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Differences between the Fender single coil J Pups

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Jim C, May 23, 2018.


  1. Jim C

    Jim C Is that what you meant to play or is this jazz? Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2008
    Bethesda, MD
    Short version:
    I have a 74' J that has Model J's; it doesn't sound that much like a J but records beautifully.
    I have a stock 72' J that I love.
    The plan was to install Duncan SPB-1 pups in the 74' to sound like the 72.

    After reading a current thread, there is a lot of love for the different Fender single coils.
    Can anyone explain the differences in tone between the different single coil Fenders?
    Lastly, I understand that one of the favorite Fender choices is NLA but buyable on the used market.
    If that can be compared with the others it would be greatly appreciated.
    TIA
     
  2. birminghambass

    birminghambass Supporting Member

    Sep 18, 2002
    Birmingham, AL
    I own a recent American Standard, a USA Geddy, and a 72 Jazz. I've owned almost 50 different sets, literally everything made by Fralin, Nordstrand, EMG, Dimarzio, Duncan, and Fender. My 72 has become very microphonic so I went on a quest to find something better, then different, and then as close to the 72 as possible.
    These are some you might be interested in:
    The Duncan SBJ1s are good but kind of bland. They don't have the high end my 72 has. Sold them pretty quick.
    The Fender Originals somewhat lacked the highs but had much more punch than the Duncans. Nice growl too, but not as "warm" as the 72. I kept these for another bass.
    Fender Custom Shops sounded great slapped or with a pick, kind of boring though and not close to actual vintage IMO.
    Fender 74s (whatever came in the USA Geddys) was very honky with mid punch. Reminded me of Fralin dual coils. I didn't care for these.
    Fender USA standard (96-2008). Very even, low output, nothing exciting. Vintage ballpark but kind of meh.
    Fender Super 55s. Very cool pickups, very high quality build. Plenty of highs and lows, a bit scooped in the high mids. Very articulate. I foolishly sold these.
    Aguilar 60s and 70s. I greatly prefer the 60s version and thought they sounded the most like my 72. Full frequency with the right amount of everything. The 70s version was too mid scooped for me.
    Dimarzio Area J. These are great, very vintage sounding without the hum. Highly recommended.
    Fralins and Nords. Awesome pickups but neither sound vintage to me at all. I have Nords in my USA Geddy.
    So in summary I would recommend the Area Js, Aggy 60s and Fender Originals for getting close to that latr 60s, early 70s Jazz tone.
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2018
  3. Jim C

    Jim C Is that what you meant to play or is this jazz? Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2008
    Bethesda, MD
    Thank you very much!
    Over $5K in pups in the quest for tone is dedication.
    Great review.
    I would have never thought of the Area J's as didn't know they were vintage.
    Sounds like a used set of Fender 55's could also make the list although I've no idea how hard the are to find.
     
  4. Jim C

    Jim C Is that what you meant to play or is this jazz? Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2008
    Bethesda, MD
    Well, just bought a set of Fender 55's from the clasifieds.
    I've only had one pair of humbuckers on a J but would be presenetly suprised if the tone was similar; the originals are so sensitive in touch (not meaning micro-phonic) and I haven't found that to be so true with the Model J's.

    Question is, do I get the Aguilar 60's and A/B the two (on different J bodies)?
     
  5. birminghambass

    birminghambass Supporting Member

    Sep 18, 2002
    Birmingham, AL
    Of course you do!
     
  6. Jim C

    Jim C Is that what you meant to play or is this jazz? Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2008
    Bethesda, MD
    How amazing is it that many take advice from total strangers and sometimes about expensive gear?
    Well I usually agree with BB and he and I have done some deals together that were perfect.
    Fender 55's arrived yesterday; Aggie' 60's single coil arrive Friday.
    I haven't seen my son since Christmas and he is coming to town this weekend.

    Wife works from home Monday and Tuesday but usually goes out for a 1 hour walk.
    If it doesn't rain, it going to be loud at my house next week.
    Will report back after spending some time with both.
     
    birminghambass likes this.

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