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Sadowsky H/C jazz for fretless?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Mystic Michael, Mar 23, 2009.


  1. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    I've done my due diligence on aftermarket jazz-style pickups for my two four-string bass guitars - one fretted, the other fretless. Right now I'm on the fence between:

    1) getting a set of DiMarzio Ultra Jazz for the fretted and a set of DiMarzio Model J for the fretless

    OR

    2) getting (2) sets of Sadowsky hum-canceling jazz-style pickups - one set for each instrument

    I think either choice would likely be fine for my fretted bass, but for the fretless it looks as if my choice is between powerful & ballsy (Model J), and smooth & refined (Sadowsky).

    Is this distinction basically accurate and correct, or not? Would the Model Js really have enough clarity in the upper mids to yield some nice smooth mwah? Would the Sadowskys still have plenty of guts and growl?

    Opinions please?

    MM
     
  2. I think the Sadowsky HC's ARE Dimarzio Ultra J pickups.

    My feeling is that you can't have too many mids with a fretless, so the single coils would be my call there. Of course, the single coils would be my call on the fretted too!
     
  3. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    I appreciate the input, Ken. But single-coil hum just drives me nuts. I'm more than willing to trade off an additional increment of performance in return for a pure, clean signal that I can count on.

    MM
     
  4. I agree that if you are one that totally solos a single pickup, single coils would not be the best choice. I find that I get, for me, a better bridge pickup tone by just rolling the neck pickup back a very slight amount, just before the level of any single coil hum. I feel I get 90% of the burp with a more pleasant, full low end without the need to artificially add low end with EQ. Of course, with both pickups on full, singles are as quiet as HC's.

    That being said, you might try the Nordstrand HC J pickups. Carey has a number of different winding options in his HC J pickup line, and he can probably get you closest to that single coil grind and mid punch that sounds so good with a fretless J in an HC pickup that will allow you to solo the bridge pickup with no hum.
     
  5. I'm using Sadowsky H/C J pickups in my defretted Yamaha BB404. Works really fine.....
     
  6. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    How would you characterize the tone, Santraginus? Do the Sadowsky H/C provide a goodly amount of mids? Can you generate some nice growl with them?

    Thanks,

    MM
     
  7. Well, how do I characterize the tone...

    Since I epoxied the fingerboard, the tone is really jaco-esque, while the H/C pickups have a tendency to be a bit scooped. Sure it is not a single-coil tone - but I really like it. Strong fundamental, strong mids, but when I favor the bridge pickup, I get that nasal, sizzling Jaco tone.
    I never thought of replacing the Sadowsky H/C pickups... I'm really really happy with the tone. Heck... I've got a hard time describing tone, I guess.
     
  8. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    That actually helps. Thanks...

    I've got an idea - one that Ken sort of gave me. The Nordstrands are just out of my price range. But the Sadowskys are in the ball park.

    Since I'm local to Roger's shop (just a subway ride away), perhaps I could prevail upon Roger or one of his people to custom-wind a H/C set to sound especially good on fretless (i.e. slightly bumped-up mids, etc.) - although by Santraginus' description, they'd probably sound good regardless.

    I'm already acquainted with Roger, as he did some minor repair work on one of my basses some years ago. I might just drop into his shop and have a chat...

    MM
     
  9. narud

    narud Supporting Member

    Mar 15, 2001
    santa maria,california
    they dont wind their pickups in house like carey does so that wouldnt work.
     
  10. Mr. Ray

    Mr. Ray

    Feb 20, 2009
    Canada
    I have the Model J's in my Warmoth fretless (alder body/ebony fingerboard). Sounds great, no hum and they are not expensive. I love the adjustable poles.
     
  11. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    Believe me, I've been pondering the Model Js. But I feel as if the reviews have been giving me mixed signals...

    "Phat, deep and powerful" are common to nearly every review - and I'm way psyched up about that. But I also like clarity and a good deal of transparency. Not in the stereotypical "hi-fi" way (i.e. brittle, harsh, etc.), but just clean, smooth and balanced, with present, but not overpowering upper mids and highs.

    FWIW, my thing these days is neo-psychedelic rock, acid jazz, and ambient/electronic/groove/trance material. So a big, big sound, with lots of phat power is a given. I just want to avoid any hint of old-school mud - that's all.

    MM
     
  12. I would recommend simply trying the Sadowsky H/Cs just like they are sold... Rather than trying to customize something that works fine. I think that the Sadowsky H/Cs work perfect with both fretted and defretted basses - and if you look for a certain tone, some minor eq tweaks on your amp would help a lot.

    What I love about my fretless bass is its versatility. Using the neck PU only, and cutting treble gives me a very organic, strong tone that works especially well for jazz and blues tunes. Both PUs together seem to do the trick for rock (think Jack Bruce...), while the brigde PU provides plenty of that Jaco vibe. Even small adjustments of the PU balance modify the tone - and I can get all the mids out of these beasts that I might want.

    Just my 2 cents, anyway.
     
  13. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    Actually, I'll be using a Bart NTMB 3-band onboard preamp @ 18 volts. Should provide more than enough "tweakability" without having to even touch the amp.

    But good to know that your Sadowsky H/C already provide such a great sound for you, even without active electronics (your Yamaha BB404 is passive, is it not?).

    MM
     
  14. Mr. Ray

    Mr. Ray

    Feb 20, 2009
    Canada
    Michael they are not muddy..they are full. I have 5 jazz basses and these are the warmest and fattest, the bridge pickup is great for soloing. In a live situation these work great. Bottomline they are not that expensive to try.
     
  15. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    Ray, did I read from another thread that your Model Js are wired with a series/parallel switch? And by any chance are both your Js internally wired for series/parallel operation? Or are they internally hard-wired for series only?

    Am just curious whether you've experienced how much these different wirings can affect your tone...and if so, whether you have a preference, and why...

    MM
     
  16. Mr. Ray

    Mr. Ray

    Feb 20, 2009
    Canada
    I have the Model J's in my Warmoth fretless just wired with each one in their standard humbucking mode. You can split the coil, reverse phase etc. but I didn't want that. there is no hum the way they are wired...when using the bridge I wanted quiet for the nuances of the fretless.I have my Geddy Lee jazz with a series/paralel push/poll pot that puts the 2 single coil pickups in a humbucking mode...pseudo P bass. Just buy the Model J's you won't be disappointed and you can add custom switches to wire any way you want. You will be very happy.:)
     
  17. Yep, the BB404 is passive. Of course, a 3-band pre on board will definitely give you plenty of sound options. I conteplated adding a John East U-retro - but since I'm completely satisfied with the bass as it is, I decided against changing something that works fine...
     
  18. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    Thanks again to all for your suggestions. More experiences and opinions from other TalkBassers? :meh:

    MM
     
  19. MaddAnthony_59

    MaddAnthony_59 Supporting Member

    Dec 16, 2006
    Columbus, IN
    I Channel Surf During Commercials. (Drives my Wife CRAZY!!!)
    I just installed a set of Sadowsky Jazz HC in my 2004 MIA Fender Jazz. No Hum, more mids, and actually a touch on the HOT side. I'm thinking the pups might be closer to the strings than the stock pups. They sat too low without the foam spacer, but are a bit Thicker than the stockers. So, even torqued down, they are a touch higher. Might make a slight difference.

    But I do like the Tone, and there is some Growl. And the Hum is not missed!!!
     
  20. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    Do you mean, more mids than the Fender stock pickups? How well balanced would you say the Sadowskys are, from lows to mids to highs?

    MM
     

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