Richter JB Passive Control Plate - install in my MIM Jazz

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Nomogram, Nov 29, 2015.

  1. Nomogram


    Sep 30, 2015
    Central Illinois
    I have had a very happy experience installing a Richter JB Passive Control Plate in my #2 bass, and I didn't see any other reviews via Search, so I thought I'd post one, with some photos. Apologies for a long post and lotsa big photos.

    The bass is a 1998 MIM Fender Jazz. It has been my #2 for 16 years, traveling with me to all my gigs, usually staying in its case the whole time. I've kept it because I love the look, the Indigo paint, and the feel. The noisy, humming pickups have always been a bummer. I had to use the bass for exactly one gig, due to a crackly output jack on my #1, and it passed, but new pickups have always been intended. I cannot solder, though, and haven't found a luthier in my area. So when I saw an ad for the Richter, I thought I'd give it a try.

    It is a chrome, standard sized plate for passive Jazz basses. As you can see in the photo, it uses a board instead of wire harnesses, and it has an area where you can insert pickup wires and ground wires and secure them with tiny little flathead screws:
    z Tiny Flathead Screws.jpg

    Here are photos of my 1998 MIM Jazz Bass, "before":
    z 1 previous MIM electronics.jpg
    z 2 previous electronics.jpg

    First step was to remove everything except the ground wire that leads from under the bridge into the control cavity. Note that I left the "foam" pads that were under the stock pickups in place. They stay to support the new pickups: z 3 remove everything but bridge ground wire.jpg

    Next step was to install the new pickups I'd ordered (Nordstrand NJ4SV in the neck and Nordstrand NJ4SE in the bridge). I used the same screws from the stock pickups (even thought the Nordstrands came with their own install screws), installed them, then pulled the wires thru to the control cavity:
    z 5 install the new pickups and pull wires thru.jpg

    I wired the neck pickup into the Richter plate first. Using the Nordstrand instructions, the white wire is "hot", so I put it in the "N" ("N" for neck) hole on the plate. The gray and black wires are both ground, so I put them both in the same ground hole:
    z 6 wire the neck pickup with black and grey on same terminal.jpg

    Next, I wired in the bridge pickup, using the same approach. White wire in the "B" hole on the Richter plate, gray and black together in a ground hole. Note the short, black ground wire to the right side in this photo (it is the pre-existing bridge ground wire): z 7 wire the second pickup same way.jpg

    The last step was the most challenging. I had to get that short bridge ground wire into one of those ground holes. I don't have a photo, since it involved balancing the bass on edge and finagling it a bit.

    Final photo is after the bridge ground wire got connected, and the plate has been installed on the bass with the three screws:
    z 8 after bridge ground attached put plate on with 3 screws.jpg

    Notice that I didn't even bother trying to shield the bass. Those Nordstrand pickups are both split humcancelling passive pickups, so I'm relying on them being inherently hum-silent.

    The result?

    A massive improvement in my old MIM Jazz Bass! The Nordstrands are as good as advertised. Silent from any hum, and they sound absolutely huge compared to the old, stock pickups. It's like a totally different bass, all in a good way. MUCH more bottom end, more clarity, more character, more everything but hum. As far as the Richter plate itself, I like the feel and look of its knobs better than the old stock ones, too. The knobs have a very solid feel, with some resistance when you turn them, like I like. The old ones felt loose and cheap.

    Review conclusion: this product is a really great idea that is perfect for situations like mine. It cost about $65 for the Richter plate, and because I didn't shield the bass, this particular install required humcancelling passive pickups. But... it didn't require soldering, or a trip to a luthier. And, if I want to experiment with other pickups later, it's as easy as getting back in there and turning a few screws. Those little flathead screws were a little annoying to manipulate, but they did allow a nice, secure lockdown of the wires. If I had it to do over again, in retrospect I'd probably snip a longer stretch of wire and run a longer ground wire from the bridge to the control cavity to make that connection a little easier, rather than using the pre-existing bridge ground wire. As it was, I got it done, and I am light years from being any luthier in talent.

    I like it, it's a cool product that allowed me to totally transform my old reliable #2 into a genuinely good-sounding bass now.
  2. Nomogram


    Sep 30, 2015
    Central Illinois
    One other note (I forgot to mention, but didn't want to edit that huge prior post): my 1998 MIM Jazz is one of the ones that requires two neck-sized pickups. So the ones I installed were two neck-sized Nordstrands. When I ordered them, I figured I'd get one NJ4SV and one NJ4SE, then consider switching their positions to experiment (since they're both identical sized). I love the sound I got so much though, I'm just leaving it all as-is.
    larrygs likes this.
  3. Basssy

    Basssy Supporting Member

    Apr 5, 2000
    Houston, TX
    Very cool. I have these in 2 basses of mine. A Fender Mexican Jazz with Dimarzio Model Js, and a Squier VM Jaguar 5 String with Nordstrand NP5F and Nj5Fs pickups. Both basses are dead silent and the install for each took maybe 5 mins max. Highly recommend these control plates for anyone preferring a passive setup.
  4. frontroom


    Aug 10, 2011
    Is there much noise when either pickup is soloed?
  5. Nomogram


    Sep 30, 2015
    Central Illinois
    No, there is none of the typical single-coil hum in my indigo bass (shown above) now. Even with either pickup soloed, amp cranked up to shake the windows. Prior to this install, the singlecoil hum from the stock '98 MIM pups was enough to drive me batty. I haven't tried recording with it, so I don't know if it is studio-ready silent or not, but it basically went from annoying to quiet. Keep in mind that the pickups I installed were high-quality, split-coil humcancelling Nordstrands. A full shielding might still be of benefit to reduce any possible noise, but the hum from the coils is gone.
  6. Volunteerk9


    Oct 20, 2015
    subd for near future reference
  7. raphaeld


    Sep 19, 2012
    ok you convinced me, I'm going to order that preamp.
    Great photos and post, don't be sorry :)
    Thank you
  8. That's not a preamp. It's a standard passive VVT harness.
    raphaeld and wcriley like this.
  9. raphaeld


    Sep 19, 2012
    correct, my mistake. thank you
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