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Review: Aguilar 5J-60 pickups!!

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by pablomigraine, Aug 26, 2012.

  1. pablomigraine

    pablomigraine Commercial User

    Feb 9, 2005
    New York
    VP & Managing Director - Willcox Basses
    So there's been a few reviews on the Aggie 70's pups, but after trying a Spector Coda loaded with the 60's spec'd units I had to have them. I installed them in my delicious and much loved Lakland DJ-5.

    The stock Lakland J-pickups are very good but not outstanding by any measure, or at least not quite as much fun as the LH-3 MM-J setup.

    I will say right off the bat that I really dig these pickups, and I am not usually one to give Aguilar lots of praise... but that's a different story... The materials quality is second to none. The formvar wire is thick and perfectly wound. The poles are perfectly cut and actually polished. The bobbins are thicker than the Lakland's when compared side to side and they are appreciably heavier. The thick wax-infused push-back cloth lead wire wrap was also a pleasure to see and work with.

    Now, I'm generally very skeptical of aftermarket SC Jazz pups. They usually fall into one of two categories as far as I'm concerned; way too midrangey (Dimarzio Ultra Jazz) or way too upper-midrangey (SD Quarterpounders). The exceptions for me have always been the Bartolini's.... with some models being pure joy and others being just far too dark to be of any use to me. The problem begins when trying to decipher which is which...Bartolini has long suffered from not-so-user-friendly model naming system and entirely unhelpful website. I was really hoping to have something jump out at me for use in my DJ5, and these Aggies have definitely filled the order.

    The overall unadorned tone is ... well..... powerful. Solid, dry, and not too nasal in the bridge position. In fact, the kind of holy grail for me has always been a SC Jazz style pup that could stand on it's own with the bridge solo'ed and not require any midrange scooping or additional bass boost to be both strong enough to support a heavy kind of mix and still have enough bite and growl to be articulate in a very busy mix. These pups have come the closest yet. The slap tone with both pups on full is a joy. Another shortcoming of many SC jazz arrangements in passive basses is when both pups are on full and plucking at the neck position... there's plenty of low end and some bite... but often a lack of really present midrange to some degree. Some pickups, such as the stock Laklands suffer from this so much that there's almost a drop in overall gain. The Aggies do well here too... The tone is strong and full. Not quite Nordy Big Singles full... but quite close. Not too bright and responds well to external EQ. One of the other problems I find with many passive J-style pups is that, if the pickup is set too close to the string, then the B string begins to sound different from the others and gets kind of a strange bass and low-midrange character... almost like an attenuation of sorts... which I can only attribute to the bandwidth and amplitude being too much for the pup. This has been a problem with nearly every single aftermarket passive 5-string J pickup I've ever used, and the Aggies do this as well... but to a much lesser degree.

    Overall a really awesome choice for an upgrade. Definitely wont change the entire character of your bass the way some Seymour Duncan's will, at least as much beef and low-mid muscle as the Dimarzio's and the better Bartolini's, without being as dark or nasal as either respectively.

    Burwabit and tbplayer59 like this.
  2. Highpost


    Feb 14, 2011
    ny. nyc
    Great review! Thx. I hope the out put from both pickups is even.
  3. pablomigraine

    pablomigraine Commercial User

    Feb 9, 2005
    New York
    VP & Managing Director - Willcox Basses
    Seems to be, but I needed to adjust the bass side of the bridge pup a little lower than I liked....


    Feb 2, 2005
    S. Carolina
    Thanks for this review.
  5. Wow, great review. Any comment on how much different the 70s specs are from the 60s?

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