Replacement pickups for J.?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by 12notes, Aug 15, 2003.

  1. 12notes


    Jul 15, 2003
    I am considering to replace the pickups on my defretted TEAM J clone. The choices are D'Marzio J, Lace sensors j, and the Fender vintage noiseless.

    All original adult jazzy music. No metal/punk/hard rock music here. No Jaco, Geddy, Flea, etc., tones wanted here.

    Any body have hand-on experience with these j pickups?

    BTW. I'm not interested in slapping, any active,EMG, or any boutique stuff. The stock pickups are not bad at all, decent for live works, but can use less noise for recording. Just want something as hum free as possible for recording. Must sound good for recording.

  2. DW


    Jun 22, 2000
    I have not owned any of your three choices, but I have played and heard all three. The Fender Vintage Noiseless are the only ones that sound close to traditional J tone. The Lace Sensors are fine but sound much less like traditional J to my ears. The DiMarzio Ultra Jazz (I assume that's the one you mean) sounds almost nothing like a regular J.

    My .02, YMMV.
  3. thetaurus


    May 28, 2002
    Muncy, PA
    DW--what would you say the ultra jazz sound more like then? i'm looking into putting them into my mia jazz (natural/maple). i play real loud, chaotic rock and roll. i like a thick, balanced tone with good definition. (see the vegas standard mp3 in my signature)
  4. OldDawg


    Jul 4, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    I'll piggy back on this thread. I just got a Fender MIM Fretless and want to replace noisy stock pickups. I play Jazz and Funk and want a fat punchy sound.

    I'm thinking maybe the noiseless Fenders. My repairman pushes EMG's, but I hear they are kind of bright for what I want. I'm open to anything Bart's, Lindy Fralin, Duncan's, ???

    What do you all recommend?
  5. DW


    Jun 22, 2000
    thetaurus: the Ultra Jazz are reasonably clear-sounding but to my ears they are thicker, a little more midrangy and have more output. There's nothing wrong with the way they sound, it's just not traditional J-type "bell tones".

    The shape of a coil has a great deal to do with how a pickup will sound. Anything made to J dimensions will only "see" a narrow part of the string, like a regular J pup.

    But the Ultra Jazz is two short coils (each covering a pair of strings) connected in series. One is RW/RP to the other so it's a humbucking pair. Plus it's got a ceramic magnet on the bottom of each coil, in addition to the usual alnico polepieces, in order to boost the output. With those changes it just can't get the traditional J tone.

    OldDawg: I wasn't aware Fralin made a noiseless, I haven't heard the Duncan noiseless, but the Barts and EMGs are also not traditional construction. I know people who are happy with the tone, but there's no way that active EMG tone will sound like real J tone.

    I'm not being a purist here, you should always get what sounds best to you.
  6. 12notes


    Jul 15, 2003

    Thanks for the reply.

    Played the D'Marzio ultra J, and Fender noiseless over the weekend. Pretty nice. But somehow, they didn't clicked with me. Both sounded too 'trendy', 'fashionable' to me.

    Both are excellent if I do current hits covers. But I don't.

    I'm not a purist either.

    I guess I'll get a stand-along expander/noisegate, and stay with the stock p'pus. I believe this will be the best choice for me, since I have another 7 guitars and basses, and 5 of them are single coils, with more single coils to come.

  7. I haven't had the need to replace J pickups in a while, but I always had great luck with Duncan vintage stacked humbuckers (like I said, it's been a while so they've probably changed the name). They have a great vintage J sound but were quiet on the stage and in the studio.
  8. thetaurus


    May 28, 2002
    Muncy, PA
    DW--how are the ultra jazz when wired up with the standard j bass wiring (parallel v/v/t)?

    i'm trying to decide between the dimarzio ultra jazz and the basslines hot jazz (non stack).
  9. I have a MIA Jazz w/ Lace Sensors and I'm looking for more output. They sound good, (the neck in particular) they're just a little weak.
  10. DW


    Jun 22, 2000
    thetaurus, the ones I've played (and described here) were wired in parallel with standard V/V/T. The series wiring I mentioned is the internal construction of each pickup. But the two pickups were wired in parallel. Hope that makes sense.
  11. emjazz

    emjazz Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2003
    Boston, MA
    You should all check out Carey Nordstrand's pickups. They are now available to the public. Check in the what's new section. He makes a straight single coil pair as well as a noiseless single coil pair. His pickups are amazing! Whether you want growl or hi-fi clarity he can do it. He will make what ever you want.
  12. brock29609

    brock29609 4 strings, 2 wheels

    May 11, 2003
    Greenville, SC
    Tried the Fender Custom Shop 60's? They're fantastic. Cheap with cheap shipping from I like then TONS better than the Fender Vintage pickups. More balls. Slightly overwound for punch and growl. The "Original" Fender pickups are just dull to my ears.