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Poll: Tweaking Jazz Bass Tone—DiMarzio Model J vs. Series Wiring vs. Both

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by 22 AWG, Dec 23, 2015.


  1. DiMarzio Model Js

    34.1%
  2. Series Wiring

    31.7%
  3. DiMarzio Model Js + Series Wiring

    26.8%
  4. A different, better thing

    19.5%
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. 22 AWG

    22 AWG Supporting Member

    Nov 20, 2015
    Brooklyn, New York
    Hey there, I'd love to get your thoughts on this: I've got a Jazz bass I've had for a number of years, and I'm looking to tweak the character on the tone a bit. I like the way the midrange sits on a Precision bass, and the breadth of the treble frequencies. That said, I'm not strictly looking for a fatter Jazz bass sound, and I'm not looking to turn my bass into a P-bass; I know that pickup design and location get in the way. I'm just looking to nudge it in that direction so it sits a little more like that in the mix, without routing the bass or spending too much money.

    With that said, would you recommend installing a pair of DiMarzio Model Js (with each pickup wired in series), rewiring the stock electronics so the pickups are in series together, or installing Model Js and then wiring those as a series pair?

    I'm a longtime bass player and fan of the forum, so I'm open to all sorts of suggestions, but also a realist about what I can and can't do while keeping the bass I have.

    Thanks!
     
  2. Gorn

    Gorn

    Dec 15, 2011
    Queens, NY
    The tone of jazz pickups wired in series is delicious. I had a jazz with Super 55s wired in series and it was great. It's a worthwhile mod regardless of the pickups. There's no reason not to have it in a jazz bass.
     
  3. 22 AWG

    22 AWG Supporting Member

    Nov 20, 2015
    Brooklyn, New York
    Awesome, thanks for that reply. Like many things bass, wiring changes seem like modifications you can feel in the room but might not come across as well in audio samples.
     
  4. Gorn

    Gorn

    Dec 15, 2011
    Queens, NY
    Speaking strictly out of my ass, I think it was middier and meatier in series and treblier and a bit more focused in regular parallel mode. Series was better for fingerstyle and parallel was better for slap. Couldn't say how it comes across in the mix.
     
    mbelue likes this.
  5. 22 AWG

    22 AWG Supporting Member

    Nov 20, 2015
    Brooklyn, New York
    That's super helpful—thank you. I play primarily fingerstyle, but a switch could be useful for the rare occasion I trot my gimpy slapping skills out.
     
  6. AngelCrusher

    AngelCrusher Supporting Member

    Sep 12, 2004
    Mesa Boogie, Tech 21, Taylor
    MyBacchus Jazz bass lets me pull up the tone knob to put it in series mode. Its really cool. That being said, I never use it. The main reason is the transient attack of the bass is lost due to the phasing in series mode. In layman's terms, the bass loses focus on the attack.

    It is a usable tone though, I just haven't tracked on a song that needs it. I believe the volume will go up by 30% or so and you will have more meat to it. Played with a pick in a heavier band, it could be awesome if you want that initial attack to blur a little bit. It reminds me a little of the meat of a music man. Main thing to do when you are testing the tone is to remember that the volume is a little louder, and adjust accordingly. It is one of those luxury tones that is nice to have, but you may find yourself not using it very often.
     
    Lumdingo and 22 AWG like this.
  7. 22 AWG

    22 AWG Supporting Member

    Nov 20, 2015
    Brooklyn, New York
    Thanks for that insight. I do like attack for the funkier fingerstyle lines—I'd hate to turn a Jazz bass into a mudbucker (although it's a reversible modification).
     
  8. TrentB

    TrentB Supporting Member

    Aug 10, 2010
    Yorba Linda, Ca
    I experimented with this on my Fender jazz before I bought my P bass. I installed the Model J's wired in series. The tone was much fatter, louder, with much less treble and clank. What bothered me is that it wasn't very musical, almost like a wall of sound with no dynamics.
    After I bought the P Bass I went back to the stock pickups in the Jazz, I didn't need that thick tone in my Jazz anymore.
     
    Lumdingo and 22 AWG like this.
  9. TrentB

    TrentB Supporting Member

    Aug 10, 2010
    Yorba Linda, Ca
    You might want to look into the Fralins or Nordy JJ sets to improve on the Jazz tone.
     
    Lumdingo likes this.
  10. 22 AWG

    22 AWG Supporting Member

    Nov 20, 2015
    Brooklyn, New York
    Thanks Trent, that's useful to hear. It sounds like series wiring might be a good next step. I like to have access to a fair amount of treble regardless of what bass I'm playing (whether that treble falls in the 2k–5k range versus the 10k–20k range is part of what I'm trying to impact).
     
  11. M.R. Ogle

    M.R. Ogle Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 5, 2004
    Mount Vernon, Illinois
    Backstage Guitar Lab owner
    I bought DiMarzios, a couple of other sets of pickups, too to try to fatten up my Jazz bass. The Series wiring did MORE for beefing up the sound than the pickup swap did.
    And it's cheap, just one switch.
     
    22 AWG likes this.
  12. mikezimmerman

    mikezimmerman Supporting Member

    Apr 29, 2001
    Omaha, Nebraska
    22 AWG likes this.
  13. 22 AWG

    22 AWG Supporting Member

    Nov 20, 2015
    Brooklyn, New York
    Thanks for the series advice, and regarding thread location: you have a point. If anyone cares to boot this over there, I'd be much obliged.
     
  14. Jamvan

    Jamvan The Bassist Formerly Known As Meh Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 11, 2014
    Minnesota
    Added the series switch to my #1 Jazz long after I added Super 55s and don't know why I waited as long as I did. Still need to add it to my others. It gives a nice option for a different, fuller tone that really helps when you need something akin to that P sound. I'd say, start with the switch and then, if you're still not feeling it, change out your pickups. You may find you don't need to.
     
    22 AWG likes this.
  15. 22 AWG

    22 AWG Supporting Member

    Nov 20, 2015
    Brooklyn, New York
    Thanks! I appreciate it. This is also the second time someone's mentioned Super 55s on this thread—any idea why they're popular?
     
  16. Jamvan

    Jamvan The Bassist Formerly Known As Meh Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 11, 2014
    Minnesota
    Because they've got a great, vintage sound with a little more bite and growl and they're split coil so there's no noise. In a questionable move by Fender, they stopped making them so they're getting harder to find.
     
  17. Plucky The Bassist

    Plucky The Bassist ZOMG! I'm back from the dead!

    Jul 30, 2010
    Houston, TX
    Model J's are fantastic pickups. I never had cutting issues with them wired in series, so if you're after that it's a good way to go. Are you just stuck on the DiMarzio Model J's or do you already own a pair or something, OP?
     
  18. 22 AWG

    22 AWG Supporting Member

    Nov 20, 2015
    Brooklyn, New York
    Hey there, right now I just have the pickups that came stock in my American Standard.
     
  19. sotua

    sotua

    Sep 20, 2004
    SF Bay Area
    Since rewiring my bass for single neck - both series - both parallel - single bridge with a rotary switch, it spends 95% of the time in series mode. It's so much tastier. I'd recommend it to anyone who wants to vary their tone. Easy, reversible, and only takes an hour of soldering/tinkering with the electronics.
     
    22 AWG likes this.
  20. 22 AWG

    22 AWG Supporting Member

    Nov 20, 2015
    Brooklyn, New York
    Awesome, thanks for the feedback—I didn't consider a rotary switch.
     

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