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Upgrades to a jazz bass

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by nunk6, May 18, 2001.

  1. nunk6


    Jul 29, 2000
    taking a MIM fender jazz as the subject; what upgrades can be made and what improvements will be seen?
    -replacing bridge (material)
    -pickups (what style, brand, preamp?)

    i need a jazz bass to groove on, so im going to buy a MIM jazz i dont really care for the MIA and considering my needs this bass will do fine; but as my playing expands i may need more from this bass........... and wish to upgrade rather than buy a new bass,
  2. td1368


    Jan 9, 2001
    Having read so many other threads on this subject and having done mods myself. I think if your looking to mods in the next year just save the money and get a better bass. However if your looking to do it over time. I recommend starting with something really boring. Sheild the pickup and control cavity. Then think about replacement pickups. I don't think the bridge upgrade will get you that much change in tone. You'll get brighter tones and sustain, but you'll give up some of that thick woody j-bass tone. Anyway, I'm sure there are hundreds of opinions.
  3. for @30 bucks find a set of used american std type j pickups and you will get a better tone and they are noiseless,......unlike std (mim) jazz bass pickups. when you crank the american std type full open, they hum cancel. this one upgrade will make a big difference. ive done this to a mim ive got that i particularly like. ive also got many other basses, and the mims arent bad except for the pickups. goodluck!
  4. gfab333


    Mar 22, 2000
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    You're doing something that I did nearly 20 years ago. Buy a cheaper jazz bass and upgrade the electronics and hardware.

    Back then there were no MIMs, so I bought a Squier Jazz and made the upgrades over time.

    A Badass II bridge does enhance the tone with more highs and sustain. I put in copper foil shielding and changed all the pots and wiring. Also put in Bartolini pick ups and preamp.

    Although I don't have any experience with it, I'd recommend that you try the J-Retro onboard preamp for the jazz bass. It had a good review in BP magazine.

    Anyway, twenty years later this bass still sounds great. Although, a Lakland and an MTD 535 are my main basses now, I still love to pick up this jazz every once in awhile!
  5. NJXT


    Jan 9, 2001
    Lyon, FRANCE
  6. J-Retro is definitely worthwhle. It's an easy mod, and is simple to undo if you ever decide to go back to the original. Makes a vast improvement to the level of signal and gives you lots of options before you even get to the amp. Worth the $$

    Hope this helps -

    - Wil
  7. NJXT


    Jan 9, 2001
    Lyon, FRANCE
    Well, Wil Davis, I really dig the quote in your signature.
    But that's not my point : does the j-retro fit in the already carved parts of MIM JB or do you have to drill ?
  8. Our own Dave Siff has a J-Retro modded screamer direct from the North American distributor of the J-Retro - Vintage Bass Trading Co.. It is simply an awesome playing bass. You quite literally can't tell it from an MIA except for the fact that it has MIM on the headstock. From what I've heard the addition of a J-Retro sometimes needs a little relief in the body cavity and sometimes it doesn't. Like all of the MIM's details like this can vary.

    I've got 2 MIJ's (fretted and fretless) and my own Hambone Custom fretless Jazz. You probably can't go wrong with a pup upgrade and a bridge upgrade. Don't worry that the naysayers believe that the bridge change will ruin the tone. I am a big fan of high mass bridges since my first BA in 1976. My fretted has a Schaller ($40-$55), my fretless has an ABM ($125) and the Custom Jazz has another Schaller. I would also recommend the Gotoh's in either the 201 (more stock looking) or the 206 (string-through) for less than $30. Any of these bridges are wonderful for the Jazz and will really make it sing. I like my tone fat, round, piano-like with a good dose of high's and these will all do the trick.

    I swear that my fretless has some aftermarket pups in it but can't prove it since it came that way so I don't plan on any more changes there. The fretted will soon be sporting a J-Retro with Seymour Duncan Bassline pups that I will remove from the custom Jazz. Then the custom Jazz will be filled with the stock Fender circuitry from the fretted. I think that this will finally be the lineup I will stick with for quite awhile.

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