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j-retro question

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Fire-Starter, Mar 11, 2003.


  1. Fire-Starter

    Fire-Starter Supporting Member

    Aug 11, 2002
    MINNESOTA
    On the new Fender American Deluxe Jazz models, can you drop in a j-retro that every one is talking about? has any one here at t/b done this, or maybe it sounds good the way it is? considering it has the beefed up 18volt preamp and noisless pickups. SEE PIC BELOW (which is off ebay)

    thanks much!
     
  2. MatW

    MatW

    May 10, 2000
    UK, Swindon
    As yet I haven't heard a j-retro'd bass, and in spite of the great things I've heard about them, they're not particularly cheap.

    I've got a US Jazz Dlx and I'm happy with the preamp. I don't think there's that much to gain by dropping another preamp into a bass that already has a perfectly satisfactory one.

    If you want to do it, perhaps a u-retro might be better since your bass will have all the extra routing for a battery compartment, etc.
     
  3. Believe me, the J-retro (or U-retro) is way better than the Fender preamp.
    Active/passive switch.
    Sweepable mid range.
    Bass control lowers the frequency as you increase the boost.
    Pull pot on the treble for ultra-highs.
    Two buffer preamps (most all preamps only have one), which means each pickup works to its full potential when both pickups are on full, the Fender preamp causes the pickups to lose some of their character when both are on full. This feature alone makes it worth the money.

    I had mine in a MIA Deluxe V, and it made a vast improvement. In fact the preamp is way better than the bass, which is why I pulled it and got rid of the bass. With all due respect to MatW, if you have'nt tried it, you cant appreciate how much better it is than the Fender preamp.
     
  4. MatW

    MatW

    May 10, 2000
    UK, Swindon
    Yep. Fair enough, Marty. I'd be lying if I said I hadn't thought about chaning the preamp (pickups too) on my US Dlx Jazz.

    I'm certainly putting a j-retro in a Geddy Lee jazz I just got. If that impresses me, I may put one in my Dlx after all.

    Did you use j-retro or the u-retro?
     
  5. Dude

    Dude Commercial User

    Mar 19, 2000
    AZ
    Owner: The Dude Pit Forum (closed) Producer: School of Bass
    To be honest with you I've never tried a new Am Dlx 5 with the new preamp in it. Can someone post the controls for one so I can compare it to the J-Retro please? (It's late..I'll look em up in the morning myself).

    I specifically came up with a J-Retro Deluxe version as a retrofit replacement for the Jazz Deluxe stock preamps. It has the added passive tone control knob over the J-Retro-01 model since the Deluxe's have a sidemount output jack and we could mount the knob on the control plate.

    Here's my J-Retro photo gallery showing many different styles and custom applications.
    J-Retro Photo Gallery

    I also have a dedicated J-Retro Forum on The Pit where the designer/manufacturer, John East in the U.K. responds to tech questions directly. (I'm just the sales geek...he's the brains...I just turn the knobs until I get the tone I want ).

    I also have Gil Escelera (on vacation now in OZ) who does a much better job of answering tech questions than I. They plot frequency response curves and stuff! :eek:

    The J-Retro Preamp Forum
     
  6. Chace90

    Chace90 Supporting Member

    Feb 1, 2002
    Denver, CO
    I dropped a j-retro deluxe in my jazz deluxe over the summer. Vast improvement! I haven't found much use for the added tone knob yet, mainly becuase I don't use the bass in passive mode. It sure. I actually rarely fiddle with the knobs either because it's never necessary. But when I do, it's a lot easier to dial in what I need, especially with the sweepable midrange. Another feature I've found convienent is the swith that goes between equal pickup blend and the blend knob. If you have any other questions about how it sounds or it's flexibility, PM. I'll be glad to answer them! :D
     
  7. gfab333

    gfab333

    Mar 22, 2000
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    I have a J-Retro in my Skyline Joe Osborn 5, and it definitely is a great piece of hardware.

    I pretty much agree with all of the positive posts here at TB and the Dude Pit. If you do a search of both forums for comments on the J-Retro in a Jazz, you'll see a consistent characterization of this preamp's tone sculpting capabilities.
     
  8. Woodchuck

    Woodchuck

    Apr 21, 2000
    Atlanta / Macon (sigh)
    Gallien Krueger for the last 12 years!
    I have both preamps. I have an MIJ '75 reissue with the J Retro, and a Marcus Miller sig with the U Retro. The J has a nice eveness and is more easily operated, the U has a more aggressive tone, especially on the highend. With the U, there's a whole lot range, perhaps too much. I do, however, get the best slap tone from the U Retro.
     
  9. JP Basses

    JP Basses

    Mar 22, 2002
    Paris FRANCE
    U-retro and J-retro are both the same preamp!

    The J is hardmounted on a J-style plate and the U come with flexilink pots to be used on other than Jazz basses (that's an universal version of the pre).

    Both preamps are available as a deluxe version, with an added passive tone pot.

    Also, John East offers a really great preamp, the BTB-01 aka as the P-retro. this is basically the center section of the U/J-retro that is only treble and bass control. I use it as a standard preamp on my basses and let me tell ya..this thing rocks!

    IMO John is building the best preamps out there!

    Peace, JP
     
  10. Woodchuck

    Woodchuck

    Apr 21, 2000
    Atlanta / Macon (sigh)
    Gallien Krueger for the last 12 years!
    For some reason this particular U Retro has a VERY aggressive highend. Maybe it's a defect, who knows, but it's definately different from my J Retro.
     
  11. JP Basses

    JP Basses

    Mar 22, 2002
    Paris FRANCE
    Hey woodchuck,

    I would email John about that...or ask about it on the dudepit.Jretro forum

    Peace, JP
     
  12. Woodchuck

    Woodchuck

    Apr 21, 2000
    Atlanta / Macon (sigh)
    Gallien Krueger for the last 12 years!
    Thanks, I will. John is very responsive. This was the reason I thought they were different animals.
     
  13. hujo

    hujo

    Apr 18, 2001
    Stockholm, Sweden
    Hey Woodchuck, couldn't it just be that the U-retro reacts differently to the woods in the MM? My guess is that the MM is made out of heavier ash, and therefor gets more aggressive... But ofcourse, I could be way off.
     
  14. xcental34x

    xcental34x

    Feb 28, 2003
    Memphrica, TN
    I've seen the J-retro with a chrome and gold control plate. Does anyone know if they do black? I have a color scheme on my bass with a Red Wine Finish, Mirror pickguard and black control plate, and I want one of these preamps in it, but not if I can't get black. Wow, that souns vein.
     
  15. MatW

    MatW

    May 10, 2000
    UK, Swindon
  16. xcental34x

    xcental34x

    Feb 28, 2003
    Memphrica, TN
    Sweet! One more question, any chance this would fit in my MIM Standard Jazz or would I have to route it?

    ~Patrick
     
  17. Chace90

    Chace90 Supporting Member

    Feb 1, 2002
    Denver, CO
    The J-retro deluxe will fit in but you would have to route the output jack to the bottom side of the bass. IMHO, it's not worth it. Just get the regular j-retro and drop it it. It's a lot less of a hassle.

    I don't even use the tone knob on the j-retro deluxe, although I've discovered that it works in passive and active mode which could be helpful. The sound between passive and active is negligible. If you do use the eq a lot, then switching to passive will make a big difference (obviously, because passive bypasses all eq). Mine is also set that I lose a lot of output when I switch to passive. Actually, the only reason I swtich to passive is so that when it's sitting around plugged in for a while, the battery won't drain.

    I can imagine that a j-retro in a MIM standard, granted the pickups sound good as is, will make the bass a tone machine. It adds so much flexibility you'll never regret it, and you won't lose the original sound of the bass.
     
  18. xcental34x

    xcental34x

    Feb 28, 2003
    Memphrica, TN
    I only intended on getting the standard J-retro. I've got Basslines Stacks in my Jazz now, so I am sure it would sound good. So where can I buy a j-retro in black hardware?

    ~Patrick
     
  19. Chace90

    Chace90 Supporting Member

    Feb 1, 2002
    Denver, CO
    You can contact "Dude" here on talkbass by PM or email or you can go to his forum to read more about the j-retro. J-Retro Forum

    I got mine off the forum. All you have to do is start a new thread expressing which model and color you want. ex. ATTN DUDE: j-retro in black.
    Something like that. You won't regret it!
     
  20. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    I put a J-Retro in a 97 MIA JD5 and had another JD5 that remained stock. Shortly after, I got a new FMT V.

    On all three, the preamps worked fine. They were all different. The J-Retro wins as far as versatility. Personally I found that I didn't need much flexibility preamp wise... I got one basic sound and stuck with it.

    As much as I like the sound of a Jazz with the bridge pickup soloed, I've found that I left all three with the panpot in the middle, pretty much all the time. None of them had that passive J bridge sound IMO.

    The J-Retro has a bypass mode, handy if you have concerns about battery failure. I know a lot of people do so this is a desired feature. I don't and I've yet to have one fail at a critical moment, they give too much warning if you know what your bass is supposed to sound like. Of course that's just me;)

    You can dial in some serious sizzle with the JR and it has a pull function to add sparkle to your top. I have a buddy who leans towards way more than Marcus top end so he loves that. It's nice but I didn't use it for my slap sound.

    The J-Retro is great if that's the sound you desire. Pretty much everyone who heard my Retro-equipped Jazz flat out loved it. It's one of the easiest tonal palette changes you can make to a Fender. Better? If "you" like it, absolutely. I liked mine but I still like my FMT and JD5 too.