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Help nailing "that" 70's jazz bass tone

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by scyzoryk, Oct 25, 2018.

  1. scyzoryk


    Jan 12, 2004
    Vancouver, BC
    I just purchased a 1989 American Jazz and have been longing to get a certain jazz bass tone in my head into this bass.

    It's that growly, raspy jazz bass tone from the 70's:
    • Slave - Just a Touch of Love:
    • Erykah Badu - Annie Don't Wear...:
    It seems that THIS bass nails that tone:

    And the slap tone sounds fat and juicy (see 1:10).

    Would I be correct in identifying these pickups as simply the "Fender 75 Jazz Bass Pickups"? https://www.amazon.com/Fender-Jazz-Bass-Bridge-Pickup/dp/B003AYM6JG
    Anything I'm missing? They seem awfully cheap on Amazon (about $90 for the set).

    There's also a 1974 "Pure Vintage" set: https://www.amazon.com/Fender-Pure-Vintage-Jazz-Pickup/dp/B00I3XGCXA

    Lastly, Mark Peric seems to get a similar tone from his custom shop jazz bass, but I read that they are special, noiseless custom shop jazz pickups that can't be purchased separately:

    Anyone know for certain?
  2. superheavyfunk

    superheavyfunk Supporting Member

    Mar 11, 2013
    In the 2nd and 3rd videos, you can see that the bassists are both playing (fingerstyle) near or over the back pickup. You should try this. Hand position makes a great deal of difference in tone.

    Also, my guess is that they're both using steel strings. Try both of those before investing in pickups, is my opinion.
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2018
    bobyoung53 and Lesfunk like this.
  3. davegt666


    Jun 30, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Like SuperHeavyFunk said already, most of this tone comes down to the position of your hand over the pickup and the amount of "grease" you add to your notes when playing. Grease is just how you attack the string to get a particular sound out of the bass. It's more a feel thing so its hard to describe.

    But bright rounds (stainless could help but bright nickels work too) and almost any properly setup jazz bass will get you in the ball park.
    bobyoung53 likes this.
  4. The bridge pickup was a little closer to the bridge on 70's Jazzes too, that and technique, pluck near the bridge, also Rotosound round wounds were part of that sound, RS66's, open the tone control all the way. I didn't think that guy in the third video nailed it at all, it's not only the bass, it's the way you play it.
    scyzoryk and davegt666 like this.

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