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What pickups should I put in my Geddy Lee?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Fret Boiler, Aug 29, 2004.

  1. Fret Boiler

    Fret Boiler Pity World

    Apr 12, 2004
    Purdue University
    I'm considering upgrading the p/ups in my Geddy Lee Jazz. Any suggestions? Right now I'm deciding between (1) DiMarzio Ultra Jazz, (2) Bassline Quarter Pounders, or (3) Bartolini Jazz set.

    I'd love to here from those who went through this with their Geddy Lees

    Edit: I'm looking to get more output from my p/ups for one, and I like to get more sound variation as well. I want decent growl, but I'd like to get a cleaner sound (especially lows) when I dial down the bridge p/up.

  2. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    I've been doing similar things in my own GL Jazz.
    The DM UJ have a huge bottom end
    Bart 9J's have a nice low end grown to them, but the high end is slightly tame
    I haven't tried the QP's.
  3. ApeIsHigh81


    Aug 24, 2004
    Bill Laurence J's
    DiMarzio Ultra Jazz
    Basslines Antiquities I or II's
    Lane Poor's (snowball in hell chance)
    Lindy Fralins

    Those are pretty much the top 5 out there. Can't go wrong with any single one of those.
  4. Aaron J

    Aaron J

    Jul 16, 2003
    Cincinnati, OH
    I have to throw in my support for the Lindy Fralins. I have them in my Lakeland JO and have never wanted anything else.
  5. mattwells


    Mar 19, 2003
    Another for the Fralin's--they make the MIM fretless I just bought sound amazing.
  6. Fret Boiler

    Fret Boiler Pity World

    Apr 12, 2004
    Purdue University
    Thanks for your help. I narrowed it down to the DM's or the Fralin's.
  7. Beefbass

    Beefbass Guest

    Feb 4, 2001
    If you are considering Lindy Fralins, you may want to consider pickups by Carey Nordstrand. His pickups are awesome IMHO. They are about the same price as a set of Fralins-give or take a couple of bucks. You can expect quite an improvement in your sound with these.

    They have single coils (NJ4) or hum cancelling (NJ4SE)

    If you want more info on the difference between Fralins and Nordstrands, go to www.blueberryhillbass.com Get a hold of Jay Lewis. He's a great guy, who will explain with great detail.

    Hope that helps! :hyper:
  8. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    beefbass, have you tried the Nord J's? If so, which ones and could you describe their sound? I've tried the SE's, but not the single coils.

    I had the SE's in my GL jazz, and the sound just wasn't for me. Not quite enough low end for my liking. However, that doesn't mean they weren't quality pickups. And in another bass, they'll probably sound perfect. The overall sound is a combination of a number of a parameters, so blanket recommendations are always difficult.

    I've tried the following in my GL:
    Single coils: Aero ,SD Antiquity II
    Humcancelling: Nord 4JSE,EMG JV,Villex J,SD Hot Stacks,Bart 9J,Bart J CB,Sadowsky ,Dimarzio Ultra Jazz,Dimarzio J

    I totally forgot to mention the Sad's in my prior post on the subject. I'd say those are my favorite humcancellings so far for the GL. They're in a similar sonic space to the Dimarzio Ultra Jazz, but IMO they have a better growl to them. Yes, they're expensive. I lucked out and got an absolutely killer deal on a used set here on TB.

    In terms of the single coils I've tried, the Aero and SD are both excellent pickups. I found the Aeros to be quieter (less noise, not output) than the SD's.

    I have sound clips recorded for all of these, I keep forgetting to transfer them off my Pandora PXR4 and upload them.
  9. Beefbass

    Beefbass Guest

    Feb 4, 2001
    The only Nordstrand jazz bass pickup I have is the NJ4SE that is in the bridge position of my Pbass deluxe.
    That bass is strung with TI jazz flats. The only time I ever solo that, is if I'm trying to get the old Dano 6 string bass kind of sound.

    My jazz basses have Dimarzios. The fretted has Ultrajazz; the fretless has Model J's. Those have round wound strings. I was after a more modern kind of tone with those. They do not disappoint.

    Smash has done a review of both the NJ4, and the NJ4SE pickups. He feels the NJ4SE sounds better when combined with an active pickup. You can read the reviews in his megathread on jazz pickups.
  10. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    Yes, I did. I just wanted to hear your thoughts, and wondered what else you'd compared them against. More opinions help :)
  11. Beefbass

    Beefbass Guest

    Feb 4, 2001
    Understand completely :) I only have firsthand knowledge of the P/J Nordstrand set. But I like those alot.

    As for a full on jazz set-I've been very happy with the DiMarzio's. Would highly recommend those also :hyper:
  12. Brooks


    Apr 4, 2000
    Middle East
    You might also want to consider Fender Custom Shop '60s. I have them on my '75 Jazz, and really like them, especially in combination with J-Retro.
  13. chris4001asat


    Dec 16, 2002
    Toledo, Ohio
    Warehouse Manager : Reverend Guitars
    I was thinking of replacing the PU's in my Geddy. But I thought I'd try the J-Retro first. That made a huge difference. Just boosted the bass a hair, pumped up the low mids. Our soundman says it kills him when I switch from G & L to the Geddy, output wise.
  14. jja412

    jja412 Fine gear enthusiast

    Feb 2, 2004
    St. Louis
    I've tried quite few different configs with my Geddy: Nordstrand NJ4SE, Bart 9J, EMG, and of course stock. The Nords, Barts, and stock sets have alll been used with a J-retro, wired passive, and wired passive with a series mod.

    I really enjoy the passive sound of the Nords better than any of the others.

    I loved the sound so much, I moved the Nords and the J-retro to my Warmoth Jazz w/TI Flats. They have a great sound - with loads of output even in passive config.

    The Barts have that signature Bartolini sound, heavy low mids, tamed top end. They have found a home on my Geddy, along with a Sadowsky pre w/vintage tone control. I highly recommend this setup... but it takes a lot of routing/modifying to fit it all in there.

    The EMGs aren't my sound. Too bright for my traditional rock tastes.

    The stock are pretty nice pickups, very good sounding for a sub $600 bass.

    The Nords are my favorites, but they also cost over $200 new. The Barts are darn good too, and have a good bang for the buck at about $90 new. You can't lose with either.
  15. Fret Boiler

    Fret Boiler Pity World

    Apr 12, 2004
    Purdue University
    Thanks for all of the input.

    I decided to go with the DiMarzio Ultra Jazz set. I wired them up this weekend, along with a series/parallel switch, and I couldn't be happier. The stock p/ups on the Geddy Lee were pretty awful sounding whenever I would solo either p/up alone. The DM's are definitely a cut above, especially the lows, which used to sound muddy with the Fender vintage p/ups, but now sound clean and strong.

    <B>jja412:</b> what exactly did you have to do to fit the Sadowsky pre-amp? I'm interested...

    Thanks again.
  16. jja412

    jja412 Fine gear enthusiast

    Feb 2, 2004
    St. Louis
    I routed a battery box in the back of the bass, drilled a 7/8" input jack in the side, and routed a cavity to place the circuit board under the pickguard. All the wires fit under the stock control plate, but the circuit board would not fit. I was lucky to fit all four pots and all the wires. One of the hardest parts of this was drilling the connecting channels to run my wire from the battery box and jack to the main control cavity. Luckily I have a right angle attachment for my drill.

    Then I shielded every cavity on the bass - pu, battery, control, pre, and jack with brush on sheilding paint from StewMac. Next I shielded the pickguard where it would overlap the circuit board with sheilding tape.

    Then I wired up the pre with four knobs using the stock fender control plate. Four knobs : volume, volume, vintage tone control/bypass push pull, bass/treble stacked pot.

    Next I carefully got the control plate back on the bass with the myriad of wires under it and put the board under the pickguard (secured with double sided tape).

    While I was messing with things, I routed a truss rod access hole, and replaced the truss rod nut with a spoke wheel adjustment nut. I also removed the neck plate and installed six recessed neck bolts.

    Took me some time to do, I wanted everything to turn out perfect. After a couple evenings work routing, and a couple nights wiring /sheilding - I had it done. I love the sound, and haven't played my other basses since.
  17. coffee-sipper


    Jul 10, 2003
    Raleigh NC
    What did you use to sheild the pick gaurd?

    Unless you want me to drive to your house and knock on your door, could you post some pictures?
  18. jja412

    jja412 Fine gear enthusiast

    Feb 2, 2004
    St. Louis
    I used sheilding tape from StewMac. I will post you some pictures, but right now my Digital camera is in Naples, FL on vacation. So it might be a few weeks.