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Pickup & wiring recommendations for Jazz Bass (that can also achieve Precision-like tones)

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by STRING DREAM, Dec 3, 2018.

  1. Bill Lawrence J-45's

  2. Dimarzio "Area" pickups



    Dec 2, 2018
    Hi all, I'm about to purchase a Squire Affinity Jazz bass, because I want an alder body and intend to upgrade pickups, electronics, bridge, tuners and possibly the neck. I'm ultimately looking for a great classic Jazz bass sound and the ability to get as close as possible to precision sound via a push/pull knob. My understanding is that the best way to achieve a Precision-like tone is to wire the pickups in series. My questions are:
    1) What pickups (noiseless)would you recommend (both neck and bridge) to get close to a punchy precision sound with the pull of a knob but not lose the classic Jazz bass sound when I'm in "Jazz Bass mode".
    2) I have heard that I will need double coil (not single coil) Jazz pickups to achieve this sound. Also if possible noiseless would be the better option (if it doesn't sacrifice tone too much).So what pickups do you recommend? In my Fender Strats, I have had great success with both "Real" Bill & Becky Lawrence pickups for tone , responsiveness, as well as quietness. I've also had great success with Dimarzio"Area" pickups? Do you guys prefer the Bill Lawrence J-45's or Dimarzio "Area" pickups (if You prefer the Dimarzio Area's: which set exactly)? Would either one achieve the goal of being noiseless in all positions and also be able to be wired in Series for Precision-like tones as well?
    3) Does anybody have diagram of how to wire either of these these pickups in parallel/series with a push/pull knob?
    4) Lastly, if you recommend another brand/model of pickup, please let me know which one and why. Around $200 for a set is fine.

    Thank you in advance!
  2. sikamikanico

    sikamikanico Supporting Member

    Mar 17, 2004
    If you want to go the series route, I’d pick more vintage-voiced J pickups. They’ll likely be somewhat weaker, and thus not too hot and dark in series. I’m not sure how we’ll split coils like Dimarzio would work for that, but Area I think is their “vintage” sounding pickup. Wilde, as far as I know, does not use the split coil technology, and thus might sound better (or worse) in series. Perhaps more of a gamble? I have no experience with either pickup...

    One other approach that gave me a decent P sound out of a J was a loading cap. I was messing around trying to get the both-pickups-in-series sound when I realized I’m not limited to running both pickups on like I would be if I used an actual series wiring. Having both pickups on creates a mid scoop that moves you away from the P sound, even in series. Instead, running just the neck pickup + a loading cap in parallel avoided that problem. Alas, it does not fully replicate the thickness of the P. But something to ponder...
  3. MoeTown1986

    MoeTown1986 Supporting Member

    Sep 14, 2010
    SoMD (Mechanicsville)
    Series wiring doesn’t give you a P tone. It just gives you a fatter, louder J tone. I don’t understand why you want to buy an Affinity Jazz, then replace everything. For the money you’re about to spend, you could probably get an Affinity Jazz Bass and an Affinity P bass.
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2018
    saabfender likes this.
  4. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    You don't need double coils. Each half of a P pickup is a single coil. The J pickups will still reduce hum when run in series. You do lose the ability to control each pickup's volume individually.
  5. micguy


    May 17, 2011
    Area J's sound a lot like regular Jazz bass pickups - similar magnetic circuit. Not going to get you into P land. Im not familiar with the Lawrence J pickup, so won't comment on that.

    A Dimarzio model J (not Area J) in the neck pickup position will get you in the same neighborhood as a P. Maybe a different driveway, but the same neighborhood. One of my J's has a Model J in the neck position, and an Area J in the bridge - that combo will get you a lot of flexibility. And it won't hum, regardless of the knob settings.


    Dec 2, 2018
    Thank you sikamikanico, I'm almost leading toward buying a cheap Squire Precision too. This way my Jazz will be a Jazz and my Precision will be a Precision.:)
    sikamikanico and saabfender like this.


    Dec 2, 2018
    Thank you, I'm actually leaning toward your advice :)
    MoeTown1986 likes this.


    Dec 2, 2018
    Pity, Dimarzio only sells these in sets (at least I believe so) :)
  9. saabfender

    saabfender Banned

    Jan 10, 2018
    A P Bass sounds like that because it has a P Bass pickup in that particular spot. The neck J Bass pickup is not where the P Bass pickup is.
  10. StayLow


    Mar 14, 2008
    My take is the same on the Model J. It's very P-like on its own at the neck. Like a P pickup, the Model J is dual-coil; one for the E and A strings and another for the D and G.

    I also agree that series insn't much of a P sound. Any typical J neck pickup solo'd, perhaps with the tone rolled off some, is likely to get you closer.


    Dec 2, 2018
    Yup, location, location,location. :)Thanks Saab! And stay tuned for my new annoying questions (new post) lol
  12. micguy


    May 17, 2011
    Depends on which P you’re talking about - the Jazz nexk position is in between where th single coil P and Split coil P positions are.
    StayLow likes this.
  13. bigtone23


    Dec 10, 2014
    Denver, CO
    I have a J45L in the bridge of a P/J with the P46. The J45 has a slightly smoother tone vs a classic J pickup to my ears. Not sure if that's typical of the design or just because it's calibrated for the bridge position in conjunction with a P46.
  14. Slater

    Slater Leave that thing alone. Supporting Member

    Apr 17, 2000
    The Great Lakes State
    Not true. Check seller banjomikez on eBay. Probably the best Dimarzio dealer on “the web”.


    Dec 2, 2018
    Thanks Slater. Good info to know. :)
    Slater likes this.

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