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J retro vs Fender Am Dlx preamp

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by adrian garcia, Apr 17, 2006.

  1. adrian garcia

    adrian garcia In Memoriam

    Apr 9, 2001
    las vegas. nevada
    Endorsing Artist: Nordy Basses, Schroeder Cabs, Gallien Krueger Amps
    sorry it this has been discussed.
    has anyone here replaced the preamp on their Fender American Deluxe Jazz bass with an East J Retro Dlx? I am a huge fan of the East pre's (and John East is such a nice guy !)- i have the U retro on a bass and love it, now i await a Fender Am Dlx Jazz and wonder if there is a definite advantage to investing in a J retro for it.
  2. anyonefortennis

    anyonefortennis Supporting Member

    Jun 28, 2005
    Lincoln, NE
    *Suscribes to thread
  3. With the right pickups the J-Retro is awesome. I use a J-Retro with Fralin Split coils. Love the sound and variations I can get.
    Pricy yes, worth it! Absolutely.
    I have the standard J-Retro. In passive mode only the Volume works. I understand on the Deluxe J-Retro the Blend also works in passive mode.
  4. adrian garcia

    adrian garcia In Memoriam

    Apr 9, 2001
    las vegas. nevada
    Endorsing Artist: Nordy Basses, Schroeder Cabs, Gallien Krueger Amps
    no blend in the deluxe in passive mode, but the passive tone control works. this is an invaluable tool for me- i have a bass with the u retro dlx- it has dimarzio ultra j's and sounds fantastic- i set my sound and adjust with the passive tone control to taste if i need a more open sound for the pop or slap sections of the show i play, and then close it ( roll off treble ) for stuff like the walking bass lines. i add some midrange to cut thru on some tunes, and then set it flat for slap stuff- it's a wonderful pre- the thing is, i love the Fender sound on the Am Dlx bass with its preamp as well- so while the j retro is really tricked out and flexible- i wonder how it sounds with the Fender Noiseless pickups
  5. Trevorus


    Oct 18, 2002
    Urbana, IL
    I would wait until you try the Jazz preamp. I like the one that is in my 1998 Jazz deluxe. John Suhr designed them, and they are good stuff.
  6. lefty007


    Jan 19, 2004
    Miami, FL
    I also think that the stock Fender American Deluxe Jazz preamp is great as it is, and a replacement, especially such a pricey one, is just not necessary.
  7. luknfur


    Jan 14, 2004

    If I’m not mistaken, the deluxe pre is the same one used in the Sig Victor Bailey’s, which I’ve got one of. I had the Barts, Aggies, and Emg’s then laid off preamps for a long time. To me they boost and cut the signal but didn’t seem to have any curve of consequence I could detect - sounded like the same tone but different volume for each control. The EMG and Aggie with the variable mids had plenty of curve but I don’t like variable mids (which I discovered from having them). Hard to find a tone and hard to get back to it.

    Somehow got interested in peamps again and picked up the VB pups/pre from a fellow TB’r, primarily interested in the pre, already had a pair of noiseless J’s. What I liked about it was that beyond boost/cut the curves were distinguishable for a change, in fact comparatively extreme. Mids can be dropped out not far below the detent depending. Treble can dial in a presence quality to tone. You can hear not just volume but the tone changing as controls are altered. Even though there are extreme variations in tone, pretty much the full spectrum of all the controls is useable. There was also a much more passive and less active quality to tone.

    I stuck it in a box as an outboard and I’ve ran all types of pups through it. It’s pretty transparent and doesn’t contaminate the tone of the pups. Just allows manipulation of the output. I’ve had it for a few months now and an MXR and Sans have come and gone as I preferred the VB over them. Doesn’t have that almost undetectable quality of a Sad or the extreme tone coloring of an Alembic so real tough making a comparison there except that all 3 are nothing like the EMG/Bart/Aggie aftermarkets which to me were all birds of a feather. But in terms of coloration, the VB is the most neutral sounding of the lot. If the VB has a sound of it’s own, I’m not aware of it yet.

    I knew John Shur was behind the Fender noiseless pups (and I’ve had his noiseless pups as well) but I didn’t know he was behind the deluxe pre.

    Haven't had the Retro so don't know about it.

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