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Passive 5 String Jazz pickups?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by dgce, Nov 19, 2003.

  1. dgce


    Jun 17, 2001
    Massachusetts, USA
    I've got my eye on either a nifty Brice 5 string Jazz or a passive Fender MIM 5 string Jazz. My plan is to eventually upgrade the pickups but I don't want to bother with active pickups.

    Can any one recommended any passive J-style passive pickups for a 5 string? Any little perks like vintage vibe with slightly higher output and minimum hum would be appreciated (if not a pipe dream, that is!).

  2. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    Passive single coil pickups are going to hum End of story. You either go with humbuckers (which give you a different kind of sound) or deal with the hum. Those are your only choices.

    I have two Jazz style basses now and have had another in the past, which had two different sets of pickups in it. Personally I feel that the "Jazz" style sound can only be produced using two single coil pickups wired to be humbucking when both are a 100% volume.

    Here's my experience:

    MIM standard Jazz pickups: sound great.

    I replaced those picups with....

    MIM with Duncan Quarter Pounds: Great, different than the original MIM pickups. I liked the original MIM Fender pickups better.

    I have a custom Jazz bass (in my avatar) with Bartolini single coil pickups. They sound great from an objective POV, but I don't particularly like the sound of them. I think it's more of a "bass" thing, the bright sounding woods are too much for me.

    I have passive MIA Fender Jazz V. It sounds the best of all by a wide margin. I absolutely love the sound of it. And the best part is that it doesn't matter what you plug it into, it sounds great all the time in every amp and every studio situation I've ever been exposed to.

    So my recommendation to you with your Brice is to get used to the original pickups before thinking about replacing them. When I replaced the MIM pickups I was convinced that since it was an inexpensive bass it had to have cheap pickups. Well, that may or may not have been true, but the replacement pickups did not make any improvement in sound, they just made the sound different.

    If you can find a set of OEM Fender USA Passive pickups, maybe from someone who has changed them out for something else, go for it.
  3. dgce


    Jun 17, 2001
    Massachusetts, USA
    Thanks Philbiker.

    I have every intention of hanging out with the stock pickups of whatever I get for a while before I go yanking them out. I just thought I'd do a little legwork first just in case.

    Quarter Pounders is definitely NOT the vibe I'm looking for (my headbanging days are well behind me). Something more on the vintage side is what I'm after. Actually I was wondering about Dimazio Virtual Vintage. I don't know if they do bass pickups on this particular line let alone 5 string Js. I was also thinking of Fender's own Noiseless line though I don't know if you can purchase the bass pickups yet (I see only guitar pickups online and in the catalogs). And I'm sure Seymour has something but I figured before I start researching their huge catalog, I'd ask some folks here like yourself who've have personal experience with these products. I'll be checking Harmony Central too.

    Oh, and yeah I anticipate some hum for the price classic J-tone in a 5 string, but I figure between epoxy and new fangled pickup stacking maybe the manufactures have come up with a pretty cool compromise.

    Well, thanks again and if anyone else has any suggestions, I'm all ears.

  4. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    Great! In case it didn't come across in my original post, I'm a big fan of Fender pickups and would recommend them highly.

    If my Jazz bass doesn't sell, I'm actually considering putting the Fender MIM Jazz pickups into it to see if I like them better than the Barts.
  5. todd 4ta

    todd 4ta

    Apr 3, 2003
    The Bill Lawrence J45 pickups might be worth checking out. You'll have to check dimensions, they work in a 4 or 5, but have the dimensions of a standard USA Jazz 4 pickup.

    They are single-coil, but are extremely quiet. Price is a very reasonable $96 a pair, but the wait can be several weeks.

    Here is a link: Click on the J-45 Link
  6. Bekkeland


    May 16, 2003
    Sandnes, Norway
    I've read a lot of good things about the Bill Lawrence Jazz bass pickups. But I don't think theyr'e single coils. If they were they would hum! I think they are some kind of humbucker og dual coil. Maybe some kind of phantom coil??
    Am I wrong??

    I considered these pups myself for my MIA Jazz V.
    The BL's seem to be the "standard" Jazz size, and to small for the cavities in Fender Am std V and Am deluxe V. Don't know about the MIM Fender V's.
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