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Coaxing tone out of your jazz bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Biodome, May 5, 2010.

  1. Biodome

    Biodome Guest

    Apr 16, 2010
    Brooklyn, NY
    I just got my first ever brand-new Jazz bass (08 Am Std, black/maple), and at first was thrilled with the tone. After a day of honeymooning, however, it started to feel dull and sterile. After a few weeks of putting up with this, I started contemplating a pickup change or a new bass. But before I did that, I decided to fiddle with the pickup heights.

    At first I raised the pickups, which seemed like the obvious thing to do. But the sound just became a big, round, nondescript boom. So THEN I tried lowering both pickups as far as they would go, with the bridge just a tad higher than the neck, and sweet Jesus it sounded fantastic! The most harmonic, rich, musical growl I've heard out of a bass - easily as nice as any Fender CS I've played. I was so surprised that this could make so much difference; it was like increasing the distance to the strings made the p/ups only pick up the gutsiest parts of the sound. I'm really thrilled now, I couldn't believe it.

    Has anyone else experienced this?
  2. Yeah man a good setup can change a bass like night and day.

    glad your enjoying your jazz :bassist:
  3. darkstorm


    Oct 13, 2009
    Yup, adjusting the pups polepeices and height can make a wonderful diff in sound. With most pups the opposite happens, lowering em mellows and takes away difinition whereas raising em increases it. But theres exceptions like you ran into.
  4. Rocky McD

    Rocky McD

    Jun 28, 2005
    San Antonio, Texas
    Volume and Tone are two distinctly different things.
  5. mikekim


    Mar 16, 2005
    Sometimes getting new strings makes a night and day difference, IME.
  6. +1. Especially if you buy used b\c the last owner's setup preference can be completely different than yours.
  7. Biodome

    Biodome Guest

    Apr 16, 2010
    Brooklyn, NY
    I'm used to thinking of setups almost entirely in terms of the neck and bridge, but not the pickups. It just seemed so counter intuitive to get more tone by moving the pickups farther away. It's like the bass has to work harder to get the tone. Quite a learning experience.
  8. 2 yrs ago when I first got my '08 MIA Fender Jazz V, I thought that if I replaced the pups with Bartolini 57J1 pups that it would improve the sound. Well, it changed the sound to a midrange growl that some guys really liked. Personally I didn't care for it because it took away the deep low end that the bass got, I wanted that deep low end back so I put back the AS pups and was a happy camper.

    For awhile -

    Then I decided to change out the bridge pup for a Bart 57J1 and that caused phasing issues with the bass that I had to take it to a tech to try and fix, but it didn't work out. So I went back again to the AS bridge pup and have left it that way ever since.

    Sometimes leaving well enough alone is better.
  9. Mulebagger


    Dec 12, 2007
    poppin in the corn belt
    Endorsing Artist: Zon Guitars, Tsunami Cables, DR Strings, GK
    I put a Jretro preamp in mine after a while of having the bass and it made a huge difference. Try the set up first. Best of luck
  10. pacojas

    pacojas "FYYA BUN"

    Oct 11, 2009
    yeah, i always liked the sound of pu's set as low as possible! (those magnets are pretty strong)
  11. St Drogo

    St Drogo

    Oct 9, 2009
    Not according to Eddie van Halen. But then again, he plays guitar...

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