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Jazz pickups for fretless?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Warpeg, Apr 7, 2017.

  1. Warpeg


    Jun 20, 2005
    As much as I love my beater MIM fretless Jazz Bass, it's time for the stock pickups to go. They are just too low of output and not "mid-rangy" enough for my tastes. Also, they are a bit on the noisy side. Can anyone recommend a set of pickups that:

    • Are 4-string single-coil Jazz Bass-sized
    • Have mid- to high- output
    • Have a nice, present mid-range, but with lows and highs that sound natural
    • Are passive (...and no preamp is or will be installed)
    • Low-noise or are noiseless
    Other factors: I dig the fretless tones of Tony Levin, Pino, Jeff Ament, and even some Les Claypool. My chops are generally up to the task of playing in many different styles proficiently. My rig is all GK and I keep it set flat, for the most part. I keep either Elixir or EB roundwounds on my Jazz, never flats. My technique favors a heavy hand and I tend to pluck in the area between both Jazz pickups.

    My experience with pickups is generally focused on EMGs, MECs, and various P-bass split pickups; popular passive Jazz pickup makes and models are a little outside of my knowledge area. Any experience-based suggestions on pickups that may be a good fit?
  2. e-flat


    Jun 15, 2009
    Washington State
    I'd say a Dimarzio Model J set would be perfect. They are pretty hot, humbucking, and have a great midrange growl. I had a set in a Squier / Fender Frankenstein Jazz bass for a couple years and they're great.
    Burwabit likes this.
  3. Model J
    e-flat likes this.
  4. geshel

    geshel Supporting Member

    Oct 2, 2001
    You mention Tony Levin (Stingray) and Les Claypool (CT with EMG), it makes me think a more aggressive-treble pickup like the SD Quarter Pounders for a Jazz bass. There aren't many examples of that setup I can find online, but my hunch is that a Model J is too narrow in the mids to give a sound like either of the above artists.
    Pbassmanca likes this.
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