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I am buying new J pickups, need your help!

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by BullHorn, Apr 3, 2009.

  1. BullHorn


    Nov 23, 2006
    Hey guys. Hopefully I will get some facts here because I'm not really looking for opinions. To each his own taste and what you might like, I might not.

    I play an MIA Std. '05 Fender Jazz Bass with default passive pickups. My sister offered to buy me any pickup I would like as a birthday present.

    I play in loud/aggressive rock-ish band and I find that my live tone is:
    a) too thin on all the strings, especially on the D and G
    B) lacks low-end/"balls"

    It's a '05 model so it has the S-1 serial to parallel switching system. With S-1 on, the tone seems much better, but it feels like cheating and it hardly sounds like a Jazz Bass anymore.

    Down where I'm at, I have no opportunity to test-drive pickups, because we have none (Except EMG :/), but as I said, my sister can ship me one set of Jazz pickups. Which pickups do I want for extra low-end and improved tone balance between all the strings?
    So far people have suggested DiMarzio Model J's, Bartolinis, Nordstrands and some others that I failed to remember. I look for a regular-ish Jazz Bass tone, but it must not be too old-school, because our music is mostly modern.

    This is a long post, I'm sorry. ._.
  2. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    I appreciate that you want "just the facts", no opinions. Unfortunately, unless one happens to have conducted a rigorous scientific study, complete with conclusive quantitative data to share with you, opinions and suggestions based on personal experience are probably the best you can do here... :meh:

    There's no such thing as "cheating" - because there are no "rules" here. You go with whatever works for you. Period. It's not as if the Jazz Bass Fairy is going to show up to slap your little hands because you dared to run your pickups in series mode... :smug:

  3. groove pump

    groove pump

    Oct 24, 2006
    I have a pair of Franken-J's and both are passive with rather similar construction including maple/rosewood necks and Basass II bridges. One bass has DiMarzio Ultra-Jass p/u's and the other has some single coil Fenders from their Custom Shop.

    Between the two of them, I get a very wide spectrum of sounds: the Fenders give me a lot of that signature midrange growl that we love in Jazz basses. I can back either of those p/u's off by only about 10% with the other wide open to get different tones; more nasally or more big-round-smooth. While I really don't do much recording, I'd probably go for this bass with its single coil sound more often if I did and it runs fine in a live mix with my cover band.

    The one with the DiMarzios is my big, loud, proud, smooth, bold noisemaker, though. I usually run it with the tone rolled down, but if I need some slap sound, I can open the tone up and let 'er rip. From what I've read, it sounds like the DiMarzio Model J's would deliver a sound that falls right between these two sets that I use now, but I've never regretted buying the Ultra J's for a second. For me, they sound enough like a Jazz, but they also sound fat and warm. Good balanced output, too.

    As far as EMG's go, I have no issues with them at all. The Fenders came in the one bass when I got it and the other needed a good set when I found it several years back. I was thinking more about passives and after some reading (big p/u review in Bass Player, etc.), I took a stab at the DiMarzios and they were right on the money.
  4. impactwrench


    Feb 22, 2009
    I havent seen too many people rag on dimarzios, particularly the model J's. That would be the one Id shoot for if I could only try one. Im going to get a Model P/J set for another bass, and might end up with Model J's in an SX that now has MIA fender.
  5. Gintaras


    Dec 11, 2004
    Kent Island, Md.
    I have a Franken J/MM. I have gone through Dimarzio, Duncan, Nordstrand and finally found what I was looking for. Delano's !!!!! Thou they all sounded good, the Delano's had the combination of Punch and growl to get the sound I want. I also have to mention that the Dimarzio's are a great value and if money is a consideration then I would look at the Dimarzio's.

  6. DiMarzio Model J: growly, lods of midrange, punchy but some them honky sounding, makes the Jazz sound a bit like a Precision.

    Aero Type I: super clean and articulate, classic J sound, I would not use them with an onboard preamp though...

    Nordstrand NJ4SV: these are the ones I use now in my main bass, they sound very close to single coils but without the noise/hum. Punchy without sounding muddy, staggered polepieces help with string balance.
  7. Joe Bardens in my active, DiMarzio Ultrajazz in my passive.
  8. BullHorn


    Nov 23, 2006
    Lately people have been telling me the pickups won't do much difference and suggest me an onboard preamp instead. :/

    Anyhow, i'm scared of installing new pickups because my bass has the s-1 system, i have no idea how to rewire it for new pickups.
  9. kirkm24


    Jan 1, 2007
    Columbus, Ohio
    You would be best to just replace all the electronics. You can get a pre-wired assembly for a J or P bass at www.rothsteinguitars.com. All you would have to do is solder the pickups to the two ends and it would be good to go. I bought an assembly from these guys and it was great!
  10. RedLeg

    RedLeg Supporting Member

    Jan 24, 2009
    Kaiserslautern, Germany
    Nov Shmoz Ka Pop?
    Delano JMVC's with audere JZ3. killer combo
  11. the_ruckus


    Dec 28, 2008
    I had a bass with the S-1 system that was recently stolen. I too went through pickup hell trying to find what I wanted.

    My first stop was EMG's. Not bad, but I'm not a big EMG fan for bass. I find them to sound synthetic. For my opinion, I used a jazz bass for a more 'natural' sound.

    To make a long story short, i settled for the duncan quarter pounders. I was able to use the S1 system again with these passive pups. not as much output, but much more bottom end when compared to the stockers. I tuned down a step with these and was using the Fender 100 nickel rounds.
  12. Dark Horse

    Dark Horse Supporting Member

    Jul 31, 2008
    Austin, TX

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