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Newer MIM Standard Jazz PUPs - What did fender change?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by gapupten, Mar 18, 2005.

  1. gapupten


    Dec 29, 2004
    A few years ago I had a 1996 standard jazz MIM bass with pickups so bad (noisy and thin sounding) I changed them for a set of Barts. Great upgrade.
    I recently bot a 2003 MIM Standard jazz. I haven't heard any noise yet and they are much fuller.
    The fender site specs for the MIM standard jazz show the PUPs as "2 "New" Standard Jazz Bass Single-Coil Pickups (Mid & Bridge)".
    I think the old one's were single coil as well.
    I thought all single coils were noisy by nature. Maybe not.

    Anyone else out there with adaquate vs. horrible PUPs on your newer MIMs
  2. Depends on the wiring methods also.
    Better single point grounding and I would be willing to bet the new MIM has the control and pickup cavities shielded also.
  3. RBrownBass

    RBrownBass Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2004
    I have a 1996 MIM Jazz and the pups hummed even when volume balanced.

    I can't help you with the thin v. full-sounding part of your question, but my understanding is that Fender didn't bother to use reverse wound/reverse polarity pups in the MIM Jazz until sometime after 1996. They also made the switch at some point from using two neck-width pups to using the more traditional wider pup in the bridge position. Easier to upgrade pups. Not sure if these changes were made at the same time or not. Hope this helps.
  4. gapupten


    Dec 29, 2004
    That really helps to know. I was contemplating having to change PUPs on my 2003, for really no reason because they appear to be working OK as is. Did you change those on your 1996 or are you living with the problem? The "thin" part of my question may have had to do with the lower volumes I would play to avoid as much hum as possible.
    Has anyone else had this problem?
  5. RBrownBass

    RBrownBass Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2004
    I'm changing out mine, but that bass is going thru a makeover, period. I got it the same day I paid off my Jack Casady...

    ($425.00, like new used, not a scratch, with the Epi checklist still strung to the tuner! I searched all over for a "factory second" stamp, but didn't find one- like it would have mattered. For $425 I'd have bought it as a neck/body and stuck a bart or something in it. It hung in a pawn shop in Macon, GA for over a year. Even I didn't bother with it (knew nothing about JCs, and had no real interest) until one day last December I went in, and there were no other decent basses I hadn't already played. So I picked it up, plugged it in expecting the lifeless hollowbody thump and got the surprise of my bassplaying life. I'd never done any research on the JC before, so I had no idea what they sold for new. Went back home and checked Web prices, checked other TBers opinions, then went back and put it on layaway. Moved to Alabama in Jan, so had to drive back to pick up the bass)

    ...I'd just given these folks $200 when I saw this cream/white MIM J-bass in the corner, covered with grime and stickers and missing the bushings on two of the tuners- they'd been replaced with PVC tubing. Frets were fine, neck was straight, played like butter. Sticker price was $100.00 + tax. Since I'd made one reasonably expensive purchase, I asked if they'd take $75.00 out the door. They did, and I went home with a like new JC and a project MIM for $500!

    Project indeed... both pups hummed, as is the case with MIMs of this period, and the stickers had been on for so long that the finish was MUCH lighter underneath them. Once the stickers were off it looked like a quilt or something. Hadn't expected that. So I hand-sanded thru the clear down to the paint and resprayed it gold. Nicest rattlecan finish you ever saw. It's now in the process of taking several clearcoats, and I will be using the stock one-piece pickguard/control plate in 3-ply w/b/w (also faded badly in some spots, but that sanded/polished out very well. Looks like a new guard now) with white pup covers. Took two bushings off an Austin P-Bass neck. I'm willing to pay for the 3-4mm routing required for the standard wider bridge pup to fit. I should have waited until the routing was done to refin, but I expect a pro luthier to be able to rout without screwing up my paintjob.

    So there's my bargain story... oh, yeah- the pups. I'm replacing them. Not sure what with yet, tho. I'm trying to decide on whether to keep this a pure J-Bass, single coils, traditional bridge and all, or beef it up with J-style HBs and a high-mass bridge. If I do the latter, the bridge'll likely be a Badass. Best thing is I have a new bass to look at and play while I work on my fixer-upper. There's no rush this way.
  6. gapupten


    Dec 29, 2004
    Wow!!! What a bargin store. I thought I was doing well on ebay. Are the police after you for grand theft?
    Anyway thanks for the help on understanding the change Fender made to those old MIM Pups.
    Perhaps I can help on the changes I made to my 96. I put in Bartolini 9js dual coils (small routing work on bridge pickup slot). Result.. dead quiet, big thump.. huge improvement.. I wanted deep dark sound so I put in the number #1 version of the pickup. (I think the #1 is the deeper variety). Anyway it worked great for what I wanted.

    Second story.. I also replaced the stock bridge with a BadAss.
    Better quality than stock, but I did not think it improved the sound, or sustain, but it did make the bass feel appreciably heavier to me. I took it off and reverted back to the stock.

    Finally some info on Single Coil Barts. I have a Warmoth Bass I purchased from a guy on Ebay. It has single coil Barts. Sounds like a traditional Jazz Bass sound. But the real information is that the bass has a Bart preamp installed and the single coils are still dead quiet. So, if you are after the traditional Jazz Bass sound, you may want to check these out.
    His bass which I bought is shown on the attached Warmoth gallery site. http://www.warmoth.com/gallery/gallery.cfm?fuseaction=include_jbass
    I one I bought was the Wes Watson, last one listed at the bottom right.
    Again thanks for your help.
  7. RBrownBass

    RBrownBass Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2004
    LOL! Well, their prices aren't that low all the time. They had a couple of other 4-string MIM Jazzes and a 5. The fours were both black, and $250 and $300 for a fretless. The five was new and $500. They call themselves a music and pawn, actually- they do have a ton of amp and PA stuff, tho most of it is of the older Peavey/Kustom level- durable as hell, but not particularly high-end. I think the MIM I bought was so cheap because of the tuner issue (They probably gave the kid who pawned it $50.00), but I don't have any idea about why the JC was so cheap. It was a new bass in every sense. The only thing that I could see was that the "E" logo wasn't on the pickguard. It wasn't missing, just didn't look like there'd ever been one. I'd normally guess that they hadn't done their homework, but pawn shops keep books around for just such stuff as this- if they didn't, they couldn't stay in business. I really looked for a "factory second" marking- that was the only way I culd see it going so low. But again, no one was interested in that bass for ages, so maybe they lowered the price to move it.

    I'm going to ask you to confirm again what you've posted here. I really have been fretting (pun intended) over this one mod, and I'd just as soon put the $50 or so I'd spend on ebay for a Badass to better use toward even better pups. I have several bridges to use (the stock MIM bridge is even thinner than the other Fender-style bridges I own, so I probably won't be using it anyhow), and I'm interested in a badass only if it definitely improves sustain.

    I have noticed that the guys buying Fenders -new or used- don't upgrade to heavier bridges (even tho a Badass has five holes and is a non-intrusive mod) nearly as often as the Warmoth owners/builders start out with them. As I see it, what's good for Warmoth is good for Fender, and vice versa. So in a sense, I don't understand the use of high-mass bridges on aftermarket basses unless they do something. Are you absolutely certain this bridge made no improvement to the sound?

    I go there and drool over bass porn all the time. I saw that one a while back. I'm sure it's a nice one.
  8. gapupten


    Dec 29, 2004
    I bet if you did a search on badass bridges you would find a set of mixed answers about improvements in sustain. I my case, once my Barts were in place, I saw no additional improvement in sustain. The Barts are a big deep (some say dark) sound. It may be that the BadAss has no benefit in that setting. No question that the BadAss is a better quality bridge than the stock MIM fender. No question that it will last longer and be better looking. I just did not improve the sustain for me. And it made the bass feel heavier. I bot it new on Ebay and sold it used. Cost me $10-15 for the privilage of testing it.

    If I were you, I would put in the quality pickup set you feel comfortable with. It will be a massive improvement over your stock PUPs. In tone as well as sustain. Then make a judgement if you need more. The other thing to consider is that the MIM jazz is no light weight bass. Some early Fenders and current MIAs are a little lighter. Maybe they benefit more from the BASSASSMASS.

  9. gapupten


    Dec 29, 2004
    Forgot to comment on that question. My only thought I that once you are spending $400-$650 To build a Warmoth from scratch, what's $50 vs. $35 for the other bridges they offer.
    As I said, the Badass is a nice bridge.
    Last comment is the the Warmoth I bought that you saw in the Warmoth gallery had the least expensive bridge, a Gotoh 201. Its fairly light weight. Again no problem with sustain. Please note his comment in the gallery comment that "I can play a note, and go make a sandwich, and it's still playing"!
    That Warmoth bass is about the weight of our MIM jazz basses.

    I would be interested in knowing how you make out. Good luck.
  10. BassyBill

    BassyBill The smooth moderator... Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2005
    West Midlands UK
    I have Badass bridges on both my Jazz basses - a sweet MIM fretted and a Warmoth special with a Status graphite neck. Both have EMGs.

    When I changed the stock bridge on the MIM to the Badass I did notice an improvement in the sound of the bass. It's marginal rather than huge, but you definitely get a sharper attack to the note and increased clarity. Sustain seems about the same though, the mod just gave the bass a more "defined" tone. This is why I went Badass on the fretless, which sustains all day, but a lot of that is due to the neck, I'm sure.