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My Jazz Bass has no balls. Help!

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Hardbassjunkie, Nov 7, 2019.

  1. Pocket4

    Pocket4 Supporting Member

    Dec 9, 2013
    New Hampshire
    P. Get your grind from effects.
  2. groove pump

    groove pump

    Oct 24, 2006
    Agree with our pal DavidEdenAria above - if you really like "the bones" of that bass, don't get rid of it until you try a few different tweaks. I don't have a perfect concept of "more grind", but I'd bet that there's "more sound" to be coaxed out of that Jazz if you try some of the ideas already floated here.

    I'm quite a fan of DiMarzio pickups - the passive Jazz I was playing until just recently had a set of Ultra Jazz pickups. Big and warm, but some mid-scoop with both pickups full open. Not especially grindy, but fantastic for a slap sound with the tone control also wide open. In more recent history with it, I was playing it like you with the neck full open and the bridge trimmed back just a little bit. Sometimes I'd just solo the neck pickup and I really got to liking that fatter tone.

    I also tried a set of DiMarzio's Area J's in this bass, but very much preferred the Ultras. The Area J's were more mid-forward, but not as "strong" as the Ultras for me in a passive layout. Sure enough, I eventually dropped the Area J's into a cheap J-style bass (Bacchus Global Series import from the Philippines) that had an on-board preamp and they worked much better paired with that preamp. That setup sat pretty well in a mix, but just not ideal for a funky, slappy sound.

    Although I haven't used DiMarzio's Model J's yet, I know that eventually I'll get some without any worries. All indications are that these are about the same as the Ultras, but the Model J's also have a little extra sprinkling of mids. I'd expect these to give you some sort of a bump - very good bang for the buck.

    Also wondering whether you've considered active EMG's. Maybe worth some research.

    Just a thought - I'm also a fan of higher mass bridges like the BadAss II. But then I don't know if you have a light piece of bent metal for a bridge or something more substantial... or whether that would even make any difference.

    So my old Jazz was just too heavy for me to keep playing it. I found a lighter alternative that's a sort of Jazz on steroids with double humbuckers, active/passive electronics, yaddah-yaddah. It can do really nice sounds in passive mode, but it can also kick up to eleven with the preamp switched on. That recommendation for either an on-board preamp or putting something in your signal chain like the Sadowsky might be the easiest addition.

    My other bass is a passive P/J with a sound that I guess I can describe as more grindy compared with even my newer Jazz-on-the-juice. I'm thankful that there's a J pickup at the bridge in that bass because partially blending it in with the P pickup is helpful for smoothing the tone over just a little bit. When I first got this bass and started gigging with it, our guitar player actually asked me to turn down. That was a first - never ever happened through all my gigs with my old Jazz.

    Those P's and P/J's can get downright angry sounding if we let them. That can be good as long as they're not too obnoxious for a certain tune or setting. I'd bet that even if you goose some extra rawness out of your Jazz by bringing out perhaps some of those mids in the 250-500 Hz realm, it could be a little more grindy, but probably not like a grumpy-growly P-bass. If I want big and smooth sound, I go for the Jazz.
    DavidEdenAria likes this.
  3. packhowitzer

    packhowitzer 155mm of pure destruction

    Apr 20, 2011
    Rounds. EB Reg Slinkys.
  4. howlin


    Nov 15, 2008
    I'm Not There
    I had a '75 RI MIJ Jazz Bass that I installed a set of Fralins. Before the switch - lifeless. After the switch - "my God, that thing has serious low end!" as per several comments. Seriously, I've never understood why an instrument made in a country known for it's skill in electronics puts out stuff that sounds so tepid. They make the best guitars & basses IMHO but more often then not the electronics need to be changed.

    Besides, you already have a P so, why get something that isn't gonna be that different? I say, "Make that Jazz work for you". :thumbsup:
  5. Yeah I'm gonna make it work. I got very lucky and purchased a Squier classic vibe jazz inca silver with dimarzios and the stack knobs for $300 USD. I will put up pics when I get it. So I'll do a little switcheroo and decide what to do with the squier CV. Probably put my made in mexico classic series pick ups on there since these japanese ones have such a bad rep.
    DavidEdenAria likes this.
  6. reno88


    Mar 16, 2008
    I was in the same boat for about 18 months. Been a P-bass player for 35 years. Found a Jazz I liked (MiM '70s reissue) and made the buy. Felt great but sounded weak. Tried to make it work for about a year, but I sold it. Decided to assemble a parts jazz because after seeing and hearing so many players kill it on J-basses, I knew I could, too. Put together a J-bass with an MiM body, Mighty Mite neck, '60s Fender Custom Shop pups (excellent!), stacked knobs, Gotoh bridge. Plays and feels great. But here's the biggest thing I learned in this adventure - TWEAK YOUR AMP! The amp settings I use for my P-bass aren't the same as the Jazz. To quote my bandmate, "It's in there. Find it." My parts Jazz has been my #1 for about a year now.
    I can't recommend enough to make adjustments on your amp. Good hunting!
  7. Jim Carr

    Jim Carr Dr. Jim Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2006
    Denton, TX or Kailua, HI
    fEARful Kool-Aid dispensing liberal academic card-carrying union member Musicians Local 72-147
    — I'm not sure why you quoted my post, but it's all good.

    I'm not the OP, but think his older "Pure Vintage '64 Jazz pickups" might not help, as they seem mid-scooped to me.

    He should definitely raise the pickups and try two or three different sets/makes of strings. For the steroids, my recommendation is to try that which has long helped make Fenders into Fenders "on steroids," a Sadowsky pre-amp—in this case an outboard pedal.

    I think it is safe to say that the Sadowsky preamp was created to solve the very problem the OP is having. :thumbsup:
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2019
  8. DavidEdenAria


    Dec 13, 2013
    On a Hill
    That sounds like a good plan to me......as i said, i am very happy with the stock ceramic pickups in my 04 MIM J bass, so that may well be the ticket for both basses...keep in mind it IS a J bass and you'll need to play around with pickup blending and height...i would try stock wiring 1st if it were mine.
  9. Thanks for tip. I'm gonna be tempted to keep the inca silver bass though. Something tells me its gonna be worth a lot some day. The new CVs are no match.
    DavidEdenAria likes this.
  10. DavidEdenAria


    Dec 13, 2013
    On a Hill
    I like inca silver a lot so it would be hard for me to part with it! Btw, i wonder about the Dimarzios replacing the stock J pickups in that CV bass as many seem to like the stock pickups in them...if i didnt have a great MIM J bass, the CV might be the 1st on my list but i rarely see them used in my area.
  11. Brookmichael


    Sep 25, 2012
    Maybe it's a girl...?
  12. DeepThoughts


    May 18, 2019
    The Valley
    Grind ?...Maybe this will help?
  13. Gothic


    Apr 13, 2008
    So, did you try series?
  14. Thanks for the follow up. No, not yet. My guitar tech buddy is gonna come buy and help me out tomorrow so I will report back.
    Gothic likes this.
  15. 20191110_101000.

    The balls have arrived, the pick ups are Dimarzio area Js and double stock knobs
    basmansam likes this.
  16. Tazziedevil


    Apr 2, 2019
    I dunno... Jazz basss to me are less angry, less thumpy and more scooped.
    Everything your wanting your Jazz bass to do is what P Basses are.

    Sounds to me like your trying to get your Jazz bass to sound like a P-Bass....?
    Atshen likes this.
  17. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    Owner/Builder @Hopkins Guitars
    You've never heard a series wired Jazz then, they have balls for days and are a best of both worlds with a flip of a switch.
    Gothic likes this.
  18. Gothic


    Apr 13, 2008
    While I do agree that series is the ballsiest mode a jazz can have, it still isn't a P.
    Tazziedevil and mesaplayer83 like this.
  19. Tazziedevil


    Apr 2, 2019
    a P still has more balls

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