pick up upgrade?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by rylie, Jun 2, 2019.

  1. rylie


    Sep 25, 2017
    somewhere stable
    my go-to-bass: 76 Fender J bought used for $280 in 78

    around 1980 decided to upgrade the pickups to Jazz DiMarrzio

    higher output

    my question to TB community:

    how do the 1980s DiMarrzio pick ups compare/rate to the DiMarrzios you can buy today in 2019...almost 40 years later?

    do I have anything to gain by upgrading again to current pick up offerings?

    are after-market pick ups any better in 2019 than 40 yrs ago?
  2. Reedt2000

    Reedt2000 Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2017
    Central New Jersey
    Well, there certainly are more options. Let me be the first to ask the obvious, do you like the bass as it currently sounds? If you don't, upgrade away. If you do, I guess this will be an interesting but pointless conversation :)
  3. Killed_by_Death

    Killed_by_Death Snaggletooth Inactive

    I'd be very reluctant to give up 80's DiMarzio's. They ruled the world back then, top of their game!
    4StringTheorist likes this.
  4. Slater

    Slater Leave that thing alone.

    Apr 17, 2000
    The Great Lakes State
    This. Ride those old Dimarzios ‘til they die. ;)
    4StringTheorist likes this.
  5. rojo412

    rojo412 Sit down, Danny... Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2000
    Cleveland, OH.
    I've had vintage PAF Model Js and brand new ones and the sound is very much the same. Aside from aging components, you wouldn't notice much difference in the same exact model.

    That said, the Area J and Ultra J sound a lot different than the Model J.
    Area is more like the traditional Fender sound, but with more output and noiseless.
    The Ultra is very scoopy mid, great for that Marcus Miller sound right out of the box.

    Personally, I like the Model J and if I were in your shoes, I'd stick with how it is. That sounds like an awesome setup to have.
  6. Warpeg


    Jun 20, 2005
    To the first question: If you are happy with the tone of your current pickups, then "no".

    To the second question: It depends. Quality control has improved. There have been innovations and design improvements. However, good tone is good tone. That never really changes. If your pickups have made it over 40 years, the only reason to consider different pickups is if you're looking for a different tone.
    Reedt2000 likes this.
  7. sikamikanico


    Mar 17, 2004
    I lack personal experience, but I’ve heard old DiMarzios either sound the same as new, sound darker, or sound brighter :D

    I’d bet they sound about the same as always.

    There are many options these days, but given that Model Js remain quite popular, I think it’s fair to say they sound different, but not necessarily better than Model Js. What seems to have changed, though, is that some newer split coil Js sound more like single coil Js (just without hum), if that’s what you’re after...