(sigh) Looking for HUMBUCKING J Pups - preferably the most noiseless ever!

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by mikewalker, Sep 1, 2018.

  1. mikewalker

    mikewalker Supporting Member

    Jul 30, 2017
    Canada, Eh!
    I'm getting pretty frustrated with EMG, I have three different "EMG Active" P/J basses and in each of them the J pups are at least 3 dB NOISIER than their corresponding P pups. And sadly, EMG "Ps" are no gems either, in the humbucking department.

    I remember when EMGs used to be DEAD-SILENT, nowadays it's like they are scrimping on the μ-metal shielding. I literally have to rotate 360 degrees, to find the ONE spot where the noise stops. Needless to say its not very convenient to try to stay stock-still when playing!

    I've been in conversation for days now with an EMG tech, who seems to be sure its got to be an "OEM wiring problem" (when its pretty obvious to me that the pickups just can't humbuck their way out of a paper bag!). I just opened two basses today to send him wiring photos as requested, they look pretty friggin OK to me. (sigh)

    ...this after I sent him a few sound clips (pasted below, if yer curious)...

    Anyway, I digress. Aside from being disappointed in EMG, I am disenchanted with "J" pups in general. One of my favorite medium scale basses has a pair of J-Pups, and I'm just about ready to take a router to it and install some P-Pups and a pickguard, because I can't seem to find ANY "jazz bass" sized pickups that are actually QUIET!

    Before I go to that extreme, I would like to appeal to the amazing 'mass mind' here and see if there is any consensus on "the QUIETEST" J-humbuckers. (In normal J-size packages)... I really could care less about tone, I just want to be able to move around freely without spoiling the recordings with HUM...

    *******Appendix: EMGs that are noisier than PASSIVE HUMBUCKERS*****

    I set up a high quality solid state amp, and played standing about 4 feet away ( could stand 20 feet away, doesn't seem to make much difference.)
    You will hear the odd flash of 'computer' noise when I lean in close towards the laptop, but the laptop definitely isn't making the pickups hum. I have tried turning off EVERY APPLIANCE in the building, and the hum is still present.

    And I have experienced the exact same poor hum rejection in three other quite normal residential buildings, and (embarrassingly!) on two large public stages. It's like all of my "noiseless" EMGs are just single-coils... I have never heard their trademark "Quiet".

    I did not change the amp settings, nor move the microphone, and all basses were set to FULL UP on their volume controls (and tone controls, if they had them). One pickup at a time, only.
    I did not change the Active/passive pad selector on the amp, all clips were recorded on "active". ALL EMG's HAVE FRESH 9-VOLT DURACELLS.

    Anyway, here are download links to the sound clips, recorded to lossless FLAC and uploaded to one of my servers:

    This is a set of EMG Active MJs, which I purchased new about 4 years back, and immediately installed the set in a 1994 Fender Urge (Mexico). It then got zero play until last year when I pulled it out, slapped in a new battery, and took it to a gig.
    These are wired in parallel, each through their own volume control. No tone control.

    For COMPARISON, here is a no-name Korean MM-style humbucker in a no-name Chinese 'Mikro' bass ( maybe made in Vietnam?) I'm giving the pup the benefit of the doubt by calling it "Korean"; it may well be Chinese.
    THE WHOLE BASS cost $100 BRAND NEW ( including shipping from the orient!). So lets call it a $20 passive pickup. The bass is not shielded, and it's got Nylon Tapewounds on it ( so no string ground...)

    This is an EMG Active P & J set. Installed in a 2000's Hartke XK4. V, V, T are the knobs. All stock EMG pots. You can hear the J is quite a bit less humbucking than the P ( which is no gem, itself...)

    For COMPARISON, here is a Duncan Basslines Quarter-pounder passive P, in a 2000s Vacarro X-ray ( Identical bass to the previous Hartke XK, just a different headstock)

    Finally - here is a bass with TWO EMG issues:
    1) total lack of hum rejection.
    2) EMG BT control is a HISS FACTORY.

    This is a bone stock 2001 Hartke XL-4, comes with the EMG Active P&J and BT control from the factory.
    Have a listen: it's not pretty...

    Spidey2112 likes this.
  2. Killed_by_Death

    Killed_by_Death Snaggletooth Inactive

    DiMarzio & Nordstrand make J pickups that are actually split-coil design under the cover.
    split-coil meaning they'll be as silent as a P pickup
    matante, mikewalker, Cracker7 and 3 others like this.
  3. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    Vestal, NY
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    Joe Barden makes these:

    /\/\3phist0, JJR58 and mikewalker like this.
  4. Zoobiedood

    Zoobiedood Commercial User

    Sep 1, 2015
    Writer/Ambassador/Artist/Resident Bass Expert for Seymour Duncan
    The Apollo Jazz pickups will get you quiet as well as great tone. Why not have both?
    wmmj, JJR58, mikewalker and 1 other person like this.
  5. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    Vestal, NY
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    Curtis Novak's version:
  6. RedJag


    Mar 2, 2016
    San Jose, CA
    Fralin Split J, Aguilar Split J, DiMarzio Area J, Nordstrand Split J, Duncan Apollo...many others as well. I don’t have any experience myself but I’m also in the market for some HC Jazz pickups.

    I have Fralin single coil J’s in my Jaguar right now and love the sound of them but I can rarely solo a pickup because of the noise issue. I’d love to hear people’s thoughts on the differences between the various Hum cancelling Pickups out there.
    mikewalker likes this.
  7. Spidey2112


    Aug 3, 2016
    I hope you got a good night's sleep, with all that on your mind... :).
  8. Spidey2112


    Aug 3, 2016
    Not sure if Sadowsky sell their pickups, ala carte, but I have an MV4 which is extremely quiet, amped, but I haven't done any recording with it, as a comparison.

    Nordstrand does come to mind, specifically their NYC line...
    mikewalker likes this.
  9. gebass6

    gebass6 We're not all trying to play the same music. Supporting Member

    Sounds like an RF problem.Not pickups.
    pcake and Chrisk-K like this.
  10. birminghambass

    birminghambass Supporting Member

    Sep 18, 2002
    Birmingham, AL
    In 24 years playing hundreds of basses I have determined EMG to be the least noisy of all the pickup manufacturers. If you haven't done this, unhook the bridge ground. EMGs don't need this like other pickups, it actually introduces noise.
    fauxtoe, GlassToMouth, pcake and 8 others like this.
  11. Killed_by_Death

    Killed_by_Death Snaggletooth Inactive

    Radio-Frequency is in a bandwidth higher than the human ear can hear, 20 kHz & up.
    It's EMI.
    packhowitzer and ObsessiveArcher like this.
  12. How's the shielding on your bass?
    groooooove, ObsessiveArcher and REV like this.
  13. CapnSev


    Aug 19, 2006
    Coeur d'Alene
    I saw the thread title and immediately thought EMG. Then I read your disdain for them, so nevermind.

    For what it’s worth, the EMG JVX pickups are the quietest and best sounding J pickups I’ve ever used. They are incredible.
    fauxtoe and mikewalker like this.
  14. DavC


    May 17, 2005
    Tallmadge , Ohio
    i've found Split pups to sound the most like Single coils , and seem to be the loudest ... Stacks , Duals are quiet also , but usually have a little less output ..

    your 'P' pup is a ' Split ' ... a ' J ' Split is quite similar ..!!

    there can be many other things around our home studios that can induce noise also ..!
    mikewalker likes this.
  15. Dudaronamous

    Dudaronamous Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Oct 16, 2005
    Bothell, WA
    +1 on Fralins
    mikewalker and RedJag like this.
  16. Manticore


    Feb 27, 2016
    SoCal and PNW
    Try one of these. Dead quiet; no modifications needed.:cool: 1535905533509662201196.jpg
    mikewalker likes this.
  17. MDBass

    MDBass Supporting Member

    Nov 7, 2012
    Los Angeles, CA
    Endorsing Artist: Dingwall-Fender-Bergantino-Dunlop-Tech 21-Darkglass-Nordstrand
    Nope, that’s exactly how you get a soloed single coil to not hum: I have to do the same thing whenever I use my Ric in the studio.
    mikewalker likes this.
  18. MDBass

    MDBass Supporting Member

    Nov 7, 2012
    Los Angeles, CA
    Endorsing Artist: Dingwall-Fender-Bergantino-Dunlop-Tech 21-Darkglass-Nordstrand
    Any split coil J will be just as quiet as a P: Nordstrand, Aguilar, Fralin, Dimarzio and Duncan all make one, so just pick the flavor you like best.

    For me, it’s Nordstrand.
  19. I have a Fender Samarian Cobalt set in my J. They sound great IMO and are noiseless. The output is a little low, but all my amps have gain knobs.
    mikewalker likes this.
  20. Split-Coil Jazz Bass pickups sound better than noisless. I love Delano JMVC's for their clear punchy and heavy sound.
    wmmj and mikewalker like this.

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