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Torn on Jazz P-UPs for a Fretless...

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by TheBrad, Feb 5, 2006.


  1. TheBrad

    TheBrad Baby step bassist - 90% n00b

    Jan 16, 2006
    Mountain View,CA
    I'm sure this is all what you are dying to see, another pickup recommendation thread but I have a fretless Fender Jazz Bass and I want to swap out the pups. I don't know how to judge the "natural" tone of my bass by playing it acoustically, just don't really know how to distinguish between bright and dark wood. It's an adler body and mapleneck/rosewood fingerboard. So I've narrowed it down to Bartolini 9CBJD-1 Set, EMG J, or Lace Sensors. I really want it to be a flat black casing with no exposed pole pieces to excentuate the current look of the bass. But if you have recommendations with pole pieces exposed and hold them with high regard, by all means recommend them.

    My budget is $150, and I would essentially just want to bring out that traditional fretless tone that is so sought after, also I want more stable highs they sound rather sterile to me currently- so just a better tonal pallette than the stock Fender pups. Humbucking or humcancelling is definitely a priority too, I have shielding in but I would really like that "studio quiet". As moronic as it is to have EMG listed... I would really like to stay passive.
     
  2. IMO,The BARTOLINI p/u's are better than the others listed.BTW you mite think of puttin' in an BARTOLINI NTBT preamp for the highs.If you do it yourself you could do it for around $210.00 or so.REMEMBER IMO!!So,save up like 60 more bucks!
     
  3. BassyBill

    BassyBill The smooth moderator... Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2005
    West Midlands UK
    Sorry to veer away from passive, but what you're asking for describes EMG Js perfectly to me - " that traditional fretless tone that is so sought after, also I want more stable highs".

    Lots of people on here will know that I love my EMGs in my fretless Jazz and will have heard this sound clip, so apologies for posting it again. But it may help you decide if EMGs are what you're after. Some people think they sound a bit "sterile", but I love 'em. Listen and decide...

    There is some slight hum in the clip - this was down to recording it with a crummy little unshielded lead straight into the 3.5mm jack mic socket on my sound card. In normal use the EMG pickups are dead quiet, as you seem to know already.

    Let me know what you think! BTW, the bass has a Status graphite neck and this also makes a big difference to the tone in my opinion!
     
  4. TheBrad

    TheBrad Baby step bassist - 90% n00b

    Jan 16, 2006
    Mountain View,CA
    I have heard your sound clip before and it is beautiful. How do you feel the status adjusts the tonality? Graphite makes it brighter right? Does the battery just fit into the control cavity like with the J-Retro? I don't want to have to modify the bass for this upgrade.

    Does anyone have anything to say on Villex's behalf? I discovered their pickup last night and they sound okay too.
     
  5. BassyBill

    BassyBill The smooth moderator... Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2005
    West Midlands UK
    Thanks for that! :)

    Yes, the battery will fit in a normal J cavity ,although there isn't much room left after that.

    The neck - well, I think it just adds to the whole resonance of the bass. The instrument rings like a bell when tapped, it just seems to want to sing out, if you know what I mean. Very responsive, if that's the right way to put it.
     
  6. 4Mal

    4Mal Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    Your Alder and Rosewood combination is going to be pretty balanced tonally not overly brite or dark. Standard bridge or Ba or other hi mass ? that and the shape of the bridge pieces has a big impact on the over all tonality of the finished instrument...

    The Aero Type 1 would be a nice choice although it has exposed pole pieces. A real punchy and balanced sounding J pickup. Not hotter than normal but bigger sounding in a traditional way. I really like these pickups a lot!

    The Bart 9J is a very nice and quiet pickup. From an EQ perspective, it's a bit scooped. Very refined almost compressed. I used them in a Sqamp Ash J I built up that with a BA II, was quite bright. In that piece of wood, they made the cut over something like 5 or 6 different pickup sets ...

    The other pickup I would think about would be the Bill Lawwrence J-45. A more or less traditional sounding and looking pickup, (exposed pole pieces again) but extremely quiet. I used a .1mfd tone cap for a bit more roll off in the hi's rather than the .047. It was just smoother to my ear. Some of the nicest hi's in the business. A very defined full bottom. A little modern sounding with a touch of scoop. Not as much scoop as the Barts though.

    For me it would be the Lawrences, passive. I think they would be a great choice in an Alder & Rosewood f'less. For live playing the noise factor is a real plus too. Only downside is the order to receipt time.

    I'm into passive for f'less. Active pickups or pre's just seem to add too much of their own thing. Fretless tone is so dependant on touch and technique that I want my setup to preserve that character rather than mask it.
     
  7. spc

    spc

    Apr 10, 2004
    South of Boston
    Check out Jason Lollar single coils, they are amazing...
     
  8. Wow! Totally different from what I've expected from EMG's..

    I do notice a bit of highend zinnng in your tone though, can you also lose that? I really liked your tone, except for the zinnggg (if I may call it like that).

    And the neck, does it only add responsiveness or also some high end? I like the high end, but I don't want to hear any metallic kind of zinnng in my sound. :smug:
     
  9. TheBrad

    TheBrad Baby step bassist - 90% n00b

    Jan 16, 2006
    Mountain View,CA
    4mal, this particular bass has a BAII on it.
    Haha, you make it sound like I've shot myself in the foot. I have one fretless which I planned on adding Ultra Jazzs to in addition to it's J-Retro (already onboard). Trying for the Sadowsky tone on that particular bass.

    But the one in question, I am all but sold on the EMGs. Hate to admit it, but after listening to several bart clips the EMGs just kind of shine in my ear.

    Could you give me a link to where I could buy some Lawrences? I was planning on putting them in my guitar but then I wasn't sure who was the real Bill Lawrence, so I didn't even bother. :\

    SPC, Any sound clips of the Lollar? Those came up while I was searching to, they seem kind of interesting. But I am a bit desuaded by the fact that they are single coils... I did the copper shielding, but still get some hum with the stock pups and I am afraid I would run into the same issue with those.

    Still so torn. -_-
     
  10. TheBrad

    TheBrad Baby step bassist - 90% n00b

    Jan 16, 2006
    Mountain View,CA
    Just got off the phone with Bass Exchange, and they recommend Nordstrand, Fralin, or SD Antiquities. Ugggh...

    So I guess I am open to passive pickups now.
    Someone put me out of my misery. :p
     
  11. BassyBill

    BassyBill The smooth moderator... Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2005
    West Midlands UK
    I actually like a fair bit of "zinng" myself, but it is possible to lose that with a bit of judicious EQ (or just leave the strings on a bit longer!).

    Graphite is stiffer than wood and so has a much higher resonant frequency, so doesn't dissipate as much energy from frequencies in the audible range as wood does. This means you do hear more high end, I suppose - it's not that the neck "adds" it, more that it doesn't soak it up the same way as wood can. This is why graphite neck basses do sound bright to some people. I dig it myself as you hear "more" of the note, if I can put it like that. But other people aren't so keen, maybe... YMMV etc etc etc.

    TheBrad, I have another Jazz with a Status neck :D and this one (which is fretted) has a J-Retro with Nordstrand NJ4SE pickups - very cool pups IMO, not quite the clarity of the EMGs maybe but a little "warmer" tone. Definitely recommended. Here you go with another clip.
     
  12. fretlessrock

    fretlessrock Supporting Member

    Aug 8, 2002
    Corrupticut
    The Bart 9CBJD-1 set is passive. I have them in my passive (VVT) fretless J w/ Moses neck. They have pretty much become my favorite J pickup. If you want the hum cancellation, I think they are a great choice on fretless. If I was going for more of a traditional single-coil sound I would probably go back to Fender CS60's or Fralins, or try a set of Nordies.
     
  13. Pickebass

    Pickebass Supporting Member

    Jul 12, 2004
    San Antonio, TX
    I would recommend the emg active pickups. I have a fretless J bass with this combination with a bada$$ bridge and the sound is super balanced. The highs are not biting and the lows are not super deep. Really tight lows and of course you can get the Jaco sound
     
  14. I must say.. That's close to the tone I have in mind. I keep pushing the bright switch on my Peavey Mark IV, so I do like treble. But I don't like the metallic zinng. Hmm if only I could try one out at no cost..
     
  15. TheBrad

    TheBrad Baby step bassist - 90% n00b

    Jan 16, 2006
    Mountain View,CA
    If you don't like the "zing" try changing your EQ and trimming back some of the highs or lowering the "presence" if you have that.
    I was going to say other pickup companies have trial periods, but I realize you don't live in America so that probably doesn't apply to you. :\
    Best bet is to take the plunge and if you don't like them, sell them or trade them until you get the tone you want.