Squier Jazz VM 5-string - Low output?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by stingbear, Sep 14, 2016.

  1. stingbear


    Jul 4, 2006
    Hey folks!

    A couple of months ago I bought a Squier Jazz VM 5-string
    Vintage Modified Jazz Bass® V | Jazz Bass Squier Electric Basses | Squier by Fender®

    After playing it a bit I noticed that the volume output seemed to be lower than my Precision bass. The difference was big enough that it bothered me, so I took it to a local store and compared it to a 4-string VM Jazz, and I noticed the same difference in output here. The guy working in the service department heard the difference too, so he agreed on taking it in and send it to Fender for a checkup. This would take a couple of weeks according to him.

    I waited for 4 weeks before contacting the store, asking about the status of the service, and got a reply (from someone else than the service guy, importantly) that they had compared the bass to another bass in the store (dont know what bass this was) and did not hear a difference in output.

    I went to the store and picked up my bass, and after playing a bit at home I could only conclude that the difference in output level was still there. Maybe I'm imagining things, or there's something wrong with my ears, but considering the service guy also said he heard a difference, I don't think I'm hearing wrong..

    Now the service guy is on vacation, and he's apparently the only one working in the service department, so the others in the store could not tell me anything about what had been done to the bass, or if anything had been done at all.

    So instead I seek knowledge here! :)

    Is there any reason why a 5-string VM Jazz should have lower output than a 4-string Precision or VM Jazz? I didn't check what the pickups on the 4s VM was, I know some models had SD designed pickups, while my bass has Fender-designed pups. Would there be an expected difference in output between these pups?

    Or is there an inherent difference between 5 and 4 string pups that would cause difference in output?

    I have googled, but haven't found anyone mentioning this issue, but hopefully the experience of the talkbass community can help me shed some light on the issue. :)

    Thanks in advance for any answers!
  2. Jazz bases are wired in parallel, P basses are wired in Series. If you rewire your jazz into series you will notice the tone changes and the volume increases. That's just the nature of the beast. A very common modification for jazz bases is to replace one of the volume pots with a push/pull pot so you can switch between series and parallel wiring with the push of a button.

    Edit: As far as the volume difference between two jazz bases, have you checked the pickup height? Pickups height influences output; as a general rule the closer the pickup to the string the more output there is.
    UNICORN BASS likes this.
  3. I have the VMJV with Fender pickups, and to me, the output is quite low. But I think that is the nature of those pickups as well. If I had to guess, the output is about 10db lower than my other bass with MM pickups.
    I increased the height of the bridge pickup to be about 1/8" below the B and G strings. I have the neck pickup about 5/16" below those same strings to match the output of the bridge pickup.
    I have been considering replacing the pickups with something hotter, like SD QP's or 67/70's. Problem is that I really like how the Fender pickups sizzle, and I'm afraid of losing that...for now I just compensate by using my amp's volume knob and kick it up a notch...

    Wiring the two Jazz pickups in series as mentioned above will yield tremendous low end output, and only one volume pot will control both. It's a perfect "Reggae" sound, but definitely use a switch to go in and out of that mode...unless all you play is Reggae...
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2016
  4. Yahboy


    May 21, 2008
    That is normal.

    My CV jazz less output than CV pbass.
    My CV pbass still louder than SRFF805.