Replace stock pickups or install j-retro??

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Knavery, Jul 5, 2005.

  1. Knavery


    Feb 24, 2004
    Denver, CO
    Hello everyone,
    This is my first post in here so I apologize if this has been done before. I did some searching, but couldn't really find the answers.

    I recently bought an American Series Fender, but after a few band practices, I realized I should have opted for the Deluxe model. I need to get a nice active sound somewhere, or amplify the output.

    Would replacing the stock Fender pickups with something better do the trick, or do I install the J-Retro?

    If I replace the pickups, I want to retain the warm sound that Js are known for, but want to give some **UMPH** when desired.

    Thanks in advance for your input...
  2. Sparkie


    Nov 15, 2004
    You must not have looked very hard. There is all kinds of info on this very subject. One fellow even set up some MP3's in a comparison. The general concenus was if you have really good pickups you don't really need the J-Retro pre-amp. From what I heard on Mr. Wilson's thread the SD Antiquity II's sounded the best/most punch followed by the DiMarzio Ultra J's. This is a slippery slope you're standing on top of, though. You could need more wattage or a better speaker cab or both. So much depends on application, venue, genre, etc..
  3. spc


    Apr 10, 2004
    South of Boston

    I agree with the above poster, definitely a slippery slope...
    You may want to play the bass for a couple of months, see if you really need upgrades. Have you checked the pickup heights? You could try an outboard pre like in the links above...
    I own the Aguilar one and it's just the ticket for my passive J's...adds some fatness (to my ears). I'm sure a ton of people will vouch for the Sadowsky model.
  4. I've owned a J-Retro and I've come to the same conclusion that Mike Lull has. We dont like them one bit. The frequencies are all thrown off, and it tottaly revoices your bass for the BAD. I ended up selling it, and when I put back the stock passive preamp back into the fender, the bass growled, and sounded so much more natural. The JRetro killed all of the goodness that the jazz bass is know for.

    I'de say stay passive, or IF YOU MUST go active, get an EMG stacked Bass/Treble - Volume - Blend. You can fit a battery in there with all of that (Per Mike Lull) and it doesnt' totally revoice your instrument which the J-Retro does, again, not for the better IMHO.