I think I don't like my Jazz Bass anymore...

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by The Big, Oct 7, 2021.

  1. The Big

    The Big

    Jun 24, 2020
    Feeling pretty sad about it. First bass I bought with my hard-earned minimum wage pay, a Fender Elite Jazz. This was a year ago.

    Beautiful bass, plays great, but I just can't get the tone I want. It's an uphill battle against untameable brightness. Flats make it sound hollow, rounds make it sound thin, gotta turn the tone almost off to get an acceptable, non-rattly tone. Bridge pickup is basically useless, blend never goes past 50/50. Can't get a warm tone without getting muddy.

    Running through a Hartke LH500 and a 115 cab with a tweet. Planning on adding a 410 for a total 4ohm load. Ran it through an Ampeg SVT-7 Pro, too, and it's still not even close.

    In comparison, I tried out a barebones simple passive MIA Precision at GC, and it fit the bill perfectly, and the tonal variety I could get from two knobs was amazing. I've been convincing myself that I love the jazz, but now that I've seen greener pastures, I can't unsee the alternative.

    I'd love to get myself a bass like that, but I don't think I can part with this jazz. It came with me on my first real gig, it's my first proper bass. Lesson learned - sometimes simple gets the job done better, try before you buy.
  2. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Do what you did before. Save up and grab a P bass. And don't beat yourself up. The road to what you do want is paved with figuring out what you DON’T want. This is likely true for every aspect of your life.

    What kind of rounds have you used on the J?
  3. The Big

    The Big

    Jun 24, 2020
    That's the plan for now. Luckily that MIA P is a lot cheaper than the jazz, so there's that.

    I use light gauge Thomastik I think. Still have them and switch them out for Roto 66 40-95s. Ideally I'd have a P with flats and leave the J strung with the 66 Rotos.
  4. BassmanM


    Feb 17, 2011
    Hamburg, Germany
    Try a passive jazz before you buy a p bass. Also keep in mind that j and p basses have very different necks. Imho feel and sound of a bass are equally important.
  5. RattleSnack


    Sep 22, 2011
    Have you tried Jazz bass in band context? That's where it shines, for me at least. If you still can't find the sound you like, let it go and get something else.
  6. godofthunder59

    godofthunder59 God of Thunder and Rock and Roll Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2006
    Rochester NY USA
    Endorsing Cataldo Basses, Whirlwind products, Thunderbucker pickups
    Just about every Jazz bass I have ever had suffers from anemic tone. Sometimes a neck pickup replacement helps, Dimarzio, Lindy Fralin, Seymour Duncan etc.
    As mentioned running neck pickup alone with the tone rolled back helps. I use a DOD bi-fet pre amp pedal to beef up anemic bases works great. Keep your Jazz and buy a Precision, it's good to have both in the arsenal.
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2021
    mikewalker, Tanner5382, gg69 and 15 others like this.
  7. The Big

    The Big

    Jun 24, 2020
    That would probably be ideal for me. A jazz with a P split coil. I love the neck on this thing so much, it's almost worth the so-so tone.

    This bass has an active passive switch. I usually run it passive anyway, as active just amplifies the problems.
    BassBuzzRS and Ghastly like this.
  8. The Big

    The Big

    Jun 24, 2020
    It's pretty good if the drummer has a decent kit and the guitars EQ themselves around us. Usually that's not the case, though, so it's either muddy or lost in the mix. Missing that warm attack thump .
    Boomhowertx and BassBuzzRS like this.
  9. The Big

    The Big

    Jun 24, 2020
    What is a DOD bi-fet and how would one go about applying it?
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2021
    godofthunder59 likes this.
  10. BassmanM


    Feb 17, 2011
    Hamburg, Germany
    The neck pickup on a jazz bass can sound similar to a p bass pickup. I have a roadworn jazz with DiMarzio pickups. Fat, warm and round without hum. So yeah, try a passive jazz without the active electronics.
    roccobass, Boomhowertx, Membo and 3 others like this.
  11. A Future Pilot

    A Future Pilot

    Feb 18, 2013
    If you haven't tried them yet, you might consider using La Bella tapewounds (either white or black. I prefer black for their warmer tone). They're much warmer than rounds, but clearer/brighter than flats. Frankly, they're the only strings I'll use.
    mikewalker, RONTERGO, Jmartz and 8 others like this.
  12. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    NE ND
    This. My road/history is littered with thousands of dollars of great basses that didn't sound or feel right or just wanted to try something else. But after all those basses (70+) and all that money (can't even guess) I have a pretty darn good idea of what I like and want. Haven't really changed up my basses for quite a while now.
  13. Jack Deth

    Jack Deth

    May 7, 2020
    Do you play with fingers or a pick? Have you tried tape wounds? Is Hartke the only cab(s) you have tried with it?
    Ken Green and Boomhowertx like this.
  14. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    I've owned two, both passive. I did the easily reversed series rewiring. Then it sounds like a P bass :thumbsup:

    I don't think the mod is possible on an Elite because of the active circuit, but it might be.
  15. gebass6

    gebass6 We're not all trying to play the same music. Supporting Member

    Take it to a Music-Go-Round and trade it on another bass.
  16. micguy


    May 17, 2011
    Untameable brightness is something I counter with a low pass filter on my pedalboard - a Broughton one - cost $95, IIRC. New strings need a different setting than broken in ones, and when it gets to where the bass sounds OK without the filter engaged, I know it's almost time for new strings.

    Pressurewounds might also make you like the bass - a good intermediate between rounds and flats.
  17. The Big

    The Big

    Jun 24, 2020
    Tried with a Fender and a 1000W Ampeg. The Ampeg sounded the best, had that slightly overdriven, warm tone I'm looking for. But it still sounded better through a P than my bass.
  18. godofthunder59

    godofthunder59 God of Thunder and Rock and Roll Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2006
    Rochester NY USA
    Endorsing Cataldo Basses, Whirlwind products, Thunderbucker pickups
    DOD bi-fet pre amp pedal.
    The Big likes this.
  19. Nedmundo

    Nedmundo Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2005
    Have you tried panning toward the neck pickup, and then cutting the bass EQ in active mode? That might give you some thickness without the muddiness you've experienced, and cut through nicely. (I do this on my G&L M-2500, which is concededly a pretty different bass, but I like the growl when the pickups aren't at the same volume, and to keep things tight I need to cut the bass EQ about 20%.)

    Maybe even boost the midrange EQ a touch to cut through. I normally prefer passive myself, but in this case it might help to take advantage of the flexibility afforded by the preamp.
  20. Please be aware that what sounds lousy on its own sounds better in a full band situation, and what you hear directly next to your amp isn’t what it sounds like 20 feet away from you.

    Also, you should record the sound and listen back as well.
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    Oct 28, 2021

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