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turning a tame J bass copy into a GROWL MACHINE

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Crockettnj, Nov 30, 2006.

  1. Crockettnj


    Sep 2, 2005
    North NJ
    What mods can be done to a typical off brand J bass copy to emphasize the GROWL factor?

    best passive p'ups for this?

    brand/ style/ guage strings?

    string through the body or just through the bridge?

    tone pot mods?

    plus, of course, hand position , string attack, and your favorite frequency to "tweak" for your glrowly tones!

  2. Rano Bass

    Rano Bass

    Sep 9, 2006
    Tijuana Mex.
    Put some dimarzio j pups, plenty of growl there.
    Stainless steel strings also help.
  3. ESPplayer


    Nov 17, 2006
    I had a cheap j bass i put some seymour duncan qtr pounds in it and put a BA2 on it and some Rotosounds.Also after awhile i defretted it myself.That was a bad idea
  4. DM model j's
    or a good set of fender custom shop 60's
    (though my stock pups are good on both my jazzes)
    stock bridge, low action, DR low beams, through an 800rb
  5. jim primate

    jim primate bass guitarist.

    pickups, strings, picks, technique,pots. all the things you listed. change them.

    i prefer aftermarket fenders. the dimarzios and duncans i had changed up things a bit too much. model j's lacked highs. duncans lacked mids.

    i prefer DRhi-beams. 45-105.

    the bridge is best. you risk string breaks with most thru-body style bridges. didn't make much difference in tone or sustain to my ears.

    you can switch to 500k pots which bleed less treble off to the ground.

    stay behind the neck pickup and in front of the bridge pickup. a hair closer to the bridge. use brass picks. hit the strings hard. also, i crank the treble and have my tone knob all the way up. i mix in mids and lows to taste. i like a clear snarly tone.

    you're welcome. these things all worked for me.
  6. I'd say the tone is in your fingers. Emphasize it by using the bridge pickup and rolling open the tone knob, but the best results you'll probably get will be by plucking near the bridge, with a nice, defined attack. Does wonders for growl. Also, using stainless steel rounds will really bring out the bark, roar, and growl. I like Rotosounds personally for a sharp, bright growl, heavy-guage DR Highbeams for a deeper, throaty growl. Your mileage may vary, but that's my opinion and experience.
  7. Trevorus


    Oct 18, 2002
    Urbana, IL
    I second the model J's!
  8. ERIC31


    Jul 1, 2002
    Maricopa, AZ
    Exactly! That's it right there!!! That's what I'm running in my SX Jazz Bass and it rocks!:D
  9. morf

    morf Banned

    Feb 17, 2006
    Rotosounds swingbass roundwounds will give you plenty of growl.
  10. arbarnhart


    Nov 16, 2006
    Raleigh, NC
    I am a beginner (on the bass; I have some years on a couple of other instruments), but I have a friend/mentor that plays quite well. When he was showing me various styles and getting growl, clean tones and a variety of other sounds he made no adjustments to the controls. I think with most musical instruments, once you have a reasonably decent instrument 90% of the remaining possible improvements are technique. Obviously certain specific electronically generated sounds are an exception, but I don't think growl is one of them.
  11. Crockettnj


    Sep 2, 2005
    North NJ
    oh man, you guys rock. very useful (and plentiful!) responses. Thanks a ton.

    I agree that quite a lot of it is style/attack. However, i know that some gear mods can help too.
  12. Rocinante_x1

    Rocinante_x1 Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2004
    Washington State
    String-Thru bodies don't really do much in my opinion. Honestly, And i could be wrong, all it does (for me) is change the snappiness and attack.

    But if you want growl, go with passive Fender J- pups. Change your action to pretty low, and if you can handle it, allow your bass to have a LITTLE fret buzz. Get some D'Addario Prosteels, and If you want, Go ahead with a bridge change. that all depends on how you feel with your current bridge. I would go with either a Gotoh or a Badass II ( im biased to the BADASS)

    As long as you're happy with your soon-to-be-acquired growl, then our work here is done.
  13. I think that's 90% of it right there. Anything else is just playing around and modding just to mod.
  14. BloodTypeBlue


    Feb 15, 2006
    I agree with rolling off the neck pickup and turning the tone all the way up, and definitely agree with getting high quality pots to liven up the sound. I play an SX and replaced the entire wiring harness when the stock neck volume crapped out. It's hard to express just how massive a difference that made.

    I disagree with lowering action though. As far as I can tell, the best growl comes with an aggressively plucked, freely vibrating string, while lighter-plucked strings will have more extreme low and extreme high end, and if you have really low action, the strings are going to start bouncing off the frets before you can pluck them hard enough.

    Picking over neck PU vs. picking over bridge PU...I think with the right amp settings, they both growl, but in different ways maybe?

    Oh, and I DEFINITELY agree that playing through a GK does wonders for growl:smug:
  15. Arthur U. Poon

    Arthur U. Poon

    Jan 30, 2004
    SLC, Utah -USA-
    Endorsing Artist: Mike Lull Custom Basses
    As already stated a lot has to do with your technique, especially where you pluck your strings. Mainly, I play a lot over the bridge pickup when I'm going for a growly tone.

    As far as aftermarket pickups are concerned, IMO a good set of single coils have a more growl compared to humcancellers. I'd look into Nordstrand's, Lindy Fralin's, or Seymour Duncan's single coil pickups. Although I've never tried a set, I'd think Fender's vintage-reissue single coils would do a great job.

    I'm undecided at this time whether or not a strings-through bridge makes that big of a difference in tone. If your current bridge is similar to a stock Fender bridge and functions properly, I personally wouldn't replace it.

    IMO you'll have to experiment with different brands and gauges of strings to find the sound you're looking for. What works well for one player may not for another.
  16. Crabby


    Dec 22, 2004
    Strings make a huge difference. Stainless Steel Roundwounds are the way to go. I love Blue Steels for growl but have gotten good results from Rotosounds as well.

    I have a set of Regular Slinkys (50-105) on my Jazz right now and the tone just isn't there. No where near enough growl.
  17. JGR

    JGR The "G" is for Gustav Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 29, 2006
    President, CEO, CFO, CIO, Chief Engineer, Technician, Janitor - Reiner Amplification
    i highly recommend sd basslines hot jazz sjb-2 pickups. they have a nice bump in the mids.


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