preamp for jazz bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by coffee-sipper, Oct 8, 2004.

  1. coffee-sipper


    Jul 10, 2003
    Raleigh NC
    What preamps fit into an unmodified jazz control route? I was considering the installing a NTBT into the unmodified control cavity and having a battery box routed. I'd actually prefer a 3 band eq but isn't the mid redundant if I have treble and bass - couldn't I adjust the treble and bass to simulate raising or lowering the mids? ie. - if I boosted the treble and bass together wouldn't that be the same as lowering the mids and if I lowered the treble and bass together wouldn't that be like boosting the mids? Am I completely wrong.

    The j-retro is very nice but out of my price range.
  2. dabshire


    Dec 15, 2002
    McKinney, TX
    You could always go for an outboard pre and get the same results with no mods to the bass (i.e. better resale later)...

    Plus, any other passives you have can be run through that same pre, with no more cost to you...

    Aguilar makes a really nice outboard, as well as sadowsky, both of which you can get used for right around $100...

    Just another option for you.

  3. Glenn D.

    Glenn D.

    Aug 20, 2002
    Fort Collins, CO
    I've four passive Fenders, so the outboard choice was the best solution for me. I recently gota brand new Aguilar DB924 off of ebay for $90 including shipping, but those deals are rare.

    It sounds great and adds what I want it to.

    Glenn D.
  4. Second that outboard pre. Don't route that J! J-retro or outboard.

    You might also consider a Sansamp BDDI (drive, no mids) or Acoustic DI (mids, no drive), or a Bass Compactor (compression with also low/hi boost/gain), or an MXR DI. This may also be useful later for recording or PA support.

    And that external pre can be used with every axe. Now that I have a BDDI, I'm really starting to question the whole active bass thing. Passive electronics are just so elegant!
  5. xyllion

    xyllion Commercial User

    Jan 14, 2003
    San Jose, CA, USA
    Owner, Looperlative Audio Products
    Unfortunately it isn't that simple. The 3-band eq controls aren't an ideal 3-band equalizer. On some preamps, the bands overlap and others they have gaps between the bands. Each preamp on the market has its own character.

    As for preamps to fit in unmodified cavities, the J Retro is built specifically for this purpose. It is an excellent preamp. I can't think of a preamp that gets you more flexibility in tone and is mounted on a standard-size jazz plate.

    Is this for the custom basses that you are building? If so, then I personally like the idea of routing battery boxes. Batteries are much easier to change that way. I had a Lakland with a J Retro and I had a local luthier install a battery box. Even though the battery fit in the cavity, I didn't like having to remove the control plate to get at the battery.
  6. coffee-sipper


    Jul 10, 2003
    Raleigh NC

    Yes, this is for the custom walnut/graphite bass(es). I want it to look like a regular J with a control plate/pickgaurd. I was considering a rear routed control cavity and using a dummy control plate mounted to the front and extra long pots (4) - I am not sure that would work though - I have a lot to work out.
  7. xyllion

    xyllion Commercial User

    Jan 14, 2003
    San Jose, CA, USA
    Owner, Looperlative Audio Products
    Take a look at the J Retro. It is mounted on a standard jazz bell plate. Take a look at the pictures on the manufacturer's web page:
  8. coffee-sipper


    Jul 10, 2003
    Raleigh NC
    If you were to construct something similar to the j-retro it would cost over a hundred bucks just for the concentric pots/knobs. That is a very well designed and constructed unit. Very drool worthy but I am poor trying to start a business and finishing grad school and not a professional musician. I think Ed Freidland has the j-retro in his vintage Fender jazz bass IIRMC - from his slap bass video.
  9. xyllion

    xyllion Commercial User

    Jan 14, 2003
    San Jose, CA, USA
    Owner, Looperlative Audio Products
    That is quite possible. Steve "Dude" Barr is the US distributor for the J Retro, and Dude and Ed are friends. I wouldn't be surprised that Ed has a J Retro either purchased or given to him.
  10. luknfur


    Jan 14, 2004

    regarding an outboard: you can turn any onboard preamp (that I've had any way) into an outboard by simply swapping a couple wires and adding a jack.

    But every once in a while a Retro will come up at a good price. I saw one for $100 or $110 once but was preamped out and had no use for it. So if there's no hurry, one will show in time.

    I personally prefer having a mid control cause I like mids. But from my recollection, the Bart NTBT was a most impressive two band and Sadowsky swears by the things so you may be quite satisfied with it. The NTBT was gone before I had the 3 band pre's to really compare it to.

    In the end I jestisoned the lot of preamps but going outboard may not be a bad start cause you might find you prefer passive anyway. Also, unless you run a true by-pass, with an onboard preamp you're not really skipping the preamp in the passive mode anyway, you're justing breaking half of a complete circuit through it. With an outboard, you'll have all your onboard controls and genuinely be able to run active or passive plus you can use it with any bass and not have to change anything with any of your basses. At one point I had an NTMB, OBP-3, and EMG BQC I could use with any of my basses or not at all. The flexibility was great.
  11. Dennis Kong

    Dennis Kong Supporting Member

    Sep 1, 2004
    San Mateo CA
    I use NTMB in a Graphic Guitars 5 string. Treble,bass & mids
    are all separate eqs. If you turn up treble& bass - the mids
    do not adjust accordingly. You have to turn up the mids to
    get the also the loudest of the three controls on my
    set up.
    And vice -versa also where if you turn up the mids,the treble & bass do not get louder. The mids also have an option of 3 position switch for 3 different crossovers or cut-off frequencies. I forgot which frequencies they are: I think
    800, 500 and ?? . ( I think you can also choose them too)
    Also having mid control would give you more flexiability for

    the other option is stacked knobs for the bass. When I put the NTMB in my Status, instead routing another hole, Jerry
    of GGS just put a stacked pot. (Treble & bass my choice)
    Also you could put in active - passive switch too, so you could switch between the two.
    Suggest 18 v version if possible also- you would have more
    headroom or output if needed.(I have that too). Depends on your cavity space. 2-9volts do take up some room.