What is the "jazz bass" tone to you?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by nunk6, May 21, 2001.

  1. nunk6


    Jul 29, 2000
    can you acheive it with a MIM fender?
  2. Absolutely. I've got an MIM Fender, and it nails the Jazz bass tone. I'm not a huge fan of that tone, though.. it's a little too nasal and not full enough for me. Luckily, I've got a J-Retro preamp in my bass, and in passive mode, it gives you the option of both pickups on full. So, I use that. It's not the classic Jazz bass tone, but it rocks! And if I want the traditional Jazz tone, it's just a flip of a switch away.
  3. To me, the "Classic Jbass-tone" is that throaty, meaty, midrange punch. Growly.

    I never much cared for the Jaco tone, myself. Too nasally.

    And yes, my MIM's can both nail this beautifully. Even the fretless growls, with flatwounds no less.

    I generally play with both pickups up full, tone wide open, EQ flat on the amp. Occasionally, if I need slightly more bite, I drop the neck pickup down to 7 or 8. Gets that tone I love every time.

  4. JimM


    Jan 13, 2000
    Northern California
    I cant seem to get a deep tone out of my Jazz.but it does the Jaco thing very well.I can solo the neck p/up and get lots of boom.I finally got a P bass to do it right.I do like the bridge-on full with the neck slightly rolled off sound once in a while,but maybe the ash body with maple neck gives it too much upper mids.
  5. Well I'm sorry to disagree with you dudes, but....
    I work in a music store and we have a bunch of Fender MIMs. Side by side with a MIA, they sound a bit puny to me. A friend of mine has a '61 (genuine) Jazz, and it blows everything into the weeds, makes a new MIA sound like a cheapy, and plays a whole lot nicer too.
  6. i suppose it's what your used to, to me the j sound is what u want it to be, not everyone interprits a sound in the same way, in which one person may prefer a little more tone, someone else will disagree,

    each to there own i say, the best thing about bass is the individuallity u can achieve. if we all sounded the same, no one would stand out

    i think each and every instrument has it good an bad points, i may be relativly young, nut i've played some of the best and worst basses in the world, from cutoms to homemade, haven't we all??

    i say yes!

    take your j away, who cares if it's a mim? answer: the boys with the MIA = mines better than yours

    u'll get the j sound

    but even if u don't, play it or get one, concentrate on playing with a decent tone, and if it still bothers you, then strive for a perfect 'j tone'

    sound is nothing without technique

    i can't get used to old bound necked j's, but i'll still play it form time to time, when i'm in the shop

    sorry to go on,, but get the tech down then buy yourself a '61 jazz bass'

    if it really bothers you

  7. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I must say I agree with Marty, but would go further. I have tried many many, Fender J basses and couldn't find any that get the real "J Bass" sound, that I hear on records.

    I found that the Fender that got closest to this was the RB5 signature and, this isn't surprising to me, as when designing this, Roscoe Beck kept checking with his 64 Jazz bass, to make sure that it sounded right. I did try one American Deluxe 5 string that was close, but the RB5 was much nearer.
  8. IMO I get a wonderful vintage J tone out of my RB5 with both pickups active, tone control dimed, and both running in single coil mode. GHS Progressives.

    The last several weeks, I've been gigging exclusively in pseudo-P mode: neck solo, series mode, and tone control all the way down to Thud.

    My experience is limited entirely to a MIA Deluxe Jazz 4, and the RB5.
  9. RAM


    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    Yeah...I agree, based on my experience. I own a MIM and am swapping the pickups in the next couple of weeks to some that have a higher output, most likely. My MIM does get a decent Jazz tone, but it's still weak compared to the MIA's I've played.

    I've found only 2 Fenders in my life that I truly loved, both Jazz basses: one was a vintage '61 Jazz that smoked everything else in the store, including price (they wanted $6,100 about 10 years ago). The other was a 2000 model '62 Jazz reissue. No other Fenders that have touched my hands came close to those two.

    But, I do think the MIM's do get a jazz tone, albeit a weak jazz tone.
  10. Nino Valenti

    Nino Valenti Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 2, 2001
    Staten Island NYC
    Builder: Valenti Basses
    You can get a similar tone out of a MIM but it's something about an old J bass!!!! I had a 72 Jazz bass & it was killer. I sold it when I ordered my Spector NS-4 & regret it. :( I've played a few from the 60's & man, no wonder they cost $5000+!!!! There is something to a bass that has soul. I mean a bass that has had a bassist play it for years & it has that bassist in the bass, blood sweat & tears. The aged wood & aged p/u's have ALOT to do with it.
  11. JohnL


    Sep 20, 2000
    Grayson, GA
    One thing to remember also, the "sound" you hear on a lot of older records is a result of running the bass through some of that "old stuff" made by companies like Neve, Drawmer, etc that is so sought after today (vacuum tube compressors, tube preamps in the old mixers, etc. A MIM jazz through a Fender BXR is not going to exactly nail that sound. I'm not trying to be snobby toward a particular model or amp, but the tone you hear on an album may have been altered, sweetened, sometimes even degraded, by whatever equipment it was run through. You can upgrade your bass to improve the sound through different pickups, electronics, strings, etc. You are the one that needs to be pleased with the sound. I LOVE the sound I get from my J's, even though they are not vintage '62 models.
  12. I always play my Jazz using only the bridge pickup and I pluck very close to the bridge. That makes a Jazz really growl. However like many said I never could get enough bottom end. The solution was to buy DiMarzio Model J pickups which give it a lot more lows and more punch. Now it sounds like an angry P-bass. Perfect!
  13. oarsman


    May 11, 2001
    One of my college instructor's had a '69 J (I think). I absolutely fell in love with it...I felt like I was holding the hand of God...no offense God. It just purred the notes I played, it felt like it was made for my hand...anyway I've not come across another "new" Jazz that could rival the sound from that bass, in the twenty years of thumping around in the music aisles. Tremendous bass. The MIMs are fine and seemingly play fine but are unwilling to cooperate on the sound. Of 'course Glen's bass gets better with every year that passes. thanks for letting me play the bass Glen.
  14. Tone as we all Know is a subjective thing , however the throaty growl that others have refered to probably best described the tones I felt I was getting out of my american standard 97 model.
    All that changed a couple of months ago when I put my first set of flatwounds on it.(daddario chromes). IMO the tones I'm pulling from it now are alot closer to what I consider vintage J tone.
  15. Scott Cutrer

    Scott Cutrer Guest

    Aug 21, 2000
    Richmond, VA
    the Jaco sound to me is the J sound, and yes, a MIM can do the trick IMHO
  16. Led Zeppelin - Either Ramble on or What is and what should never be or Dazed and Confused...

    JPJ is the king
  17. Let's see, what is the J-bass sound?

    First, I want to say that Fender J-basses are very fine instruments. They are of good quality, and play nicely. They have the requisite EADG, or BEADG notes of the proper frequency to qualify as "basses".

    Now, if you define their sound: You have a HONK! It is the most versatile sounding HONK you will find anywhere. You can make it a trebly HONK, a muffled bassey HONK, a low thumpin' HONK, a growly HONK! Man you can get what ever kind of HONK you want, but in the end it is still a HONK! If you like the sound of a HONK, and want to HONK, then by all means get a J-Bass. I own two full fledged J-Basses (I'm selling them), and one quasi J-Bass (I'm keepin' it, an RB-5 - I can make it stop HONKIN'). I state my ownership so that my experience with them will be seen to be first hand. I have owned many other J-Basses over the years. Some years better than others. BUT, they all HONKED!

    Now if you want rolling thunder and punch in your bass. If you want to sound like you own the bottom of the band, the bottom of the frequency spectrum, that you are the ATLAS of the music scene (holding up the world), then get a P-Bass and quit playing around. It's not as versatile as the J-Bass in the number of tonal variations that it offers, unless you get the American Deluxe active P-bass (but it doesn't quite sound like a passive P-Bass). But what it does offer, will work with most any music you wish to play with it, and it DOESN'T HONK! It captures the thunder that God put into nature. It captures the rumble of an earthquake as it tries to crumble things in it's way.

    Of course, you're ears, desires, tonal likes, may not fit. I would recommend that you try both the J-Bass, and the P-Bass. Play at home, play at practices, and gig with them. Go listen to as many different bassists as you can that play the two Fender legends, and then make a decision.

    The J-Bass presents the most versatile HONK in the world. The P-Bass presents thunder, thump, and rumble.

    Good luck in your quest for the optimum bass sound.
  18. DAZED AND CONFUSED is quite thumpy...wouldn't you say???
  19. I am about to both disagree and agree with you on the subject of HONK.

    Agreement: I agree. Most bassists I see playing J-basses get that versatile HONK out of their instruments. I have found that the degree of HONK that is present is often a factor of what amplification they are using, as well as EQ settings, speaker sizes, etc.

    Disagreement: HOWEVER!!!! Why don't either of my J's HONK? Maybe its the flatwounds. Maybe its the way I touch the strings. As a general rule, I run both pickups full on, tone dimed. EQ flat on the amp. My Jazzes don't HONK. I can make them honk, if I want, but I can also make my fretless thud in very P-like fashion. Not exactly P-like, but pretty darned close.

    I play very lightly. I use massive strings. Maybe its the prevalence of light gauge rounds, running only the bridge pickup and the EQ settings that seem to be in vogue today that are contributing to the HONK.

    Maybe I'm just weird.

  20. td1368


    Jan 9, 2001
    Sure you can get a J-bass tone out of an MIM Fender. Can you get a vintage J-bass tone out of a MIM Fender probably not. I tested out a 62 reissue and there was a major difference. But there is definitely a sound that you get from a bass with pickups in the J posiiton. I think there is alot of variation after that; neck, body, pickups, bridge.

    What I think is funny, and confuses me is what all the definitions of what the sound is. What are good definitions/examples of: purr, growl, honk, thump, rumble, beefy. I quess what I think those sounds are might be different than the next persons. Also how much of the sound is a function of various amps versus the actual bass?