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MIM Jazz Bass modifications

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by 87octane_, Aug 8, 2001.


  1. 87octane_

    87octane_ Guest

    Jul 18, 2001
    Sumner, IL
    I guess this is the right place for this post . . .
    I've got a fairly crappy sounding Jazz bass here, and I wondered what I could do to it to make it sound a little better. It's got passive electronics, and I didn't know if I could put a preamp in it or not. I've only been playing for about a year and a half, so I don't know too much about all the technical stuff. Forgive me.
    I also thought about new pickups, but I didn't know what kind I needed. I guess a new bridge would be nice, too, but that doesn't go in this forum.
    Anyway, would there be a way to make this thing come close to growling?
     
  2. Flatwound

    Flatwound Supporting Member

    Sep 9, 2000
    San Diego
    Try the FDP. There are some guys there who have done MIM Jazz mods, and there are plenty of related threads. They have a good search function.

    Here's a link:http://www.fenderforum.com/fdp.html

    Good luck.
     
  3. Phat Ham

    Phat Ham

    Feb 13, 2000
    DC
    There are tons of j-bass replacement pickups out there. Go to www.bassplayer.com/gear and click on the pickup shootout link. That's a good starting point. As for preamps ther j-retro preamp is specifically designed for j basses and drops into the control cavity. You could also get an outboard preamp such as a Sadowsky or Aguilar, both of which are highly regarded.

    It might just be easier to get a new bass, as the cost of all the upgrades can actually be more than the bass itself.
     
  4. Thats part of the beauty of the mim jazz, you can make all the upgrades over a period of time. True, the upgrades may cost more than the bass, but it will be one sweet bass when finished. You can always remove them and put the stock peices back in when you sell or trade the bass, and sell the parts separate or they can go into a mia or mij jazz. My mim jazz will be complete once the j-retro arrives at my front door from bass nw.
    Your mim jazz may need a good set up, they can be made to sing as well as many higher end basses. Do a search on this site for modifications.

    eddie
     
  5. jwymore

    jwymore

    Jul 26, 2001
    Portland, OR
    87,

    Describe crappy .... I have found that MIM's generally sound pretty good out of the box (but can be improved with a PUP upgrade). As stated in a post above, a good setup and some new strings might be a big help. Also check the height of the strings above the pickup poles. If too close (less than 3/16 when playing the top fret) you can sometimes get lousy tone.

    Did you buy the bass new or used? Do you know how old the strings are? On a stock passive MIM I like the sound of GHS Boomers.

    BTW I have an MIM Jazz with a J-Retro and Duncan "Hot Stack" PUP's and it is awesome sounding!!
     
  6. 87octane_

    87octane_ Guest

    Jul 18, 2001
    Sumner, IL
    Well, not really crappy. It's halfway decent sounding. Crappy - I get a lotta rattling (but not buzzing) when I play harder. Also, it sounds like the E string is a lot louder than the rest. Is that possible?
    I bought the bass new in November of '98. I changed strings a couple months ago. I guess they're still good? What's the rule for knowing when to change them?
    I kinda planned on buying a lefty P-Bass for $550 from musiciansfirend.com, but I played one today, and I really think I could make mine sound better. It must be MIM, too, since it was so cheap. It didn't sound too great. I'll check out the Fender forum for some good setups.
     
  7. jwymore

    jwymore

    Jul 26, 2001
    Portland, OR
    Definetly sounds like some setup issues, I would do that or have someone do it for you before you buy any upgrades.
     
  8. 87octane_

    87octane_ Guest

    Jul 18, 2001
    Sumner, IL
    Even when it was set up right from the store (I've messed with it since then. My bad.) I didn't like the sound of it. I just want a little growl. But setup-wise, what would you recommend I do?
     
  9. lo-end

    lo-end

    Jun 15, 2001
    PA
    if youre talking about the cheap fender hot rod p bass, then it IS made in america. the reason why its so cheap is because that bass was discontinued, so now they are cheaper because theres a new version of it called the american series hot rod p bass. Yes, the p bass youre looking at is MIA.
     
  10. jwymore

    jwymore

    Jul 26, 2001
    Portland, OR
    Go to this link and print it out. Read the whole thing through first and then give it a whirl. It only tkes about 45 minutes and will get you in the right ballpark.

    http://www.harmony-central.com/Bass/setups.txt

    If it still sounds bad then look at maybe a pickup upgrade.

    If you decide to upgrade please e-mail me. There are three real good options for you to consider as far as manufacturers.
     
  11. Old Blue

    Old Blue

    Mar 18, 2000
    Texas
    Probably the quickest, easiest, and least expensive thing you can do to improve the sound of your MIM J is to replace the pickups. I put a set of Fender American Standard pups in mine and it really came to life.
     
  12. JerryH

    JerryH

    Dec 13, 1999
    Helsinki, Finland
    Well, I changed the pups of my JB MIM to Duncan Hot Jazzes, but they did not have the bark and bite as the original pups. So, I went back to the originals - maybe I am just stupid, but they sound better thru my SVT stack. More anger and dynamite in these pups. The only problem is only that I have to be quite hush-hush and not to bang my bass to heavy cause the pups get the banging from the body and neck - any recommendations how to get rid of this???
    Thanks and thumbs up for JB MIM, they ARE great basses!
     
  13. Flatwound

    Flatwound Supporting Member

    Sep 9, 2000
    San Diego
    To quiet down your pickups, you could wax pot them, or have someone do it. I've done it to a couple of pickups with paraffin, but the recommended wax is a mixture of beeswax and paraffin. It worked well for me. The beeswax apparently would make the wax a little more flexible and stable, but so far, I've done OK. There was a description of how to do it somewhere on the web, but I can't find it now. It might have been on Lindy Fralin's site, but I'm not sure.
     
  14. I believe the way to go on the MIM J or P is to get a Goth 201 from Warmoth for $20 and some Seymour Duncan pups. Read the descriptions of the four types. Vintage, Antiquity, Hot and Quarter Pounder. Make your best guess and go for it. SD has a super exchange policy. Call for an authorization number and then send them the pups for an exchange to another model. It doesn't matter where you bought them, you do the exchange direct with SD. Any of those SD pups should sound better than the stock MIM pups. Of course good strings and proper setup come first.
     
  15. Oops! Make that a Gotoh 201 bridge. You don't want to mess with the Goth bridge. It wears black clothing and is pissed at it's parents.
     
  16. 87octane_

    87octane_ Guest

    Jul 18, 2001
    Sumner, IL
    Lol@Goth bridge. I thought they made the Goth bridges extra pointy, too, so that they could use their basses to perform the sacrifices?
    Thanks for the link to the bass setup, Jwymore. The bass sounds a lot better now, but if it's possible, I'd still like to take it that extra step.
    I was thinking about the Seymour Duncans, some kinda bridge, I'm not sure yet, and a J-Retro preamp. How does the Gotoh bridge compare with say, a Badass II?
    Would one bridge be better than another for a certain style? I like to play heavy stuff.
     
  17. lo-end

    lo-end

    Jun 15, 2001
    PA
    theres a thread about bridges in setup: http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?threadid=23503

    I highly recommend the Badass2 bridge because I have one on my precision bass and I love it. They are good for heavy stuff and are a "drop-in" installation for most Fenders. I also have a quarter pound p bass pickup and thats cool too. I especially like the way it looks. :D

    You should also check out a Aguilar preamp too. Those are supposed to be the best preamps, but the J-retro is a shoe-in since you have a J bass. I still say check it out tho...

    I dont know much about pups but most people like Bartolinis the best. If you play modern music, check out EMGs. They have an extrememly modern tone that most Talkbassers hate because its so bright and punchy, but you may like it. Seymour duncan quarter pounders should be good too. I have one in my p bass, as I said above.

    Good luck with your mods! ;)
     
  18. Badass ll vs. Gotoh 201? The Badass is $40 from Mars Music and the Gotoh is $20 from Warmoth. Both are direct drop in replacements which just means that the screw holes line up. The Gotoh is a similar design to the Cheapass ll bridge that comes on the MIMs, but the Gotoh is much more solid. The Badass is a somewhat different design and you are supposed to file string grooves in the saddles. I have both types of bridges and they are both very cool. The Badass is maybe a little bit better because it says 'ass' on it. I can't imagine that you would hear, see, feel or smell a bit of difference between them, once they were installed. I say go Gotoh. Warmoth is a great company, $20 is a steal and you won't need to fuss about filing the grooves. On the pup tip, I say get Seymour Duncans, also from Warmoth. I'm all for upgrading MIMs, but I don't know about going all the way with fancy electronics. It's still a budget axe no matter what you do to it. The bridge and pups should be plenty for the average Joe. If you're not an average Joe, then you probably should be playing a more expensive bass and then you don't need to bother with the MIM.
     
  19. 87octane_

    87octane_ Guest

    Jul 18, 2001
    Sumner, IL
    Whoa. I just looked at the prices on the Seymour Duncans, and those are a little outta the range I'm wanting to spend. How's DiMarzio Ultra Jazz DP149 set?
    I think I'm gonna go with the Warmoth, though. Thanks.
     
  20. 87octane_

    87octane_ Guest

    Jul 18, 2001
    Sumner, IL
    Gotoh, I mean.