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Dimarzio model J vs area J vs Ultra J

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by oldcatfish, Nov 1, 2013.

  1. oldcatfish


    Jan 8, 2011
    I am thinking about replacing the p ups in my Squier VM jazz. I have used Dimarzio guitar pickups before and generally liked them. I don't really mind the tone of the stock pickups, but would prefer a pickup without the hum when solo'd.

    I am confused on the differences between the 3 J pickup choices listed. Which would suit my playing best...I generally play CCM/ praise and worship, classic 60's to 90's rock music, or Fingerstyle funk music. I rarely slap, and also use the bass in a band context--so it can't get lost in the mix.
  2. mmbongo

    mmbongo Five Time World Champion Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2009
    I currently have the Area J's in my Spector, and had an ESP Jazz with Ultra J's.

    My take is basically that Area's are more like vintage Jazz pickups...very full and round sounding with some bite while the Ultra J's are more modern..mid scooped with sharper high end.

    I don't think you can go wrong with the Area J's. The nice thing about DiMarzio's (not sure if this applies to the Model J as well) is that you can wire them in series or parallel. Series being louder and fatter, parallel being brighter and lower output like a single coil. My favorite is actually having the neck in series and the bridge in parallel.
  3. oldcatfish


    Jan 8, 2011
    Ok, sounds like the Ultra J's are not what I'm looking for. So it's between the area J's and model J's.
  4. DrVenkman


    Jan 22, 2010
    Pacific NW
    I swapped out the stock pickups in my CV jazz for Area J's and I've been very happy. The stock pickups sounded fine to me, I just wanted to eliminate the single-coil hum. The Area J's are dead quiet but retain that classic single coil sound. If you like the VM pickups except for the hum I think you'll like the Area J's.
    acebase62 likes this.
  5. Hamlet7768

    Hamlet7768 Here to chew gum and rock. Still have gum.

    Jun 5, 2011
    From what I've read the Area J's would suit you best. The Model J's have a much thicker sound.
  6. BenWhoPlaysBass


    Jun 7, 2013
    The model J's have HUGE low end and midrange. Super fat sounding for a Jazz bass. I have them in mine, and love them. But they're definitely not a traditional sounding J pickup, and some are turned off from them because of that. Basically, it's a humbucking J with the mids and low end boosted and some treble rolled off. They can be wired series or parallel, but I don't know what parallel sounds like. Mine are in series.
    madjazzbass and Jim C like this.
  7. staccatogrowl

    staccatogrowl Savoring time on a spinning, shimmery, aqua sphere Supporting Member

    Jul 14, 2006
    Ditto all responses so far. . .
  8. Fair Warning

    Fair Warning Deliverin' the Goods! Supporting Member

    I got Untra J in my MIM. They are not as scooped as people make them out to be. They are fine.
    madjazzbass likes this.
  9. staccatogrowl

    staccatogrowl Savoring time on a spinning, shimmery, aqua sphere Supporting Member

    Jul 14, 2006
    Here's what Dimarzio says:

    Model J: Bass 6. Mid 5. Treble 4. (Bass and low mids are prominent.)

    Area J: Bass 5. Mid 5.5. Treble 6. (Balanced with upper mid and treble accent.)

    Ultra J: Bass 7. Mid 5. Treble 6. (Bass and treble are prominent.)

    See for yourself http://www.dimarzio.com/pickups/bass
    madjazzbass likes this.
  10. Koeda


    Aug 21, 2007
    I agre with comments and DM's tone chart - but any comments on the output levels? On the site the MJ's are 150, AJ's 155 and UJ's 250. I have the AJ's in a Fretlesss and MPJ's in other basses. To me seems the M's output is more bangin' than the AJ's. No experience with the UJ's.
  11. Technotitclan

    Technotitclan Lurking TB from work

    Mar 1, 2012
    Rochester, NY

    ^ This. I use Model J's in my Ibanez. There FAT and aggressive. The high is clear and articulate but there really about the mids and lows. I've used them in series and parallel, they are just a hair less beefy in parallel and quieter but still no where near a normal J. I'd say if you like the stock and want to ditch the hum get the area J's.
    Jim C likes this.
  12. MosGuy

    MosGuy Keep it low and thumping..

    Dec 26, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    +2 When I bought my VM jazz it came with model J's and parallel/series switch. They emphasize the low and mids with less bite on the treble side. In series they thicken up a fraction more. In parallel slightly less, tone is more like a jazz. Both modes are full sounding and the pickups are quiet.

    If you want traditional sound, the areas would be good. If you'd like a balance between a jazz and precision, the model J's work well. I'm pleased with the model Js, all depends what sound you're after. You can't go wrong with either one.
  13. Doner Designs

    Doner Designs Steve Doner Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2012
    Metro Chicago Area
    Doner Designs is an alias for Steve Doner
    I think the Area J's are great and have three in this bass. Our next charity project will have Nordy's. I look forward to doing an A/B comparison. Both basses will use the same 4 band Audere preamp.



    PawleeP, DanikDarko and 2cooltoolz like this.
  14. I'm with Koeda. I want to know what the units are for the cited numbers. I'm pretty sure they're not K-ohms, but what exactly are they? If you were trying to match a 30 K-ohm '60's Gibson mudbucker, output-wise, would the UJ be too little or too much?
  15. Technotitclan

    Technotitclan Lurking TB from work

    Mar 1, 2012
    Rochester, NY
    I always figured the output numbers they give are in relation to stock Fender pups. I assume that stock would be a 100 for output. My Model J's I would say are 150 if stock is 100. I've also had the Model P and they list that as a 163 which again, if stock is 100 i would say that is accurate as it was a little higher output than the model J.

    DiMarzio builds they're pickups to be wired in series which makes them hotter. If you want to keep a stock output level then wire them in parallel. Right now I wired my MJ's in parallel to test out some gain settings and they have the same output as my Squier and other Ibanez.
  16. Bluebard


    Oct 21, 2014
    Do you guys think that Area Js or Ultra Js would be better for a bright growly Geddy Lee tone?
  17. anavar


    Oct 10, 2013
    my bass tone can beat up your dad's bass tone.

    looks like Dimarzio Mj is pretty beefy sounding.
    SkinCoffin likes this.
  18. silky smoove

    silky smoove Supporting Member

    May 19, 2004
    Seattle, WA
    The output is not a unitless, relative figure. It's a measurement of milivolts (listed as mV on the Dimazio website). What's unclear is if that's the maximum output, or a supposed average.
  19. iiipopes

    iiipopes Supporting Member

    May 4, 2009
    I have played all three in the last forty years, and owned two of them over the years. Very simply put:

    Area J - closest to "vintage" single coil

    Model J - more mids and growl (the newer ones not so much so as the older ones, which had more wire on them - early '80's versions had a little over 7 kohms' worth of wire; the new ones have a little less than that)

    Ultra J - more scooped and clean

    The differences in "spec" output don't mean much; I never noticed any significant difference in total output when the pickups are set up properly, but I do notice the tonal characteristics as being significantly different.
    acebase62 likes this.
  20. Calside86


    Sep 2, 2015
    I happen to have both Model J's and Area J's in my possession at the moment,

    I made this basic comparison video between the 2 sets off pickups

    PS sorry for the slight buzz

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