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My Jazz Bass has no balls. Help!

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

  1. DavidEdenAria


    Dec 13, 2013
    On a Hill
    While thats true, raising the pickup height 1st is the cheapest and fastest thing to do as well as changing back to stock pickup/string distance (which i would measure 1st).
  2. IMO
    My Jazz Bass has no balls. Help!
    does not include amp specifics the J bass is heard!
    electric bass "balls" = strong sound chain
    any bass can sound "no balls" through a weak sound chain
    mesaplayer83 and DavidEdenAria like this.
  3. TREYontheBASS

    TREYontheBASS Supporting Member

    Aug 10, 2014
    Nashville, TN
    Throw a sadowsky pre in there and it’ll sound a whole lot meaner. Or just try some different pickups, it can make a world of difference.
    Jim Carr likes this.
  4. Bubble


    Apr 17, 2013
    I'm too busy now but in a few weeks I'm going to get a set of Fender Yosemite coils. They even sound mean when the setup is clean. Do some YouTube demos of them.
  5. JohnArnson


    May 28, 2019
    As it has already been suggested by others in this thread I would try to wire the 2 J pickups in series, connecting the hot wire from one of the pickups to the ground wire of the other pickup, essentially making them work as one big humbucker pickup, which should give your Jazz Bass more low end guts and mid frequency punch, as well as a hotter output.

    I didn't like any of the tones I could get from my bass equipped with 2 J pickups, neither any of them soloed or any possible blending combination, so I decided to give wiring the pickups in series a shot, and boom, there it was, magically fixed everything I didn't like about those pickups, and now I prefer that bass over my P/J equipped bass.
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2019
  6. Tigerpig


    Oct 27, 2016
    Norwich UK
    Matt R and Gothic like this.
  7. JohnArnson


    May 28, 2019
    It gives you more fundamentals and less harmonic content, which translate as perceived more low end, but usually also a somewhat softer and more mellow tone, unless you're Steve Harris, hence why I wrote usually.

    As I understand it, and I realize I could have gotten that wrong, OP's issue is not just the J pickups's lack of low end compared to the P pickup in his other bass, but rather their relative lack of aggressiveness as a whole, and in order to achieve that flat wound strings is not exactly the best solution in my opinion.

    J pickups generally have an inherent more polite and somewhat smoother character in comparison to the more raw and somewhat more aggressive quality P pickups typically possess, all things being relative of course to the context and in this case the specific pickup models in question.

    There will without doubt be exceptions of polite P pickups sounding smoother and less raw than other exceptions of aggressive J pickups, but typically and in general the above is almost always true, and regardless of those specific character traits a P pickup will always sound like a P pickup, and a J pickup will always sound like a J pickup.
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2019
    Tigerpig likes this.
  8. Gothic


    Apr 13, 2008
    I don't know, I switched to flats and I find them much better than rounds. I think they can sound pretty aggressive, they do have that low mid growl to them that rounds never seemed to provide enough of for me and my bass. In a band mix, at least. They can be somewhat unimpressive at home with the bass soloed but get'em in pretty much any mix, and bam! you're right there! Still, to each his own, I suppose.
    DavidEdenAria and Tigerpig like this.
  9. GallienUser


    Feb 26, 2006
    I am not sure what "dimed" means (not an English native speaker here) but if it means completely turned down, then this is where I would start. My favorite Jazz settings are either:
    a) Bridge pickup 100%, neck 30 to 50%, treble 50 to 75%
    b) Bridge pickup 0%, neck 100%, treble 75 to 100%
    c) Bridge pick 30%, neck 100%, treble 100%

    All my Jazz clones sound pretty ballsy with these settings.
  10. Thanks for the tips. I tried neck 100% bridge 25% and treble 50% yesterday and it definately gave more power. I'm gonna try putting roto sounds maybe. But just found a really good deal on dimarzios and the double stack knobs so might be a good chance to try.
    murphy and GallienUser like this.
  11. ReverendGodless


    Feb 25, 2019
    Definitely get some Lollars on the Jazz, if 100% original condition is not the issue for you. You'll never hear a hotter bass sound. Can't go wrong with Lollars: Jazzbass Electric Bass Pickups
  12. JZQuantum


    Oct 12, 2008
    Try running it through a Sadowsky SPB1 pedal. I had that complaint too until I used this. It really wakes up a jazz bass!
    Jim Carr and murphy like this.
  13. Anyone know if the grounding strip in external, would it make a difference when changing pick ups?
  14. nozkcb

    nozkcb Supporting Member

    Jan 23, 2009
    Over the years, I've had several guitars and basses that were remarkable, beautiful, excellent playing instruments that had either no character or, as you say, no balls.

    It is absolutely heartbreaking.

    I've tried replacing pickups on several instruments and to some extent I've had marginal improvements in tone, but generally I've learned that if the instrument doesn't inherently have good tone (punch, clarity, warmth, fullness, bite, etc), there's not much you can do about it.

    In the last several years alone I've ended up selling 3 different high-end J-style basses that I could simply not get to sound the way I wanted them to sound.

    Conversely, I've also picked up a few inexpensive made in Mexico instruments that while not perfect, naturally had great tone.

    I know it's been said a million times, but great tone really does start (beyond the player) with the woods.
    murphy likes this.
  15. andruca


    Mar 31, 2004
    Madrid (Spain)

    For me "balls" in a Jazz Bass is all about the Ged. Fresh strings and low action on a flat skinny neck is the name of the game IME. After decades of trading I'm not even buying any fretted bass that's not like that. I love the "moody" variation of every vintage tone (P, Jazz, Musicman, RIC), aggressive and barking on XXI century playability. The fresh strings + low action + fast neck thing is 50% of it, and it in turn stimulates the other 50% that's my playing, it encourages me to play "at the service of the setup", digging in the ultimate orgasmic "raspyness".
    mesaplayer83 likes this.
  16. mesaplayer83


    Jun 27, 2017
    Yeah, I have a couple Jazz basses, and a few P Basses - while *I* prefer the P basses, I can certainly get a good sound out of the Jazz basses...
  17. mesaplayer83


    Jun 27, 2017

    Setup definitely affects sound - I don't keep any instruments without a straight neck and good fretwork, end of story... My typical setup would be described as medium low by most - it'll fret everything cleanly, but get a little buzz/growl when I dig in a bit...
    andruca likes this.
  18. The action on this thing is very low. In fact, the lowest I've ever had on a bass and absolutely no fret buzz. This tells me that the neck is shaped perfectly and the frets are perfect as well. That is why I'm reluctant to give it up because it meets my highest standard when it comes to quality.
    DavidEdenAria and andruca like this.
  19. mesaplayer83


    Jun 27, 2017
    I doubt the grounding strip will make a difference...
  20. mesaplayer83


    Jun 27, 2017
    To each their own - I frequently travel out of state on my bike, and I don't see anyone doing 500-750 miles in a day on something like that...

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