1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  

Do jazz-style neck & bridge pickups differ in any way other than size?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Thunder Pulse, Apr 25, 2010.

  1. Thunder Pulse

    Thunder Pulse

    May 12, 2007
    On some (most?) jazz-style basses the bridge pickup is slightly larger, while on others (like an MIM Fender, as I understand it), both pickups are the same size. A lot of pickup manufacturers sell jazz-style pickup "sets." So say you have a MIM jazz and you want to replace the pickups. You can't buy a "set" because one pickup will be the wrong size, so I guess you have to buy 2 individual bridge or neck pickups?

    So you buy whatever it is you need to buy to fit your bass. Is the end product any different when you have 2 of the same pickup vs. a "set" ?
  2. robthegaff


    Nov 29, 2009
    Generally the bridge pickup is overwound as the vibration of the strings nearer the bridge is less. Are you sure about the pickups being a different physical size? I can't recall noticing it on any jazzes, but it's not something I looked for.
  3. Thunder Pulse

    Thunder Pulse

    May 12, 2007
    I don't know it from personal experience, only from what I've read. The difference in size is so slight that you wouldn't even notice it by casually looking at them.

    BestBassGear.com has some info. Most of the pickups listed on the left have size info if you click on them. I didn't go through all of them but the bridge & neck dimensions were different on the ones I looked at.

  4. PJRL


    Mar 27, 2010
    greenfield center NY
    The Bridge p-up is a bit wider, maybe 1 mm and it is a little higher out-put then the neck.
  5. The bridge pickup should be 1/4" wider than the neck, not 1mm.

    IIRC, the bridge pickup is not overwound, but rather, it is wound the same as the neck pickup, but since the pickup is wider, that equates to more wire being used to do so.
  6. Thunder Pulse

    Thunder Pulse

    May 12, 2007
    It's clear that the bridge pickups offered by several manufacturers are larger.

    Again, I only "know" this based on what I've read, but I've read that both pickups are the same size on MIM Fenders and G&L Tribute JB-2's. What other basses also fit that mold I don't know.

    My question is - if you have a bass where both pickups are the same size, what do you do if you want to change the pickups? MIM Fenders are out there in big numbers... what are the owners doing for replacement pickups?
  7. Many pickup builders can make you a custom set.

    I know that a few mass production pickup companies offer sets for MiM Jazzes.
  8. kumde


    Jun 17, 2006
    Hmm, I know this might be a bit brutal for some of the readers, but if the difference is just 1 mm or less, why not shave some material off the pickup until you can squeeze it in the slot? That's what I did a few years ago when I put a pair of Dimarzio Ultra Jazz's on a Squier JB I had back then.

    Obviously while using the file I was constantly checking that the coils in the p/u weren't becoming exposed. And likewise obviously, I'm not responsible for any damage that might happen, though this would be the first method I'd consider for other pickups as well ;)
  9. The mounting nubs are in different locations for one.
    For two, it's 1/4", not 1mm.
    And for three, you re-route the bass, not destroy the pickup...
  10. kumde


    Jun 17, 2006
    OK, the mounting nubs could be a problem.
    2. in my case, it was ~1mm, nowhere near 1/4". But it does seem to vary; with some quick googling the difference in EMGs is 1.6 mm, in Bartolinis 4 mm.

    3. Not destroying the pickup: there's always a few mm of plastic around the coil, plenty to remove some. The distance between the polepieces should give an upper limit to the coil diameter. And no worries about the finish on the bass.

    Edit. Oops, it seems the coil actually goes around all the polepieces (or some of them in case of split coils p/us). A revealing pic here: http://www.nordstrandpickups.com/bass-pickups/index.shtml. Sorry.
  11. funkmangriff


    Dec 29, 2007
    my bridge pick up on my jazz is longer than the neck, guess to compensate for the slightly wider string spacing by the bridge?
  12. Thunder Pulse

    Thunder Pulse

    May 12, 2007
    For some pickups, sure, but that point is moot if you're using blade/rail style pickups.
  13. Paul M

    Paul M

    Jul 21, 2005
    The other difference between the bridge and neck pickups in a set of single coils is that they are usually (always?) wound reverse to each other and the polarity of the magnets are opposite. This is to cancel out RF hum when the pickups are used together.

    Also, the bridge pickup on my 2005 American Standard Jazz is 3 mm wider than the neck pickup. Bridge pickups are usually wider because the string spacing is widest at the bridge.
  14. Thunder Pulse

    Thunder Pulse

    May 12, 2007
    I guess we need someone with a MIM Jazz to chime in on whether their pickups are the same size or not.

    It's a pretty common bass, and if everyone who replaced pickups in one was getting a little "surprise" when they went to put new pickups in it you'd think there'd be plenty of posts complaining about it.
  15. It's not RF.

    The hum you get from pickups is a 60Hz fundamental (with harmonics) from nearby equipment such as transformers or lighting that run on 60Hz power.

    Radio frequency is at a much higher frequency.
  16. PJRL


    Mar 27, 2010
    greenfield center NY
    Looking at my mim Jazz that I just put Fender US V-62 / 60 J pups in, they do fit in mine. The bridge is 1/8 wider measured on the covers, but the P-up coils cound be more like a 1/4. Is the out-put the same on both of them ? I'm not sure...

    The original mim p-ups measure about the same on the covers, I bet I could use the mim covers on my US V p-ups.
  17. Jaco who?

    Jaco who?

    May 20, 2008
    I've got a 2000 MIM fretless Jazz with Dimarzio model J's in it. It had the same size stock fenders, and I only had to file and then sand a little bit past the original paint on the sides (width) to fit the Dimarzio in the bridge route. It's not a big deal at all.

    IIRC, around 2006 or so Fender started using different sized pickups in MIM jazzes, in which case you won't need to do any modification at all.
  18. Thunder Pulse

    Thunder Pulse

    May 12, 2007
    Thanks, that was an informative post.
  19. musicbikeman


    Aug 10, 2009
    I am staring at my 2001 or 2 MIM jazz bass, which has the stock pick ups in it, and the bridge does indeed look a little bit bigger than the neck. Jaco who probably summed it up best, but I thought I would throw two more sense in with a non modded instrument.
  20. Makatak


    Apr 13, 2002
    New Zealand
    And for three, you re-route the bass, not destroy the pickup...[/QUOTE]

    +1 , definately make a nice job of routing the bass.
    Filing down the pickup ???? , jeez there are some butchers giving " advice " out there .

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.