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Jazz Basses - 60s or 70s spacing - which do you prefer and why?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by eastcoasteddie, Jul 31, 2019.


    MYLOWFREQ Supporting Member

    May 13, 2011
    New York
    I'd have a humbucker that I can solo each side for either the 60's or the 70's spacing.
  2. FishDub

    FishDub Supporting Member

    Jun 12, 2011
    Charlotte, NC
    I have always played jazzes with 60s spacing, but I have always been curious about the 70s spacing and tone differences. Bottom line-I think we all agree that regardless of the differences of opinion, it may very well NOT be what one of us prefers at the end of the day. Luckily though, anyone can walk into GC/Samash and compare both side-by-side.
    lizardking837 likes this.
  3. Having owned a 72 Jazz and a 60`s re issue, this is spot on. By the time your sound goes through 10k of pa I doubt if anyone can hear any difference. It`s one of these things, just like BBOT versus a Baddass. ;)

    But if you can notice the difference, good on ya. The above is just my opinion. And you know what they say about opinions....

    I think that due to the rise of the internet we seem to get hung up on things like this far too much.
    superheavyfunk, Fialka and Kukulkan61 like this.
  4. micguy


    May 17, 2011
    If you ever solo the bridge pickup, you'll have an opinion, as that's where the biggest difference shows up. I'm a 60's guy - a 70's position bridge pickup is too thin for my ears. OK, so is a 60's, but not as much.
    gepettus, lowdownthump and Kukulkan61 like this.
  5. Kukulkan61

    Kukulkan61 Supporting Member

    Feb 8, 2011
    Northern Arizona
    I’ve always felt that Jazz basses were a little thin on the boom aspect and I never wanted one until I gotta Fender Road Worn 60s Jazz, I warmed up to pretty good, it’s strung with Flats, but I still don’t know if the spacing has anything to do with it, if the 70s spacing makes it thinner sounding maybe it’s a good thing I have a 60s, although a Geddy has been on my mind lately...
  6. 70s!
    Many people talk about he "scoop" of Jazzes with both pickups on. That scoop takes a more brilliant, upfront sound, with the 70s spacing. It's very noticeable as you change the volume on the bridge. Not as warm as the 60s. To my ears, anyway...
    The sounds are different enough to have fans and detractors...
  7. RattleSnack

    RattleSnack Supporting Member

    Sep 22, 2011
    I agree! Jazz with 60' config is a little "flat" in the mids with both pickups full on. I solved with my Sire V7 by slightly lowering neck pickup, giving it MUCH better presence in the band mix. Never had that problem with my AVRI '75, it has tons of presence.
    One good thing about 60's config is that cool things happen when I start closing passive Tone. That "hump", just bellow the cut-off frequency, can accent high-mids. Almost counter-intuitive, by cutting a little highs, you get more high-mids and stand out better in the mix!
    Sadly, with my AVRI, that hump is just too much, making Tone unusable below first third of full circle.
    lowdownthump likes this.
  8. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    In many situations, the difference is not in your face.
    Tommy V likes this.
  9. extreme

    extreme Supporting Member

    Mar 20, 2000
    I prefer the '60s spacing, rosewood fingerboard, and alder body. That said, I mostly play P-basses and am not the typical jazz bass player. I just find the '60s spacing to have a more pleasing burpiness to it compared to the '70s spacing that can sound rather thin.

    I played in a cover band doing funk/blues/r&b/pop, etc. and my jazz ('60s spacing) with the neck pickup dialed back slightly and with some nice low mid EQ on the amp sounded awesome for a lot of that material.
    lowdownthump likes this.
  10. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    It makes a huge difference.

    I prefer 70's. I even had a six string made based on my 1978 Fender.
    Dr. Cheese and lowdownthump like this.
  11. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    Depends on what you're doing with it. Soloing the bridge pickup can sound markedly different. So can the slap sound with both pickups on. Finger style with both might not be as obvious IME.
    lowdownthump and Dr. Cheese like this.
  12. PeaveyPlayer

    PeaveyPlayer Supporting Member

    Jul 15, 2014
    Winnipeg, Manitoba
    I really don’t care what anyone says

    70s to my ears is where it’s at

    More crisp and more aggressive
    Dr. Cheese and lowdownthump like this.
  13. LM Bass

    LM Bass

    Jul 19, 2002
    Vancouver, BC
    I’ve owned 3 different 70’s Jazz basses (not reissues) and that wider pickup spacing creates the mid scoop I like. I’ve settled on a US Fender Marcus 5 for a number of years now, and it has the 70’s magic.
    lowdownthump likes this.
  14. mongo2


    Feb 17, 2008
    Da Shaw
    Doesn't matter to me. I don't find myself using bridge pickups since I'm not a fan of their tone.
  15. Medicine Man

    Medicine Man

    Apr 10, 2015
    I like 70s because it gives a bigger range of how much punch to dial in. I never come even close to soloing the bridge pickup.
  16. eastcoasteddie

    eastcoasteddie Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2006
    Today I A/B’ed an FSR Ash/Pau Ferro Jazz (60’s Spacing) and the 70’s Jazz Pau Ferro at GC. Went through a Fender Rumble 800 head and amped 1x15.
    The 70’s bridge pickup sounded super “honky” with a lot of midrange, but no bottom.
    The FSR bridge pickup sounded huge. Big bottom, big growl...just awesome (the FSR is actually my favorite MIM Jazz ever). I thought I had made up my mind.
    Then I wandered over the the used section and found a CIJ Geddy Lee. Plugged it into a used Crate BA100 (I think...?) and the Geddy bridge pickup sounded huge, growly, and full. Very much unlike the 70’s Jazz....
    Now I’m back to square one...
    InstantEctobass likes this.
  17. bigtone23


    Dec 10, 2014
    Denver, CO
    If given the choice, I prefer the 70s position. It affords a wider tonescape between the 2 pickups. My first Jazz was a 72, and playing it for the last 27 years has baked that tone into my head. I love it. This is also my preferred position for P/J basses, as I run those as a P with the mixable J option. The 70s position also allows to add some more cutting tones to the thumpy split coil sound.
    However, if you tend to solo the bridge pickup, 60s spacing has a touch more fullness since it's further from the bridge.
    Interestingly, I play and love Peavey basses of the 80s/early 90s. They locate the bridge pickup even more towards the bridge than the 70s location. Whereas my 72 J bridge pickup is located 31.75" from the nut and 60s spacing is closer to 31.5", Peavey places theirs at 32". Perhaps that can be called 80s spacing? :roflmao::D;)
  18. eastcoasteddie

    eastcoasteddie Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2006
    This is an interesting observation. When I first started playing bass, I used my uncle’s ‘88(?) Peavey Unity Koa Dynabass, PJ configuration. I was at a recording session with that bass, and another player used an American Standard Jazz. He tried out the Peavey for one take, and he used the bridge pickup as he does with his Fender. He gave it back to me and said “Nah...too thin”, and redid the take with his Fender.
    lowdownthump and bigtone23 like this.
  19. The pickups in CIJ Geddy Lees were 1962 Jazz Bass Originals (not to mix with 1962 Custom Shop or the "Fender Original Jazz Bass pickups" you can find today. They were different. Heavy wounded. Heavy bottom. Modern 70s reissues are not heavy wounded.
  20. bigtone23


    Dec 10, 2014
    Denver, CO
    First, the Unity Koa basses are killer! I rarely solo the bridge on my Peaveys, except when doing loops and want a certain layer to have a bright, guitar-like cut to it.

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