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J-Retro 02 onboard preamp for American Deluxe Jazz bass and MIM Jazz bass

Discussion in '[OLD FORUM] Bass Guitars, Amps, and Accessories: F' started by Knukklhead, Jul 15, 2001.


  1. Knukklhead

    Knukklhead

    Dec 28, 2000
    J-Retro 02 made for an American Deluxe Jazz or MIM Deluxe Jazz bass. The difference between the regular J-Retro and the Retro 02 is a passive tone control in the fourth hole on the control plate. This preamp puts the stock Fender preamp to shame. Thundering lows and crystal clear highs and everything inbetween. Very warm, transparent and 3D sounding. This will turn your jazz bass into a jack of all trades bass. This is the updated model with the adjustable gain pots on the circuit board. I have 2 of these and only need one. $165.00
     
  2. alembicbones

    alembicbones

    Nov 10, 2000
    Seattle, WA
    Knukklhead,

    I'm interested in your J-Retro 02. I sent you an email through the system, but if you didn't get it, check out my profile and maybe we can talk turkey.

    Bones
     
  3. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    I got it...but maybe he has two;)
     
  4. alembicbones

    alembicbones

    Nov 10, 2000
    Seattle, WA
    Brad,

    Nice score. I spoke with Bass NW and they'll order me one if I want it. (Not at as good a price as you got though).

    Do you really think it's a major upgrade from the Fender preamp? Did you keep the Noiseless P/U's?

    If it's really the way to go with this bass, I'd love to pick your brain on its specs and ease of installation. I opened up my Am. Dlx. J 5 last night and there sure are a mess of wires running around in there. Is the J-Retro a cleaner set up?

    I trust your opinion since you have two of these basses.

    Bones
     
  5. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    For some reason they (Fender) use pretty long leads in the JD5. If not for those long leads the stock Fender install is pretty clean.

    The two I have are 97 models so they have the single pole pickups. I prefer these over the noiseless I've heard. Side note: I was surprised when they decided to call the new pickups "noiseless"...the ones in my bass made no noise, even when soloed.

    It's a very straightforward install. The pickup leads on the bass are color coded, you basically connect those four leads, three leads from the input jack, which switches the battery in and out of circuit and connect a battery. I did run into one issue.

    I haven't done the second JD5 but on the first one, for the plate to line up correctly I will need to remove some wood from the edge of the control cavity, where the active/passive switch hits the side.

    I liked the stock preamp and got great results with that. The J-Retro is still a major upgrade. It really fattens the B string, it's capable of an extremely nice, aggressive slap tone, you can dial in a punchy or beefy fingerstyle tone in no time.

    I initially thought $250 was pricey for an onboard preamp but to me this amounts to having a very nice quality rack mount preamp...at the bass. A lot depends on what you're trying to accomplish.

    Requires a small tipped soldering iron. I used heat shrink on all of the connections. Took about 20 minutes.
     
  6. alembicbones

    alembicbones

    Nov 10, 2000
    Seattle, WA
    Brad,

    Thanks for the info. Probably my biggest complaint about the stock Am Dlx. J 5 is the sound of the B string. The feel is great but it just doesn't have the greatest natural punch. I compensate by emphisizing that frequency on my Alembic SF-2 superfilter, but sometimes to the detrement of the overall tone.

    I'm almost totally convinced to order this unit, but I need to ask you a couple more quick questions.

    Is the input jack the same as the stock version (side mounted, same screw holes)?

    You mention the need to remove some wood. Is this just a small notch or a relatively major rout?

    Do you use the same battery compartment as the stock version?

    Thanks again for all your help,

    Bones
     
  7. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
     
  8. alembicbones

    alembicbones

    Nov 10, 2000
    Seattle, WA
    Thanks Brad. I appreciate all the info. I placed my order with BassNW yesterday. I insisted on the deluxe version.

    Best Wishes,

    Bones