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More umph ;)

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by u84six, Dec 20, 2011.

  1. u84six

    u84six Nobody panic, the bass player is here! Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2006
    I have a Fender Jazz American Standard that I bought new back in '91 and never really liked the stock sound. Can anyone recommend some replacement pickups that might make it sound a bit deeper and smoother?
  2. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    Are you comparing it against other basses using your current amp rig, and finding that those other basses do have the oomph? Because if not, then maybe the issue isn't the pickups.
  3. u84six

    u84six Nobody panic, the bass player is here! Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2006
    Yes, my P bass and RIC sound great through my amp, it's really the bass. I've owned it for a long time and I never really liked the sound. I always choose the other basses for a gig. My issues is that I love the feel of the bass but hate the sound. Kind of a shame because it's a waste of a nice bass.

    By the way, thanks for the compressor recommendation. The Empress does exactly what I wanted it to do. It's like it's not even on, yet my bass volume is nicely balanced. :)
  4. RedLeg

    RedLeg Supporting Member

    Jan 24, 2009
    Kaiserslautern, Germany
    Nov Shmoz Ka Pop?
    money is no object
    Nordstrand NJ4SV Set (plenty of sound clips on the youtube)
    Bartolini 9J1 set (heard these in a MIM w/john east pre, saweet)
    Delano JMVC (i have a set of these w/OBP-3 in my thumb, they're awesome)

    As you can see, I prefer split coil J's as opposed to stacked buckers.
  5. Coolhandjjl

    Coolhandjjl Supporting Member

    Oct 13, 2010
    People say the Lindy Fralins have a bit better lows than regular J pups. Another suggestion is the DiMarzio Model J in the neck position, it has greatly emphasized lows.
  6. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    Stacked humbuckers can be on the thin side.

    Another option are dual rail humbuckers.

    I think the only two choices are Joe Barden and Mine.

    A true humbucker will give enhanced lows and mids while smoothing the top end a bit.

  7. mikezimmerman

    mikezimmerman Supporting Member

    Apr 29, 2001
    Omaha, Nebraska
    What do folks think about DiMarzio Model J's for the sound he's looking for? It's a been a while since I played a bass with them, but I always remember them as being on the "P-bass" side of the J bass tonal spectrum....
  8. Coolhandjjl

    Coolhandjjl Supporting Member

    Oct 13, 2010
    As mentioned....
  9. mikezimmerman

    mikezimmerman Supporting Member

    Apr 29, 2001
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Sorry, I missed that!
  10. I don't know if it'll help, but there's a pretty big thread on J bass pickups here.

    I put a pair of Basslines Quarter Pounds in my '06 MIA Jazz V a while back and the difference wasn't night and day, but it definitely sounds much better than stock. The QP's have a warmer, wider low end without being boomy while the high end looks and sounds pretty similar (see visuals below). I liked the stock sound, but I always thought that low B was just a tad thin and now it has more presence now which is nice. The whole bass overall seems to "warm" into a room more, and it has more growl than with the stock pickups when you dig in. The guitarist at my church even commented on the difference, which told me something. ;)

    It was a pretty good upgrade for only about $130 IMO, and no routing required. Same great Jazz bass sound, just....... better. Like having steak sauce with your steak. :)


    Here's a visual comparison of stock vs. Basslines Quarter Pounders. The difference in low end is fairly significant.

    stock Fender pickups:

    and here's with the Basslines:
  11. Tampabass

    Tampabass Going Viral By 2080 Supporting Member

    Feb 16, 2006
    I know you are, but what am I?
    don't know about umph, but I'm always in favor of more oomph.
  12. u84six

    u84six Nobody panic, the bass player is here! Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2006
    Urban Dictionary: umph

    I was referring to #2, but any of the other ones would be fine by me. But there you go. Get with the picture! :p
  13. u84six

    u84six Nobody panic, the bass player is here! Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2006
    Thanks for all the suggestions, everyone! I'll take a look at all the recommendations.
  14. Coolhandjjl

    Coolhandjjl Supporting Member

    Oct 13, 2010
    I forgot about the Quarter Pounds. Seems like people like them, lots of positive discussions about them here. Seymour Duncan is big company, quite a number of their pups out there. Consider looking at the classifieds here, or ebay for a used set. And you can always sell them easily if they aren't for you.
  15. Antoanto


    Feb 20, 2011
    I have problems reading your image or it's not what you think it is. This doesn't look like a spectrum analysis at all
  16. NKBassman

    NKBassman Lvl 10 Nerd Supporting Member

    Jun 16, 2009
    Winnipeg, MB, Canada
    "Oomph" should be spelled DIMARZIO.
  17. testing1two

    testing1two Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2009
    Southern California
    I think the Fralin hum-canceling jazz pickups are as good it gets although substantially more expensive than the formidable DiMarzio Area J.

    Also, it is worth trying one more thing before you take the plunge and buy new pickups: reset your pickup height. I find that most players (and most techs) don't set pickup height with the bass plugged into an amp. This is one circumstance where printed specs are just a starting point but ears have to be the final authority. It takes a little time but it can make a night and day difference.

    YMMV but here's how I do it:

    First, I try to get my bridge pickup as close to the strings as reasonably possible (usually 3/32 or 1/8"). Then I solo the bridge pickup and play the E string on the upper frets. I am listening for the effects of magnetic string pull which sounds like oscillations or chorusing. I then lower the pickup until the oscillations stop and the notes are clear. Next I test for string to string balance. Typically the treble side of the pickup must be slightly higher than the bass side to achieve uniform volume across all strings.

    Next, I lower the neck pickup lower than normal (in excess of 5/32). I then turn up both pickup volumes and gradually raise the neck pickup until I get the best combined sound. This part is purely subjective. As the pickups combine, a certain amount of phase cancellation occurs creating a scooped sound. As you raise the neck pickup, the point where the sound is the most scooped represents equal output for both pickups. You may prefer to favor the neck or bridge pickup slightly or you might like scooped sound when the pickups have equal output.

    Once I've found my preferred sound with both pickups combined I then solo the neck pickup and play on the upper frets of the E string. I am again listening for oscillations or chorusing. If there are no oscillations, move on to the next step. But if there are oscillations you will need to lower the neck pickup until the oscillations stop and then lower the bridge pickup until you achieve your preferred blend of both pickups. Don't forget to test all four strings and adjust the treble side of the pickup slightly so all 4 strings sound even.

    At this point your pickups are now as close to the strings as possible and that will make them sound as fat as possible. Final step: crank up the amp, stand several feet away and start playing in first position across all 4 strings. Now you're listening for tone. Hotter pickups can really lose clarity when they're close to the strings but I find that normal/vintage output jazz pickups usually sound great. If you need more clarity it's simply a matter of systematically lowering both pickups in very small increments. Your ears will be the final authority.

    Oh, and the final, final step: once you've found your ideal pickup heights, take measurements of the bass and treble side of each pickup. Heck, why not post them here?!?

    Good luck! :bassist:

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