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Please help before I do something silly with this Jazz bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by tubster, Feb 13, 2016.

  1. tubster


    Feb 5, 2003
    Southwest Spain
    Usually play a P but tonight took along wonderful Roadworn Jazz that I love. Friend in the audience commented that there was a massive volume drop between notes played on the E vs other strings I.e vol much weaker on thinner strings.

    Yes, I should have noticed!

    Ok so here is the dilemma....

    Do I start with the obvious stuff adjusting string and pickup height etc, checking vol and tone settings bla bla OR will I just end up chasing my tail? Perhaps as this is a feature of Jazz basses that I know nothing of. Don't want to waste hours on this if it's a fruitless quest.

    Amp is Aguilar th500 with most knobs straight up thru 2 berg cn 112s. Strings Unknown.
    Great tech, Persia, set up bass at Thunder Road in Seattle.

    Any insight appreciated. Thanks
    Oldschool94 likes this.
  2. ddnidd1

    ddnidd1 Supporting Member

    Try adjusting the pickup height. It should take under an hour.
  3. Andii Syckz

    Andii Syckz

    Jan 2, 2011
    Yeh i'd definitely fiddle with string height pickup height first. If that really doesn't do anything, You can swap pickups. & if you want to go beyond just pickups, you can have an preamp (although might require a 9v to power it
  4. bucephylus

    bucephylus Supporting Member Commercial User

    Aug 18, 2002
    General Manager TecPadz LLC
    Sounds like you have several aspects to check.

    First, bad strings can do that. Are yours in good shape? If unknown, get new strings (such as DR's or other brand of choice).

    Second, pickup height is fairly important on a Jazz Bass. Should be 3/16" poles to strings at the bridge pickup and 7/32" poles to strings at the neck pickup. You need an accurate machinist rule to check it.

    Third, not all Jazz pickups are created equal. Peruse the Jazz Bass pickup sticky and other threads.

    Fourth, a good onboard or outboard preamp can make a big difference ahead of your amplifier.

    Jazz Basses are not as straightforward as P basses, but are worth the effort. Don't give up.
    aprod, AltGrendel and Oldschool94 like this.
  5. BassChuck

    BassChuck Supporting Member

    Nov 15, 2005
    Recently I had the pickups on my bass adjusted. There were problems with the mounting screws and whatever was under the pups, I just never wanted to deal with it. So I had a luthier do the work. Unbelievable difference! Tone was greatly improved and I discovered that for years I must have been over playing some strings to get a balance.

    Worth every penny to have the work done. I know there is a certain 'macho' kind of thing going on with set ups and intonation and pickup adjustments. I would be proud to be able to do all that work myself. But.... I'm prouder still to have a bass that's easier to play and sounds great.

    Yea, go after the problem. Don't sell a bass short until you've got the thing playing at its potential.
  6. FourBanger


    Sep 2, 2012
    SE Como
    Is the E string twisted?
  7. Oldschool94


    Jan 9, 2015
    I set bridge pickup to 2mm on treble 3mm on bass. Neck pickup is 4mm on treble, 5mm on bass. I use strings gauge 45-65-85-105. Essentially the D and A strings are a little bit thick relative to the other strings. This extra mass causes them to generate more output. I radius the action at the bridge at the same specs as the Fender Bass Setup Guide. Between all these settings, I get a pretty even volume across all the strings. Running the bass at a lower volume like 70-70 does seem to improve balance too, but I usually am running 90-100 or vice versa and don't really have a problem. A little technique compensation goes a long way for the last 5% of volume imbalance.

    *All these are working under the assumption that you have flat pole pickups. Flat pole pickups combined with a radiused action cause the E and G strings to be a little louder than the others.
  8. rufus.K


    Oct 18, 2015
    My A and D are louder than the E and G on my main Jazz, and the G is real quiet. I've just learned to play around it.
  9. christle


    Jan 26, 2002
    Winnipeg, MB
    Some very good suggestions with the pickup height, string adjustments and even string replacement. Most basses require a bit of patience and time to setup correctly. Invest a couple more hours into this, measure everything and listen closely. With time you should be able to get it dialed in.
    Oldschool94 likes this.
  10. tubster


    Feb 5, 2003
    Southwest Spain
    Thanks a lot OP
  11. Timmy-Watts

    Timmy-Watts I like bass. And airplanes. Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2010
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    When I have has this type of problem, a pickup swap helped (corrected it) every time.
  12. DavC

    DavC Supporting Member

    May 17, 2005
    Tallmadge , Ohio
    if you have single coil pups and run both pups wide open , you'll get a natural mid dip in tone ...

    i have humbuckers ( dual blades and split coils ) in my J basses so i can turn either pickup down a bit , which for me , gets a more even tone ...

    and , yes , for sure , adjust the pickups ... and i would think your amp tone settings might change a bit from the usual P bass settings .. ??

    as always ... YMMV
  13. mc900ftj

    mc900ftj Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2014
    Not a jazz, but I had the same problem on a used Ric 4003. Changed the strings out for new and that almost completely fixed the "dead" E string. Some subtle pickup height adjustment did the rest.

    Start with the simple things. Good luck.
    spaz21387 likes this.
  14. Jazz Basses are generally quieter than Precision Basses so don't worry about it. Just adjust your amp necessary to make the changes and all that.
    pedroims likes this.
  15. SpazzTheBassist


    Jun 20, 2006
    You didnt notice? weird.........Did you plug it in before posting this to verify that was indeed happening?
  16. tubster


    Feb 5, 2003
    Southwest Spain
    From the stage it was not that significant
  17. twinjet

    twinjet Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Sep 23, 2008
    Not to hijack, but how is this issue remedied when you play a J-style with soapbar pups?

    Thanks :)
  18. 4StringTheorist

    4StringTheorist Supporting Member

    Were you or the sound person really boosting the bass EQ?

    Were you playing through an FOH system with subwoofers?

    Did the room have a big resonance down that low?

    These are potential culprits outside your bass
    KJMO likes this.
  19. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    This was my first thought as well.
  20. Blankandson

    Blankandson Supporting Member

    Oct 20, 2010
    Gallatin, Tennessee
    For a future reference; when setting up in a room I have everyone be quiet for maybe 15 seconds when I'm getting set up for the FOH. At that time I do a little run down from the top to the bottom strings, playing the first three frets and an open. Takes all of 15 seconds. If there's any difference in your volume it will be very obvious to everyone, and hopefully can be corrected before you start your gig. (On a five string: A#, A, G#, G - down to the C#, C, B#, and B.)

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