Who’s playing a Jazz?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by PhinDog, Sep 23, 2022.

  1. PhinDog

    PhinDog Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2021
    Park City, Utah
    Who’s playing a jazz as your #1? Do you feel like you get buried in the mix?

    I love the soloed sound of a jazz but am wondering if it gets lost a little in a mix. I’m playing blues, classic rock, funk and disco.

    My current #1 is a Sandberg VM5 and it’s super punchy, which I like. I really like the sound of a 5string jazz but don’t want to get one to figure out it won’t punch through a mix.
    DJ Bebop, elkkid2 and Rip Van Dan like this.
  2. Dave W

    Dave W Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2007
    Westchester, NY
    I do.

    Roll the balance slightly to favor one pickup over the other and boost your mids. A light overdrive helps too.
    Jinobass1, gg22, MonetBass and 14 others like this.
  3. mellobud


    May 17, 2007
    Last gig I played, I had the neck on 100% and the bridge around 40%. I get more punch that way.

    It sounds vaguely like a single coil p bass.
    Mark Ellis, shojii, rickwebb and 8 others like this.
  4. I regularly play my Sire V7 and G&L JB Tribute at gigs and rehearsals. As @Dave W said in the post above, I rarely if ever play with both pickups equal in volume. I notice if the pickups are set at equal volume the bass line can get lost in the mix.
    “My sound” slightly favors the neck pickup. With the Sire I sometimes bump the mids slightly.
  5. PhinDog

    PhinDog Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2021
    Park City, Utah
    Ok. That makes sense. Adding mids and staying out of the scooped both pickups on can help. Thanks!
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  6. PhinDog

    PhinDog Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2021
    Park City, Utah
    Thanks for the responses!

    I see a lot of people playing Jazz basses on YouTube soloed or in a big stage band setting with good sound engineers and musicians not stepping on each other. I haven’t seen many players in the smaller bars and clubs I frequent playing jazz basses much. Those I’ve seen have been kind of hard to hear. Maybe they’re playing with both pickups at equal volume as mentioned. That would make sense. Maybe a case of bedroom/practice tone vs live in the mix tone.
    I really like the tones they can make but don’t record much and want a good live sound. I’m in between bands at the moment so it’s hard to see what works in a mix.
    DJ Bebop, denton57, Datsgor and 2 others like this.
  7. ad9000

    ad9000 Supporting Member

    Mar 30, 2004
    Pasadena, CA
    I've been struggling with this for years. I love the way a Jazz sounds individually, but often I feel that the sound gets homogenized in a band mix. That has led me to mostly favor P-basses and some non-Fender designs in recent years, even though a Jazz Bass always feels like home.

    All of the previous suggestions are good, but I also think:
    1) not all Jazz Basses or Jazz Bass clones are created equal and some punch through better than others, some factors being the combo of woods, the strings, the pickups and hardware.
    2) it also depends on how the instrument is played.

    Out of all the Jazz Basses and clones I own or have owned, I've always had good luck with my Lakland Darryl Jones 4-string (inspired by his '66 Jazz, but with a downsized body and other changes) which has a very heavy Ash body and Aero pickups. I can always depend on it to cut through the pack, but I can't say that about my '64 Jazz, as fine an instrument as it is.
    75Ric, DJ Bebop, roccobass and 4 others like this.
  8. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2020
    Austin, TX
    It’s true. Jazz Bass can’t cut through the mix. That’s why Bootsy Collins started wearing those big hats and glasses, before that nobody knew James Brown had a bass player.

    It’s also the back story behind the White Stripes. Jack was a huge Alex Lifeson fan and he saw Rush and thought it would be cool to sound just like that, just guitar and drums, no bass player.

    Some of the newer digitally remixed Sly and the Family Stone albums have been edited with a keyboard bass line because just between you and me the dancers could never pick out Larry’s bass lines. EVER.
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  9. Geri O

    Geri O Endorsing Artist, Mike Lull Guitars and Basses Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 6, 2013
    Florence, MS
    I don’t understand most of the responses here.

    I play a jazz-style bass (Mike Lull M5V) with Lindy Fralin pups and a John East J Retro preamp. Both pups 100%, although I do spend time with the trim pots getting the proper balance between the bridge and neck pups - 50/50. The Lindy Fralins have helped this along even further.

    I constantly hear how well this bass “sits in the mix” and how well it stands on its own in a mix. I guess I’ve hit on a good combination. It sounds like a Jazz bass should, well, in my head anyway….
    Mark Ellis, Relayer71, 75Ric and 12 others like this.
  10. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2020
    Austin, TX
    Right. Any bassist, any sound tech, and any producer can mix out any bass if they don’t know how to mix bass. Likewise any bass can sit on top of any mix if the EQ and level are right.
  11. Just imagine the top Reggae players would have used a P instead of a J. I think Reggae could benefit a lot from at least some bass that can be felt and/or heard. Bass would somehow fit reggae music with all that horns, keys, vocals, backing vocals, drums, percussion and guitars. But maybe it's just me and people like it as it is without any noticeable low end.
    rzero, shojii, Roger W and 3 others like this.
  12. Both pickups at 100% can be heard nicely in the mix....... depending on the mix of course, and amp eq. Timothy B Schmit doesn't have a problem being heard like this. Neither do I. Sometimes I back off the bridge pickup if I want a bigger sound for ballads etc.
    brocco, rzero and One Way like this.
  13. OkayistBassist

    OkayistBassist Supporting Member

    Jun 17, 2017
    My back-out-of-retirement Jazz sits great. USA Jazz, Warmoth neck, Fralin pickups (10% overwound) and La Bella Gold Flat strings. It works for me quite well.

    My first rehearsal with the new cover band, I brought my brand new Fender Ultra Jazz V. For our first gig, I used my old trusty four string jazz.

    I have since sold the V and am keeping on with the four stringer. It sounds so much better.
  14. Reverend179


    Jan 20, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    Right now my #1 is a tossup between my Marcus Miller Jazz and my MIJ Geddy Lee Jazz.
    mellobud likes this.
  15. LBS-bass

    LBS-bass Guest

    Nov 22, 2017
    Me, and I absolutely do not get buried in the mix. The jazz gives me strong definition in the mids, which cuts through well. This is one problem I have just never had and I don't get where the myth of jazz=buried comes from when, for me, it's anything but.

    For reference I'm running my jazz through a Mesa D800 head and a HPF tuned to whatever venue I'm in to get rid of boom. Beyond that it's either a RevSound 210 cab or (rarely) a GR 410. Nobody has EVER complained that they can't hear me; if anything they tell me I'm refreshingly present in the mix.
    shojii, Wisebass, BlueTalon and 3 others like this.
  16. pfschim

    pfschim Just a Skeleton with a Jazz bass

    Apr 26, 2006
    SF Bay Area
    I've used Jazz basses pretty much exclusively for 50+ years of gigging and sessions. Never had an issue being heard in the mix.

    others have already outlined the ways to get the Jazz to fit the mix. FWIW, I really hate the concept of "cutting through" personally. Fitting into the mix is what I'm after and it seems to work fine.

    good luck OP
    75Ric, Roger W, BlueTalon and 3 others like this.
  17. Jonny Reese

    Jonny Reese

    Jun 27, 2020
    Boston, MA
    This thread is so timely for me. I had a quick woodshed session today preparing for a gig this weekend and I've committed to playing my J for the whole night. The reason I'm committing to that is any time I switch to one of my other main basses (P and EBMM Sterling) [or worse yet - switching FROM them to the J!], the J just sounds like a weak toy.

    This is my second attempt in life to own and love a J. I'm bringing my most mid-favoring amp and cab to this gig to try to get some balls out of this thing. Playing at home today, slapping away and digging in hard fingerstyle, I was really enjoying the sounds coming out of the speakers. Why do I fear I'll be lost and disappointed at the gig??
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  18. LBS-bass

    LBS-bass Guest

    Nov 22, 2017
    Are you guys scooping the mids? Because that's not the way to get a jazz to be heard.
    TrevorR, darwin-bass, Matt R. and 4 others like this.
  19. LBS-bass

    LBS-bass Guest

    Nov 22, 2017
    Here's me on my jazz getting buried in the mix:

    Buried enough to pull the whole band out of the pit of disaster when they forgot the arrangement at around 1:35.
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2022
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  20. I used my jbass on my recent sessions. Some on friends tracks and some on my own. It sounds very good, clear, punchy and with lots of presence.
    murphy likes this.