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Fender 70's Jazz Bass PU spacing....ever wonder why?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Bibby, Jan 13, 2012.

  1. Bibby


    Aug 24, 2000
  2. matti777


    Dec 13, 2007
    Edmonton, Canada
    I just ran across that video last night. I would have guessed that there was a tonal reason for changing the position and not an aesthetic one. It would be interesting to hear a comparison between the two. Perhaps there is a video on that.
  3. Funny in that my MIM Deluxe Jazz and my Squier '70s VM-Jazz have the same peek-a-boo screws under the bridge cover too.

    Makes me wonder if they were trying to get that same '60s sound or it just worked out that way.
  4. That was my understanding, it was purely for aesthetics.
  5. Funny that they didn't just make the ashtray longer in the front.
  6. And the first thing you did back in the '70s was take off the bridge cover!
  7. johnk_10

    johnk_10 vintage bass nut Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 16, 2008
    Thousand Oaks, CA
    John K Custom Basses
    yeah, but then you'd hardly be able to get you fingers in there if you wanted to play it behind the front chrome pickup cover.
  8. However it came about, I'm happy it did. A good 70s jazz is something magical. I wish more 6 string bass had that kind of pup setup.
  9. johnk_10

    johnk_10 vintage bass nut Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 16, 2008
    Thousand Oaks, CA
    John K Custom Basses
    i actually prefer the 60's spacing since it's just a bit more full and mellow.
  10. 60s spacing does tend to have that character but I feel that with the right combination of wood and electronics (I'm not a passive guy) you can avoid the mid-scoop that comes with moving pickups farther away from each other. My current main bass is sporting a Bartolini package and it sounds really fat.
  11. petrus61

    petrus61 Supporting Member

    That's a very fine line concerning the 'mid-scoop'. There really is no definitive context for that type of thing, unless you know of some audio links showing it...lord knows we all "know what we hear", etc... I agree that the pup spacing and the combo of wood and electronics was a home run in the case of the 70's jazz. It just so happened to work. Your statement is curious because I don't think pup spacing can be generalized. As you said, "..with the right combination"...
  12. In my experience, the farther the pickups are from each other the less present the low-mids seem to be. But, it's not as if that can't be compensated for. Also, I didn't mean to say that 70s jazz basses lack mids but rather that those frequencies don't usually have the same presence that they do in a 60s jazz. Again, that's just my experience.
  13. jnewmark

    jnewmark Just wanna play the groove. Supporting Member

    Aug 31, 2006
    Stax 1966
    Third St. Cigar Records staff musician.
    I have definitely noticed a difference in tone with my Geddy Lee, as compared to my other Jazz basses. It does have the '70's spacing of pups, but it also has the " vintage " Fender pups, a slim profile neck, and maple fingerboard. I actually thought of modding the pickups to a different brand ( Fralin, Nordy ) to get back to that more traditional Jazz tone, but not sure it would make that big of a difference.
  14. Does anyone think that 'mid-scoop' could be substituted for: 'twang-y'?

    I feel that if the mids are reduced, then the whole note suffers for lack of substance or completeness, although that may be a desired sound for more modern music, it doesn't fit well in what I consider is needed for styles like Motown and early R&R.

    Even plucking closer to the bridge results in a thinner sound to me, and as such I think placing the p'up closer to the bridge accomplishes pretty much the same (in my case) degradation of the note.

    This may be why I stay away from modern or over-wound and overly bright p'ups not to mention stainless steel rounds. Fortunately I have not bought a bass with the closer p'up either - that up to this point has been a fortunate accident for me.

    And perhaps this spacing as an aside, or other sound qualities has kept me from liking the Geddy Lee bass too.

    I'm in it for the thump.

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