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classic sounding pickups

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by rancor85, Nov 9, 2005.

  1. rancor85


    Apr 19, 2005
    Chicago, IL
    Hey I was wondering if I could get some pickup advice, seeing how I know nothing about them. I just re-discovered my fender highway-1 jazz bass and have come to find that I really like the feel of the neck but the stock pickups leave something to be desired. I'm looking for a pretty "bassy" sound but still be able to cut through and be heard (much like chris white of the zombies or many mars volta tracks or james jamerson's funk machine), I'm basically looking for that classic rock sound. I play through an ampeg svt classic head and a 610 cab so I don't think it should be that hard. Are there any pickups that you guys can suggest that will really bring about a noticeable difference in the sound of this bass? Thanks a lot!
  2. telekaster


    Feb 14, 2005
    San Diego
    I'm looking for the same type of thing with one of my basses. It has Bart 9j1's right now and sounds great, but a little more bass wouldn't hurt. I don't like adding bass via the active electronics because it it takes away from the woody passive voice that this bass has.

    I'm in no hurry to replace the pickups, but I'm currently looking into the Nordstrand NJ4SE or NJ4SV, Aero Type 1 or Type 3, Duncan Antiquity or Antiquity II, and Fralin. From what I gather, these pickups should give lots of low end have a vintage sound.
  3. I can speak for the Antiquity II's. They're teriffic in every aspect for my uses and my setup (fretless Jazz by warmoth). A nice subtle high end that sings a little more than stock fender pickups, and a bottom that can go from buttery smooth to near-fizz growl depending on how you set the tone and how you pick the strings. Mids are very even compared with the rest of the range, there don't seem to be any high spots or low spots as far as response is concerned. Be warned, though, that they seem to be a little more prone to interference, and if you haven't gone through and shielded absolutely every cavity on the bass, you'll get a nice helping of buzz. Once you shield, though, they're lovely, with only a hint of 60hz hum, which goes away if you run both pickups or if you roll off the trebel a little bit.
  4. luknfur


    Jan 14, 2004

    Vintage Fender, SD classic stacks, or Dimarzio model J worked for me. The hi-ways 1's didn't cut it for me either and the Antquity II's were too much like the ultra jazz to suit my taste.

    Of course the Stacks and Model J's are humbucking too!
  5. I'll second the recommendation for the Antiquity II's. I recently swapped out the stock pickups on my '89 MIJ jazz and it made a noticeable improvement. The stock pickups were kinda boomy on the E-string and sounded a little brittle in the high end. The antiquities are a little fuller sounding (though not much) but the big improvement is that they're dead even and far more dynamic and respond really well to different attack. I find them to be pretty quiet even with pickups soloed, but YMMV.
  6. DavidRavenMoon

    DavidRavenMoon Banned

    Oct 20, 2004
    Bartolini also makes pickups with more bottom... you can specify bright or deep. Generally you put the bassier pickup in the bridge position and the brighter pickup in the neck position. They balance better that way.

    Why don't you just turn up the bass on your amp?

    Your amp has active electronics, right? Does it take away the sound of your bass? Good active electronics do not take anything away from the sound. Just as turning up the lows on your amp just takes the same sound and makes it bassier. Your electric bass can't have a "passive" sound, unless you listen to it unplugged!

    A perfect example of good onboard ("active") electronics is an Alembic bass. The low impedance pickups perfectly capture the true sound of the bass, and the preamp takes that signal and makes it louder.

    I use EMG pickups and electronics and they never change the "passive" sound of my bass. And I'm always boosting or cutting the bass and treble depending on the song.

    I'm sure a Bart preamp would sound great, and give you more bottom (or top, or mids) you are looking for.

    I refuse to use non humcanceling pickups in this day and age! Vintage smintage! ;)
  7. telekaster


    Feb 14, 2005
    San Diego
    All goos tips DRM! I do turn up the bass on my Eden when I need to. For some reason, I get stuck trying to leave the amp set flat...

    As for the preamp in my bass, yes it does change the sound when I boost the bass. You can't hear the detail in the midrange anymore and the whole thing starts sounding more electronic. I like that sound for some things though. The slap sound is excellent (it is a Marcus Miller bass afterall). The thing is I don't slap, but I love the looks, feel, and passive tone of the bass. Boosting the bass on my amp retains the complexity of the midrange. if I start using active more, than I might replace the stock preamp with a Bart or Aguilar unit.

    ...and I do believe that I have the "deep" bridge pickup. Can't tell for sure because I got this bass used. This pickup has a deeper voice than the other 2 jazzes I have owned. I think I have the "bright" neck pickup as well. I only think this because my observations are consistent with the written descriptions I've seen of these pickups.

    Like I said before, I'm in no hrry to replace these pickups. Sometimes I just look for ways to spend money. I'm sure lots of us know how that goes.

    ...and as far as "passive" tone. I was referring to the sound I get with the on board preamp bypassed. I know by plugging into an amp, you are technically into the "active" realm. It's all semantics. :cool:
  8. Unchain

    Unchain I've seen footage.

    Jun 20, 2005
    Tucson, AZ
    Fralins or Nordstrands sound like they would fit the bill nicely.
  9. DavidRavenMoon

    DavidRavenMoon Banned

    Oct 20, 2004
    Barts are great sounding pups.. but not very high output. I started using them back when they were called "Hi-A Pickups." Yes, that was the 70's... ;)

    The problem with many two band EQ units are the bands are too wide, and as you said, the bass will mask the mids. A three band would help that, or just a different unit. I'm not sure what the Marcus bass is using. I know the real Marcus bass had a Sadowsky preamp. I always thought they were the same as the Aguilar units, but Roger told me personally they are not! I can't imagine Fender used either one!

    The pre might be the best match for the Barts. The Barts are probably higher quality than the preamp.

    Obviously you don't like the sound of the preamp, since the bass sounds better with it bypassed! A good preamp should sound the same flat as it does bypassed.

    I sometimes leave my amp's EQ off (I have a Trace... it only has a 7 band EQ), but usually I have my mids boosted and control the low/hi from the bass.
  10. telekaster


    Feb 14, 2005
    San Diego
    The bass has a Fender preamp in it. It's not like the current "Deluxe" preamps in most of their active basses. This is a separate box where most Fenders have the preamp board wired onto the volume pot. I might look into a Bart preamp. It should be a good match for the bart pickups. Who woulda thunk it?
  11. DavidRavenMoon

    DavidRavenMoon Banned

    Oct 20, 2004

    I don't put Fender on a list of high quality modern basses! They are great for what they are, but this active thing is a bit new to them...
  12. DavidRavenMoon

    DavidRavenMoon Banned

    Oct 20, 2004
    Now that you mention that... that sounds familiar. I know Roger did the work on the bass though....