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Customizing an American Deluxe J

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by jenderfazz, Jul 6, 2005.

  1. Hey everyone, I was thinking of upgrading some parts of my MIA Deluxe Jazz (1997 model) and was wondering what you would suggest.

    Tone-wise, my bass is a bit too hot-sounding and seems to have lower output than most passive basses. My signal tends to clip at certain volumes that my passive bass easily surpasses, completely clean. Could this be an issue of the 9 volt pre? Should I upgrade to 18?

    One thing I was considering is swapping out the preamp - choices include the Aguilar OBP1 and 3, a Sadowsky pre, or a Demeter. In the end, something that's very warm and growly, while staying relatively clean. The Demeter is supposedly very transparent, but in the end I may like the idea of a less coloured tone. However I've also been leaning toward the J-Retro Deluxe, since I'm attracted to the idea of an active-passive switch and the Deluxe would fit right into my bass with no major mods. Again, I'd like the natural tone of my bass to shine through... I still want it to sound a bit like a Fender Jazz. Any suggestions?

    Pickups are another option, but I've heard good things about the Suhr single pole pickups, so I think I may hang onto them. If not, the Nordstrand NJ4SEs look great, although a bit pricey. I'm not interested in swapping for a cheap aftermarket pickup, nor anything that sounds very beefy. Just a kind of vintage sound with a modern touch, preferably without hum.

    Tuners and stuff... not as big a deal. I'd perhaps get a set of Hipshots with the D-tuner... is it really worth using? My bridge seems fine, etc.

    Any suggestions? Most of it comes from the electronic side of things - looking to clean up the bass tone a little, refine the sound. Thanks.
  2. rojo412

    rojo412 Walnut is fun! Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2000
    Cleveland, OH.
    Did the J Retro DLX in my 2002 J DLX and it was almost exactly what you are describing.
    First off, it has A/P and a tone control... instant "classic" j tone. It has the 3 band which is really nicely done, so the tones are familiar, easy to adjust. The Mid frequency allows a multitude of tones all over the J spectrum, so it can sound like a J or it can go a little weirder, but it's all J when you get it dialed in.
    It was easy as hell to install.
    It was hard to find, but Bob at Lowdown Sound hooked it up extra professional at a fantastic price. I would be willing to bet it's easier to find than the Demeter, more versatile than the Sadowsky and OBP-1, and made a lot better than the OBP-3 (in my opinion, at least. The pots on the OBP-3 felt cheap on it and it didn't do much for me soundwise).
  3. Thanks, it's looking like a good option. Any other suggestions?

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