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Wanted : advice on 5-string Jazz pickups, please

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by rockindillo, Oct 10, 2005.

  1. rockindillo


    Oct 10, 2005

    Great forum - I'll enjoy dipping out from time to time and also picking the brains of so many experienced folks here, as I'm an occasional bass player as well as a singer and guitarist.

    Here's my current poser...

    I recently found my bass-player a Squier Precision 5-string on eBay. For the money, it's an fantastic bass, which looks great and plays amazingly well for a guitar that cost me just £105. (Better, IMO, than the Mexican Jazz he had previously)

    The only thing that lets it down is the pickups, which are OK , but stop a good instrument becoming an excellent one.

    Rob is making noises about replacing them with EMGs or Bartolinis and maybe installing a preamp, but before he splurges out, I thought I'd see what you guys advised.

    The Squier is fitted with a pair of Jazz-style pickups, but both are the same size, so a "proper" Jazz pair would involve a bit of routing. We're prepared to do that, if necessary, but would rather avoid it if we can.

    All suggestions, ideas etc etc will be very very welcome.

  2. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    problem is, there's no one standard for 5 string jazz pickups. Some mfr's do them both the same size, 3.73". Some do the Fender 5 string size, 3.98" and 4.13". So, depending on your route size it can restrict your choice. If you're willing to do routing work, that helps.

    There are a good few 5 string J sets out there as you've noticed - emg, Bart, seymour duncan, nordstrand, fralin.

    All have their pluses/minuses, it would help if you could say what exactly you're looking for in the sound.
  3. rockindillo


    Oct 10, 2005
    Thanks very much for your reply, David.
    Basically (no pun intended) Rob, my bass player, is looking for a bit more bottom-end punch, a bit more clarity and a fair amount of versatility, so he can use the bass at jams and be sure of getting the sound he wants, more or less from the bass itself.
    He was considering EMGs - mainly I think, because he tends to equate active pickups with those kind of attributes. However, I'm not really all that knowledgeable about bass pickups, so I don't really know how much that really is the case.
    I'm wondering, for instance if a better alternative might be passive pickups (maybe even the original Squier ones) with a preamp of some kind that offers active eq.

    It would be really helpful if you were prepared to run down what you, personally, would consider to be your top three options for such a bass and why. (Disregarding the issue of the routs).

    Oh yes, a couple of other points...
    His main instrument is a Fender USA 62 stack-knob Jazz reissue, but I think he is hoping for a slightly more dynamic sound for the 5-string.
    The bass only cost us £105, but Rob is prepared to spend up to £150 GB on the electronics upgrade.


  4. I have a Fender Jazz 5 MIM that I recently picked up for cheap. I Have Barts in my MTD Saratoga that I love and EMG PJ setup in my Westone Thunder I.
    I wanted to do EMGs in my Jazz, but just got off the phone with them and found out that they dont make direct replacements. So, cant do EMGs. If the Squire is the same as the MIM Jazz, then no dice. They have Barts that will fit. 3.98 & 4.13.
    The model is
    Bartolini 57 CBJD L/S (57 Long/Short)
    Bridge - 105mm (4.13")
    Neck - 101mm (3.98")
    As for tone etc. EMGs are excellent choice. Bright, punchy etc.
    The Bartolinis ar better with more warm tones etc.
    good luck
  5. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    I can't really disregard the whole route size thing, since you might end up with pickups too small for the existing routes. I can't guarantee 100% that pickups smaller then the route size would line up properly with a) pole pieces/strings or b) existing screw holes.
    Also, single coils / humbuckers? Exposed pole pieces/not?

    If the pickups are the 3.98" and 4.13" routes, then there options from SD, Bartolini as mentioned, Aero and Nordstrand.
    Nordstrand do excellent single coil and humbucker replacements for this route sizes. Bartolini are good also, but they usually have a bit of high end rolloff so might not be what he wants.
  6. Doug Parent

    Doug Parent Gold Supporting Member

    May 31, 2004
    San Diego, Ca.
    Dealer Nordstrand Pickups.
    +1 on Nordstrands
  7. rockindillo


    Oct 10, 2005
    Cheers chaps!

    All I need to do now is find someone over here in the UK that stocks them!

    Any suggestions, please?
  8. murphy


    May 5, 2004
    Toronto, Canada
    I know someone who replaced the pickups in that squire with Bartolini
    jazz K series...brighter and more growly.
    They were both the long(bridge) size and he may have had to make a little adjustments to the routes.
    Maybe the 57 model is better, but go to www.bartolini.net for measurements
  9. I just ordered Bartolinis for my Jazz 5. EMG does not make a match.
  10. truth is that 100$ for a five string is cheap but you got to know that it will actually be a bigger pain in the ass owning a crapbass rather working your ass off and save up for a better one.tell your frien that its a squier for god's sake and that it would actually cost him more to load it with new pickups and an preamp cirquit :spit: plus buying an istrument you havent played is risky
    P.S:nine out of ten 5-string jazz basses dont play half as well a 4-string
  11. rockindillo


    Oct 10, 2005
    Sorry, I can't help feeling we've got a bit of brand snobbery going on here!
    This Squier IS a really nice bass, And by the way, it was £105, (POUNDS STERLING) not $105 - I know which sum I'd rather have in my hand!!!
    Even so, I know that's still not a lot to spend on a bass. However, the fact remains that this guitar looks great, plays really well (and more to the point, Rob finds it really comfortable to play) If the truth be told, it doesn't sound bad either.
    Just because an instrument didn't cost £1,000-plus, it doesn't automatically mean it's no good, nor that it can't be usefully improved by the intelligent addition of better electronics.
    If the playability is up to the required standard, why NOT upgrade the weak point?
    I turned to this forum for CONSTRUCTIVE advice and have received quite a lot, for which I think you guys.
    However, I don't find "junk it because it didn't cost enough" to be either constructive or helpful!

    Positive suggestions still welcomed!
  12. murphy


    May 5, 2004
    Toronto, Canada
    The guy I know who plays that bass is a professional and has many other basses..vintage fenders and Stingray 5, but loves the Squire...so there you go.
    He felt the weak link was the pickups and is very happy with the Barts installed
    So, enjoy your bass.. :hyper:
  13. Sorry dude i didn't mean to offend you.It's just fact your friend could spend his money(that he spent on the squire and the pickups)on a little better bass(an ibanez or something).My reply is not critical cause i know that there are really cheap instruments that play great due to strokes of luck,but messing and mendling with them will always seem like a bad idea to me. :meh: At least tell me it's an affinity series.If not,well... :meh:
  15. Denyle Guitars

    Denyle Guitars

    Nov 30, 2005
    If you want to stick with the passives, get some custom made. It's cheaper than you might think and you'll be able to spec the spacing, bobbin size, ect. Maybe get some nice wood covers or whatever.

    Try Jason @ lollarguitars.com or
    Pete @ vintagevibeguitars.com for starters.