Jazz Bass in the Mix

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Woodboy, Jun 20, 2003.

  1. Woodboy


    Jun 9, 2003
    St. Louis, MO
    I play a lightweight swamp ash Jazz-style bass with Brazilian rosewood fingerboard that I made. I have Aero pickups on it. It is a great playing and sounding bass, but sometimes I would like it to sit a little deeper in the mix of our band. We play blues and r&b and of course the sound I hear in my head is Jamerson and Dunn, the ultimate P-Bass players. I put some TI Flats on the bass and it sounds better than it has ever sounded, but I still want it to cover the frequencies between the bass drum and the low E of the guitar with a bit more punch. I am not really into growl, unless there is a huge amount of fundamental present as well. I am starting to think I need a P-Bass to do what I want. Or maybe a P/J bass to get a bit more tonal variation than the standard P. If any of you tonemeisters out there have grappled with a similar question, I would appreciate your thoughts. Inquiring minds want to know!!
  2. I'd say have a P-bass and a J-bass. That is the best way. I have a MIM P-Bass, an SX Jazz fretless, and soon to buy a Jazz 5-er (most likely a Lakland Skyline JO5). P/J's just don't nail it in my opinion, they don't blend the two sounds, it creates a new sound.
  3. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    I have to say, I think you should get yourself a P-Bass to try. They sit in the mix like nobody's business, exactly the way you are looking for.
  4. I have a mongrel Jazz I put together with swamp ash body, TI flats, DiMarzio Ultrajazz pups, and J-retro, and this baby will duplicate most any bass around. I'd say try the J-retro, you definitely wont be sorry.
  5. jokerjkny


    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PA
    why not just up some more low mids on your amp or your onboard pre.

    that's why i love my Bartolini onboard pre. it allows me to choose a nice a meaty low mid frequency for more gutty punch. but what's even cooler is my J-Retro preamp. gives me a wider range of mid frequencies to choose from.

    but, if you're REALLY set on a new bass, i think a PJ setup with an alder body would give you lots of that weighty punch.
  6. FretNoMore

    FretNoMore * Cooking with GAS *

    Jan 25, 2002
    The frozen north
  7. If you get a P-Bass, I'd look long and hard for one with an ash body if you want punch. They're out there but hard to find. Ash body basses aren't as "pretty" sounding as alder, especially in the mids, but if you want gut punching low mids and bottom with a clean stong top they can't be beat. Stingrays have always been ash body for example. So were those mid to late 1970's Fender jazz basses that so many funk players use today.
  8. gfab333


    Mar 22, 2000
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    J Retro will definitely help. It has so much bass boost potential (the mids & highs are boost/cut, but the bass is boost only) that I have never needed to boost the bass by more than a mere 25% of the entire 100% boost range.

    Different pick ups might also help. Although I've never tried them or heard them, I get the impression that the Aero was intended as a high quality vintage style single coil pick up with good highs, mids, and lows, but with out a preponderance of any one frequency band. There are other jazz replacement pickups that will give you more oomph in the lows and low mids. I recently reworked a '80s Jazz and I was looking for the sound that you described, for gigs and jams with that blues / old school 1960s tone. I replaced my active Bartolinis with passive Seymour Duncan Hot Jazz pick ups. I put on a set of GHS flatwounds, rolled off some high end with the tone control and I'm there! Lots of low end booty and I can even get a great psuedo-Jamerson tone by panning to the neck pick up.
  9. geezer316


    Jan 26, 2003
    i dont know what to suggest for the sound you need,but i will tell you that a p/j bass combo will not nail it IMO.i own one of the better ones and when i select both p-ups to be used the power drops a bit. the only time i get that bang is when the p-pick up is set by itself. together they are weak and a bit thin.;)
  10. jokerjkny


    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PA

    maybe your back J pickup is too low output, or set too low in the body. alot of times, people buy mismatch pickups, where they arent calibrated to one another.

    i recently played a Sadowsky PJ & a Fodera Vic Wooten Siggy, and HOLY CRAP, those suckers had some righteous punch. the jazz pickup adds sooo much definition, while the p pickups gives it that low end body/booty. its my new fav pickup combo.

    btw, Woodboy,

    like gfab mentioned, try a different set of pickups, BUT, i most wholeheartedly recommend Dimarzio's Ultra Jazz. together with a J-Retro in my USA Custom parts jbass, they put out TREMENDOUS low end. a few days ago at rehearsal, i was getting sick in my stomach from the low end! i actually had to turn it down a few times. not really growly perse. rather, a glossy, smooth, gut churning pure low end.

    too bad, those Aero's arent working out for you. i got turned onto the Aero sound, when i tried this Matt Pulcinella jbass in alder w/ pau ferro fingerboard. lots of great punch, and curiously, with a good deal of growl.

    also, i dunno 'bout the Swamp Ash body. IMHO, they've got more high mids that help you cut, but dont contribute much lower ended "butt" to your sound. some say its more "aggressive", while i think of it as more crispy and edgy.

    BUT, a heavier Northern Ash body could be the ticket. lots of punchie rear end, with a crystalline top. like a sterioded swamp ash sound. unfortunately, those Atelier Z jbasses i've strapped on where one of the more heavier basses i've strapped on.

    and yet, if you want more fundamental, i think Alder's the way to go. smooth, rolled off highs, but with that middle focus and body you sound like you want. sweet yes, but good strong fundamental.

    if i'm not mistaken Jamer and Duck both used alder bodied / rosewood fingerboarded pbasses, no?
  11. gfab333


    Mar 22, 2000
    Honolulu, Hawaii

    I like the idea of using one of those round string depresser things on the E and A of your USA Custom. Did you put that on, or does the bass come like that? great idea.
  12. jokerjkny


    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PA
    hey gab,

    thx! actually it was Mokodo, my tech at Rudy's Repair, who built that. he was gonna do a long tree ala what they do on Sadowsky's 5 strings, but thought this would be easier and just as effective.
  13. marc40a


    Mar 20, 2002
    Boston MA

    I'm in a similar situation w/ my Jazz and I'm an avid P player as well.

    It sounds like you're a fan of P tones - I'd definitely think about auditioning and comparing a few P's in the future - If not for now, maybe as a wish list item for the future. From the sound you describe I'm thinking flats, though my personal preference is for nickel rounds. I don't think you'll be disappointed. I've found that the P is unparalleled at getting kickdrum-like tones.

    I generally try not to encourage GAS but in this case... I think you might be thankful, down the road.

    As far as the 'J' quandry...

    Yeah, I'm going through the same thing myself. I'm just not ecstatic about where I'm sitting in the mix. I've got a great 'J' sound (lively, stringy, growly w/ lots of bite) but I'm not so sure it's what I'm looking for right now w/ this particular bass.

    My J is set up w/ CS60's single coils and a Bart preamp.

    I'm pretty sure that I'm going to go with a pair of humbuckers in the J. I'm thinking Bart 9J's.

    The tone I'm looking for w/ this particular bass is a quick/responsive tone with solid fundamentals and excellent note definition - More modern than vintage. People normally equate 'modern' with scooped mids, and a hyped up top end but that's not what I'm talking about..I'm talking about tones that you hear in contemporary music where bass is supporting the song. Something that would work well with guitars that aren't distorted - R+B,Fusion,Jazz,World music, etc.... My current sound is too raw, hollow and spikey.

    That said, I still gig with a Precision moreso than any other bass. I'm just trying to fill a niche with the Jazz bass.
  14. BoogieNight


    Jun 15, 2001
    Nice explanation. I'm with you on that thing of the bass supporting the song. That's exactly why I love my Barts (9S). They are lower voiced than fenders, so they support more and bite less. That's what you want in smooth music with accoustic guitars, etc.

    I've recently tried Dimarzio Ultrajazz and it changed totally my tone, I couldn't make the bass stop biting and cutting through in my smooth jazz gig. It made my J bass useless for me, because I already have a Warwick for a growlier sound.

    PS: Marc, if you change your CS60's for Bartolinis please post your comments here, I wanted to try those Fender PU's.
  15. BoiNtC


    Nov 25, 2002
    NYC, USA
    I agree with the J-Retro thread, I got one of these into my Jaco Tribute production (Pau Ferro/Morado on Alder) it covers the same tones on my P-Bass (Rosewood on Ash) and much more!
  16. Mike A

    Mike A Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2002
    what about...

    G&L! *runs for cover*
  17. G&L does make a good P bass. the SB-1 is your basic P bass and sound great. and the SB-2 has a P/J configuration. and you can run the P pup solo for the pure P tone. or add in some of the J bass to get some more growl and high end on it. kinda rounds out the sound. I think that is a great combo.
  18. bikeplate

    bikeplate Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2001
    Upstate NY

    Call Sadowsky in NYC and get yourself one of his floor preamp/DI's. It will tighten up your sound and let you dial in the the "thud" you need while still maintaining a tight bottom.