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buying/fitting Jazz bass upgrades

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by vivaknoxvegas, Feb 24, 2003.


  1. vivaknoxvegas

    vivaknoxvegas Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2002
    Knoxville, TN
    Where's the best place to buy a J-retro?

    Same question for Dimarzio J replacement pickups.

    Do J-retros fit in Fender jazz basses without any modifications?

    Same question for Dimarzio J replacement pickups.

    Thanks.
     
  2. Well, I can't answer your Dimarzio questions, but I can help you out some re: the J-Retro.

    The US importer for the J-Retro is Steve Barr, Vintage Bass Trading company. http://www.vintagebass.com
    http://pub41.ezboard.com/fthedudepitfrm2 (J-Retro Forum)
    email him at vintgebass@aol.com for prices/availability.

    They will fit in most J's without modification, but not all, as not all J cavities are created alike. Some are narrower, some are shallower, and some have slightly funny contours to them. I've installed maybe half a dozen or so, and the most I've ever had to do was a bit of dremel work to deepen the cavity slightly on a Geddy Lee Jazz. At most, you're probably looking at pretty minor work. Most cases, it's a simple drop-in.
     
  3. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    Well, I don't know about "best place to buy Dimarzio's" but I did recently buy a set of Ultra Jazz 5's from www.gtrheaven.com and had a very satisfactory experience - good communication, quick delivery. YMMV, but I'll be shopping there again.

    Are you doing a replacement on a 4 or a 5 string Jazz? I've seen a lot of warnings on replacement J5 pups that they will not fit Fender 5 string J basses without modification.

    Most 4 string J sets I've seen are drop in replacements - neck pup slightly shorter than bridge pup. If you go the dimarzio web site, there's an email address to contact with tech questions. I got a helpful response with diagrams within a few hours when I asked a question.
     
  4. vivaknoxvegas

    vivaknoxvegas Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2002
    Knoxville, TN
    It's a Fender Geddy.

    You guys got any other pickup models that you suggest for a Geddy? From what I have read, I really want a set of Dimarzio Js.
     
  5. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    Sorry, I've heard the same things you have but I don't have that bass so can't comment.
     
  6. Slater

    Slater Bye Millen! Hello?

    Apr 17, 2000
    The Great Lakes State
    You may want to install the J-Retro first, then decide if you still want/need new pickups.
     
  7. vivaknoxvegas

    vivaknoxvegas Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2002
    Knoxville, TN
    Yeah, the pickup replacement would be way cheaper than a J-retro upgrade. I'll take it one at a time definitely.

    How will the J-retro effect the volume/volume/tone knobs of the current stock setup?

    Would it work with MIA Fender reissue pickups well?

    What will it do for my overall sound?
     
  8. Slater

    Slater Bye Millen! Hello?

    Apr 17, 2000
    The Great Lakes State
    I think you'll get the best answers to your J-Retro questions if you use the J-Retro Forum link that ohiobob227 posted above.
     
  9. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    I'll answer what I can. I recently put a U-Retro in a Fender Hot Rod Precision. U-Retro is the 'universal' version of the J-Retro, and isn't a 'drop in' like the J-Retro. Knobs and sound are the same though.

    You have J-Retro choices.

    J-Retro regular will get you three stacked knobs (blend & vol, bass & treb, mid freq & mid cut/boost) plus passive / active switch and pickup blend on/off switch.

    J-Retro deluxe gives you the above plus a passive tone knob for when you're not in active mode. It's $25 more than the J-Retro, I'd recommend spending the extra money for the flexibility.

    As for what it'll do for your sound, well it'll give you a lot more precise control onboard your bass. Instead of a passive tone control you'll have active EQ boost/cut on bass/mid/treble frequencies. You still have a passive tone control with the deluxe version for when you're not in active mode.

    I can't comment on how it'll work with the pickups you describe, in terms of how the combination will sound.

    Again, I'd recommend heading over to the J-Retro forum on the dudepit. John East, the designer/builder, hangs out there and answers questions. Also, there are plenty of friendly people (including myself) hanging around there who have done the upgrade and maybe even done the exact same swap you're proposing.
     
  10. vivaknoxvegas

    vivaknoxvegas Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2002
    Knoxville, TN
  11. Nino Valenti

    Nino Valenti Commercial User

    Feb 2, 2001
    Staten Island NYC
    Builder: Valenti Basses
    You could buy a J Retro stomp box that can be used with all of your basses instead of being stuck in one bass. I've tried a J retro once in a 70's Jazz & it was ok. Personally, I'd go with a Sadowsky pre-amp/DI pedal.
     
  12. You still working for Sadowsky, Nino? :D ;) :D

    mike
     
  13. vivaknoxvegas

    vivaknoxvegas Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2002
    Knoxville, TN
    Are you saying get both or one or the other?
     
  14. Nino Valenti

    Nino Valenti Commercial User

    Feb 2, 2001
    Staten Island NYC
    Builder: Valenti Basses
    It's one pedal. :)
     
  15. Nino Valenti

    Nino Valenti Commercial User

    Feb 2, 2001
    Staten Island NYC
    Builder: Valenti Basses
    Yes I am. :) IIRC, don't you work with Dude?:bassist: :D
     
  16. vivaknoxvegas

    vivaknoxvegas Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2002
    Knoxville, TN
    Ok, I went to Sadowsky's site. I see what you're talking about. Can I borrow $475.00?
     
  17. Yes I am. IIRC, don't you work with Dude?

    Past tense, hence it's no longer in my posts. :)
    Dude went to AZ, I stayed here. Just given ya a hard time.

    mike
    formerly known as Dude's roadie :)
     
  18. Dude

    Dude Commercial User

    Mar 19, 2000
    AZ
    Owner: The Dude Pit Forum (closed) Producer: School of Bass
    LOL....as my "former" employee stated it's no big deal to install a J-Retro but in some cases like with one specific Geddy Lee we did have to deepen the cavity a bit.

    As far as the stompbox versions go there are numerous choices out there besides the J-Retro Stompbox or Sadowsky's (major difference between the two is the J-Retro hase mid/boost & cut plus mid frequency sweep and the Sadowsky doesn't...this is either good or bad depending on who you talk to). The Sadowsky is only $239 so I don't know where you saw pricing at over $400.

    The J-Retro Stompbox is $295 plus an additional $18 if you want the universal AC adapter so the basic question I'd ask would be is having midrange boost/cut plus midrange frequency sweep worth an additional $56 to you or not.

    I guess my first question would be to ask what you're trying to get out of the mods you're considering? What don't you like about the tone of the bass in it's stock condition?

    You may find that by simply changing the pickups out and keeping it passive may be all you need to do. Your opening post simply asked where to buy a J-Retro and DiMarzio pickups without saying what it is you are trying to accomplish with these mods. I need more info in order to properly advise you.
     
  19. vivaknoxvegas

    vivaknoxvegas Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2002
    Knoxville, TN
    Sadowsky charges $475 to have their people install their on-board preamp. That's where that number came from. I was just making a joke.

    I think you may be right about just changing pickups and keeping it passive. The bass has a great sound right now, but the output is not what I used to have in my last bass (Stingray).

    Also my band is getting ready to go in the studio and I am worried about the noise I get with the stock vintage pickups. I get noise when I take my hands off the strings. Is that single coil pickup noise or is it a grounding issue?

    Hope all this makes sense.