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

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

  1. John Paul S

    John Paul S

    Feb 2, 2020
    Appreciate your input. Glad I'm not the only one that is (was) on the hunt for the perfect tone & feel.
  2. John Paul S

    John Paul S

    Feb 2, 2020
  3. SamBassPlayer


    Aug 3, 2021
    I have a Yamaha BB604 active Jazz bass and played it and gigged exclusively for more than 15 years. I also use DR Highbeams or DR Neons. Having a Nathan East-style mid-rolloff circuit makes this bass a slap monster but it also has plenty of flat bottom if I dial it in that way. It sounds killer with flatwounds too. I also have a custom P-bass with flats though it also sounds good with rounds. I like both basses quite a bit and play the P bass a lot nowadays - not sure what I'd do if I had to go with only one for all styles of music - probably would go with the active Jazz as I've had a lot of good experiences with it and it is a little more versatile IMO. My point is: if you must choose only one bass, make sure you can get the most sounds you desire from it. Experiment with strings and your amp settings. I'd be surprised if you can't get the sounds you want from your Elite - it has a lot of tonal control.
    LBS-bass and avi like this.
  4. jetgraphics


    Dec 12, 2007
    My "first" bass was a $49 mail order (Lafayette Electronics) Kimberly (made by Teisco / Kawai). It had a laminated neck (ahem- plywood) - which was a boat anchor - but remarkably stable. Great action. Fast. But if you notice the pickups, they're dual coil mudbuckers. It sounded like a drowning bullfrog - great for doing Jack Bruce solos - but not for much else. And being a short scale it had a rubbery E string. Sigh.
    {It didn't help that I believed "loud" was better than "not loud" so I usually picked the wrong pickup position, tone wise.}
    If I knew then what I know now, all it really needed was a pair of Hagstrom BiSonic pickups to sweeten the tone. As for the neck dive - well - a dual shoulder strap might have helped.

    Attached Files:

    mikewalker likes this.
  5. avi


    Jun 14, 2017
    The Yamaha BB NE line is so under rated. Great basses top to bottom.
    SamBassPlayer likes this.
  6. avi


    Jun 14, 2017
    Just got back from GC and played the 60's vibe P bass with matching headstock.. Sounds great. Plays like a vintage 60's P. Looks fantastic. I still can't switch from J to P neck dimensions though. Just can't play them. I literally can't make my hands do what they do on any other bass. It's so weird.
  7. Doug4321


    May 29, 2017
    The original/50s/60s/vintage Precisions are 1 3/4” at the nut. But the current standard, professional or players are 1 5/8”. More or less something like that.

    Makes a difference.
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2021
  8. You mentioned earlier that you had the passive/active option - when you use active are you boosting the bass and/or treble? If so, try lowering one or both. I use active to cut the highs, not to boost the bass. Might work for you too. And experimenting won't cost you a dime.
    LBS-bass likes this.
  9. avi


    Jun 14, 2017
    Not sure about the Fenders but when I put my Warwick into passive mode the bass and treble knobs don't function.
  10. LBS-bass


    Nov 22, 2017
    Yes, generally passive mode on most active/passive instruments bypasses the preamp, so the preamp's EQ isn't functional. The tone knob is what you've got onboard at that point.

    Playing in passive mode requires using the EQ setting on your amp or another separate unit to get anything more than just what the tone knob gives you.
  11. dougjwray


    Jul 20, 2005
    I just want to add this...
    About 14 years ago, I put together a Jazz with an ash body, maple fingerboard and Custom Shop pickups ("original '60s" or something). I had the series/ parallel switch from the beginning.
    Over the years, I could never get it to sound anything better than anemic (even in series, although that was better). This was intended to be my Jazz with roundwounds, and I tried all kinds of roundwounds, with no real luck.
    I changed the neck to a cheap aftermarket one with a rosewood fingerboard. That helped a lot, but I still wasn't really happy. I tried DiMarzio pickups, but they sounded kind of artificial.
    Finally, in the midst of last year's pandemic stir-crazy tone experimentation, I replaced the pickups with ones from a Squier Classic Vibe bass (I think 2012 vintage). The improvement was incredibly dramatic. Now I LOVE how it sounds. By the way, the strings are DR Fat Beams (45-105).
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2021
    rzero and mikewalker like this.
  12. I cant believe your not getting something great with the set up -To me it sounds you've been lured by a bass you think was used on an album or by a bassist who you have think is the dogs (joking?) or maybe you need to try a different amp. Never had chance to use an ampeg cab i thought SHeeeiitt this cab been the backline for the last 20 years," hammered" Try an alternative amp or see if a smaller cab gets a better return from your amp pushing less /signal/weight with a smaller cab? Taken me over 20 years and still amazed by what can be achieved with earwigging conversations and spreading the word amongs us fine breed, Bassist Pls keep your original bass. I have a 1978 fender precision which i de-fretted in the wake of Pino, Graceland album et al. I came close after a while between work and lack of continuous band membership, even if you think new band is not 100% your thing when in an around bands. hang in an another gig will appear. Same as working always easier to find new gig when your working. to losing the will not knowing roundwound on a maple neck is a total No-No. Due to light colour it dirties and wears down with string play marking all your popular areas! I worried about the price of re-fret i assumed was in the millions (just a few) ant ways got Manchester guitar tech who makes a gibson standard finish. It was very cheap only two million. Please dont quote but im sure it was just short of £200 which, after my semi ingnorant inspection and having my bass "Lazurus" out of the case i was estatic. Brainless use of money threatened my ownership of a vintage bass I bought for £150 in 89/90. In self induced cash problems the bass was the line in the stand and i thank those about me and my own sense in realising that bass was my final bridge away from the poopiee i was in. I know that this isnt your situation, but ive had that bass 30+ years. As i mentioned in email to warwick, why is it ive never had a tuner fail in 30 years, true it has'nt had the gig /practice routine, but 2-3? tuners in 8 year and i never let guitar slip with old school Schaller strap lock inside the bass body than all the wieght taken by a screw in weakest point in neck anyway. The tone, playability,and the whole deal though changed me into a massive warrick fan with an grumbing email. Had a twist appear in a neck which before it appreared like a sink-hole was pure therapy to play. Next on the list after tuners, been sent wrong side 3 right hand ones. I think all the machinehead companies share a right hand machine and will throw in for a lefty!! done it. Sorry for yarn and bass from A to B just trying to help, and save you money. Mark
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2021
    mikewalker likes this.
  13. jessenator


    Sep 16, 2021
    Second bass I had was Washburn XB-400. Had that thing for years and loved playing it. When my 18th spin around the globe came, I was pining for a '63 Jazz reissue, and looking back on it after these years, it was mostly aesthetics that drew me in. I played an actual 1964 Jazz in my local shop, but was so scared of a) dropping it and b) publicly displaying how $#[email protected] my playing was (is, let's be honest), I didn't 'get a feel for it,' but plowed on with my desire for that look (and the price tag with all the bragging rights, I guess...).

    I hesitated to say it then (because it was a gift—my old man told me 'you can have whatever bass you want,' and I didn't go for the 'obvious' pie-in-the-sky options I could've weaseled from that promise!) The Washburn was better—deep down—for me. Hard pill to swallow. I made the Jazz work, went through several bands with it, and of all the guitars and basses that came and went, I never sold it. I sold the Washburn before college and knew within a week I'd made a mistake.

    So, some twenty years on—I decide it's time to make a regular habit of playing again. Having played other Jazz axes in many a guitar shop in the intervening years and being amazed by them (they sounded better than mine) I wanted to change things about mine, if I could. I did some research, garnered opinions, listened to samples, played in some shops, and I decided that the things I didn't like about the Jazz were things I could indeed change.
    Gotoh 404SJ bridge, Seymour Duncan Quarter Pound pickups (the covers are backwards, not the coils ;) oops... ), and new pickguard. Now it sounds the way I want—it's the bass I wanted.

    Now, I'm not saying a modification (or several) is the correct answer. I'm saying it's an answer. But the tl;dr is I'm glad I never sold off my jazz. I think for all the ebb and flow of the many decades of the Jazz Bass, there's something about them... In the end though, despite the yeas and nays you'll get, you've got to get the axe that's right for you.

    I feel ya. The P-bass neck shape just doesn't work for me. Friend of a friend had a 197x p-bass and it sounded great, but that neck was just alien to my hands—same experience with modern Ps. Even other makes and models of bass don't feel quite as weird as the P-bass neck does...
    mikewalker and avi like this.
  14. Heck it just sounds like P basses are your thing, my dude. When it comes to the things that you describe about the J, some of us are actually GOING for that mid heavy brightness.

    Hmm. Here's something you can experiment with. Flick it to passive, solo the neck pickup, roll off the highs and don't dig too hard as you play close to the neck, it might get you in the ballpark of the P tone you want!
    BasEd and LBS-bass like this.
  15. BasEd


    Jun 27, 2017
    Do the above and also try some foam under the strings near the bridge. Foam makes a big deference to the tone.

    Best thing to do is get a P if you like that tone. You’ll never get a J to sound like a P. I have both.
    SixtyCycleHum likes this.
  16. I forgot about foam mutes! Good idea!
  17. mathewjg


    Dec 26, 2009
    I have whats called a California P bass special. They were built in USA and sprayed in Mexico. Precision body, Jazz neck. It has the Precision pick up towards the neck and the Jazz pickup by the bridge. Its not a bad compromise although the Jazz pickup can sound a bit thin compared to the Precision. I tend to just use one or the other - typically Precision for blues and reggae, Jazz for funk and pop on gigs.. But for recording, I just prefer the sound my USA 70's re-issue Jazz bass. It doesn't seem that different when playing but when listening back there is quite a noticeable difference with the Jazz just sounding more assertive. By the way - the recommendations about foam are good although I have heard that many great recordings were done using a sock!
  18. Matty Koff

    Matty Koff

    Aug 21, 2014
    I would double check your EQ on your amp, or look into an inexpensive EQ pedal with semi-parametric mids. I have a TMB505 that is pretty crazy bright. I have an avatar b410 cab that seems to tame it, more of a warm cabinet. Caught me off guard listening to it through my newer cabinets. Things honked at me. My other basses sounded great with everything flat.

    My Ibby though, after lots of tweaking I found out that it has a big presence somewhere between 1.2-1.7kHz. Once I set my amp's mid frequency to around that range and started cutting I got a tone I was much happier with.

    I'm not saying you have the same problem frequency/ies.. but if it is a matter of EQ, there are less expensive ways to fix it than a new bass. The amp, the cabinets, the signal chain all play a part.

    *edit* only just now noticing i respodned to a 10 day old 15 page thread.
    Templar likes this.
  19. Bassmike62

    Bassmike62 Punch'n Ooomph Supporting Member

    Haven't looked at the 15 pages, so maybe this was suggested: how about having the pick-ups rewired so you can get them in series OR in paralell ? That'll give you the option of having a fatter tone, in P-ish territory. I've had that done on my non-PJ American Special Jazz (as well as 2 other Squiers, now belonging to others) and wouldn't have a Jazz without it.
  20. 51PRI


    Aug 7, 2014
    I have one of those except mine was made in 1999 after Fender had moved full production of the model to Mexico. Mine says "Deluxe Series" instead of "California Series." Candy apple red with anodized pickguard. Cool basses!
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