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G.M. Bumpers or Guitar Fetish for mellow tone in J bass?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Bluebard, Feb 22, 2016.


  1. Bluebard

    Bluebard

    Oct 21, 2014
    Buffalo
    Hey bass dudes,

    I'm looking for some mellow, fat, creamy retro 60s-style alnico jazz pickups, on the cheap, as cheap as possible, for my MIM jazz bass.
    And I came across these G.M. Bumpers 60s-style J-Bass Alnico 5 pickups on eBay:
    G.M. Bumpers! 60's Style J-Bass Alnico 5 Pickups

    I'm also considering GFS JB Pro pickups:
    GFS JB Pro Jazz Bass Style Alnico Pickups

    Has anyone had any experience with either of these? How is the quality and tone, especially compared to stock MIM pups? Do you think they will give me that mellow, creamy tone I'm after? I heard one TBer mention that he'd compare these to pups of the 60s custom shop-style, but that's the only info I kind find on them.

    I've posted asking about pickups for my desired tone before, and I received lots of great recommendations, but they were mostly for boutique and custom pickups way over my budget. I'm hoping to spend no more than $60 for a set, preferably less, or for a really good neck pickup that will steer the sound of my bass towards the desired mellow tone. With that said, I'm very open to other recommendations.

    Thanks!
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2016
  2. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    I've used GFS Alnico Pros (PB and JB versions) and was very happy with their sound. Don't know how "warm" they are. But they definitely have that older Fender sorta sound. And the price is a real plus.

    Can't comment on the Bumpers because your post was the first time I ever heard of them.
     
    Bluebard likes this.
  3. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    Rather than new pickups, you may just want to try different strings? DR Sunbeams have a very mellow warm sort of sound. True they only run about $10 less than a GFS pickup. But they're quicker to install. And you don't need a soldering iron to do it.
     
    Bluebard and brbadg like this.
  4. Bluebard

    Bluebard

    Oct 21, 2014
    Buffalo
    Thanks! A good suggestion! But actually, right now I've got flatwounds on - D'addario chromes - so I've got a decently mellow string. And I'm playing mellow fingerstyle near the neck, soloing the neck pup, rolling the tone off, but I'm still not getting quite the sounds I'm looking for - think Paul McCartney, early John Paul Jones, Tame Impala, Flaming Lips, Phil Lesh - and I realize these are all very different tones, but I can't really get my tone to resemble any of them. So I figure maybe the answer is new pups.
     
  5. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member


    Might be tricky in that some of those guys have semi-hollows and short scale necks which give a tubbier woodier sound than you'l get from any long-scale solidbody...but what the heck. Swapping in a nice inexpensive pickup may work the charm.

    Luck! :thumbsup:
     
    Bluebard likes this.
  6. Bluebard

    Bluebard

    Oct 21, 2014
    Buffalo
    Thanks 40Hz!
     
  7. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    You're welcome.

    Another thing that may be worth trying is different strings. I like chromes on one PBass I own that's loaded with Aguilar AG-4P-60s. But I've recently had real good luck with a set of LaBella Copper White Nylon tapewounds. They've got a…floomier(?) sound than the Chromes. Really nice complex mids and a whole lotta warmth too once they're on for about a week. I've got them on a Squier Jag. I keep the tone dialed way down and I really am very happy with the jazzy vibe. Which surprised me since I've never much cared for tapewounds before these came out. That's my favorite bass for blues right now. And my blues guitarist GF is notoriously fussy about the bass tone - especially when you're playing with her - so it behoves me to be able to dial in a good one. And so far, so good.

    True it's not quite the same sonic footprint as what you're describing you want. But it might make a nice compromise if you can't hit it with the new pups.
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2016
    Bluebard likes this.
  8. Bluebard

    Bluebard

    Oct 21, 2014
    Buffalo
    Thanks for the suggestion, 40Hz! I've actually tried White Nylons before, but on a fretless (which I sold along with the strings), never on a fretted. But now that you bring up the possibility, recalling the strings I think I can imagine what you mean. Maybe I'll buy another pack of the Nylons and see how I like them on fretted.
    Good advice, definitely worth a shot!
     
  9. Bluebard

    Bluebard

    Oct 21, 2014
    Buffalo
    I think I found that tone I was looking for... but not on a jazz bass! I never realized how much difference the scale length of a bass can make, but what you said about the short scale basses got me thinking. I have this old $120 short scale bass, a Hamer Slammer SB4 (looks like this: Hamer Slammer SB4 Short Scale Bass Guitar) that never got much love - it was the first bass I have ever had, my Dad bought it for me in 6th grade, and it was replaced by a jazz bass (which my skill didn't deserve) two years later. I never really played the Hamer after that.

    So after what you said, I decided to try out the Hammer with some mystery flatwounds that came with my fretless, and whallah! There's that fat, mellow, creamy sound. The Hamer has humbuckers rather than single coils, which probably has something to do with the fat tone too. But I can almost feel by the quality of the strings when they're plucked that the short scale adds a lot of that vintage round thump :D So thanks for mentioning the short scale thing, helped me find the right sound! In retrospect, I don't think I could ever find this sound with jazz bass pickups.
    ...but I may still get some alnico jazz pups for some vintage jazz bass tone
    Thanks again!
     
    40Hz likes this.
  10. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    Glad that worked out. I see that puppy has two soaps in it. That'll get it for you, no two ways about it.

    I've got a couple of Gretsch Junior Jets. Same idea. In this case, an LP body, with one or two humbuckers. Price is right too. They go for $300 new most places. Used and in top condition they're asking about $199.

    The originals (G2002) had a single TV Jones designed pickup in the sweet spot. The newer Junior Jet IIs (G2220) have two Gretsch designed pups. I like the original more. But the newer design works fine too. I'd swap in a pair of TV Jones Thundertrons if I got one of those. But that's me. I like those old filtertron designs on short-scale basses.

    So congrats in finding a solution you already had. Post some sound clips if you get a chance.
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2016
    Bluebard likes this.

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