Elite Jazz Bass Problem

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Zen78, Sep 10, 2021.


  1. Zen78

    Zen78

    Mar 29, 2020
    I have a 4 string jazz bass elite with a strange issue, sometimes when using the bridge pickup it just loses output by about 90%. I have sent it back to Fender and had the PCB board replaced and it worked for a while but the issue is back. Since this issue seems to come and go at random it’s hard to tell if the issue was ever really fixed. Anyone else had anything similar, and what did the issue turn out to be? I have tried replacing batteries but does not seem to help.

    Any help or advice will be much appreciated.

    I am thinking of just changing all the electronics including the pickups. If anyone has any recommendations for good replacements, and ideally photos or videos of the process, I’d be most grateful.

    Thanks

    Zen
     
  2. stuntbass77

    stuntbass77

    Nov 6, 2007
    That’s a hard problem to fix if it comes and goes. I don’t have any experience with the problem you are having but if you really love the bass and it plays just as you like I would say maybe as you said consider changing the guts. It’s probably not the pickup but I could be wrong. Sounds like a preamp issue but I’m no pro. Best of luck moving forward and let us know how it goes !
     
    Zen78 likes this.
  3. Zen78

    Zen78

    Mar 29, 2020
    Cheers bud,

    This bass plays fantastic and I know a lot of people don’t like the sound of the preamp but I actually quite like it. Such a shame the electronics have been such a let down. Just seems nuts that the preamp was replaced and then developed the exact same fault, makes me wonder if the fault is somewhere else, pickup or jack socket?? But not sure if that’s possible with the type of fault.
     
  4. Geri O

    Geri O Endorsing Artist, Mike Lull Guitars and Basses Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 6, 2013
    Florence, MS
    If replacing the preamp didn’t solve the problem, then the problem must be with the bridge pickup and/or its wiring or connection. Have a repair examine the wire path and connection and even replace the bridge pup if necessary. The N4 pickups are actually decent and replacements are (or were, at least) easy to find.
     
    Zen78 and MattZilla like this.
  5. Zen78

    Zen78

    Mar 29, 2020
    Cheers Geri, I will have a look online for some N4’s. Even if it turns out not to be the problem it doesn’t hurt to have some spares for further down the line.
     
    Geri O likes this.
  6. cxc

    cxc

    Sep 17, 2020
    NC
    Bad battery connection? Does it happen when running passive?
     
    Zen78 likes this.
  7. Zen78

    Zen78

    Mar 29, 2020
    Hi CXC, yep also happens in passive.
     
  8. micguy

    micguy

    May 17, 2011
    That narrows it down- it's either in the pickup, or in the circuitry that's there when playing passive. As it happens only on the bridge pickup, we're probably talking a fault in that pickup or the volume pot for the bridge pickup. If the volume pot is part of the circuit board that was replaced by Fender, then we're probably just talking a bad bridge pickup.
     
    One Way and Zen78 like this.
  9. Zen78

    Zen78

    Mar 29, 2020
    Ive just tried unplugging the pickup from the PCB and plugging it in to the port for the neck pickup (not sure if this was a good idea or not) and same issue, so looks like you’re right, it’s the pickup.
     
    truand85 and Lownote38 like this.
  10. micguy

    micguy

    May 17, 2011
    Pickups don’t die very often, but it seems like yours did. Unless there’s a cold solder joint where the magnet wire meets the lead wire, the thing is practically unfixable. Time for a new pickup.
     
    Black Out Jazz likes this.
  11. Zen78

    Zen78

    Mar 29, 2020
    Will order a new set tomorrow and fingers crossed it’s a permanent fix.Had the bass a while and this fault has been happening intermittently for quite some time but seems to happen a lot more recently.

    Not sure if the new Gen4’s will come with the PCB connectors already on them, I hope so.

    Thanks for all the advice Micguy (and everyone else) will pop an update on how it goes with new pickups installed.
     
  12. Geri O

    Geri O Endorsing Artist, Mike Lull Guitars and Basses Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 6, 2013
    Florence, MS
    MOST DEFINITELY be prepared to solder/splice the little connectors from the old pups to the new ones. A little bit of solder and heat shrink and yer go to go.
     
  13. Zen78

    Zen78

    Mar 29, 2020
    So update time - Got my new Ultra noiseless pickups today from Andertons. Fitted them both rather than just replacing the dodgy bridge one, they came with the PCB connector already on which was a relief, pan to to the bridge, working perfectly and sounds great. Pan to the neck, nothing, dead as a dodo. The problem had switched spots, I thought it must be something crazy with the PCB board. I put my old neck pickup back and it’s working fine. So have a fully functional bass finally, but the hassle of getting in touch with the shop to discuss how I go about getting a single neck pickup replacement. As much as I enjoy this bass I think this will be my first and last dealings with Fender. Never had a single issue in 20 years with EBMM Bongos or Stingrays.
     
  14. Geri O

    Geri O Endorsing Artist, Mike Lull Guitars and Basses Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 6, 2013
    Florence, MS
    :banghead::banghead:
    Oh, good grief….:banghead::banghead::banghead:

    How can that happen?? I had a friend with a Jazz Elite who was able to buy a new single replacement N4 neck pup, forget the dealer. I helps him troubleshoot the issue and the pickup was dead (bought the bass used). As you did, simply switch the pickup connections and see if the problem follows the pickup. Got the new pup put in, and it was dead!! New out of the box!!
    The seller, of course, made it right, but in the process, COVID locked down everything and this fellow is a male nurse, so that issue was put on the back burner and I’ve lost touch with him. I should reconnect with him. At my age, nurses are good friends to have!…:D

    I don’t get it. And I don’t blame you for the way you are feeling about it. I’ll just say this….when I owned an Elite Jazz, I wound up replacing the perfectly good N4s for a set of Nordstrand NJ5 Vintage 70s Wind single-coils. For as good as (I thought) the N4s were, I was much happier with the Nords. They worked well with the Elite preamp.

    Good luck, man. Seriously….
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2021
    Zen78 likes this.
  15. smperry

    smperry Administrator Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 3, 2003
    Bay Area, CA
    I know this is an older post, but any luck solving this @Geri O or anybody else? I'm experiencing the same issue with my 2017 Fender Elite Jazz, which is on its second pair of pickups because it had the issue with a previous owner. So frustrating! It must be something with the preamp, right?
     
  16. Geri O

    Geri O Endorsing Artist, Mike Lull Guitars and Basses Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 6, 2013
    Florence, MS
    Gosh, I lost track of the owner of the problem Elite that I was helping out with pickup issues.

    At the last occasion, he had bought 2 N4 pickups from a dealer on EBay. Lo and behold, one of the replacement pups was dead. I followed the same troubleshooting methods as the first occasion when he first got the bass. Pulled the control panel and swapped the pickup connectors to see if the problem moved. Again, the same pup was dead. So I took the working pickup and plugged it into both of the connectors on the preamp board. That pickup worked in both connectors (thankful for those little connectors on the pickups). Then just to verify my findings, I took the new dead pickup and tried in both positions on the preamp board. It didn’t work at all in either position. That’s how I verified that problem was another dead pickup in the replacement set. This is the very same issue that we found with the first set of pups. And this problem existed from day one on this bass (bought open-box from a GC somewhere). Then Covid hit, he’s a nurse, and that was that. Since he stopped playing altogether, I offered to take the bass and keep working on it. But we were never able to pass it to me for that purpose.

    I bought one of the first America Elite Jazz basses to hit the dealer and it was pretty much perfect, except for the usual Fender inadequate shielding. And a few months into owning my Elite, I had swapped the OEM pups and preamp for Nordstrand pieces.

    Sorry I wasn’t any more help. I really should reach out to my buddy and see how he is and if he’s playing. We just lost touch and between his job, wonderful wife, and 2 kids, maybe 3 by now, he’s got a full normal life.

    If I talk to him and he’s got his Elite working, I’ll get back here.
     
    smperry likes this.
  17. smperry

    smperry Administrator Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 3, 2003
    Bay Area, CA
    Many thanks for the reply! I tried switching the pickups in the board too, and only the neck pickup works regardless of which connector I use on the preamp. It seems to be a dead bridge pickup, but the chance of that happening on a 2017 bass, and then a new pair of Fender pickups purchased a couple years ago, seems incredibly small. This is so bizarre...I'll take it to a repair person first, but I might have to follow what you did and just swap everything out if I'm going to keep it.
     
    Geri O likes this.
  18. Geri O

    Geri O Endorsing Artist, Mike Lull Guitars and Basses Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 6, 2013
    Florence, MS
    That’s crazy, right??

    When the replacement N4s arrived, I was there and put them in my bud’s bass and we simply couldn’t believe, here we are with the same problem. I had to go through the trouble-shooting routine over again to prove I didn’t make a mis-diagnosis (and I doubted myself for a few minutes there).

    When I changed out the pups and preamp n my own Elite, it wasn’t because they didn’t sound good. I thought the AM Elite sounded really good, but I was looking for a different vibe with the tone. I believe the Nord NJ5F noiseless pups and either a Nord preamp or Audere would be a wonderful combination. That is still one of Fender’s best-playing basses ever.

    No doubt, I would still be playing my Elite Jazz 5 if I hadn’t discovered the basses I’m playing now.
     
    smperry likes this.
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