Onboard pre and P'up questions

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Groovecenter, May 9, 2003.

  1. I've read through the entire search catalogue on Jazz replacements. I've come up with this- I'd like a two band onboard preamp, bass and treble. I know Sadowsky makes them, as well as aguilar, but I don't know the price. Also, how would my stock Amer Stnd Jazz p'ups work with this (meaning would they sound good, or would I have to throw down even more money for new P'ups).

    What sort of routing would be necessary if any? Any alternatives on a two band onboard would be welcome, as well as good sounding sets (P'ups with pre-amp, I hear EMG does this). Sound wise I'd like more clarity and highs in my sound, without getting harsh ofcourse. A good slap sound is a must, and I tend toward a crisp-ness overall when it comes to sound. I play with a three piece rock band right now, but need versitility as I do shows (theatre) and anything else that I am asked for.

    Who would you choose amongst Aguilar, Sadowsky, EMG or others of your naming? Also, which ones would you recomend a p'up change with and which would be fine with stock p'ups.

    *edit- like to add that I still need a full big sound for my band, and I do play more fingerstlye than slap, but will not sacrifice slap tone.
  2. JPJ


    Apr 21, 2001
    Chicago, IL
    I play fingerstyle exclusively and only play 4-string jazz basses, so I'm pretty familiar with what we refer to when we're talking about "that classic jazz bass tone". I recently finished a parts bass project, and studied, plotted, and schemed over every last detail of the instrument for about 3 years. Ultimately, I went with a Sadowsky vintage electronics package for my bass-pickups, preamp, pots, output jack, knobs, etc. I think it was the perfect choice and am very happy with my decision.

    The Sadowsky electronics package gives you a lot of clarity and detail without sounding "fake" or "processed", like so many modern-style active basses sound. The highs are there, but they're not shrill or zingy...they sound very natural and seem to come from within the bass itself and NOT from the control cavity. The mids are tight and punchy, but not scooped. The lows are deep and rich, but not woofy or artificial sounding. The whole instrument sounds very natural and real, and when you go from passive to active, the preamp just gives you a little more that you had before, across the board from top to bottom. I couldn't find anything else that I was happy with that gave me an organic, natural bass tone. Everything else sounded fake and processed to me....it sounded too much like an active bass with all the knobs cranked to 10. Fingerstyle players just don't need that much trebbly zing in my opinion, but I encourage you to keep searching so that you can have options to consider.


  3. a jazz-retro unit would fit without any routing
    but unfortunately you would have to leave the mid controls at centre and the frequency of your choice...still have bass and treble and the option to use passive.. pricewise the jazz retro may be above the sadowski units..:)
  4. Thanks for the response JPJ, that fender w/ matching headstock looks like a million bucks! MrCrow, the J-retro seems very nice indeed, and an easy fix, but im looking to avoid that mid knob, its just not something I would really want ya know.

    Keep the responses coming, so far the sadowsky is on top, but keep in mind I wouldn't be buying their p'ups, only the onboard pre. Would this be extremely detremental to the sound? (Keep in mind this is only a jazz, I personally don't see it worth paying more than half its value to upgrade it just yet, just a simple preamp job is good for now)
  5. JPJ


    Apr 21, 2001
    Chicago, IL
    Another option might be the no-mod passive-to-active drop-in preamps that Steve Rabe is making at Raven Labs. His Precision model has been out for a while, and when I talked to him about a year or more ago, he said that a Jazz model would be coming soon. I'm not sure how often the Raven Labs site is updated, but the info in the P-model should tell you all you need to know. It would certainly be worth asking if the Jazz model is ready....or at least to see how close it is to being ready. Jim Roberts gave the P-version a great review, and Dan Lakin put one in a Glaub (and was pretty happy with the results). The Raven preamp would be a direct drop-in preamp with no mods needed, should not alter the fundamental tone and character of your bass, would be fairly inexpensive, and should give you good active tone. Just another option to consider.... ;)