clarity on a jazz

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by bogart, Jul 20, 2004.

  1. bogart


    Dec 11, 2003
    big bear, ca
    I'm needing to get more note definition on my mia jazz. I've started playing these real fast arpeggiated parts and the notes get lost in a sea of muddiness at volume. Can anyone recommend a good pickup that will give me better note definition?
  2. luknfur


    Jan 14, 2004

    I assume you've exhausted the options from your rigging, EQ, tone controls, amp controls, etc. (whatever you use). There's no doubt it may be the pups but any pup can get lost in the mix through adjustment and the MIA jazz pups I've had exposure to I don't off hand recall an inclination toward such behavior. I mean I could dial them out but I could also dial them in. Raising them a little closer to the strings may help and of course the condition and type of strings used is a factor. If the tone of the pups is acceptable to you, I would definitely eliminate other factors before going for new pups. Even acoustics could be a factor. Have you moved around the room while playing?

    Bottom line is even if the new pups cut like you want, you could go through a lot of pups to get a tone that is accepable. You could pick up a set of Bart Jazz and get the clarity but a lot of people don't like the Bart tone. I've ran about 9 jazz pups so you can do a search for "EXPERIMENT" and pull up Dimento's J pup experiment and read through some of that stuff - including the Fenders
  3. mikezimmerman

    mikezimmerman Supporting Member

    Apr 29, 2001
    Omaha, Nebraska
    If I were worried about more note definition with faster parts, the first thing I'd think about changing is strings rather than pickups. Steels sound brighter than nickels, and lighter gauges sound clearer and more articulate than heavier gauges. I'd also look at tweaking the pickup balance to favor the bridge pickup a bit more--I find that dialing out just a little bit of the neck pickup gives a sound that cuts much better. Then maybe I'd look at EQ...simply put swapping pickups would be way down on my list of things to try, as luknfur also said.

    Sorry not to have more helpful advice in pickups themselves. :(

  4. adam on bass

    adam on bass Supporting Member

    Feb 4, 2002
    New Braunfels, Texas
    Endorsing Artist: Spector, GK, EMG and D'Addario
    EMG. I did all the afore mentioned stuff and couldn't get what I wanted so I made a call, got the J set with the BT concetric set and holy moly. What a difference.
  5. 4Mal

    4Mal Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    I run Duncan Vintage 1 (SJB1) pup's in my jazz basses. They have a 60's sort of tone with plenty enough detail for quick finger funk lines. I don't think you waould hear a phenomenal difference between a good set of MIA Fenders and the SJB1's. My guess is that they are more similar than different.

    I think the key is the EQ. You may need to dial out some low's and maybe re-emphasize the low mid or high mid bands. How you do that depends a lot on the setting you are working in.

    I added an active pre to one of my J's and for live work having Vol, Blend, Mid and stacked BT provides a number of options. For the finger funk stuff, I add bass, a lot of mid, cut the treble and use a smidge more bridge than neck. I suspect that the concentric BT control that Firken mentioned above is the real reason he got better definition. I'm guessing that it is an active Pre and would be more responsible than the fact it is EMG... You would probably get similar results from a J Retro/ Raven / Aguilar onboard. Maybe better. The Pre that I added came from a MIA Jazz Deluxe.

    I don't often use that bass when recording though... I'm a fanatic about documenting signal path settings for tracks and that is a PITA with on board controls. When tracking I generally use passive basses and use outboard gear (EQ, Compression, Time based effects ...) to acheive similar results. I find it easier to record the settings I end up with on the rack mount gear than I do the on board stuff.

    I'm my own engineer for the most part so with the amount of stuff to keep track of I try to keep it as simple as possible. While that works for me, it might not be the best approach for everyone. Now if I could train my wife to run the board and the recorder....
  6. Zirc


    May 13, 2001
    Los Angeles
    Get a badass bass II bridge
  7. xyllion

    xyllion Commercial User

    Jan 14, 2003
    San Jose, CA, USA
    Owner, Looperlative Audio Products
    Yep, before you changing pups, take Joshua's suggestion and also get a new set of strings. Finally, maybe consider the possibilty that your technique needs improvement. I had a teacher about 2 years ago that could play extremely fast. The notes were very clear on any bass that he picked up.