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Same pickups, different sound

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by RattleSnack, Nov 24, 2017.

  1. RattleSnack

    RattleSnack Supporting Member

    Sep 22, 2011
    I have two passive 4-string Jazz basses: Fender Standard Jazz (MIM) and my backup Jazz clone (ash body). When moving 3 different sets of pickups back and forth, I noticed a big change in sound. Jazz clone has much more bottom than Fender with same pickups. Difference is really noticeable.

    It could be because of the strings: I didn't move them, they are different brand but same gauge. Next time I change strings, I will put heavier gauge on Fender jazz.

    It could be pots, but it shouldn't affect low freqs, right?
  2. Don't underestimate the impact different woods will have on the timbre.
    GrapeBass, Frenchy-Lefty and nolezmaj like this.
  3. BassLife77


    Nov 13, 2009
    San Diego
    sounds like the difference in the strings
    blindrabbit likes this.
  4. Every bass has a different sound. Even basses with identical specs.
    40Hz, Frenchy-Lefty, nolezmaj and 3 others like this.
  5. ctmullins

    ctmullins fueled by beer and coconut Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 18, 2008
    MS Gulf Coast
    I'm highly opinionated and extremely self-assured
    Quoted for emphasis. Even two pieces of wood from the same tree can have different mechanical properties. Also, assembly tolerances can vary.
    Big Shrek likes this.
  6. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    When you say "the same" pickups, do you mean that the output on the clone is higher regardless of which pickups are in it?
  7. guitarrophobe


    Mar 20, 2017
    Having a guitar background I find it hilarious that bass people claim that wood has zero influence on a bass's tone.

    Build a P or Ja from ash and one from mahogany and they will sound different.
    Build two from the same wood and they will sound more alike, but still not identical due to the pieces of wood not being identical.

    Swap the bodies of two basses and part of the sound will be swapped as well. "Part" because neck and hardware and the whole rest have an impact, too.

    My 2c.
  8. RattleSnack

    RattleSnack Supporting Member

    Sep 22, 2011
    I just swapped the strings, the change is subtle but noticable, all in the high mids. Daddarios (from Fender Jazz) have more "clang", and no-names from clone are a little warmer. Before or after the swap, clone still has more "bottom"

    Yes, clone has more output, but it also has more lows (bass or low mids).

    Maybe there is something wrong with Fender? Maybe something fixable, or it has construction flaw.

    Additional info: clon is heavier and has CTS pots and Willkinson tuners and bridge, Fender has Hipshot Ultralite tuners and stock pots and bridge.
  9. RattleSnack

    RattleSnack Supporting Member

    Sep 22, 2011
    Mandatory bass photo:

    Fender is sunburst/tort and my main guitar. At the moment, it has Dimarzio Ultrajazz (still thin sound) and no-name strings.
    Clone is ash body and black pickguard, and my backup. At the moment, it has Fender's stock pickups and Daddario strings.
    My third set of pickups is Fender '74, until recently they were on Fender Jazz - lovely high mids, but no lows.
    Big Shrek likes this.
  10. Coolhandjjl

    Coolhandjjl Supporting Member

    Oct 13, 2010
    Nothing is wrong with the Fender. Someone else may think the clone is too hot or sounds too thick. Use the bass you like the tone of best.
    nolezmaj likes this.
  11. RattleSnack

    RattleSnack Supporting Member

    Sep 22, 2011
    Thanks, that is what I am thinking. Downside is clones weight - my Fender is just right for my main gig (two-hour set). It would be great if there was some remedy.
  12. ctmullins

    ctmullins fueled by beer and coconut Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 18, 2008
    MS Gulf Coast
    I'm highly opinionated and extremely self-assured
    For live use, compensating with amp EQ should suffice.
    nolezmaj likes this.
  13. RattleSnack

    RattleSnack Supporting Member

    Sep 22, 2011
    What I do, I leave it to the sound guy :)
    I don't have a real problem here, I am just wondering is this something fixable.
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2017
    ctmullins likes this.
  14. Sure, grab a stool :) Even tiny chix benefit from a seated playing position.
  15. RattleSnack

    RattleSnack Supporting Member

    Sep 22, 2011
    There's a chick behind that huge bass? ;)
    Thanks for advice!
  16. The older we get, the more we appreciate a good seat ;)

    The other option is much more difficult, you lift weights on a daily basis
    until you don't even notice how much your bass weighs after 2-8 hours :)
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2017
    nolezmaj likes this.
  17. RattleSnack

    RattleSnack Supporting Member

    Sep 22, 2011
    Well, things just got a little weird. I removed Ultralites and reinstalled stock tuners on my Fender, and sound improved dramaticaly. Yes, I know that sounds crazy.
    It sounds louder now, amplified and sonicaly. It sounds deeper too. It also tends to dive to horizontal position - that's why I got Ultralites in the first place.
    Guitars still sound different because of different pickups (Fender stock and scooped Dimarzio Ultrajazz), so my next step is to flip them around, maybe remove Dimarzio and add Fender '74 pickups and make some comparison.
    mexicant and Big Shrek like this.
  18. +1
    I've experience that many times. In fact the neck itself has a huge impact on the tone, not only the body. Tonewood negationists are just clueless.
    Killed_by_Death likes this.
  19. Kikegg


    Mar 3, 2011
    Madrid, Spain
    IME every bass sounds different even built with same specs. I've 3 Precision basses (PB70 CIJ, Highway-1 and Highway One), all from the early 2000's, rosewood fretboard and alder bodies, with same strings (D'Addario EXL 170), same pickups (EMG GZR) and same setup. The Highway One got its BadAssII removed and replaced by a standard vintage bridge so the three are almost equal.

    They all sound different to each other.

    The PB70 sounds darker, and of the two Highways, one has a little bit more bright sound than the other.
  20. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    It’s a hard truth that although a fine woman will often pick up a bass, the same can not be said for picking up a bass player. :cautious:

    That is because there are a large number of intelligent woman in this world who just so happen to know their own worth.

    I suspect there’s a lesson in there somewhere. ;):laugh:
    Big Shrek and nolezmaj like this.

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