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Should I convert my Sadowsky NYC 4 JJ to a PJ?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by rob_the_bassist, Apr 6, 2009.

  1. I posted pictures of my bass a few weeks back here...


    its a beautiful JJ 4 stringer. overall, the bass sounds phenomenal right now. the tone is to die for when played by itself. but in the mix, i think the bass sounds a little weak. i hear it cutting through but i don't feel the impact or the punch. so lately i've been desiring a fatter, punchier/ballsier sound...similar to a P bass but with the option of having the J for cutting through the mix when i need to, and for general added "bite" to my tone. i really want to feel the notes right in the pocket.

    would having work done on the bass to convert it to a PJ setup help me find this tone, or could it possibly hinder the overall tone of the bass from losing wood in the conversion process? could it be my cabinet that needs an upgrade? i'm using a littlemark II and bergentino HT112 speaker cabinet in a three person band.

    i also don't really like the idea of drilling holes on an already beautiful bass, even though the work would be covered up by a pickguard.

    thanks in advance for the suggestions! :bassist:
  2. I wouldn't. Better to sell it and get a P/J. But first I would suggest going to single coils-you will notice the difference and it may be enough of a change to make you happy. But honestly J's aren't for everyone-took me awhile to get a sound that I like with mine, but now I wouldn't go back. I was a dual humbucker guy forever, big adjustment for me.
  3. Grizzly700


    Mar 18, 2008
    Maryville, TN
    I would never cut into a bass like that. If something goes wrong you're screwed, probably better to sell that one and buy a PJ.
  4. TrooperFarva


    Nov 25, 2004
    New City, NY
    Sell it, buy a PJ.

    Any NYC PJ Sadowsky can be converted to JJ, but not the other way around. It has to do with the size of the pickguard.
  5. Ah, ok. I'll try the single coils first and see if that helps. I've really become attached to this bass so I'd really hate to sell it. Thanks for the advice!
  6. msiner


    Sep 2, 2008
    Tucson, AZ
    The single coil idea is good. Since you have the hum-canceling pickups and don't need to keep matched pairs of J pickups, you could try replacing the mid/neck position pickup with something that can cut a little better that is also hum-canceling. Some people say the DiMarzio Model J has good cutting mids or you could look at a Basslines stack. There are plenty of J pickups out there that are much more aggressive/mid-heavy than the Sadowsky hum-canceling. There is no need to go for a full blown P pickup.
  7. Not to cover obvious stuff that you've likely already considered, but...just in case before you go soldering/slicing/dicing/etc...

    1. Strings? Age...material, gauge?

    2. Amp? EQ settings?

    I guess I'm just struggling to understand how this instrument wouldn't cut in a mix. Good luck to you on this...
  8. Jefenator


    Aug 22, 2008
    I just swapped out the DiMarzio Ultra-Jazz P/Us (which I think are the same as what Sadowsky uses?) for some quality single coils (Antiquity II). Gig test is tonight, but I can already tell that my bass has become a wild animal (in a good way) compared to what it was.

    IMO routing a NYC body would be like trying to "convert" the Mona Lisa into a Rembrandt. :p

    Fortunately for you, J/J has the absolute most potential replacement options out of any bass pickup configuration. That's one of the things I like about it!
  9. Thanks all for the suggestions! The first thing I will try is a pickupswap.

    I'd like to clarify some things...

    First, I wasn't going to do this myself :) that would be murder. I was going to bring it into the Sadowsky shop in Brooklyn.

    Also, the bass cuts through the mix just fine. I just want more of a round, fat tone that you can feel just as much as you can hear.

    Are Sadowsky single coils good pickups...or are there other options out there worth considering? I'm guessing that the Sadowsky single coils would match the preamp nicely but I know absolutely nothing about electronics...
  10. bikeplate

    bikeplate Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2001
    Upstate NY

    First off, Im sure they'd talk you out of it at the shop. Its way more work than meets the eye. Would cost alot of money, too. Id try single coils and another cab in addition to your 1x12.

  11. yeah the more i think about it the more i want to leave the body of the bass alone. i was never too fond of having it re-drilled and cut. the cost is also a good reason to shy away from a job like that.

    being a renown sadowsky fanatic, do you recommend any single coils over the sadowsky single coils?
  12. bikeplate

    bikeplate Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2001
    Upstate NY

    I dont think another set would sound any better than the shop's singles. Might get a different type of tone but they really do rock. Ive got a set in my five string, had a set in a UV metro I used to have, and have a Will Lee on order that will have them. I do like Carey Nordstrands single coils. I have big singles in my 24/4 and nj4s in my nyc jj. The Nords seem to have a more similar tone to real Fender jazz pickups from the '60s, to my ears. Rogers set have more of a modern vibe to them. Both sets will really make you smile

    All this being said, Ive never owned a Sadowsky that sounded thin to me. Have you ever walked out front of the bandstand and listened while you played or had a buddy sit it and listen? You'll be very surprised on front compared to the stage

  13. Yeah it very well could be the fact that i'm only using a 12x1 cabinet...not a whole lot of air to push amongst the other instruments.

    since i've been looking to get another cabinet anyway (before i got the sadowsky), maybe i should do that before replacing the pickups.

    any recommendations for a cab to pair with a 1x12 HT112 (Bergantino) ?
  14. bikeplate

    bikeplate Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2001
    Upstate NY

    The more Bergs, the better. I have an HS410 which kills. Id also consider an hs210 if you need a small standalone cab. Great bottom and definition. Or, just get another 1x12 and stack 'em

  15. Alexander


    Aug 13, 2001
    Seattle, WA
    I would definitely add another cabinet to your setup and think trying a Berg EX112 would be a good place to start. I had that "mini-stack" for a couple of years and it was sweet. I never gigged with one cabinet alone and I could see how doing so in a band context would not be fat\big enough. I believe the Berg HT112\EX112 stack is a bit mid-focused, but you have a wider sounding head than I used (Thunderfunk) and the Sadowsky pre can fatten things up quite a bit as well, so that may well be just the ticket - they are sweet sounding cabs.

    If that is still not getting to "your tone", I would recommend stepping up into a larger cab setup altogether. I went out to buy a Berg HS410 to replace my mini-stack for the same reasons you mention (I played in a pretty loud rock band at the time and the mini-stack was JUST BARELY enough...), but ended up walking out with an Epi UL410 instead. I've also played this rig through Ampeg 810 backline cabs. In any case, it was a totally different game playing through bigger cabs. I won't go back to anything less than an extended range 410...

    As others have said, I would leave the Sadowsky goodness alone. The JJ configuration should be plenty warm, fat and punchy played through the right rig. Perhaps jazz basses aren't for you, but I wouldn't swap out before you get the cab setup you need.

    Just my .02
  16. I sometimes play my Sadowsky through my Hartke 1x10 combo and the tone is nice and does cut through but like the thread started I don't really feel the bass.... and I'm not surprised. It is not the bass' fault but the combo and i suspect that the same applies to the OP's setup.

    By all means try the pickup swap but I would suggest that you first take your bass to a music store and try out a variety of amps and cabs. I'd bet you will find and amp and cab combination that will give you the impact you desire.
  17. Jefenator


    Aug 22, 2008
    Well, I did the first gig with the single-coils last night and that was just a ton of fun. The bass feels completely different - I love it.

    Before, the bass had a nice depth but it was a tad polite and the upper register seemed more brittle. Also, it had that "scoop" vibe no matter where I set the blend.

    Now when I back one P/U off, I get some serious "grunt". The keys were way too loud so I was the volume martyr - deliberately left my amp volume lower - and I could still hear and feel everything I played. And the upper register seemed much more useful - less buzz, more pitch. Could really hit hard and punch it out the way I like.

    Don't get me wrong; the old split-coils did sound delicious... especially at home. :D But this new setup with the Antiquity IIs is working so much better for me, it's like night and day.

    I'm not necessarily pushing that exact choice, because there are so many excellent options. You can check out the discussions in the Pickups forum, see how deep the rabbit hole really goes. :eek:

    Or keep it simple, do the obvious and go with Roger's pick.

    Either way, I think a different P/U set is absolutely worth a try. :)
  18. The same thing happened to me. The other day at a gig I was feeling my Sadowsky a bit thin-sounding... After I finished the set I got a lot of compliments about how fat and clear the bass sounded... Sometimes just changing the position of your amp can be a great difference...

    That said, I can tell you that I have owned a Lot of high end basses and until now the Fattest Bass I have played is my Sadowsky...

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