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Jazz Bass Upgrade Recommendations

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by NJL, Oct 31, 2002.


  1. NJL

    NJL

    Apr 12, 2002
    San Antonio
    Sorry if this is in the wrong area. Please let me know if it is.

    Let me give an idea of what I am planning to do.

    I want to upgrade to an actual preamp.

    I want either the Sadowsky Outboard (i have had my eye on it for a while) or J-Retro (don't know much about this other than it is really nice, but i really don't know how it sounds). Which is more versitile?

    I also want to upgrade to barts (that's what i have in my old ibanez)

    2 questions:

    (1) Which should i get first, the barts or the pre?

    (2) Should i get the sadowsky or the j-retro (has anyone used both?)

    I bought a MIM Jazz last night and I plan to buy a Kingston 5 late next year.

    you guys have allways been a big help. hopefully you can help out again.

    thanks,
    carlos
     
  2. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    What are you looking for that the J bass isn't giving you right now?

    I personally think that the pickups in the MIM Jazz basses are (1) highly underrated and underappreciated, and (2) entirely adequate for a good Jazz Bass sound.

    Also, I prefer passive EQ. What are you looking for in an EQ that you can't get on the front panel of your amp?

    You're contemplating upgrades that will probably cost as much or more than the bass itself. IMO it's not worth the money to do that kind of work on a MIM Jazz bass. I've had a MIM jazz and spent a lot to "upgrade" it and it never ended up any better than it was to begin with, just different. By the end of my time I had so much on it that it had lost the Jazz Bass vibe that I had bought it for (and loved in it) in the first place.
     
  3. 1964

    1964

    Mar 26, 2002
    Too Close To Hell
    (1) Get the pre first. The J-Retro makes most pups sound good, and therefore you might not need to replace the pups.

    (2) The J-Retro is far more versatile and does what it does very well. The Sadowsky does what it does very well.
     
  4. I recently bought a mim jazz and the first thing thing I'm going to upgrade the tuners, then possibly the brigde. I had a cheap precision that had a better bridge than that.
     
  5. NJL

    NJL

    Apr 12, 2002
    San Antonio
    I would like a more modern bass sound. I was able to get i nice sound out of my Ibanez with an emg pre and some barts. i prefer an active EQ. In re the front panel of the amp - I really don't use one live (just a practice amp to keep the chops up). i have been very fortunate that the groups that i work with 1) put up with me not bringing an amp 2) have very good equiptment. I am a trumpet player and 85% of my gigs are on trumpet. i am not about to start lugging around a big ass amp when i am so used to just bringing in a little trumpet to a gig. :D ;)

    thanks for the advice in re upgrading it. i have been thinking about that (whether or not to upgrade or not). i bought the cheapy just to be able to upgrade it. the bass feels very nice (a lot better then my Ibanez - that will get the fret yanked out of it soon!).

    the problem that i have is that i have to play lefty due the fact that i can't turn my left hand enough to hold the neck on a righty (you can't tell by looking at me, but i show people when they ask why i play lefty) as you can guess, leftys are kinda hard to come by, so i buy PoS's and fix em' up.

    my next axe is a Kingston 5 lefty, i can't wait and thank God MTD is making a really nice lefty for a couple of gig's pay

    thanks for the advice,
    Los
     
  6. 1964

    1964

    Mar 26, 2002
    Too Close To Hell
    The MIM Deluxe Active Jazz is very little more $’s than a MIM Std J, with John Suhr preamp and John Suhr noiseless pups, - as used in the original AmDeluxe J. That was potentially a better option, unless, like you, specific upgrades are planned.

    I'd consider the J-Retro Deluxe onboard as well as the outboard options.
     
  7. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    nojazzloco, even as a passive guy, I have to say that IMO you've got exceptionally good reasons to use active EQ. Most people just want "hotter output".:rolleyes::)

    Considering that you're playing lefty on a right handed instrument (have you considered an Essex from www.rondomusic.com?) I think that an outboard Sadowsky preamp may be the best option. No danger of hitting it with your arm while playing or anything like that, and it will give you the tone shaping that you're after. It's actually buying yourself an outboard preamp. A SansAmp may be an even better tool for you.

    Try that first, with the standard MIM pickups. You might be surprised at how good that bass sounds throug a good preamp with the OEM pickups. Then depending on how happy you are with that you can upgrade the pickups. I have a pair of Bartolini J Bass pickups in the custom Jazz bass in my avatar and they sound really good, but a just little thin. I think the very slight thinness in my bass is because of the maple laminate, high mass bridge, and ebony fretboard, not the pickups themselves. I think they would sound fantastic on a solid poplar or alder bass with a rosewood fingerboard and standard Fender style bridge.
     
  8. NJL

    NJL

    Apr 12, 2002
    San Antonio
    thanks for the link to rondomusic.com. my first bass was a righty played lefty, but my Jazz and Ibanez are both lefties (thank goodness).

    I have been looking into the outboard stuff (sadowsky and j-retro). so do you think i should go with a pre-first? the only reason i was thinking the barts first is because they are less expensive than either of the pre's?

    hey, man BTW, thanks for the advice! i just can't make up my mind (my chick is rubbing off on me!)
     
  9. 1964

    1964

    Mar 26, 2002
    Too Close To Hell
    As already stated: "Get the pre first." The other way around is a potential waste of money!
     
  10. gfab333

    gfab333

    Mar 22, 2000
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    I'm looking at the J-Retro myself. I've heard that its tone-variation capability is great. I also heard that it can be noisy, but that can be the case with many active systems. I'm willing to give the J-Retro a try.

    I've tried out Sadowsky preamps and they sound great too, but I like having the sweepable mid range control with the J-Retro.

    The J-Retro comes as a stomp box too. Check out the Dudepit.

    [​IMG]
     
  11. toshiya

    toshiya

    Jun 14, 2002
    Los Angeles, CA
    How about the Aguilar OBP-3 preamp, i've heard good things about it, however, I have no idea how it measures up to the Sadowsky and J-Retro. I do like the fact that with the J-retro I can have a full 3 band EQ tho, but isn't the Aguilar a full 3 bands too?
     
  12. What all the above posts have failed to tell you, is that a J-retro preamp contains a buffer preamp for each pickup. This means that you can have both pickups on full without out them loading each other down, and thus get the same quality of tone that you get with one pickup on it's own. This feature alone makes the J-retro a desireable piece of equipment, not to mention the sweepeable mids, the twin high-frequency knob, the bass knob that lowers the frequency the further it is turned, and of course the active/passive ability.
    Do I like my J-retro? Oh yes......
     
  13. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    Marty, that is a very good point. This is a very important advantage that any decently designed onboard preamp will offer over a stomp box. Even my old late 80's TIBIT (sp?) Bartolini preamp had this important function.

    However, I've come to kind of like the way the two pickups in a passive J/J setup interact in the classic passive setup. :)
     
  14. NJL

    NJL

    Apr 12, 2002
    San Antonio
    hey guys, thanks for all the advice.

    i ended up going with the sadowsky and it does rock. i know for sure that i will buy a j-retro when i decide to get a "real" jazz bass (american).