5 string pup swap

I do a lot of guitar modding so I have experience with wiring and many other minor things like fretwork etc.

I have an ibanez 5 string with soapbars. I want jazz pickups in it. Can I just literally swap the soapbars with J pickups and move on? Is placement a concern? It is active so I would just disregard that.


FYI, I did think on my short scale Ibby 5 string. It comes stock with J type anyway, so it was simple.

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To me that sounds like a serious downgrade, Ibanez usually come with high quality humbuckers or single coil soapbars :rofl:

Position should be OK because it’s not going to sound like a big heavy Fender J in the first place, it’s going to sound like a super light Ibanez that someone put J pickups in. My 3.5kg J/J Warwick Rockbass LX5 was the same way, had J’s, did not sound like a J-bass. I wouldn’t really sweat the positioning.

However the soapbars will have much larger body cavities and different screw positions. It won’t be a straight swap. You’ll probably have to drill pilot holes for the screws and just live with the big rectangular body holes, assuming this is a normal Ibby with no pickguard to swap out.

Personally I would not mod, Ibanez and Yamaha both come with very high quality pickups. They aren’t Fenders, where you want to swap even while still in the store.

Well you are going to run into the fitting problem. Your soap bar most likely be the 40 size. Jazz pickups usually come in shorter neck and longer bridge and both are longer and skinner than the soapbar so you will have cavity exposing and most likely have to route additional room for the jazz pickup.

If you just want jazz sound then both EMG and Bartolini offer Jazz pickup in the soapbar form just have to choose the neck and bridge.

Oh wait! I just reread your post, short scale Ibanez? Is it the mikro GSM25? If so double check the spec before you upgrade. That’s not soapbar it’s just seal jazz pickups.

What are you looking for in terms of tone?

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Yeah that’s a good point, the J’s will probably be taller too.

This is a mod I personally wouldn’t attempt but it could be done given effort and a willingness to accept the resulting pickup cavity differences.

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What model Ibby do you have? Can you measure the covers?

Nordstrand also makes a Jazz bar, and also makes Zen Blades, which have a universal magnetic field so you don’t need to worry about lining up the poles.

EMG will be the easiest to install if it’s the right size. No soldering.


Yeah depending on the model those could be a much better choice than a traditional J pickup

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I see where you’re coming from. I may keep giving the soapbars a go to see if I can jive with them. I really appreciate the feedback Howard.


Yes the short scale is the gsrm25. I swapped the stock pickups with a set of EMG Trujillo pickups. I love the sound of those in that bass.

I think I would do some active J style pickups in the bigger 5 stringer. I play mostly stoner/doom/drone metal (think Monolord), so I really love the articulation I get out of Jazz pickups.

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I will look around. I dig EMG’s, I have a set of the Trujillos in my short scale 5 string. I like the articulation of the single coil. Something to stand out in a mix and not get super muddy with that low B.

Just to clarify you don’t have a soapbar
pickups. You have jazz pickups.

No. the full size 5 has soapbars. Was looking at active jazz pickups to install.

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Do you know you pickup dimensions?

I would look at the EMG 40PJX from what you say; active with the response of a passive, hum cancelling too.

If it fits…