Author Topic: Brains trust: Jazz bass help  (Read 507 times)

pjm

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Brains trust: Jazz bass help
« on: June 07, 2017, 03:10:20 PM »
I should probably just post this on TB but it's like asking a question in a subway at peak hour.
I need some wisdom regarding the good old jazz bass.
I recently picked up an early production MIK squier j bass, solid body (probably basswood), really nice neck. I took it to a blues jam and IMO it sounded terrible, all top and bottom with no mids ( no fundamental thump).
I've had a couple of j basses over the year and sold them off because i just prefer the tone of my P bass and Ripper.
I really want to have a J bass in my collection just for the tonal diversity.
My dilemma is whether to upgrade the pickups and pots or just flip it and make a little money on it.
Upgrading the pickups will cost close to what i paid for the bass.
I'm sure if I had a 60's J bass i'll love it.
Do you think this is worth upgrading?
« Last Edit: June 10, 2017, 07:17:50 PM by pjm »

Pilgrim

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Re: Brains trust: Jazz bass help
« Reply #1 on: June 07, 2017, 03:14:15 PM »
IMO nothing makes more difference in sound than strings. If it's too bright you want more mids and low end, my suggestion is to install flats and roll back the bridge pickup a bit, leaning more on the neck pickup. It may take a couple of months to settle in, but it will definitely sound different.

Full disclosure: I am a Fender player and fan, and I am a habitual flats player. My preferred string is the Labella Deep Talkin' flats, light gauge.
Good sloppy playing is an art in itself. (Uwe)

bassilisk

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Re: Brains trust: Jazz bass help
« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2017, 04:20:53 AM »
I agree with Pilgrim's comment about strings. Having said that, you have a low level bass. It might take more than a string change to turn a sow's ear into a silk purse. There are reasons the bass was $250 - and one them is cheap pickups. Over at TB there's a very strong Squier contingent and I get the bang per buck thing, but ultimately it's a beginner instrument. An economical platform that leaves room for upgrades.

If you really like the bass (it plays like a dream and fits you like a glove) then I say get a decent set of pickups for it. You can always put the originals back if you decide to sell it.

Otherwise I'd say flip the bass, make some money and get a better one that won't need much improvement, if any.
Let someone else take on a project.

I always keep at least 1 Jazz strung with flats. My flats of choice are GHS Precision flats, 55-105.
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gearHed289

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Re: Brains trust: Jazz bass help
« Reply #3 on: June 08, 2017, 07:23:05 AM »
You could try putting a P bass pup in the neck position, but then you're looking at a new pickguard, AND pickups. Or maybe a heavier brass bridge would help in the mids department? Just throwing ideas out there. If you love the neck, it might be worth some upgrades.

pjm

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Re: Brains trust: Jazz bass help
« Reply #4 on: June 08, 2017, 07:36:16 PM »
Well I've started stage one - set of DR flats definite improvement

Chris P.

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Re: Brains trust: Jazz bass help
« Reply #5 on: June 09, 2017, 01:15:53 AM »
I guess it's also how the bass sounds without an amp...

Pilgrim

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Re: Brains trust: Jazz bass help
« Reply #6 on: June 09, 2017, 08:46:55 AM »
I suggest letting the strings mellow a bit before another step. Most flats sound different after a couple of weeks (and a couple of months), and in a good way.

I like to proceed in the "make the least change possible" manner, so strings first, then pickups. There are a lot of pickups for J basses, and many of them show up on Ebay at reduced prices when people keep changing them, looking for their own holy grail of sound.
Good sloppy playing is an art in itself. (Uwe)

Dave W

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Re: Brains trust: Jazz bass help
« Reply #7 on: June 09, 2017, 01:52:59 PM »
I wish you luck. The right strings can bring out the tone you want by changing the emphasis. Likewise with pickups. Just be aware that sometimes it turns out to be the particular body or neck and the way it absorbs or reflects certain frequencies, and that's not necessarily limited to cheaper basses or certain species. I once had an '82 P (not cheap in its day) that nothing could make sound like a P should.

Rob

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Re: Brains trust: Jazz bass help
« Reply #8 on: June 09, 2017, 06:51:34 PM »
I guess it's also how the bass sounds without an amp...

a BIG YES

Highlander

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Re: Brains trust: Jazz bass help
« Reply #9 on: June 10, 2017, 04:24:51 PM »
I have an Indonesian Squier Jazz that sounds just fine from purchase, cheap, second hand, and real scuffy... cleaned up fine, chucked the scratch plate, put a fretless neck on the beast... still just fine...
Kept spare neck for a future plan and no intention of selling on...
Staring at the event horizon is a dirty job, but someone has to do it...

pjm

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Re: Brains trust: Jazz bass help
« Reply #10 on: June 10, 2017, 07:20:19 PM »
Thanks for the help, I've sold it.
It was a choice between spending money on upgrades that I may not be happy with or flipping it. I flipped it.

Alanko

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Re: Brains trust: Jazz bass help
« Reply #11 on: June 11, 2017, 01:14:50 PM »
I have a MIM Jazz bass slowly undergoing a metamorphosis. I'm upgrading the pickups to NOS Schaller JBX units. I've used these before. The neck pickup is a good enough imitation of a P bass, and you can solo each pickup without noise. Topologically they are the same as Dimarzio Model J pickups, though I'm sure there will be difference in the design somewhere.

I've found that Jazz basses can be a bit more temperamental in the mix than P basses. My MIM disappears if you turn up both pickups. The scoop is too wide, and there isn't enough character or oomph in the top or bottom to bridge the gap. Oddly enough other J basses sound more scooped, but somehow don't vanish in the mix.

Dave W

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Re: Brains trust: Jazz bass help
« Reply #12 on: June 11, 2017, 09:58:34 PM »
Nothing wrong with selling it and moving on.

bassilisk

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Re: Brains trust: Jazz bass help
« Reply #13 on: June 12, 2017, 04:06:40 AM »
I think that was your best move. Now you can look for something that's more effective right out of the gate.
Stable....for now.    www.risky-biz.com