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woohoo! my jazz bass that used to be a fender...

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by allan grossman, Jul 6, 2002.

  1. I finally screwed up the courage to surgically remove the preamp in my MIM Active Jazz and replace it with a Bartolini NTMB. Man, what a difference :D

    I put Bart quad-coil pickups in this bass about six months ago and have had this sniny new NTMB sitting in it's case for about four months while I scratched my head and thought about whether I could put the preamp in the bass without doing any routing.

    Well, you can. It's a really tight fit but it worked. The only problem I had is the stock Fender stacked bass/treble controls have the pots in a different order than the ones in the NTMB kit so I ended up with bass and treble controls reversed (but I fixed that). The Fender stacked pot is smaller than the one Bartolini gives you - and that's important if you're trying to put an NTMB in a Jazz Bass control cavity :)

    Since I didn't want to drill a hole in the bass I decided to leave the mid selector switch inside the control cavity ala Lakland and that worked just fine. I put the trim pot under the pickguard because that control plate ain't coming off there ever again. Like I said, it's really tight in that control cavity.

    So how does it sound? Glad you asked.

    After fiddling with the trim pot a little (I wanted the output as close to my 55-94 as I could get it). I buttoned it up and started noodling around with it. The thing sounds an awful lot like my 55-94 (I always wanted a 4-string Lakland) except it sounds a bit punchier. I've grinned every time I picked the bass up.

    Would I recommend putting an NTMB in your Jazz Bass? No. It's a real pain to install and it doesn't sound much like a Fender anymore but it has just about exactly the tone I was looking for. I used to use the Jazz only for wanking and as a backup bass - now I can't wait to get it out in front of an audience so I can see how she does.

    Officially the only Fender parts left on this bass are the neck, body and three pots. Everything else is a conglomeration of Bartolini, Gotoh, Schaller and Warmoth. Here's a pic (it's a before pic but the bass doesn't look any different with the new preamp in it -

  2. Sweet man! That some heavy duty upgrades it sounds like. I may be undertaking a similar task when I get ahold of my Essex. The SuperJazz bass will hopefully get stacked humbuckers, or S-D 1/4 pound jazz pups, a J-retro pre amp, new bridge new tuners, new pickguard, the works!

    I love upgrading and custom modding my basses! Its so much fun! Glad everything came out well with yours. Its cool having a bass that makes you smile when you pick it up. :p
  3. bassmonkeee

    bassmonkeee Supporting Member

    Sep 13, 2000
    Decatur, GA
    Very nice. I like that color on the Jazz.

    I'm also in the club of a drastically upgraded MIA Jazz. I've got a replacement bridge (BAII--soon to be replaced with a Curbow quick release), pickups (custom Fralins 5% overwound), and preamp (JRetro).

    I even went one step further and had Greg sand some of the finish off the neck for a more satin finish.

    The fretwork and neck on the Jazz were amazing, so it was worth the upgrades.

    Congrats on your new toy! I was in the same boat with mine (it was a backup, or a noodle bass), and now it likes to eat people for breakfast with TI Powerbass strings. :D

    Enjoy your bass!
  4. You could compare a Jazz or Precision to the small block Chevy V-8. They are standards in their field and work well out of the box. But if you want to make one truly a one-of-a-kind, you can add parts and massage the setup to be anything you can imagine. Hot rodders have done that with the small block - only they measure their success in HP or ET, we measure ours in CF...Cool Factor!

    Nice mods!

    My MIJITSO '62 Reissue Fender Jazz is somewhat in the same vein as yours - the body, neck and ground strip are all that is stock. I've replaced the smaller MIJ tuners with NOS Gotoh tall tuners in black, a Fender Charcoal MOP pickguard, Seymour Duncan Basslines pups, J-retro Preamp, Schaller Roller Bridge in black, and black Schaller straplocks. I've got a brass nut for the thing around here somewhere and it'll be installed soon, if I can get this Tele body out of my workshop!

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