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Guitarist making the switch....

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by GsmithMusic, Jul 31, 2005.

  1. GsmithMusic


    Jul 31, 2005
    hey guys,

    I'm a guitarist who is buying a bass in the near future, but before i drop a grand I figured that I better get some advice first.

    I'm planning on buying a Fender Highway Jazz Bass and replacing the pickups with Bartolinis. I have two fender guitars and the difference in craftsmanship is huge between my american and my MIM, however i dont want to spend the extra 400 to get a bonafide american jazz bass, especially since im replacing the pickups.

    Good idea or no?

    I was about to buy the bartolini's, and the site has two different choices, it says "The 9CBJD1 are hum cancelling Dual Coil Pickups - Deep Tone
    The 9CBJD3 are hum cancelling Dual Coil Pickups - Bright Tone."
    Which set do you guys recommend? My favorite players are Victor Wooten, Marcus Miller and John Myung. I don't want the tone too deep or too bright, so I'll just go with the ones you all recommend.

    Lastly, I'll have 300-400 dollars for an amp. That pretty much confines me to combo amps, so which is the absolute best? I love the ampegs that i've played through, but again, I am ignorant in the ways of the bass.

    Thanks for any advice... and Wooten rocks my face.
  2. Petary791


    Feb 20, 2005
    Michigan, USA
    Welcome to the low end! I would say going with a Highway and replacing the pickups will be fine. Try to play it before you buy it just to make sure.

    By naming the people you like, I would steer you towards getting the bright tone pickups.

    Give this site a whirl. They're quite inexpensive. And here are some Ampeg combos for you. I have the BP210SP, and I love it!
  3. r379


    Jul 28, 2004
    Dallas, Texas
    With all due respect, how do you know you want Bartolinis? You said you were ignorant in the ways of bass so Bartolinis may not give you what you're looking for in that particular bass. I'd suggest using the bass without modification and then, if you find the stock pickups aren't doing it for you, it'll give you a baseline to work from. You'll be able to say exactly what it is you don't like about them. There is also the possibility that a HWY 1 won't give you the sound you're looking for no matter what pickups you put in it. Maybe the question to ask might be, "I want a bass that'll sound like Victor Wooten's. How can I do that with this amount of money?"
  4. I'm impressed by your knowledge of and respect for the bass, but then again, that's just my guitarist judging aspect kicking in, so from now on, you on just a fellow bass player. AND I'M NOT IMPRESSED AT ALL. Hehe. /sarcasm off.

    I don't know much about Fenders but it sounds like the FHJB might not be the right choice, UNLESS you can't find a better bass in that price range--which actually might be difficult considering Fender's reputation for good jazz basses.

    My suggestions:

    -Bongo, 4 or 5 string. These basses are hard to describe without contradicting oneself. For instance: It gets a great, bright slap tone, but is exetremely warm (doh!); or It's really weird looking but I love the uh...oh darn...
    What I am trying to say is that Bongos are a well-rounded bass, but when I say well-rounded, I mean great at everything, not good to mediocre on everything.

    -Obviously stay away from small time general music stores, as they tend to overcharge, but I always say that.

    -Check the classifieds at the bottom of this bass guitar forum.

    -Try out a lot of types of basses. Even if you don't buy from there, GC usually has a good selection of the different types of basses out there.

    -In the best case scenerio, find out if there is a good bass guitar only store. I think there is one in each of the four corner urban areas (Seattle:Bass NW, NY, Cali, Fla), hopefully more.

    -Ah, for basses again, I really don't know. What I do know is, and maybe my best advice for purchasing an intrument, is that you should never be suckered in or just convinced to buy an intrument/bass that you do not feel 100% about. There will be plenty of opportunities to find a bass, but only a few times when you will have money to buy a bass, or rather, want or need to spend the money on one.
  5. GsmithMusic


    Jul 31, 2005
    Well I played every bass at guitar center and the Jazz bass just feels the best in my hands, and about the Bartolinis, it seems to be a consensus that the stock Jazz p'ups suck and my bass playing buddy swears by the bartolinis, and so does everyone else on this board it seems... plus im selling a 1600 dollar guitar on ebay so I got the cash...

    For the record, most guitar players are serious douchebags, I recognize this...
  6. Good stuff, I hope you get your bass soon.
  7. Zebra


    Jun 26, 2005
    Definately play the bass before you buy it. Fenders are all over the map when it comes to quality. I'd also echo the sentiments about thinking twice before swapping pickups. How do you know that's what you want? If you have that much cash that you're willing to spend on a bass, then you have a bunch of options. Many of which, IMO, are much better than the Fender. But if you're keeping it in the MIM Fender range, then I'm guessing a Bongo is just a tinsy bit, waaay out of your pricerange. Don't worry about it though, those things are ugly as hell.
  8. r379


    Jul 28, 2004
    Dallas, Texas
    As it happens, I would agree with you on the feel of the HWY 1 Jazz; I love the neck profile. If you're gonna buy one, make sure that it feels comfy to you and that the bridge, pickups and neck line up correctly even if it means you wind up buying one which isn't your favorite color. Fender QC can be iffy so pick and choose carefully.

    I'm sure many on this forum do swear by Bartolinis, but you'll find many who swear by Nordstrands, Fralins and various other brands. If I were buying a HWY 1 I'd prolly drop Fralins or Nordstrands in it almost immediately but then, I admit, I'm after a different tone than you are and I know what I want. You will find plenty of good (and some bad) advice on this forum if you'll ask the right questions.
  9. AuG


    May 22, 2005
    Fort Collins, CO

    If you're so impressed by Wooten, shoot try to find a used Fodera for around a grand. I must say myself that for that kinda cash there are nicer used instruments than most Fenders. IMO also.

    Bongo's are not the BMW of basses. :p
  10. Knavery

    Knavery Supporting Member

    Feb 24, 2004
    Westminster, CO
    A used Fodera for a grand? Isn't that like asking someone to try to find a used Fender American Deluxe Jazz 2003 for $200.00??


    Jan 25, 2005
    Des Moines, IA
    Personally, I'd shave a couple hundred off the bass, and apply it to a $500-$600 combo instead of $300 - $400. Nothing worse than a cheap amp to make a $1000 bass sound like crap. There are a TON of good quality used basses for $900 -$1000 that would be better than the Highway IMO (not that that's a bad bass, of course).

    Unfortunately, there aren't any hard and fast "this is the best" rules...your ears are the only ones that matter, so my vote is for try before you buy....lots of 'em.
  12. GsmithMusic


    Jul 31, 2005
    well i was going to buy the bass off musicians friend, i have mild obsessive compulsive disorder and prefer to have an instrument no one has played, i know its crazy... but i dont want the soul of my bass to be tainted with by the noodlers at guitar center. if i get it professionally set up it shouldnt matter anyways

    something about those fender necks, i played the warwicks, ibanezs', yamahas, and the fender neck just felt 'at home' for me.

    and i looked at another thread about the best pickups and burtolinis were mentioned the most, so I just went by majority, and yes i realize that is trite and meaningless but frankly testing out every pickup is just not realistic. I just want some good pickups for recording and those sound like a good deal to me...

    but i still dont know whether to get the bright or deep pickups.

    if you listen to Bela Fleck's "live art" disc, the song "stomping grounds" and the solo from "big foot" are about as close to the tone i want...

    sidenotes: the bassist from the mars volta f'in rocks.


    Jan 25, 2005
    Des Moines, IA
    I feel you... something about a virgin bass. I know there are new one in your price range as well. Good luck and keep us posted!
  14. GsmithMusic


    Jul 31, 2005
    i knew i wasnt completely nuts....

    hey i dont know if you guys posts songs of your playing here or whatnot, but i thought i'd introduce my playing to the community here, heres a version of Coltrane's "giant steps" that I recorded with this amazing jazz bassist. He came over and played the bassline, having never looked at the song, on the first freakin' take. enjoy...

  15. ras1983


    Dec 28, 2004
    Sydney, Australia
    you're not going to play with a pick are you? 'cause if you are... you'll make one fairy die for every strum... :eek:
  16. r379


    Jul 28, 2004
    Dallas, Texas
    I can understand OCD and untainted souls, but I suggest you forget about that and buy one you can play first. Much as I love Fenders I wouldn't even THINK about buying one sight unseen because of Fender's QC issues.
  17. A Highway would be a great choice but don't rule out a mim!!! Go to your local GC and make them pull a couple of new ones out of the back, Highways and mims. I got my mim jazz that way for under $400 fresh out of the box.
    Check this thread out for pickups.
    I went with the DiMarzio Model J. I'm not sure if they'll give you the sound you're looking for but I've never seen anyone bashing them here.
    You can hear them here.
    I LOVE them.
    Just my 2 cents. Good luck and welcome to the low end!!!
  18. +1
    I was at a new GC yesterday and played a few basses. One of these was a brand new MIA Fender Jazz in which the fret lines stuck out past the neck. :eek: Price on the bass= $1049. The guys there didn't realize it untill I pointed it out.
  19. Hounddog

    Hounddog Supporting Member

    Dec 2, 2004
    Southern, Illinois
    Sadowsky Featured Artist