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Questions about series/parallel wiring on a Jazz Bass

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by MetalWarrior, Mar 28, 2012.

  1. MetalWarrior


    Oct 2, 2004
    Boston, MA
    Sales:Guitar Center
    Hey, guys, I was reading a bit about this subject last night, and I have some questions that I didn't see addressed. I'll be getting my first bass soon...nothing special: a Squier Affinity Jazz Bass V. I like the feel of the neck, and can't afford anything better at the moment. I've played guitar for 11+ years, and have played plenty of other peoples' basses, so I'm not an absolute beginner, by any stretch.

    Anyway, it sounds from what I've read, that series wiring on a J should sound similar-ish to a P, but I haven't been able to find any good comparison clips.

    I've also been wondering if the order of the pickups will make a difference in the sound. That is, if I wire it so that the neck pickup comes first, will it sound different from having the bridge pickup first, and if so, what kind of differences should I expect?
  2. I've tried a Fender Jazz a few years ago with the S1 switch that put the pickups in series. I didn't like the sound. It sounded nothing like a P bass. The only way to make a J bass sound like a P bass is to solo the front pickup. Also a high output pickup with strong mids will help. Dimarzio Model J or Rio Grande Muy Grande will give you good results since they have a lot of mids and bass. A Seymour Duncan Hot will work but a Quarter Pound is a bit mid scooped so not a good choice. You can pickup a set of Dimarzio Model Js for 100.00 and they even have four conductor wiring so you can try out the series/parallel option.
  3. I have to disagree, I have a switch in my Jazz that puts them in series, and it sounds much more like a Precision than the bridge alone does. I'm not sure which direction the wiring goes to be honest, perhaps it does make a difference.
  4. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    A Jazz Bass wired in series will sound somewhat more like a Precision Bass, yes. Similar? Meh. Depends - on several factors, not the least being the specific pickups being used. IME, they don't sound all that similar. You may hear things differently... :meh:

    Wiring two pickups in series simply creates one circuit out of two separate circuits. And if I understand correctly, it sums the gain - or in other words, retains all the gain of each pickup wired separately, in parallel.

    Therefore functionally speaking, there is no such thing as one pickup "coming first" or the other pickup "coming second" in the circuit. The new series circuit functions as if it were one pickup. Functionally, there is no pickup "order".

    Make sense? :meh:

  5. bassbenj


    Aug 11, 2009
    Actually there is a difference according to wiring order but not in sound. The difference is that in parallel both pickups have one side connected to ground and the other side is the output. In series one pickups is connected to ground and then the "ground" side of the next pickup connects to the "hot" side of the first pickup. What this does is make one pickup electrically "float" above the other making it a bit more prone to hum pickup if you get your hand near it.

    For this reason I usually prefer to ground the neck pickup with the theory that your hand will usually be farther away from the bridge pickup and less likely to induce hum. But it can depend on the actual pickups and how well they are shielded.

    Personally I like the series sound, but it's not exactly like a P-bass.
    line6man likes this.
  6. Stealth


    Feb 5, 2008
    Zagreb, Croatia
    Here's how it sounds when performed on a Jazz Bass. This was a mod I performed on a friend's clone. Use 7Zip to unpack, then Winamp or anything similar to listen to it.

    Samples in order:
    Neck, bridge, parallel, series
    Parallel, series
    Parallel at full tone, half tone, zero tone, then series at full tone, half tone, zero tone
    Parallel, series
    AlarmClock314 likes this.
  7. Electricblue


    Feb 1, 2011
    I changed my wiring from standard jazz wiring with 250k pots to this:

    Master 500k volume (linear)
    Master 500k tone (log)
    Both pickups always on.
    Series parallel toggle switch

    The best my bass has ever sounded. I love the series setting even more than parallel. Try it, you have nothing to lose.
  8. Cougmeister


    Oct 1, 2012
    Can you post a diagram of this?
  9. Electricblue


    Feb 1, 2011
    I can't but I can point you in the right direction.

    Wire it up like this, but don't connect the pickup. Leave those wires open (disconnected):


    Next, wire a DPDT switch to your pickups like this, don't connect anything to the out+ and out- :


    Now, connect the out+ and out- to where you would've connected the pickup in the first diagram. Check the polarity.

    I think that would work, I did my circuit "freehand".

    If that doesn't clear things up, you could always send a polite message to Line6man. He's a genius with diagrams.

    Let me know how it goes!
  10. TinyE


    Jan 31, 2013
    I am interested in this as well if anyone comes up with the schematic!
  11. Scott in Dallas

    Scott in Dallas Commercial User

    Aug 16, 2005
    Dallas, north Texas
    Builder and Owner: DJ Ash Guitars
    I put a switch on my SX Jazz clone, and I really like it. As others have said, it doesn't sound exactly like a P, but it sounds more like a P than a Jazz typically does. I can also get some remarkably good Stingray-type sounds out of it. It'll really bark when you beat on it. It's a good mod in that it makes a good bass that much more useful.

    I'd submit that the mod would likely make a more drastic difference with single coils than with stacked humbuckers.
  12. TinyE


    Jan 31, 2013
  13. TinyE


    Jan 31, 2013
  14. M.R. Ogle

    M.R. Ogle Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 5, 2004
    Mount Vernon, Illinois
    Backstage Guitar Lab owner
    I did the series/parallel mod on my Mexi-Jazz, it isn't exactly like a P, but it's a helluva lot more ballsy than the stock J wiring setup, very useful if you're finding the stock Jazz could use some serious fattening up.... it's not a subtle difference, it's a BIG difference.

    Try it. If you don't like it, switch the wires back. No loss,
  15. M.R. Ogle

    M.R. Ogle Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 5, 2004
    Mount Vernon, Illinois
    Backstage Guitar Lab owner

    Oh, wow... this is exactly what I did, too! It made my Jazz my main playing-out live bass.
    Squittolo likes this.
  16. I have a push pull series/parallel volume pot on my fretless jazz with SCN pickups and love the flexibility of tone. Thinking about changing the bridge vol pot to a blend,like my jazz de luxe.
  17. b00meranx


    Jun 24, 2014
    This is what i've done on my PJ bass, i guess it will works quite well on a Jazz Bass too.
    Master volume with push/pull switch for preset volume (depends on th resistor value installed) as it would decrease the neck pickup volume a bit for the Jaco tone when in parallel mode, otherwise it would decrease the master volume a bit while in siries mode.

    The small switch is the siries/parallel switch.

    Tone pot with push/pull switch bridge pickup on/off for a full neck pickup tone.

    Attached Files:

  18. JPeeBass


    Dec 14, 2014
    San Diego
    Greetings Y'all.
    I recently wired up my Squier Classic Vibe 70's Jazz bass with a series/parallel push pull pot. I followed the diagram on Seymour Duncan's website (except I "flipped" some of the wiring so series would be when the pot was down and parallel when the pot was up). I now have a slight hum when in series and a louder hum when in parallel. Also, both Vol controls do not work when the pot is in parallel position. Any suggestions?
  19. Warne Livesey

    Warne Livesey

    Feb 4, 2017
    I would suggest considering an in phase / out of phase switching rather than series/parallel. My understanding is that Fender have experimented with this over the years. When the bridge pickup is out of phase with the front pickup you get a more scooped and more typical jazz bass sound when blending both pickups. I believe that was the original wiring. But I have found that with the two pickups in phase the combined sound is different. I had a late 70s jazz wired like that from the factory. The sound is more additive when you blend the two pickups. You can easily tell which way the two pickups are wired. If you get less noise with both pickups on than one pickup then they are out of phase with each other. But I agree the most P Bass like sound is achieved by just using the neck pickup.