Humbucking Jazz bass pickup replacement - that sounds like a CS60...

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Peter Weil, Jun 9, 2004.

  1. Peter Weil

    Peter Weil Seeker of The New Supporting Member

    Mar 29, 2000
    Edinburgh, Scotland
    Hi all,

    I am now tired of the hum from my Fender CS60's. I love the single coil vintage sound but am weary of the noise.


    I'm looking at replacements that sound 'vintage' and similar to the Fender CS60's and was hoping that others may have a few ideas.

    In particular, I have been looking at the following, and need some comments:

    Sadowsky Humcancelling Jazz
    Dimarzio Ultra Jazz (DP149)
    Dimarzio Model J (DP123)
    Fender Noiseless Jazz pickups
    Lane Poor Jazz Classic (if I can find them!)
    Lindy Fralin Split Humbucker Jazz
    Seymour Duncan Jazz Stack
    Villex Jazz
    Bartolinis (??which ones??)
    Nordstrand NJ4SE

    EMG's aren't on there because I'd like to avoid active electronics. Just passive for me, thanks. :smug:

    I'll drop them into my Hamer Cruise bass with 2Tek bridge with 250K pots and a series-parallel push-push switch. That's all the tone variation I need! :D

    All comments appreciated. Thanks folks!

  2. I have used the Duncan Vintage Jazz Stack on several basses over the years. I think they sound great and so do sound techs because they're dead quiet. I still have the stock pickups in my 2TEK Cruise.
  3. Peter Weil

    Peter Weil Seeker of The New Supporting Member

    Mar 29, 2000
    Edinburgh, Scotland
    Is that the Seymour Duncan Classic Jazz STK-J1 set that you'e talking about?

  4. As far as I know, they make 2 stacked humbucking Jazz pickup sets; one is vintage sounding and one is "hot." Their titles may have changed over the years but I think it was called either the Vintage Jazz Stack or the Classic Jazz Stack.
  5. Beefbass

    Beefbass Guest

    Feb 4, 2001
    If it's vintage you want, I would suggest either the Lindy Fralins, or the Nordstrands.

    For me, Nordstrand all the way! Of course, because I have a bass with Nordstrand pickups.
    But Lindy also makes a top notch vintage type pickup. I've just never heard them.

    The DiMarzio's are nice, but IMHO are better for a more hi-fi type of sound(DP149) or thick rock type of sound(DP123)

    Ask Jay Lewis at about the differences between Fralin's and Nordstrand's, since he has experience with both. He's a great guy-give him a shout!
  6. Peter Weil

    Peter Weil Seeker of The New Supporting Member

    Mar 29, 2000
    Edinburgh, Scotland
    It has to be said, the Lindy Fralins are a heckuva lot cheaper than the Nordstrands. It'd be nice if someone had some direct experience with them. I'll email Jay Lewis.

    No-one going to try and convince me about any of the others? I would've thought Sadowsky pickups would have a following, although I realise they usually have a preamp used in conjunction with them.

    I'd like to know, Beefbass, what you mean by the DP149 being too 'hi-fi' sounding as well. What kind of sound is that akin to?

    Fender Noiseless? Are they just like the CS60's??


  7. jim primate

    jim primate bass guitarist.

    i can say that the model j's are a dark pickup. maybe the old school tone you're looking for.
  8. Peter Weil

    Peter Weil Seeker of The New Supporting Member

    Mar 29, 2000
    Edinburgh, Scotland
    There's a lot more research to be done here.

    I'll post results as I find out more.

  9. Peter Weil

    Peter Weil Seeker of The New Supporting Member

    Mar 29, 2000
    Edinburgh, Scotland
    Right all, some research has been done.

    References: (Smash's Summer Showdown for Pickups) (Gigue's reviews, clips) infamous Bass Player J-Bass pickup shootout)

    Preliminary findings:

    Sadowsky Humcancelling Jazz, $120 from

    Are apparently made by DiMarzio?! What?! Apparently, sonically the same as Dimarzio Ultra Jazz DP149 (see for reviews and soundclips). DiMarzio also claims to make these on their website (somewhere).

    Dimarzio Ultra Jazz (DP149), $100 from

    After reading a bit, it looks as though these bad boys are fairly true to the vintage tone of Fender Jazz single-coils. Or so the consensus seems to be, to me. More neutral than the DP123's, and therefore probably more suited to my purposes.

    BP said: 'Very alive-sounding for a split humbucker. Crisp
    highs and strong low mids beg to be slapped or
    plucked. Stays punchy in the studio even down low.'

    SMASH didn't review these. Mainly as he liked the DP123's so much!


    Dimarzio Model J (DP123), $95 from

    Favourably received by many on Harmony Central and the BGRA site, but not 'vintage' by any means, it seems.

    SMASH: 'WOW !!! These are extremely impressive, especially given their low cost - just $90 for the pair brand new.' 'Massive output and punch. An indistinct/thick tone (which for some is a bonus), but there are highs buried there which you can easily dial in with either an active preamp (sounds stupendous with a J-Retro) or the stock passive tone knob and thereby get some definition and cut. In fact, these are the only pickups I've had to cut the bass and boost the treble. Sick !!! These are dead quiet due to the split-coil humbucker.'

    Bass Player: 'Boatloads of punch. Rolled off top with thick bass. Pickups sounded great recorded. Ballsy growl sounds a bit ugly when soloed but is smooth and filling in the track. "The Marshall killer." "Loud & proud."'

    Other Reviews:

    Fender Noiseless Jazz pickups, $140 from

    Only one review, very favourable - apparently very much like CS60's. See Might be just the thing. Made by Fender, after all...

    Lane Poor Jazz Classic

    BP thought well of them, but unavailable.

    Lindy Fralin Split Humbucker Jazz, $240 from

    Well reviewed as 'vintage' by one person on the BGRA website. Mike Lull uses them. That's all I can find.....expensive. Hmmmm. Probably not a contender currently, on price grounds.

    Seymour Duncan Classic (or 'Vintage') Jazz Stack, $150 or so from

    Someone's already piped up in favour of these. I like that.

    BP said: '1960s-like tone without the hum. A bit
    compressed, although highs have good snap
    without brittleness. "Tone's in there; it just
    takes some work to get it out."'

    Reviewed favourably by Bill Bolton, one of the daddies over on TBL. See his thoughts at

    Villex Jazz

    Not enough info generally available to make me confident about these boys. One review, very favourable, cross-posted onto both BGRA and Harmony central - Expensive. May give these a miss.

    Nordstrand NJ4SE, $229 from

    Reviewed well by SMASH, but 'politer' than the equivalent NJ4 single coils. At least that's how I read it. True to vintage tone though, it appears. Probably a bit too pricy to be justified, in my case, anyway.

    In essence:
    The meeting point of price and tone appears to come down to DiMarzio Ultra Jazz (DP149), Fender Noiseless, Seymour Duncan Classic Jazz, or Sadowsky (depends if the rumours are true - anyone know if they are in fact DiMarzios?).

    Whew, I'm knackered. Hope that was useful to someone else. :D

  10. Peter Weil

    Peter Weil Seeker of The New Supporting Member

    Mar 29, 2000
    Edinburgh, Scotland
    I've just bumped into the Bill Lawrence J-45 AirGap NoiseFree pickups on his website. They look fairly promising too, as well as being about $120 per set. ( Here's a nice review of it, makes me wonder a bit. (;f=5;t=002398;p=)

    I'd love to hear opinions about those pickups too, if anyone's got any to offer.

    Nino Brown doesn't like the Fender Noiseless pickups much, that's for sure......I keep finding his posts all over the place.

    Here's some thoughts on DiMarzio Ultra Jazz vs CS60's:

    I've also just debunked my own thoughts about whether DiMarzio Ultra Jazz = Sadowsky Hum Cancelling. In a word, no - DiMarzio winds pickups for Sadowsky which are likely a modified version, but which account for the fact that Roger uses his own preamps in his basses. (See and

  11. wingnutkj


    Mar 27, 2003
    Hi Peter,
    I've got 2 sets of Bill Lawrence pickups (a pair in each of my Jazz basses). They're great pickups; like it says, they're noise-free, and I like how they sound. It's not a "vintage" tone - they give a very clear, even response across the frequency range. It's a good starting point for using the amp EQ or the tone knob to get the tone I'm after. I've been relying on my tone knob & series/parallel switch for variations recently - I can go from a really fat thud to a clear Jazz-bass-neck-pu tone at the flick of a switch and the twist of a knob...

    They're excellent value for money (if you can wait the 6 weeks it tends to take for an order to be assembled) - the way the exchange rates are just now, they cost the about same as a pair of Korean-made Kent Armstrong single-coils from WD, without the dreaded hum!
  12. Beefbass

    Beefbass Guest

    Feb 4, 2001

    Hey, the DP149's are not TOO hi-fi-just a bit more IMHO. With these run in series mode(I have them wired to push/pull volume pots)it sounds very Stingray-ish. They have a bit of a scooped midrange, where the DP123's have a bump in the midrange. That is why I have the DP123's in my 2002 MIM Jazz fretless.

    AS far as DiMarzio's go, I'd say the DP123's will deliver more of a vintage tone than the DP149 ultra jazz pickups.
  13. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    Peter, good job in searching and summing up the various opinions etc.

    You've thrown a lot of questions out there, so it's hard for one person to answer them all.

    I'm actually doing my own shootout right now in a Geddy Lee Jazz. I'm trying out
    DM Model J
    DM UltraJazz
    Villex J
    EMG JV
    Nordstrand N4SE
  14. Peter Weil

    Peter Weil Seeker of The New Supporting Member

    Mar 29, 2000
    Edinburgh, Scotland
    Hi guys, thanks.

    One word of advice, David - I found the EMG JV's in my Hamer Cruise 2Tek to be unsatisfactory. Good growl from the bridge pickup alone and very quiet, but the front pickup on its own has harsh and that made the two-pickup tone a bit 'unnatural' sounding. The 2-band EQ was also useful, but I went out and played bog-standard Fnder Jazzes and loved the 'open' 'airy' 'natural' sound of single coils.

    Hence I ended up with Fender CS60's, on the basis of good value for money and positive reviews about them generally (ie good uncoloured tone, good price, faithfulness to Jazz sound).

    The sound of the Fender CS60's is just right. Great individual pickup sounds, great mixed sound, 'natural', 'open', bell-like, cutting tones. No EQ, no pissing about. Just plug and play. Just what I like.

    I even used the recommendations from - (great site BTW) namely, copper shielding and star ground wiring - to make things as quiet as possible. I also put a switch in for series/parallel switching. At the end of the day, though, there's always going to be some hum with single coils.

    Beefbass - When you say the DP123's have 'vintage' tone, do you mean that they sound a bit like the CS60's/60's Jazzes? Or do you mean that they sound a bit 'old'/'dirty'?

    Now. That said, if anyone has experience with the various pickups I've mentioned, I'd love to hear about it. Thanks to all who have chipped in so far!

  15. Peter Weil

    Peter Weil Seeker of The New Supporting Member

    Mar 29, 2000
    Edinburgh, Scotland
    It looks like I' going to do most of the answers to my own thread....... :D

    It looks as if the essential conflict in choosing one of the pickup sets I've mentioned is essentially how 'coloured' you like your tone.

    I've always felt the CS60's I have to be relatively 'uncoloured' - the sound of the bass acoustically seems to be closely related to the amplified sound.

    I'm not too bothered about 'output' - I have a Peavey DPC 1000 which does a lot of the hard work for me. :D

    So iguess the choice comes down to what sounds to be the most uncoloured based on as many reviews as I can find:

    1) Sadowsky
    2) Dimarzio Ultra Jazz
    3) Bill Lawrence
    4) Seymour Duncan Classic/Vintage Stacked

    I guess it really comes down to 2) or 3) for me. Mainly based on the volume of reviews (glowing) that I could find for them.

    After reading a few more reviews of Bill Lawrence's pickups (see, Http:// I'm keen to try them out.

    Maybe what I desire (single coil sound from a humbucker) essentially cannot be done, but I'd like to try.

    Updates available when I do some ordering and wiring. :smug:

    I'd still like to hear more input from others with more experience/strong no means should this be the end of the thread.....