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Single J reco?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by EliotEB2D, Apr 19, 2017.

  1. EliotEB2D


    Apr 19, 2017
    I have a custom mahogany fretless. It has a single J-pickup in the bridge position. It is a Bartolini. The sound is rather thin. I don't have the option of getting more bottom by adding a neck pickup as there is a hollowed-out sound chamber between the bridge pick-up and the neck. I'm looking to replace the Bartolini with a single j-pickup with much more bottom end. Also, since it is a single pickup, I'm looking for a humbucker (something split or stacked ).

    Any recos for single J pickup, hum-cancelling, with a deep bottom end to make up for the lack of a neck pick-up?
  2. RobbieK


    Jun 14, 2003
    Staying passive, I'd say the original Dimarzio model J. This is quite a bassy pickup, considering its form factor.

    I used to build basses and I'd also have to say that mahogany is typically quite mid-rangey in its voice as well. Not to mention the fretless thing!

    If you can fit a battery in the bass, I'd recommend a preamp. Being able to boost the bass (and maybe cut mids) will go a looooong way when you only have a bridge pickup.
  3. EliotEB2D


    Apr 19, 2017
    I can't fit a battery. With the sound chamber in the middle of the bass, there is no room to make the electronics cavity bigger. Is the Dimarzio model J hum-cancelling?
  4. Funkinthetrunk

    Funkinthetrunk Registered User Supporting Member

    Yes it is. John East makes a 2 band eq that fits in the very limited space of a Pbass cavity powered by "coin type" batteries.
  5. RobbieK


    Jun 14, 2003
    If you can't run an onboard pre, there's plenty of pedal type bass preamps. Even just a good old eq pedal would be handy in your situation I'd think...
  6. Pete Greaves

    Pete Greaves

    May 1, 2014
    Go look at the Bartolini B-Axis, I picked up one cheaply and put in my Brubaker and it blew me away in passive mode. Amazing pickup.
  7. JimmyThunder

    JimmyThunder Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2008
    New Hampshire
    I swear by the Model J, especially for fretless
  8. MarkA

    MarkA *** Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2008
    Don't have a specific recommendation, but, in addition to the models mentioned, there might be some custom winders who could give you what you want if you tell them what you're looking for.

    There is the preamp possibility that people have mentioned.

    Also, if you do get, say, a hum-canceling, side-by-side coil J pickup, you could wire it so that the coils are in series (not sure what's typical for that configuration, or if there is a typical configuration), or have it series/parallel on a push/pull tone pot. That would make a big difference in sound -- series would be thicker, higher output, less treble-y, but not necessarily bassier.

    I had a Clement fretless that I sold awhile back. Very different pickup -- a Nordie Dual Coil -- but just the one pickup in 60s Jazz position, passive, with a volume control and a Tonestyler in place of a regular tone pot. Volume was push/pull, switching the two coils of the pickup from series to parallel -- I don't see why you couldn't do the same with the two coils of a hum-cancelling J.

    Here's a quick demo I recorded when I sold the bass. It starts in series mode, with the Tonestyler wide-open (bypassed). Parallel around 1:20. At 1:38, I play a little riff (still in parallel mode) with the Tonestyler wide open, then roll it off a bit a couple of times. The volume on the parallel bit is normalized to match the series bit but, otherwise, no processing, bass straight in.

    I don't know how that would work with a J, but maybe it will give you some ideas.

    Finally, if you can't route for a neck pickup, is there room to expand the route slightly for the bridge pickup? Someone discussed using a Nordie Big Blade at the bridge recently and liking its soloed sound (Nordstrand Big Single in neck, Big Blade in bridge!!!), or maybe a Big Split. You might be able to get what you want in a normal J-size, though.

    Sorry for the ramble -- hope that helps!
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2017