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 Post subject: What Pickups in Your Jazz Bass?
PostPosted: May 22nd, 2014, 10:58 am 
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Joined: March 12th, 2008, 5:13 pm
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I've been a big fan or Dimarzio J and P pickups forever, in both my P and J basses. Over the years I've tried many J pickups, like Fralin, Seymour Duncan, Antiquity, Lollar, Bartolini, Fender Noiseless, etc.

I have a plain MIA Jazz with Custom Shop '60s pickups, and they sound really good to me: balanced, clear, plenty of lows. . . pretty much perfect. I wish they were noiseless, though, which has me considering Nordstrand split humbuckers or maybe Fralin humbucker (but they are pricey).

Just wondering what you guys are using. . .

Regardless of their fame, I didn't find Lollar and Fralins to be that special (both plain single coils, not overwound). Clear, yes, but maybe too vintage-correct for me. Bartolini are a no-no for me, they sound lifeless (unless you have a preamp, and I'm running passive basses). The Antiquity II I had were all lows and highs, but no meat in between. Fender Noiseless were just okay, nothing good or bad to say. And Dimarzios, well, I love their punch and how they sound with distortion/overdrive, but are not the clearest and lack that Jazz bass shine and growl.

All my research indicates that the Nordstrand split humbuckers would be the ticket. . . Just wondering.
I like EMG and really dig Bobby Vega's sound with them, but I don't want to put a battery in the bass.

And there is also those Dimarzio Area J. . . . look very good on paper, especially because of the price.

Matt, I'm sure you have some experiences on this?


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 Post subject: Re: What Pickups in Your Jazz Bass?
PostPosted: May 22nd, 2014, 11:05 am 
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Well you pretty much named my favorite jazz pickups. I'm crazy in love with custom shop 60s pickups. I have Fralins in my '78. As good as they are, I don't think they are any better than the custom shops or a good set of Seymour SJB 1 vintage.
I dig single coils and I understand you're concerned about noise, but unless there's a major grounding issue in any given venue, you'll never hear the hum if you have your pickups dialed differently.
That being said, I usually run mine wide open, so I never have a problem in that area anyway.

I like the DiMarzio humbucking pickups. They'll cure the noise issue, but in my experience they lose the more traditional character of a Jazz bass. So yeah I guess any kind of split or stacked coil type of deal will be the route you'll wanna take.

I don't think my answer will really be helpful but that's my 2 cents. ;)

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 Post subject: Re: What Pickups in Your Jazz Bass?
PostPosted: May 22nd, 2014, 11:11 am 
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Oh yeah. Aero makes great pickups. They also have a jazz humbucker I do believe.

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 Post subject: Re: What Pickups in Your Jazz Bass?
PostPosted: May 22nd, 2014, 11:34 am 
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'62 MIJ - Stock
MIM - DiMarzio (a set I've had since 1980)
SX - Stock
I really love the stock pups in the MIJ they are perfect for that classic 60's Jazz sound.
I really like the Dimarzios in the MIM with it's 70's spacing it has a great aggressive rock n roll snarl.

I have a pair from RGW that I need to install. I haven't decided wether to drop them in my SX or build a new Jazz around them.

I also have a set of Nordstrand Big Singles for a 5 string project I might get finished one of these days.

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 Post subject: Re: What Pickups in Your Jazz Bass?
PostPosted: May 22nd, 2014, 11:40 am 
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Joined: February 21st, 2011, 10:51 am
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Location: London, UK
I have Fralins on my Jazz DLX and Antiquity II on my 77 J.
The Fralins are a bit thin on the mids. The Antiquity sound great, I love them. I can get both decent slap tone as well as old school fingerstyle.

I got a pair of Regenerate J from Rodent, but haven't had to install and test them yet.


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 Post subject: Re: What Pickups in Your Jazz Bass?
PostPosted: May 22nd, 2014, 6:29 pm 
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Joined: August 1st, 2009, 6:19 pm
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Location: Lake Tahoe, Ca
I agree with you Carlos some of those pickups might be slightly overrated and all in all most after-market pickups are too hot to be period correct. They get meaty but a little lifeless or bloated with low-mids. Many of them lose this 2.5 khz prominence which allows you to cut through while retaining some clarity. I have tried most of the pickups discussed although I did not try the Nordstrands that so many praise. I am very Interested in the Aguilar AJ-60 which seem to be everything I like in a Jazz pickup. I like the demos of the EMG JVX I heard but they seem to be more on the aggressive side and maybe slightly harsh sounding. Like you I stay away from Jazz Basses using a battery.


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 Post subject: Re: What Pickups in Your Jazz Bass?
PostPosted: May 22nd, 2014, 8:11 pm 
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I've mostly been using locally wound Jazz sets built around Alnico2 pole pieces instead of the typical An5 in most vintage construction. They have a very different grunt to them that I'm liking a lot lately.

In the past I've generally stuck with Duncan antiquity II jazz sets in most of my basses, they've always been closest to what I've got locked into my brain as a jazz bass tone.

I've had a number of other sets in the past, DiMarzio, Basslines 1/4lbs, Basslines hot stacks, and a few EMGs.
Thus far, for active I've found EMG JCS to be the clearest and crispest without being too aggressive or "active" sounding.
I'm probably going to order a set of JVX next time, they seem interesting.
The original EMG J set is awful, truly awful. Easily the most bland sounding pickup I've ever tried.


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 Post subject: Re: What Pickups in Your Jazz Bass?
PostPosted: May 22nd, 2014, 10:32 pm 
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I also hated those old EMGs pickups although in certain situations they could fit the bill. Victor Wooten or Meshell Ngdeleocello used those pickups.


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 Post subject: Re: What Pickups in Your Jazz Bass?
PostPosted: May 23rd, 2014, 3:10 am 
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I have three Jazz basses. One is a Fender Japan '62 reissue. It's not stock anymore, lots of changes- but visually it looks a lot like an American '64. I loved the sound of the stock Japanese pickups, but they became noisier over the years. That doesn't make a lot of sense to me, as a repairman, I've never known pickups to do that. So, I put in a set of Nordstrand 70's wind pickups. A GREAT pickup, as good as any I've heard. Stock type, a little noisy soloed, and killer tone, like any of the well known custom winders single coil pickups.

The next one is my home made Joe Osborn style clone. Stack knobs, Fender Japan alder body in Ocean turquoise metallic with an Allparts lefty neck. It has Sheptone alnico pickups. This bass looks and sounds like a Fender custom shop $3,500. bass, but I made it for a lot less.
The third one is a total shock to me. It is a Squier Vintage Modified maple body that I bought for 100 bucks at Guitar Center, with a neck with a few issues. I installed an old parts neck that's exactly like a real '62 J-bass- unknown maker, but likely an early Anderson or Schecter... and the amazing thing- that bass has FENDER SAMARIUM COBALT stacked humbucker pickups. I got a great deal on a pair- put them in and after a few months- took them out of my stack knob j- bass... they didn't have the smooth low bloom that I love in an old jazz bass. But in this Squier WOW. Dead quiet, and the lows are tight, defined, and live it cuts like a knife, hi- fi and vintage all at the same time. And, NO batteries anywhere!


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 Post subject: Re: What Pickups in Your Jazz Bass?
PostPosted: May 23rd, 2014, 8:05 am 
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Joined: October 7th, 2013, 4:44 pm
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Nordstrand NJ4


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 Post subject: Re: What Pickups in Your Jazz Bass?
PostPosted: May 23rd, 2014, 8:58 am 
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Joined: June 15th, 2009, 8:03 am
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Have you ever thought about trying Bardens?

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 Post subject: Re: What Pickups in Your Jazz Bass?
PostPosted: May 23rd, 2014, 10:42 pm 
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I've put Bardens in a 'strat before, they were pretty nice.
They definitely beefed up the single coil sound, but they still sounded a little "buckerish" in spots to my ear.


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 Post subject: Re: What Pickups in Your Jazz Bass?
PostPosted: May 25th, 2014, 4:49 pm 
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Joined: March 10th, 2008, 7:00 pm
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Location: Seattle, WA USA
I've been using my home-rolled RJ4 single-coils since late last year and really liking them. If you played our VRB 4.2 at NAMM this year, you got to give these a test drive.

I have the original flavor with standard insulation wire, a second flavor with heavy insulated wire, and am in the last stages of finishing up my hum cancelling split-coil set.

What I really like on the standard insulation wind is that the neck pickup solo'd is a +95% substitute for the split-P sound, and yet even barely cracking the bridge pickup into the mix the set behaves like you'd expect from a modern J set.

I have a client who swapped out the original pickups in his '68 J after giving mine a spin ... I'll admit he had to really convince me to take the soldering iron to the original solder joints on his bass.

all the best,

R

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 Post subject: Re: What Pickups in Your Jazz Bass?
PostPosted: May 27th, 2014, 7:12 pm 
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Thank you all for the replies. Lots to consider.

I'm curious about Barden, too, Addison, but man, at almost $300 they better have some magic powers. . .

Rodent, it seems that your pickups are killer, especially with the description that the neck pickup can compete with a P pickup. I do use the neck pickup solo a lot when playing a Jazz.

I put the CS '60s through their paces this weekend, and man, they do sound good. I wish they had better string balance (although they have staggered pole pieces already). The E string is a bit louder, and I can't tilt the pickups anymore because they are all the way to the bottom already (I like low action). I love those adjustable pole pieces on the Dimarzio Js. . . they let you balance each string perfectly. But, I do use a compressor at the end of the effects' chain, so it's not much of an issue after all.

Anyhow, lots to think about. I still think I need humbuckers, because I do play in all kinds of venues and hum varies greatly, but I'm really digging the clarity and growl of the single coils. . .


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 Post subject: Re: What Pickups in Your Jazz Bass?
PostPosted: June 3rd, 2014, 10:46 am 
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Joined: February 28th, 2012, 1:12 pm
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Location: San Diego, CA
Semour Duncan Hot Jazz. Yes, there's some noise, but only noticeable when I'm practicing alone.


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 Post subject: Re: What Pickups in Your Jazz Bass?
PostPosted: June 6th, 2014, 10:53 am 
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CS 60's, here.

I have yet hear a split yet that has the open upper mids of a single coil.

Take a single coil J bass and listen to the mids pull in when you have both pickups on full. Essentially, with a humbucker, you're getting that effect happening between the two coils within single pickup.

And then you wire those internally-wired parallel individual pickups in parallel on top of that!

I almost think it has to be active/buffered like EMG's approach to achieve that goal.


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 Post subject: Re: What Pickups in Your Jazz Bass?
PostPosted: August 1st, 2018, 10:00 am 
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Joined: March 4th, 2008, 3:51 pm
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Location: Pacific Northwest
Going to revive this zombie thread to say I recently tried a couple new to me jazz pickups.

I'm with Matt in that the Fender CS 60's pickups are a favorite too. For a traditional vintage jazz tone I think they're the best. I've tried some other pickups geared towards vintage tone and I agree with a couple comments here about them sounding nice but not having the personality to their tone that the Fender CS 60's do. But I recently (finally) installed a set of Regenerate vintage jazz pickups (aka Honeybadger pickups) in a bass and they are great sounding pickups too. I like them more than every other vintage j toned pickup I've tried except the Fender CS 60's. The Regenerates have some of the Fender character but have that Fralin cleaness too.

But the pickup I'm especially excited about at this moment are the Aero Type 1 jazz pickups. Has anyone else tried these? I've been aware of these for years because of a BP mag shootout ages ago where they got one of the top scores but only finally tried them. These are not trying to be a vintage clone. My favorite jazz pickup for playing heavy music is the Dimarzio Model J and in many ways the Aeros remind me of the Dimarzios. To my ears they sit between a Dimarzio Model J and a trad j pickup. They have more of the classic single coil jazz bass character, but with the meaty low end girth of the Model J. Really nice tone profile. They sound great in the band mix or solo.
The one complaint I've read about them from a few people is they're too dark, but I just put them in the bass with 500k pots the same as I do a Dimarzio Model J and that cures them of any darkness. If you're looking for a jazz pickup with great tone that isn't trying to cop a vintage jazz tone, I really recommend the Aero Type 1.

Any one else discover and love a new jazz pickup in the last 4 years since this thread was started?


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 Post subject: Re: What Pickups in Your Jazz Bass?
PostPosted: August 1st, 2018, 10:15 am 
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Location: Huntsville, AL
I had Aeros in a Nash jazz years ago. Great pickups, trash bass. Now I have Fender Vintage 74s in my mod shop Jazz and an American Professional Jazz. They have now eclipsed the CS 60s for me. They have a similarly glorious snarl but without doing a side by side comparison, the 74s seem louder and more robust to me. I highly recommend them!

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 Post subject: Re: What Pickups in Your Jazz Bass?
PostPosted: August 1st, 2018, 10:25 am 
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Matt R. wrote:
I had Aeros in a Nash jazz years ago. Great pickups, trash bass. Now I have Fender Vintage 74s in my mod shop Jazz and an American Professional Jazz. They have now eclipsed the CS 60s for me. They have a similarly glorious snarl but without doing a side by side comparison, the 74s seem louder and more robust to me. I highly recommend them!


Thanks Matt, that's good info. The 74s have been on my radar too and I'd like to try those as well. I'll have to check them out. From your description it sounds like they sit tonally between the Aero Type 1 and Fender CS 60's.


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 Post subject: Re: What Pickups in Your Jazz Bass?
PostPosted: August 1st, 2018, 10:28 am 
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andrew wrote:
From your description it sounds like they sit tonally between the Aero Type 1 and Fender CS 60's.



Yep, I’d say that’s the case. 8-)

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