1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  

Gretsch Junior Jet II P-Bass Tone

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Llewellen, Dec 23, 2016.


  1. Llewellen

    Llewellen Supporting Member

    Dec 23, 2016
    Vancouver Island
    I just registered - first post. I searched and read the previous threads on this topic but there didn't seem to be a definitive answer.

    I love this bass, especially the neck contour and smaller frets, but also the short scale suits my smaller hands. Of course, the short scale brings trade offs so I'm about to do a few mods, looking for a decent approximation of a P-Bass tone. Hipshot single string bridges, tailpiece and thru body stringing to get longer string length. I just can't quite warm to the mini-humbucker sound.

    Has anyone discovered a replacement PU that approximates the P-Bass? Obviously, only a P-Bass sounds exactly like one but my hands can't handle the stretch on a 34" scale for the style that I want to play.

    Thanks for any suggestions.
     
  2. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    First off, welcome to TalkBass. Glad you could join us! :):thumbsup:

    As to your question...you could drop a standard '50s single or '60s split coil PBass-style pickup in between the two minihumbuckers if you really don't care for what you've got. And it's true that inihumbuckers have a distinct sound that isn't ever going to be anything close to what you'd get out of a single coil like Fender uses. But adding a PBass pickup isn't going to get you that PBass sound either. It's going to sound like a short-scale bass with a single coil pickup installed.

    Second problem: a short scale bass (by virtue of it's design and construction) also has a sonic quality all it's own that is not ever going to sound like a 34" scale bass will. The difference in the physics of the vibrating length of the string has a big effect on what you hear. And stringing through the body isn't going to change that. Because the "speaking length" of the string (i.e. between the nut and the bridge saddle) is what you're going to hear. Having an additional length of string below the bridge (or above the nut) isn't going to make any difference in the sound.

    So I'm going to have to say that IMO trying to get a PBass sound out of your Junior Jet (I own one too btw) isn't going to happen. Wish it were otherwise. But it is what it is.
     
    Groove Doctor likes this.
  3. Llewellen

    Llewellen Supporting Member

    Dec 23, 2016
    Vancouver Island
    Thanks for your response. Good points raised. I should not have limited my initial query to P-Bass and should instead have referred more generically to single coil replacements possibly available for the stock mini-humbuckers. My six string guitars are single coil and I guess that's just what my ears like to hear.

    I don't dispute that lengthening the strings with thru body stringing won't change the speaking length of the strings but it will change (increase) the tension required to get up to pitch and that should reduce some flabbiness on the E and to some extent on the A.
     
  4. amphlett7

    amphlett7

    Feb 27, 2008
    Basywater, Western Australia
    Audiofly In-Ear Monitors And Headphones
    Hey dude! Love the enthusiasm for mods but installing those single saddle hip shot bridges will be a way bigger pain than it's worth! Hipshot (and basically any other company) make bridges that will drop right into your bass (I double checked!)

    As far as pickups go you're probably going to struggle to get a p-bass tone out of it so I'd probably suggest getting a tv Jones bass filtertron/thundertron pickup that will fit straight in!

    Good luck!
     
    ColdEye likes this.
  5. Llewellen

    Llewellen Supporting Member

    Dec 23, 2016
    Vancouver Island
    Thanks for your comments. I hear your cautions but I'm an incorrigible tinkerer and the JuniorJet, being a very inexpensive instrument (at least here in Canada), is a great platform for messing around.

    As for the Hipshot single bridges, a few thoughts. I have heard and played single string bridges and there's not going back. I have them on one of my six string guitars now and will be converting the others. The additional harmonics and overtones that they allow to sing through are very audible and rich sounding to my ears. My luthier friend will be installing them and she likes quirky challenges probably more than me. It may not produce the imagined result but I think it will be worth the experiment.

    I have certainly seen the TV Jones offerings and listened to what precious few sound clips there are on the net. Are you able to compare their sound to that of the stock Gretsch mini-HB? What clearly audible differences are there? I started off this thread by saying that I knew I would not achieve a true P-Bass tone. I threw that out there as a shorthand indicator of the tonal direction in which I was aspiring.

    Further thoughts appreciated.
     
  6. amphlett7

    amphlett7

    Feb 27, 2008
    Basywater, Western Australia
    Audiofly In-Ear Monitors And Headphones
    Fair enough!

    If you want close to a pbass sound just route out a hole for a p bass pickup. It will be ugly but that's going to be your best bet. If you have a Luthier friend then they can definitely handle that!
     
  7. Llewellen

    Llewellen Supporting Member

    Dec 23, 2016
    Vancouver Island
    Ah, but beauty (or ugly) is in the eye of the beholder ;) Anyway, no one will ever be up close enough to see except me.

    I think you're right. Since it's the P-Bass sound I'm chasing, why not go with a P-Bass PU (assuming no one comes forth with a credible alternate drop in replacement for the minis). Thanks for your input.

    Edit: This one wouldn't make too much of a mess to rout in:

    Split '51 P-Bass - Lindy Fralin Pickups
     
    Groove Doctor likes this.
  8. azfatboy

    azfatboy

    May 11, 2016
    Not gonna lie. I love my Gretsch Jr Jet so much that it pains me that you would want to change yours. However, it sure seems to me that you could find a splitcoil humbucker that would almost drop into one or both of the existing routes, and then just install an extra switch that would switch them over to single coil operation?
     
    Pilgrim likes this.
  9. Llewellen

    Llewellen Supporting Member

    Dec 23, 2016
    Vancouver Island
    Sorry for the pain. There are some basses (e.g. Birdsong) for which the mere thought of this would constitute unforgivable sacrilege. I like my Junior Jet a lot too but, in my mind, it's not in that class.

    Excellent suggestion though and definitely food for thought. Now, to discover a suitable HB to split coils in this application.
     
  10. redstrand

    redstrand

    May 18, 2007
    Saint Louis, MO
    Fool For Four Strings
    Mine has a babciz bridge that keeps it in tune, love the neck pickup but not enamored with the bridge pup. After modding my fender 51 reissue I might make another hole in this one and slip a chinabucker in between these two and put a 5 way switch for giggles
     
  11. I have a 30" bass with 2 humbuckers that I had someone install series/parallel controls (push/pull volume knobs) for each pickup. Massive difference, heaps more tonal options.

    First - I'd Experiment with wiring mods first & see if you like the tonal change. Compare Series, Parallel or Single Coil. Only takes a few minutes. You could add a switch later if you want more flexibility.

    Second - try drop-in pickups.

    Third - routing. that '51 Fralin is an exceptional pickup.
     
  12. I'm a big fan of the Jr. Jet. I'd hang Labella Deep Talkin' flats on it, play it, and pick up another bass like a Jag short scale to get a more Fender sound. If you want to mod one, a used Bronco is inexpensive and you can fit all kinds of pickups in it. There are a couple of long threads about options for Broncos.

    But you know what I did with my Bronco? I put a Jr. Jet TV Jones design pickup in it. Love the sound, and so does my band.
    PB070031.
     
    Groove Doctor and azfatboy like this.
  13. azfatboy

    azfatboy

    May 11, 2016
    I really think Pilgrim is onto something here. I didn't suggest it, because this thread seemed to be about "using what you have"... But if it's an option, there are LOADS of cheap shortscale basses, especially used, that you could use/mod and probably get a lot closer to the sound you are looking for.
     
  14. Llewellen

    Llewellen Supporting Member

    Dec 23, 2016
    Vancouver Island
    I have been think a lot about this since amphlett7's original suggestion of "if you're seeking the p-Bass sound, bite the bullet and rout in a P-Bass PU" It doesn't have to be ugly. My luthier friend could fabricate a plastic PU ring exactly like what's there now and rout out the cavity at least as big as what's there now for the HBs. That way the P-Bass PU could be moved between the 3 possible positions to get closer to the tone I'm after.

    Then install a Freeway switch with 6 positions (3 way conventional and then 3 for the P-Bass alone, with the HB neck and with the HB bridge )

    I have dealt with Lindy Fralin on other PUs and he's a treat to deal with so that split 51 P from him would be a natural.
     
  15. Llewellen

    Llewellen Supporting Member

    Dec 23, 2016
    Vancouver Island
    Cool but I absolutely love the Junior Jet neck. The contour and the smaller fretwire are ideal in my mind. Almost puts me in mind of Rickenbacker necks (without the long scale).
     
  16. Can't argue about that (I agree it's a very playable neck), other than to point out that the Bronco neck is quite similar.

    There's also the self-serving but valid point that having a second bass for backup is a very good idea. ;)
     
    azfatboy likes this.
  17. Mikedown

    Mikedown

    Mar 6, 2018
    Old thread, I know, but I would love to throw some Fralin mini-sized big singles into one of these, an s/p switch.. the green one is nice looking.
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.