New preamp (maybe p'ups?) for an old Jazz bass...

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by secretdonkey, Sep 22, 2003.

  1. secretdonkey


    Oct 9, 2002
    Austin, TX
    Okay, I know that this subject HAS to have been covered over and over again, but my search failed to located a "mother lode" of discussion.

    Anyway, I think I'm going to put some work towards rehabilitating my old trusty J bass. I want a modern-sounding, active setup - wicked slap tone is mandatory, of course. routing/modding the body is okay if needed to accomodate an onboard preamp or 'nonstandard' pickups.

    She's got a set of EMG p'ups installed back in '88 or so. The sound I got from them is, well, okay... but I think it can be better. I could pair the existing EMGs with a preamp, or start from scratch with a new p'up/pre combo.

    Suggestions for a new setup, references to old threads that cover this ground, or admonishments to search more thoroughly in the future are all welcome...

  2. neptoon


    Jul 25, 2000
    summerville, sc
    get a j-retro, man...
  3. secretdonkey


    Oct 9, 2002
    Austin, TX
    Thanks, Smash - good info on the pickup comparo...

    I have been really living under a rock, gear-wise, I suppose. Some confessions: I don't know what "J-retro" is, and I have no idea what onboard/outboard preamps are available, much less what they sound like. That makes it hard for me to be more specific about what sound I'm looking for, other than to specify modern/active sounding as opposed to traditional/passive, and that a nice slap tone is important.

    I did not know that Fodera had an outboard preamp. I even went to their site because I knew the Vic Wooten Monarch sports EMGs (if in a P/J config) and I really dig Vic's sound for the most part. If the Fodera (Mike Pope?) preamp is available onboard or outboard, there's something I would be very interested in checking out. Any idea how I could find out more about this one, given the lack of info on Fodera's website (at least that I can find).

    Re: Sadowsky, Marcus Miller is the only real reference I can bring to mind for that signature sound, and it's hard to argue with Mr. Miller's tone - but his sound is so much *his sound* that I can't be sure that's the direction I'd want to try to take.

    So, any ideas how could I learn more about the Fodera preamp, the "J-retro" thing, and the Aguilar pre? Umm, sorry for being so ignorant, but I guess I gotta start somewhere...


    [edit: I found a link on Fodera's site for a source for the outboard pre]

    [edit 2: Did a web search and found the manufacturer's site for the J-retro. I'm wondering if I'd need to do some routing because both the EMG's and the preamp would need a battery... if I'm going to have to route anyway, the J-retro is still an option, but loses a big advantage. Two batteries definitely won't fit in the cavity; I checked because I thought about doing the EMG 18v mod...]
  4. JPJ


    Apr 21, 2001
    Chicago, IL
    I would highly recommend the new line of pickups that Carey Nordstand has developed for use in his own basses. Two models are currently available, with P and 5-string p-ups to come soon (the vintage spec NJ4 and more modern-sounding NJ4SE). I would recommend the NJ4SE, which is a zero-hum, modern sounding pickup that would be a direct "drop-in" replacement in your jazz.