, where can I actually GET the pickups, short of going to a shop and having them ordered (which I don't want to do, it seems like ALL the shops around here are shady as hell)... I've checked all the big sites, Musician's Friend, etc, and they barely have anything in the way of pickups. Where's a good place on the net to shop around?

  2. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Seph - I've been on a lengthy hunt for resources about Bartolinis (not their J's) and how the various models sound. I think I've seen about everything that exists on the web about pickups offered. I haven't seen any sound samples of pickups offered anywhere.

    Two of the best resources I can think of for what you're after are;

    - Go to , click on the "Gear" link at the top of the page and in the shaded area on the right hand side of the next page that appears you'll see a J pickup shootout article link. It's excellent.

    - Check out to see what one luthier thinks of various makes.

    You mentioned looking at Musicians' Fiend as an example of the resources you've been hitting. MUsician's Friend, Sam Ash, American Music Supply, Interstate Music, and the rest of those Guitar Center-types are all the McDonalds of gear. They pretty much carry only mainstream stuff. I'd bet a large percentage of their customers don't even know pickup replacements are available.

    Try a couple of REAL music stores like and . You can e-mail them and get a dialogue going. As a matter of fact, I'm waiting for a phone call from the pickup guru, Gabe, at the second store I mentioned, Bass Northwest, today.
  3. NJXT


    Jan 9, 2001
    Lyon, FRANCE
    Steph -
    I'm exactly in the same quest as you are and, please, whatever you've done/choosen/learned, let us know.
    Personnaly, I'm torn between DiMarzio Ultra Jazz (since numerous TBers seem to have choosen it), Bartolinis (since I have two soapbars from them that I love on another bass) and Basslines (since I've read BassPlayer shoutout).
  4. I'll vouch for the DiMarzio Model J--you need to cut bass with that pickup, it's so beefy. Incredible fingerstyle tone.
  5. jbass27


    May 4, 2001
    St. Louis, MO
    There is a comapny called Harmonic Designs that builds great pickups. I work at a fairly large music store (not a chain BTW), and as a result I get to see some different things come through. The main guitar guy put a set in his tele. They took the standard tele tone, added low end, some mids, and brought the output to the same level as his PRS. The tele is still songle coils, and still passive. The jazz bass pickups did about the same thing. I've only heard them one time though, but I think they sounded great. go to and check them out.
  6. notduane


    Nov 24, 2000
    :rolleyes: Dood! Will you bookmark that dang thing? (J/K! ;) )
    Save ya' some typin' :)

  7. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    ND - How do you change it into one of your boldface single words? I don't get into this stuff, mostly because I don't know any down n' dirty place to learn it, just like grabbing a pic on the web and inserting it into a post. :confused:
  8. notduane


    Nov 24, 2000
    I use bold and underline just to get attention -
    they ain't really necessary. Anyhoo, there's a couple ways -

    [ url ] [ /url ] OR

    [ url = "" ] [ b ] [ u ] SEARCH [ /u ] [ /b ] [ /url ]

    (minus the spaces)
    Ohhhh, dat's easy. Set up your IMG brackets first.
    Then, if your usin' Explorer, right click on the pic
    from the web. Right click on properties. Highlight the URL
    of the pic. Right click copy. Go back to your post.
    Put the cursor between the IMG brackets. Right click paste...


    There's more info here :D
  9. I vote for the Dimarzio Standard Jazz, DP123's. I put them on 2 of my Jazzes, and they rock for the older type of sound. Black and Cream available, about $90 for the pair, humbucking, even when only one is on.

    Observe the 2 Jazzes:


  10. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    notduane - I have the image brackets info copied somwhere. I really appreciate the guidance on using that stuff. I have a friend whose "Talkbass" is the Mac users group and is in to all of this stuff but he can't communicate in layman's terms.

    Thanks! You're a "Perl" of a guy!!! (sorry, it was just to good to pass up). :rolleyes:
  11. notduane


    Nov 24, 2000
    [​IMG] PROPah...[​IMG]
  12. fremenblue


    Jan 8, 2003
    Eugene, Or.
    YOu mentioned Cliff Burton's sound. His Ric had a Gibson EB-0/3 Sidewinder pickup at the neck (ala Billy Sheehan) and I think he also replaced his bridge pickup with a Jazz though I haven't been able to get that confirmed. I dig that sound too, thinking of building up an entire bass around that combination. I already have a Willpower neck/Willpower middle/piezos bass. I think for this one I'll use the Dimarzio Model One instead of the Willpower.
  13. spc


    Apr 10, 2004
    South of Boston

    I love Jason's pickups! I have a set in a fretless jazz, and a set in a fretted Marcus Miller (no onboard eq).