1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

caught between stock and dimarzio

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by shatner, Mar 30, 2005.

  1. shatner


    Sep 22, 2004
    Isle Of Wight, UK
    I am wondering whether anyone has had the same problem.

    I have a Marcus Fender Jazz and needed to get rid of the awful single coil hum (I work under extreme lighting). Bought Dimarzio Ultra Jazz pickups and a J retro preamp. A guy at the bass centre told me I should beware because the sound will be completely different. I told him that I wasn't bothered because I wanted to get rid of the hum.

    Anyway, the pickups did solve the hum and sound amazing for slapping. The Marcus sound is right there. However, it is not so good for fingerstyle because of the scooped mids. I have a Sansamp RBI which can't compensate for it because the scoop seems to occupy a different frequency area to the mid control and I can't even find it on my J retro with a parametric mid.

    I am tempted to go back to my original stock pickups because the bass is just not cutting through enough and the tone is too bass heavy. It sounds great solo but in a band context just does not work for me. But I like the slap sound and do need to slap in some songs.

    I play a variety of styles from Jazz to C&W and Rock so need diversity of tone. Can anyone recommend any pickups that are more transparent and better for a broader range of applications?

  2. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Terrific Twister

    Apr 12, 2001
    Olympia, WA
    I just put a set of Nordstrand NJ4SE's in my Jazz. I also have a J-Retro. Sounds amazing.

  3. The DiMarzio Model J offer the same hum cancellation, but more mids.
  4. sotua


    Sep 20, 2004
    SF Bay Area
    Amen brother!

    When I swapped out my stock P+J yamaha pickups for the Model Js, I couldn't believe the mids on those puppies. The bridge J pickup, the stock one was completely useless by itself. Now it does the Jaco thing with ease :)

    Try the Model J's... no hum, tons of mids, and you can wire them in parallel or series (each pickup) to suit your definition vs oomph needs.
  5. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    sadowsky hum cancelling pickups are in a similar ballpark tonally to the UJ's (not that surprising since they're both made by DM!) but it's a much less scooped sound but still with good lows and highs - very slap friendly IME.
  6. silky smoove

    silky smoove

    May 19, 2004
    Seattle, WA
    I'm going to offer another vote for the DiMarzio Model J
  7. luknfur


    Jan 14, 2004

    I must be DM J impaired cause I keep missing them when they come up cheap so can't say about them but have gotten the impression they're probably darker than MM's - but seems everybody likes them. I've had two sets of MM's and one set of SD Classic Stacks and the Classic Stacks were more like the first set of MM's than the second set of MM's. Very high quality vintage Fender single J tone. In fact the only HB's I've had so far with a true single J tone. No hum and you have 4 lead w/ground wiring for more tone options if you want it.

    Another pup I'd consider is Fender noiseless. Have yet to have a set of those either but what I've read about them has my expectations peaked.

    The pups I've had that have had slap burns were as you described for the ultras so I'm guessing a scooped pup is what works for slap. You might try the ultra's through an ampeg before ditching them and see what you get. I've been exploring a bit with some different amps lately and I've experienced lots of bass with piercing top end and no mids to speak of - not appealing for fingerstyle.
  8. maybe its my amp setup, but I don't find my ultra J's all that scooped.
    I do find they have a lot of bottom and I really have to eq out a lot for clarity, but I find the mids and highs to be very level.

    I'll be adding a bart pre-amp right away to see if that doesn't make everything nice and even.

    Maybe my ears are crazy, I'm pretty sure the rest of me already is.
  9. Nedmundo

    Nedmundo Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2005
    They're expensive, but Lindy Fralin makes linear humbucker J pickups. His regular J pickups are amazing and very well balanced, so I suspect these would be great too, but I haven't heard them.
  10. Sadowsky is great stuff. I have his pups on both my basses. As middy as you wish.

    Another option is to go active and use EMGs. Buzz free life and very good (for active pickups!) tone.
  11. HMZ

    HMZ Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2003
    What he said--------Dimarzio model J
  12. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    with regards to everyone recommending the Model J's.

    I think they're great pickups, don't get me wrong. They have a great thick low mid emphasis. But I wouldn't call them transparent, which is what the original poster asked about.
  13. BassJunkie730


    Feb 3, 2005
    Has any one tried a Ultra jazz in the neck and a Model J in the bridge? Just wondering if it was a common thing. it seems to me that if you whant more scoop you could favor the neck and more mids you could favor the bridge. Hmmm. Results anyone?

  14. IIRC the model J is substantially hotter.
  15. shatner


    Sep 22, 2004
    Isle Of Wight, UK
    So far it will be a choice between the Nordstrands, Barts and Dimarzio Model J's.

    Which are the most transparent?

    The Nordstrand descriptions sound pretty much in the right tonal ballpark. I don't want TOO much bass. The Ultra Jazz's have TONS of bass. The only description I would use is 'hollow'. But they are amazing for slapping.

    The way I see it is I just want the pickups to reproduce the sound of my bass in an uncoloured way because I can change the tone with the J east and my sansamp later.

    One other thing, I would like more output. Which of the above pickups are the hottest in that area?

    Are the Lindy Fralins transparent and have I overlooked any that would fit my needs such as the Seymour Duncans or EMG's?
  16. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Terrific Twister

    Apr 12, 2001
    Olympia, WA
    I find that my Nordstrands are quite transparent. I dial in my tone with my J-Retro. I don't have highly trained ears, but they sound beautiful to me. I can dial in some lows, and they sound excellent without being too boomy or thunderous.

    What did you think of the review SMASH did on Jazz pups? If you haven't read it, you should. It is most excellent. I even read the reviews on pups I had no intention of buying.

  17. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    If you've narrowed it down to DiMarzio J, Bart 9J and Nordstrand humcancelling...

    People mean different things by transparent, some mean an overall open frequency range with no emphasis on any particular frequency range. Some mean an overall open range *with* some frequency range emphasis being acceptable.

    In general, it's tough go get a truly transparent pickup - IMO more so with humcancellers.

    Just so you know where I'm coming from: I've tried out these humcancelling J pickups all in the same bass (A Geddy Lee Jazz):
    Dimarzio J, Dimarzio Ultra J, Nord 4JSE, SD Stacks, SD Hot Stacks, Bart 9J, Bart CB, Villex, EMG J, Sadowsky J

    I wouldn't call any of the three you mention transparent.
    All three have a mid range emphasis, the Barts much less so but it's still there. The DM's have a thick low mid heavy sound. The Nords have a less mid heavy hump and IMO have the more open frequency range of the three. The Barts have a slightly muted high end.

    Of the ones I tested, the two that were *closest* to either definition of transparent were the Sadowsky J and EMG J's. Now the EMG's weren't exactly transparent, since they're active and have some EQ boost. But they have a full frequency response range, and can even sound too bright in a bright bass. As I said before, I felt the Sadowskys were the best overall humbuckers, think like the UJ's but with a slight bit less low end, not mid scooped and a sweeter sounding high end.

    edit: As a common sense reminder, there are *many* variables in the signal chain that makes up the sound. What sounds good in one bass may not sound good in another. What sounds good to one person in one bass may not sound good to someone else playing the same bass. Blanket recommendations are tough.
  18. luknfur


    Jan 14, 2004

    yeh, concur with David on the terminology. Has anybody by chance ran across a glossary of bass lingo?

    I've been reading some of this, noticing contradictions, and so either I'm ignorant or some words are slinging without understanding.

    Transparent to me is just that. A scooped pup would have transparent mids cause obviously mids are being generated but the pups will not cut them, they are very thin, or you can adjust them in or out. Typically if you play solo they're there but not to music - so they sound "pretty" solo but not worth much when the band kicks in. Some pups it's designed in but preferably you can adjust it as desired, like with a vintage Fender tone where you can thin the bass so it's effective and fullfills it's function but has more air than anything. Some pups not matter what you do the frequency range is there in your face and that's not transparent - and from what I've read about the Model J's, that is likely how the mids are.
  19. I've always figured transparent to mean that the Pup brings through the natural tone of the instrument itself, the sound of the neck wood and body wood in combination with the strings and the bridge.

    I'm not sure if I truely transparent pickup really exists, I'm sure theres many even and balanced sounding ones out there, but they all add their own little mark.
    Its really a matter of finding the one that you like best.

    Man, I really wanna try some nords, I should've been more patient and ordered them instead of getting DM's.
    Next bass I build.... yep.
  20. luknfur


    Jan 14, 2004