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Good starter mods for an MIM Jazz

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by stewart8980, Apr 21, 2010.

  1. stewart8980


    Apr 11, 2008
    Rhode Island
    Now, I did a little searching around, and I couldn't really find specific answers for my curiosity to be satisfied.

    I have a 2007 MIM Jazz Bass and I have been its only owner. It's completely stock (minus a replacement neck cause the first was a lemon but that's a different story.) I was curious what some simple and (relatively) cheap upgrades were that I could give it.

    My aim is to give it a little more thump (I know that I'll never be able to mimick a P-Bass with this, but it'd be nice to get closer.) I was talking with a friend and fellow bassist, who suggested I look into purchasing an S-1 switch, which changes the pickups from parallel to series and vice versa, but I really have no idea how it works.

    It's really a simple looking machine. Maple neck/rosewood top. Alder Body in Midnight Wine (which to my understanding were actually discontinued?) with a b/w/b pickguard.

    So, any little mods that wouldn't break my bank?
  2. If it was my bass and I wanted to trick it out a bit I'd consider some of the following:

    Badass II bridge
    Hipshot tuners
    Duncan Basslines
    White pearl pickguard
  3. Dark Horse

    Dark Horse Supporting Member

    Jul 31, 2008
    Austin, TX

    DiMarzio Ultra Jazz pickups and a series/parallel switch will give you a bunch of "thump" ! Wouldn't cost a lot either. Also, you might try flats on it, like the D'Addario Chromes.
  4. stewart8980


    Apr 11, 2008
    Rhode Island
    What's up with the Basslines?

    are they thumpy?

    That sounds pretty good. How much do you think getting the switch /pickups installed would cost? I think I'm going to go ahead and buy flats anyways, I don't slap anyways, so nothing lost.
  5. stewart8980


    Apr 11, 2008
    Rhode Island
    EDIT: Doublepost
  6. Dark Horse

    Dark Horse Supporting Member

    Jul 31, 2008
    Austin, TX

    You can find used Ultras in the Talkbass Classifieds usually about $80 per set, +/- a bit. Really good pickups.

    The switch is cheap...a few bucks...

    If you are handy with a soldering iron, you can do both mods for under $100 with no real problem.
  7. Dark Horse

    Dark Horse Supporting Member

    Jul 31, 2008
    Austin, TX
    Basslines -

    The Classic Stacks are a bit more thumpy than stock, but not a lot....just better sounding. The Vintage are pure "vintage style" tone. The 1/4 pounders are more aggressive, especially in the mids, but I don't find them extremely "thumpy"...though some people seem to get that tone from them.

    A big part of "thump" is technique as well. Play closer to the fretboard, don't play "hard"... a lighter touch with a bit of compression gets a nice thump, especially with the tone knob rolled off a touch.
  8. As far as I know, you need Fender Samarium-Cobalt pickups which are dual coil to use an S-1 switch. Aside from that...

    There's not really a 'cheap' way to make a MIM bass better, at least not sonically. Here are a few under $200 upgrades. A Leo Quan Badass II bridge will give you better sustain and a bit more string tension for a more focused sound due to the backplate being a bit further back than on a stock Fender bridge. They're made specifically to retrofit Fenders so the set screw hole spacing is the same. Also getting some Seymour Duncan Basslines SJB2 pickups to replace the existing pickups will definitely give you better output as they are hotter pickups. They typically go for less than $60 per pickup.
  9. can i hang on the fender?(pun intended):D,i'm considering dumping my P and rolling with myMIM J(i feel the Fender flats are thumpier than chromes but i do not like the tension,possibly the DaDarrio nickles,steels whatever,i'm going to try those,J came to me with FFlats,i swapped em outEDIT=for chromes a guage lighter,love those strings but of course NOW i'm considering reswapping,but no the fenders are just to stiff for me)

    anybody try the Dragonfire pickups(man they are like free! plus the shop that sells on eBay is just over the hill from me)

    no hijack intended bro!,,but you hit the button i wanted to push:D(i'm watching:bag:
  10. srxplayer


    May 19, 2004
    Highland, CA
    The S-1 switch is an option. There are wiring diagrams here on Talkbass on how to do it. I thought about this option at one time but I knew that I would probably never use it.

    I would start with aftermarket pick ups and a shielding job. I have an '05 model and switched out the stock pick ups with a set of SD SJB II's and they made a big difference in the output and articulation without changing the character of the Jazz Bass tone. I also shielded the the pick up areas, the control cavity and the back of the pickguard. I reccomend these mods. Of course the pick up's of choice will vary according to your own taste. But I don't know if any pick up change is going to get you closer to that "thump" you are looking for.

    I also switched out the stock bridge for a Leo Quann Badass II. The benefits of this mod are debateable. Since I did it at the same time as the pick up's it's actual effect or benefit is somewhat blurred. It looks cool but it also added weight. I can't honestly say that sustain was improved or that it has any effect on the tone. Did I mention that it looks cool?

    The only other item I would consider doing is a better tone pot. One of those Tonestyler pots looks interesting but my stock one seems to be working fine so I haven't bothered but it may help get you where you want to go tonewise.
  11. cap'n crunk

    cap'n crunk

    Apr 6, 2010
    My MIM fretless jazz has DiMarzio Ultra Jazz pups and a series/parallel switch. My luthier, who is an awesome dude, charged me about $10 to install the switch, which can be done as simply as wiring a push-pull pot to the tone control (no switch routing required = plus). MUCH more beef post-mod. I liked it so much I got one on my H1 jazz.
  12. If you want a visual of this I used to have one
    but instead of basslines I dropped an Audere JZ3 pre
    Click to make big

  13. Dark Horse

    Dark Horse Supporting Member

    Jul 31, 2008
    Austin, TX
    You can put a series/parallel switch on any two pickups. It will be more effective on some combos, but you can do it an any two.

    Again, false. New strings are a simple and EFFECTIVE upgrade. Pickups are an effective upgrade, and you can get a good set under $100. Most people would consider "under $100" to be cheap, with regards to musical instruments.

    The "backplate being farther back" has nothing to do with it. The actual "weight" of the bridge matters more, and the fact that it makes better (more solid) contact with the body wood across the entire bottom surface of the bridge has more to do with any tonal change, which isn't necessarily "a lot".

    "hotter" pickups don't necessarily equate to "more thump, much like a higher DCR reading doesn't necessarily equate to "hotter pickups".


  14. I hear you
    a good set of flat smaybe the cheapest thing to do
    you will lose some top end and it may not be the most fun thing to slap on (if thats your thing) but you will get smoother and deeper lows
    A lot of ppl will get new pickups but a set of strings can change your bass's sound effectively
    Even one brand of rounds vs another can sound different
    I went from Rotosound 66LD rounds to DR Extralifes
    and it completely transformed my Jazz bass

    Also what about Eqing on the preamp??
    take out the mids a bit and boost the lows?
  15. Dark Horse

    Dark Horse Supporting Member

    Jul 31, 2008
    Austin, TX

    Personally, I set the EQ on my amps "flat" and use technique to alter the tone. It's amazing what shifting your finger position just a little bit can do to the tone. Also, for maximum "thump", playing lightly with the pad of your thumb right above the fretboard gets big, fat, warm, and thumpy !

  16. Like I said, "As far as I know" they only worked on SCN pickups. I didn't say that they did as a matter of fact.

    I figured the string upgrade was a given, and that he was talking about upgrading the bass itself, which is why I didn't mention string changing.

    And I apologize that in my neck of the woods $100 isn't exactly chump change, thank you very much.

    Now the mass of the bridge was an honest omission, which is true, but the added tension DOES have a bit to do with the overall tone and sustain. Stretch out a rubber band about 2 feet and pluck it. Now stretch it out 2 1/2 feet. there is still a bit of a difference. Maybe not noticed by you necessarily, but other might notice it.

    And all I said about the pickups were that you would have a hotter output. I said nothing about the thump. I simply said they have more volume.

    BTW, there seem to be more posts (even with pics!!!) displaying most of that I was talking about anyhow.

    Now let's spend more time trying to help the guy out, rather than nit-picking on other people thought. This is an opinion board, after all, not Thunderdome :D
  17. Dark Horse

    Dark Horse Supporting Member

    Jul 31, 2008
    Austin, TX
    Sorry if I came off as too harsh, I dodn't mean to.

    Unfortunately there is a glut of misinformation on the internet, and when someone is spending money chasing things that probably won't make a significant difference, it is money "more or less" wasted.

    As the other poster said, the Badass tone change was negligible. That means you're looking at $70+ for a change that isn't necessarily gonna be of any significance.

    With the pickups, the OP didn't ask about "hotter output"...he asked for more "thump"...so you're mentioning "hotter pickups" doesn't address his situation at all.

    With the S1 switch, which is simply a series/parallel switch, I was simply mentioning that your statement that you "thought" that it could only be used with Fender SCN pickups was false, and explained that it could be done with any two pups.

    As for the $100 not being "chump change", I understand that, and that's why I stated that "most" people wouldn't consider that a big investment into a bass. However, first you say that for you, "$100 isn't chump change", but you proceed to suggest a $70+ bridge and a $120 set of pickups, neither of which is gonna get him to where he wants his tone to be.

    Again, I'm not trying to be harsh, but the OP asked for very "specific" things from his Jazz mods, and suggesting things that won't get him the results he wants will just add up to "wasted money". That's why I specifically made suggestions to address his needs :

    Some of which is echoed by another poster :

    Point being that we are ALL (you too :)) trying to help the guy, but in order to be truly "helpful", we need to specifically address the posters "wants and needs"...not just post the stuff that we did to our own basses to address "our own needs".


    Again, sorry if it seems harsh or whatever...written words are sometimes misconstrued, and in reality, I'm relaxing and drinking a Lone Star while typing ! :D
  18. skwee


    Apr 2, 2010
    foam block under the strings near the bridge?
  19. Dark Horse

    Dark Horse Supporting Member

    Jul 31, 2008
    Austin, TX

    Definitely "cheap thump".

    I use automobile weather stripping when I want the thumpy muted thing.

  20. I have the same instrument, only a 5 string. I've made some upgrades that have made all the difference in the world for me and the instrument.

    Audere JZ3
    Hot J Pups from Stan Hinesley
    Hipshot A Bridge
    Gotah Tuners
    White Pearl Pickguard

    I also, very recently, stripped the body of its paint and now it has an amazing natural finish.

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