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Mistery Jazz body

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by JordanUK, Sep 26, 2004.

  1. JordanUK


    Nov 16, 2002
    Wensleydale U.K.
    Hi, I posted this in pickups as it relates to pickup sizes but if I am in the wrong section I apologies.
    Around a year ago I built up a J bass from parts off ebay including a body that was suposedly a early eighties USA Fender J body. I fitted it with an EMG J set and everything was fine until I started to get bored with the sound.
    I started to collect various pickups when ever they were going cheap on ebay with the intention of experimenting with diferent configurations series/parallel etc I also wanted to return to a passive bass.
    The pups I bought included a pair of Mex J pups, a DiMarzio J set and a pair of Pure Tone Ferral pups, these were new from the Australian dealer as I particularly liked the look of these(no pole pieces like emg).
    To cut a long story short the only pups that will fit my body apart from the emgs are the DiMarzios, the others being too wide 20mm as opposed to 18.5 mm.
    So, does this mean as I suspect it does that the body is not genuine fender or are the pups to blame?
    And if it is not a Fender then does any one know of a manufacturer who makes j bodies that take a narrow pickup?
    I am not too worried as the body is nicely made, it looks like a decent piece of ash and is nicely finished but I would be interested to know.
    It does limit my pup choices though, I wanted to try some Barts but I think they may be a little tight.
  2. luknfur


    Jan 14, 2004

    I'm not into Fenders but it seems some had equal length neck and bridge pups but typically the bridge is a roughly an 1/8" longer, which is more common than not with any J set - especially with exposed poles. Before I radically routed my low-end Ibe's they were all PJ's and with the first bass I ran into the J bridge being a strong 1/16" shy of allowing an EMG J to drop in.

    So I took about an 1/8" drill bit and motor and used the side of the bit to remove the needed material. Didn't take much and didn't take long. I just put the bit down near the bottom of the original routing and pushed the bit against the edge and it worked fine. Threw some masking tape on the face of the bass around the routing in case I accidentally ran the bit over it - which didn't happen and wasn't an issue but a good precaution to take regardless.

    By taking a little off each end, no one would even know any material had been removed with the original pup back in place.
  3. Bassic83


    Jul 26, 2004
    Texas, USSA
    I've used a Dremel with a sanding drum in the past with very good results- definitely use a mask on the body as luknfur said. Take your time, go real slow, and don't use a high speed and you should be OK. Definitely use a pencil mark on the mask to define your rout area, mask all the way to the edge. The drum will eat right through the edge of the tape as you move along. When you get to the mark, stop, drop, and roll. I would definitely take the measurement twice, then split the routing distance between both sides. If you don't, your polepieces might not line up.
  4. luknfur


    Jan 14, 2004
    Yep, I think I actually tried a sanding drum and I had some other miscellaneous small grinders. The problem I ran into was those throwing too much of a curve into the cut. They did offer more control in my recollection. You could probably go that route then use the bit for the corners. Seems the bit worked slower and I may have used one smaller than 1/8". Whatever size it was there was a natural feel to it cause too small and you don't remove anything, too big and it kind of takes out chunks instead of strips, another reason to mask the face. But the bit tends to more push the tape back then wear it away along with the wood.

    At any rate, I'd recommend taking a small amount out then trying the pup and repeating the process till it just fits. You'll find it may drop in the top but not to the bottom, or whatever. If it's too big then it will be obvious if you drop the original back in when it's time to sell the bass (all they all get sold - eventually) but you don't want to have to pry to get a replacement pup out either. On some pups, even the width may need a hair removed.
  5. JordanUK


    Nov 16, 2002
    Wensleydale U.K.
    Thanks for the advice, I will see if I can summon up the courage to start cutting.
  6. KeithPas


    May 16, 2000
    Those pickup sizes should be different. This is due to the fact that the neck tapers and gets narrower towards the neck and wider at the bridge. Modding your bass is fine but understand that most Fender replacement pickups will not fit in the routes after you take the Dremel to it.