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How have U modded your J-bass?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Jsonnenblick, Apr 3, 2001.

  1. Hi. I'm thinking of modding my American Standard J-bass with a preamp and/or new pickups. Basically, I love the warmth of the bass' sound, but wish I had more highs (this bass has a rosewood board and alder body, but I slap a lot). I'm seriously thinking about popping in an EMG bass expander knob or EMG concentric bass/treble knob or EMG sweepable mid knob.

    So what have you done to a J-bass? How did it turn out?

  2. Oh, one other thing: how much did you have to rout your stock pu and control cavities to make your mods? I'm really hoping to find a preamp I can just pop in w/o massacre-ing the wood of the bass!!!
  3. oddentity

    oddentity Supporting Member

    Nov 20, 2000
    Let's see... I took my MIM Jazz and

    (1) changed the pickups from stock to Carvin (which I really didn't like) to Dimarzio Model J (which I love). I didn't have to rout the p/u cavities, though I did have to file down the pickguard a bit as well as the outer edges of the bridge p/u cavity. No power tools necessary!

    (2) changed the volume and tone pots to smoother, higher quality models; and changed the tone capacitor to give the treble rolloff a different frequency response.

    (3) shielded the pickups routs and electronics cavity.

    (4) replaced the stock bridge with a Gotoh 206 (kind of a cross between an ABM and a Badass). Dramatically improved sustain.

    (5) replaced the strap buttons with Dunlop straplocks.

    I can honestly say that my bass plays and sounds better (for me) than anything off the Fender shelf, MIA or MIM. I can get a deep, almost P-Bass sound out of the neck pickup and the classic Jazz sound out of the bridge. I think my mods have given me a much more versatile instrument... no complaints! :)
  4. Well, I have an extremely modded J-bass, but I didn't do the mods.. they were done by luthier Michael Dolan, at the request of Steve "Dude" Barr, who used to own the bass. He installed a set of DiMarzio DP123 pickups, a J Retro preamp, fully shielded the bass, and did a full fret dressing. The bass smokes in every respect.
  5. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    I have 62 RI which has the stack knobs. I liked the feel of the bass but hated dealing with the controls and found the tone a bit thin, to hear myself on gigs I really needed to crank up the amp.

    So I solved the problem by rewiring the pickups in series. They sound fatter, only one volume and tone knob now and it's always humbucking.

    It's a very simple mod and easily reversed.
  6. bassmonkeee


    Sep 13, 2000
    Decatur, GA
    I started with a MIA 75 reissue. Changed the bridge out to a Badass II, dropped a Jretro preamp in the bass, added a mint green pickguard. It sounds amazing. And, as soon as they arrive from Dude, I'll be stringing it up with Thomastik Jazz Rounds (replacing Elixir Nanowebs). Eventually, I'll drop some new pickups in there. But, I first have to get my Curbow Int'l Petite the way I want it.

    This seems like an excuse to post a pic of the Jazz...
  7. David-Adler


    Feb 28, 2001
    Bonn, Germany

    I had my Johnson J-Bass (a crappy Jazz Copy - but it has an Alder Body / Maple Neck / Rosewood Board combination) for about 1 Year.

    Then I changed the Pickups to Sadowsky J`s added a Sadowsky Outboard Preamp to a 0.5 Meter Instrument Cable and had a complete fret dressing done.

    Now it sounds superb...

  8. baddass 2 bridge

    dimarzio ultra j pick ups

    new pickguard

    schaller strap locks

    full fret dress, neck shimmed
  9. On my MIM Jazz
    Dimarzio Model J DP123's

    On my Korean Squier Jazz
    Dimarzio Model J DP123's
    Gotoh 201 bridge eventually, but haven't needed it yet.

    I love them both. I go for older style dead sound, so I turn the tone down to 3 or 4.


    Here's the Tequila-burner:
  10. Saint


    Mar 2, 2000
    DC - USA
    On my MIM fretless:

    Immediately restrung with Ken Smith Roundwounds;
    Substituted Badass II bridge for the stock;
    Coated the fretboard with polyurethane;
    Stuck a piece of scotch tape behind the "A" string to stop that annoying buzzing.

    It now sounds great with one exception: a dead spot on the "G" string around D- D# area, but short of changing the neck --which wouldn't be close to worth the money-- I don't think there's much I can do except try to play around it as much as possible.

    Still, not bad for an initial investment of $180.00 including gig bag. Plus, the flatwounds I took off of it (to use as necessary on other basses) are worth more than the rounds I put on.

    Now the question is whether I put the Bartolini J pickup I have coming on to the Jazz or save it for a project I'm working on.
  11. Does changing the pickguard count? :D I think my J (MIA, string thru) sounds king as is, but in my quest for the ultimate sound, I'm considering putting Barts in...And I'm getting a Sadowsky Preamp (outboard), 'cause those things slay!
  12. RedGrange


    Jun 11, 2000
    Denver, CO
    I have 2 frankenstein jazz basses... a 79 with a baddass bridge and a Bart triple coil pick up in the bridge position... and a 95 Pbass neck on an 93 jazz body, with a 2treck bridge, and EMG pickups. Both of them have been to hell and back.. and still play!
  13. David-Adler


    Feb 28, 2001
    Bonn, Germany
    Spacegoat: The Sadowsky Preamp? Great Choice! Maybe go with Sadowsky pickups instead of the barts ??

  14. SuperDuck


    Sep 26, 2000
    Oh good, so it's not just me...
  15. I've got 3 here - 2 by Fender, 1 by Hambone

    First is my 1996 Fender MIJITSO '62 Fretless Jazz:
    1. Black ABM bridge
    2. Black, large post Fender tuning keys
    3. Black Schaller straplocks
    4. Brass nut
    5. Charcoal MOP pickguard
    6. Chrome knobs
    7. Stained fingerboard
    8. And I swear this thing has some hot pups in it. Bought it that way but can't be for sure. They sound great.

    Next is the visual twin to the one above a 1989 Fender MIJITSO '62 fretted Jazz:
    1. Black Schaller roller bridge
    2. Black, large post, adjustable Gotoh reverse tuning keys
    3. Charcoal MOP pickguard
    4. Chrome knobs

    Third in the lineup is the Hambone Custom Bass Serial #0001:
    1. 2 piece AAA flame maple body - back routed - strings through the body
    2. Birdseye maple/Ebony fretless Warmoth P neck
    3. Seymour Duncan Jazz Antiquity pups
    4. Chrome Schaller roller bridge
    5. 6061-T6 aluminum nut
    6. Adjustable tuners
    7. Chrome knobs
    8. All stainless steel hardware
  16. gfab333


    Mar 22, 2000
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    Mods to my '81 alder body / rosewood Jazz:

    Badass II bridge
    Bartolini PUs and preamp
    replaced all pots and wiring
    installed chrome control nobs
    I did some routing myself in the control cavity to make room for the battery and preamp.

    I've heard good things on the J Retro.

    I've heard that the Sadowsky preamp is great. I've tried it out and agree.

    If my 5 string wasn't my main ax, I'd put in a Sadowsky preamp in my Jazz for sure.

  17. seamus


    Feb 8, 2001
    I put a J-Retro on my Geddy Lee Jazz, and it's killer. I also added a white pearl p/g to spruce it up. :)
  18. DaveB


    Mar 29, 2000
    Toronto Ontario
    I put a set of Bartolini passives on my '97 MIA Jazz and it made a remarkable difference. Much crisper and better defined bottom. I'm not an active pickup fan so this was a great alternative to EMG's or any other active pickup.
  19. wanna try somethin cheap....all controls bypass switch...it will open up the sound of yer p\u's and give a little more output....real simple and reeeal cheap...some wire and a two position switch(or a push\pull voulme control)
  20. IanAllison

    IanAllison Supporting Member

    May 27, 2006
    I have a 78 Jazz bass (avatar) that I play all the time and just love to death. But alas, as it is a 3-bolt, the neck was a little shifty. Ron at Hoffman guitars here in Minneapolis put a piece of nicely cut screen door in the neck pocket. No more shifting!

    The pickups were also pretty microphonic. I sent them to Lindy Fralin and he potted them for me for about $20. No tone change - far less noise. If you have this problem in an old set of pickups that you dig, I highly recommend this as opposed to changing them out.

    I also changed all the pots after one died on me. Ron was reluctant to do it, but I promised him I'd keep the originals! He put an orange drop capacitor in the tone control and it actually made the tone knob functional! The sweep is less drastic and I can actually use it without turning my tone into instant murk! Good stuff.


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