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Fender Jazz - Why did they switch back to 60's PU position?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by n1as, Jan 8, 2019.

  1. n1as


    Mar 29, 2013
    In the 70's Fender moved the bridge pickup back under the pickup cover. Then in the 80's they move it back to the prior place. And pretty much left it there ever since.

    faulknersj likes this.
  2. GrapeBass


    Jun 10, 2004
    Graphic designer: Yorkville Sound
    Ever hear of New Coke? I'm sure some people liked it. Fender tried a new config and, at least at the time, people weren't buying it. If it were a hit we'd see a lot more of the new position.
    Andre678, bassdude51 and jackn1202 like this.
  3. MoeTown1986

    MoeTown1986 Supporting Member

    Sep 14, 2010
    SoMD (Mechanicsville)
    I prefer the 60’s position. Luckily, Fender offers plenty of reissues and a Geddy signature that have 70’s spacing. Variety is a beautiful thing.
  4. This is Fender, they probably set their routing jigs up wrong for a while before anyone noticed :roflmao:

    Just joking. The 70's spacing lends itself a little more to "The Slap Sound", so maybe it just fit a trend at the time. It's a very subtle difference really.
  5. smeet

    smeet Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 27, 2006
    Woodland Hills, CA
    The 70s spacing can sound better if you always play with both pickups all the way up. If you solo the bridge pickup, the 70s position is too thin for my liking. Soloed, the difference is not all that subtle. I find the 60s spacing to be more versatile for that reason.
  6. SpazzTheBassist


    Jun 20, 2006
    the scary part is that it could very well be true
  7. n1as


    Mar 29, 2013
    New Coke was my favorite!!!
    2tonic, Malak the Mad and GrapeBass like this.
  8. jd56hawk


    Sep 12, 2011
    The Garden State
    Correcting a mistake.
    It happens.
    cnltb likes this.
  9. n1as


    Mar 29, 2013
    To answer my own question, I'd guess it was because they quit selling basses with bridge / pickup covers so there was no reason to hide the PU under a cover that isn't there?

    That plus the 60's position sounds better to the majority?

    I notice that several of their current offerings are using the 70's position; Duff McKagan, Tony Franklin, Geddy Lee, 70's models.
    nolezmaj, Artman, smeet and 2 others like this.
  10. GrapeBass


    Jun 10, 2004
    Graphic designer: Yorkville Sound
    Exactly, no accounting for all of our varied tastes.
    n1as likes this.
  11. It was definitely a positioning favored by top funk and disco players in the mid to late '70s but as some have posted it had it's shortcomings and eventually most bassist preferred the more traditional position.

    I've played Jazz Basses since the '60s and didn't like the change but as Leo moved on with Music Man and G&L his thinking on pickup positioning for some models began to change and it reappeared.

    But a lot of slap style players still prefer those late '70s Jazz Basses because they work.
  12. n1as


    Mar 29, 2013
    Of specific note is the Tony Franklin fretless - 70's position. Fretless is often a solo bridge instrument. Makes me think perhaps fretless is the other place where 70's position is better???
    kcolyar, thumbs&fingers and joebar like this.
  13. GrapeBass


    Jun 10, 2004
    Graphic designer: Yorkville Sound
    tell that to Jaco
  14. TonyP-

    TonyP- Excuse me but you have your I-IV-V in my II-V-I Gold Supporting Member

    Aug 21, 2003
    Boston Mass
    A-Designs Audio Mike Lull Custom Guitars Gallien Krueger amplification Tsunami Cables GHS Strings RMI Basswitch Nordstrand Pickups Darkglass Electronics
    The 70s pickup spacing has nothing to do with a style of music.

    It’s just so happens that a lot of that disco and funk was in the 70s.

    It’s a bit of tighter highs. It’s a thing and if you dig in you can really hear it.

    Also there is a lot more that adds to the differences between 60s and 70s basses then just the pickup placement.

    Personally I like both positions for different reasons.
    hintz, Jim Carr, okcrum and 7 others like this.
  15. Spirit of Ox

    Spirit of Ox Supporting Member

    Feb 2, 2012
    Chelsea Mass
    I have both and one I built for my brother that has an "in between" bridge pickup. It's not as far back as the 70's and not as close as the 60's.
    Like others feel, the 70's with both pickups on is the best slap tone but the bridge pickup sounds to nasily soloed.
  16. 9Thumbs


    Jul 3, 2013
    Near Boston
    Mine was a 73 although most of it's original parts are long gone. I never paid much attention to where the pickups were. Can someone tell me which this is? IMG_1385.JPG
  17. Axtman

    Axtman Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2008
    Seattle, Washington
    This begs the question: Why did Fender switch back to dot inlays and unbound necks from block inlays and bound necks?
    Artman likes this.
  18. Spidey2112


    Aug 3, 2016
  19. edencab


    Aug 14, 2013
    Toronto, On
    found this
    Yammybass, Phil508, leonard and 11 others like this.
  20. The OP asks a very good question that really hasn't been answered so far, unless it's true that Fender got complaints about the '70s pickup placement.
    I imagine it was cheaper to go back to the unbound, dotted necks.
    hintz, Dr. Love and jackn1202 like this.

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