pre amp question for vintage jazz bass

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by pbass888, Apr 23, 2012.

  1. pbass888

    pbass888 Up the Irons! Westham United FC--mile high irons Supporting Member

    Jul 8, 2009
    So Ive decided to help add some bottom and oomph to my 74 jazz bass. Original pickups electronics etc. I was looking at preamp boxes and would like some suggestions. I tried a tone hammer a year ago and did not quiet find what I was looking for (a bump in the lows and low mids ) tone wise. I tried the sadowsky preamp and thought it was ok (very modern sounding and my bass sounded very glassy on the top end). The one that has sounded good to me recently is the pensa (here in nyc at rudy's). My rig is a lm II with a 12 inch cab by mb also.

    Wonder if any 70's jazz bass vintage owners might make some suggestions? Any one on the duncan preamp box? Or even Eden (these are two that are available in my area).
    Thanks in advance!
  2. StyleOverShow

    StyleOverShow Still Playing After All These Years Supporting Member

    May 3, 2008
    I took a hard look at the EBS Microbass II, with two channels and a mute all switch, which I like. Keeps my noodling to myself. Will watch this thread with interest....
  3. pbass888

    pbass888 Up the Irons! Westham United FC--mile high irons Supporting Member

    Jul 8, 2009
    StyleOverShow, I just triend the pensa from Rudy's (at $300) it is quiet expensive but very simple with boost and cut (some just have boost) sounds pretty good. Going to check out the micro bass there in the next few days. Pensa really sounded fat and warm, much more than my experience with the tone hammer.
  4. StraightSix


    Nov 23, 2011
  5. depalm


    Apr 22, 2004
    São Paulo
    J-Retro (stompbox or onboard) is great but not for vintage tone.
  6. DarkStar90


    Feb 4, 2008
    to the OP,

    Try out the VT Bass or VT Bass deluxe by Tech 21. the deluxe has an xlr out, so it could be used as a DI as well. I have the smaller version, but it sounds great.

    My school has a recording studio (Humber College), and has an Ampeg B-15. I recorded one track through the B-15 and the DI track with a VT Bass using the manuals settings for a B-15 sound on the VT. It ended up sounding pretty similar. The B-15 sounded a little less Hi-Fi, but it was close in comparison. Also gets great dirty tones.

    Heres one of my videos. Playing my jazz bass through the VT bass (I mute the backing track during the video so you can hear the bass) :

  7. StraightSix


    Nov 23, 2011
    It has active 3-way EQ with a swept mid so it can be made to sound how you want - modern hifi, growly rock, Motown or whatever.
    I use mine through a 400W valve head and 215 and it can get pretty old school.
  8. Hapa


    Apr 21, 2011
    Tustin, CA
    Nordstrand outboard preamp i saw at NAMM
  9. pbass888

    pbass888 Up the Irons! Westham United FC--mile high irons Supporting Member

    Jul 8, 2009
    Thanks guys I'm going to check them out here in the city and report back with the winner(for me). J retro certainly sounds good in the demo. And the tone bone??on you tube sounds cool too.
    I think I need a fat bass boost and a treble cut in general.
    Those are great suggestions, thank you.
  10. depalm


    Apr 22, 2004
    São Paulo
    Well, of course with a tube head and 2x15 cab you could get an "old school" tone. :smug:

    The J-Retro pre indeed sounds great, it's very powerful but, as I said before, it's not a "vintage" sounding device.
    It boosts Hi and Lows giving you a scooped tone (Think Marcus Miller).

    In fact if you're searching for a natural sounding preamp I'd suggest the Nordstrand. I've never played with this particular preamp but there are some nice reviews here on TB.
  11. caeman

    caeman The Root Master

    Sep 17, 2008
    Has the OP considered a simple EQ pedal? There are any number of bass-oriented EQ pedals, and you can add in extra bottom, take out mids, what ever. Parametric, graphic. There are many options.
  12. pbass888

    pbass888 Up the Irons! Westham United FC--mile high irons Supporting Member

    Jul 8, 2009

    Yes those are in the mix, thank you caeman. I hope that I can do this with a nice easy eq pedal (im usually a set and play... not a knob dialer), somebody else today recommended an eq pedal. I know even less about these... But could be an option.
  13. pbass888

    pbass888 Up the Irons! Westham United FC--mile high irons Supporting Member

    Jul 8, 2009
    Thank you so much for the video. I play mostly jazz and when i do the fusion stuff its a lot like your jaco video. I think I got that side of the tone nailed pretty much, Im looking for a fat bottom on walking lines close to a precision sound. Thats a cool jazz bass btw.
  14. StraightSix


    Nov 23, 2011
    Have you tried a J-Retro...?

    It doesn't boost lows and highs.

    It boosts or cuts lows and highs and has a swept midrange control which also boosts or cuts.
    It is perfectly possible to cut the lows and highs and massively boost the sweepable midrange if you wish, or boost the lows and tame the highs while punching through with a mid boost.
    It is quite possible to create almost any bass tone with it.

    It is only scooped if you choose it to be based on the controls.

    I agree it is very powerful but that doesn't equate to it just having one sound.
  15. depalm


    Apr 22, 2004
    São Paulo
    Of course I did!
    I have one installed on my black J for 5 years now.
    Once its engaged it DOES boost Lows and Highs. That's its "voice".

    If you read J-retro manual you'll see that. Comparing to a passive J sound J-Retro is a little scooped.

    I actually had contacted John East to send him my unit and make it more "flat" by changing some components.

    Don't get me wrong I don't want to start a flame here.
    Do a search and you'l find many threads about it.
  16. StraightSix


    Nov 23, 2011
    That is interesting - I still maintain that with careful use of the (very) powerful EQ, it can sound 'unscooped' :)

    Apologies to the OP for the derail discussion.

    Certainly no flame problems here - we are all here to learn :)
  17. fasto


    Mar 4, 2007
    Amsterdam, NL
    I was thinking the same. For my Squier VM Jaguar bass i got a Yamaha NE-1 EQ (discontinued) and it did great magic to that bass sound.
  18. pbass888

    pbass888 Up the Irons! Westham United FC--mile high irons Supporting Member

    Jul 8, 2009
    I got an email from my buddy here (who also suggested the eq route) to try the paranormal by seymour duncan (which is discontinued).Anyone else have experience with that?
  19. sunbeast

    sunbeast Supporting Member

    Jul 19, 2006
    Denver, CO
    I agree, but also think it would likely still work for the OP- While its "flat" tone is definitely voiced/scooped vs. a passive pickup tone (as most active preamps seem to be vs the sound of passive pickups by themselves, if nothing else because a preamp lowers impedance, giving more energy to both the highs and lows), I also found it more than capable of giving a non-scooped tone- certainly better than the Sadowsky pre or the Aguilar OBP it was based on (with boost-only controls). I would say the J-Retro I had seemed better than any other pre I've tried at emulating a passive bass when you cut the treble and bass a bit. My main complaint when going from the J-Retro to an Audere in one of my old basses is that I was no longer able to find that "passive" or flat voice when using the Audere- it just wasn't in there. I think the J-Retro might work well for what the OP is searching for...