Confused about modern vs vintage jazz tone

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by umefie, Feb 1, 2023.

  1. umefie


    Dec 28, 2022
    Hello, I'm confused about the difference of vintage vs modern jazz tone. I heard that vintage is mid heavy usually, lacking definition but looking at a pickups like fender 75 pickups, that doesn't seem to be the case for me? Can anyone provide some videos that describes vintage and modern jazz tone bass?

    also what does "classic tone mean"?
  2. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2020
    Austin, TX
    Classic Jazz Bass tone usually refers to a band you like. Modern tone for a Jazz Bass is more like Billy Joel or Taylor Swift, not denying their talent, just not my jam.

    Like = Classic
    Don’t Like = Modern
  3. Al Rivera

    Al Rivera

    Mar 20, 2021
    Vintage jazz bass tone usually has less highs,more mids. This is partly from the flat wound strings used.
    Modern more zing,more highs and mids,usually playes with roundwounds.
    70s jazz bass tone isn't considered vintage,it is more mid heavy.
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  4. Cave Puppy

    Cave Puppy "Humph Bo, he's wond!" - John Lennon

    Jan 13, 2015
    The bridge pickup in a ‘70s Jazz bass is slightly closer to the bridge than a ‘60s jazz bass. That makes a difference and makes a ‘70s jazz bass sound a tad brighter.
  5. umefie


    Dec 28, 2022
    I see, I may have confused vintage basses with vintage tone, that's why my assumption was kinda wrong, thanks!
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  6. umefie


    Dec 28, 2022
    just checked billy Joel songs, sound like some emg pickups imo.
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  7. Pbassmanca

    Pbassmanca In the pocket n' thumpy. So woody, so greasy...

    I've always felt that what defines modern jazz bass tone often is an active preamp with the EQ set to thicken the lows and make the highs more snappy and clear. I think of players like Will Lee and Marcus Miller, and Sadowsky basses. Definitely round wounds as well.
    Jim C, 31HZ, noahw1 and 3 others like this.
  8. umefie


    Dec 28, 2022
    would you say this is a modern tone but a vintage bass?
  9. Well, vintage is vintage. There's no doubt about that. But modern is like vintage, except for it's modern. Capice?
  10. alex1fly


    Feb 5, 2008
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  11. alex1fly


    Feb 5, 2008
    Vintage vs modern tone is more about the amplification at the time. Vintage is generally more mid heavy. Modern is less so. For most of us, we can just use the Mid knob on the amp to approximate Vintage/Modern tone. It gets close enough. An EQ pedal will let you get closer.

    I would ask what you're trying to achieve musically. These "tonewords" are hotly debated so its easy to get distracted by the noise.
  12. darwin-bass

    darwin-bass Supporting Member

    Mar 29, 2013
    Salem OR
    These words have no single meaning so they become useless for communication. If I say "the car is red" we understand each other because the words are pretty clearly defined. We know what a car is, we know what red is. There is some variability in their definitions but not a whole lot. But many of the terms like vintage and modern have such vague and fluid meanings that true communication using them is challenging.

    I consider vintage sound to be what I hear from 60's and 70's recorded top-40 hits. Typical P with flats with not a lot of deep lows or crisp highs. More of a clear midbass tone. Modern is more like smooth Jazz from the 80's. Rich deep lows, some highs for clarity. Midrange is cut, if anything. On a graphic EQ vintage would be a frown and modern would be a smile.
  13. KidAmnesia


    Jul 13, 2022
    Buenos Aires
    Are you asking about "jazz tone" as in the tone used to play jazz music or as in "Fender Jazz bass tone"?
    pbass2 likes this.
  14. Bassinthemudd

    Bassinthemudd Supporting Member

    Jan 3, 2020
    I'm hopeful that "tonewords" can supplant "tonewood" as the most hotly debated concept on TB.
  15. dougjwray


    Jul 20, 2005
    Coming soon to a store near you:
    Fender American Vintage Modern Jazz Basses!
  16. dbsfgyd1


    Jun 11, 2012
    Mascoutah, IL
    I think it means what you think it means. It's the timbre that is lodged in your brain. Narrowing down what is a classic JB sound from 60 years of recordings as well as concerts is impossible. However, that is always going to be based on what you've been exposed to.

    To me a classic JB sound is like ELPs Greg Lake, Dee Murry (Elton John) or Derrick Holtz of Climax Blues band. I'm sure others have their own opinion.

    A lot of your bass sounds way it is how you EQ your instrument more so than the pickups. I would start there spending a good deal of time exploring. Not there?? Then try different strings, and if you find you still aren't there, then try replacing pickups.

    As for replacement pickups, I installed a set of Fender 62s about 18 years ago on my Son's MIM Fender JB that made a profound difference.
  17. Jefenator

    Jefenator Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2008
    For vintage, turn down the passive tone knob.
    For modern, crank the volumes & tone and maybe also add some active bass & treble boost.
    That'll get you a general idea. :bassist:
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  18. monsterthompson

    monsterthompson The Eighth Note Wonder Of The World Supporting Member

    Nov 25, 2008
    The existence of vintage tone implies that there could also be classic and antique tones. I have yet to see those tonewords used on TB, but they could be coming to a post near you.
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  19. bassGtar

    bassGtar Supporting Member

    Jul 29, 2009
    I’m not a tone aficionado, I just don’t have a fine sensibility in the area. I would’ve said that vintage sounds more like a double bass and modern more twangy. How wrong is that?
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  20. N4860


    Mar 28, 2017
    Waterloo, ON Canada
    Modern Vintage Basses
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