Upgrading Jazz Bass Pickups

Hey everyone, I’m new here - happy to have found this community.

I’m looking to upgrade my Jazz bass with some new pickups. I’ve done a lot of research online and there’s 4-5 that tend to come up a lot, but wanna hear some feedback from anyone else out there who has done this and see if there are any recommendations. In general, I like the Jazz Bass sound, just wanting higher quality.

Thanks.

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I put Dimarzio Model J’s in my fretless Jazz Bass but they are humbuckers, not single coils, so the sound is rounder than you are looking for if you want to stay with a true Jazz Bass sound.

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if your Jazz Bass is a Fender : Fender pickups are not very good in general, in my opinion. I love Fender instruments (and I have 5 :v::grin: ) but I always change the pickups. there are some exceptions but it’s really rare. if your Jazz Bass is a Squier : it’s worse. (still nice instruments except the pickups)

about your pickup choice it greatly depends on what you ask to your bass ! if you want to play, let’s say classic 60’s music with a thin and rich “vintage” JB tone, it’s not the same than if you want to play industrial metal (where a JB can indeed work pretty well), for example.

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@phatpossum, welcome to the forum.
I might not be the one that can help you out, but it would be good to know what configuration you have at the moment.
Also, feel free to introduce yourself here:


and show us your bass:

:smiley:

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@Krescht
Thanks! When you say configuration, what do you mean specifically?

I’ll go introduce myself in those other forums and share a photo of my bass. Thanks!

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Basic information, bass model and pickup model would be useful, to see where you’re starting from :wink:

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@terb
It’s a Fender Jazz from 1996 that’s made in Japan. I generally play rock and “jammy” music. I’m getting back into playing after about 10 years off

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@Krescht 1996 Fender Jazz - made in Japan. Whatever pickups came with it, no clue what those details are. I’m getting back into playing again after about 10 years off

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@phatpossum, glad you made it back. I only started this year. I do own a jazz bass, but it’s not the one i spend most of my time with.

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I’d probably go for Seymour Duncan SJB-1, or SJB-2 if you’re looking for a bit more punch, but still in a “vintage” fashion, nothing extreme. just a bit more rock.

also if you’re on a budget, Toneriders pickups are said to be very good quality for the price. I never tried myself but I’ve been told by several friends who I can really trust. https://tonerider.com/product/jazz-plus/

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Since we’re talking about pickups…

I’m curious about this: Are pickups standardized in regards to the screw holes? What I’m getting at, if one was to pull the existing pickups off and replace them, would they have to drill new holes or will the new pickups screw right into the existing holes?

If it’s that simple, I may look into upgrading myself.

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it depends. some pickups has become a standard size (PB, JB is not so standard but still not far, Soapbar). other pickups are really specific to one brand or even one bass model. For example, the pickups on my Yamaha SBV have absolutly no equivalent or replacement model. Luckily enough those old Yam pickups are truely exellent (much much much better than the better Fender JB pickups I’ve ever seen/heard/played).

but, yeah, if you’re talking about a bass with an “exotic” pickup, it may be hard or even impossible to find a replacement model.

I think Rosie has very probably standard PB5/JB5 pickups. no idea about your other instruments.

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@terb Today I’ve found the Seymour Duncan Antiquity pickups - are you familiar with those?

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yes, that’s excellent pickups for true vintage tone. but those pickups are really expensive and for more or less the same price, and again for true vintage tone, I’d prefer Lindy Fralin pickups.

but if you find a great deal on Antiquities, that’s excellent too.

the Duncan I was talking about are on their “standard” pickups range, still very good quality gear. On the same price range, I even prefer DiMarzio pickups, but those are less in the vintage side.

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@terb My fretless (Ibanez SR375E 5-string Fretless Electric Bass) has “Dual humbucking pickups” according to the description. I’ve heard the term “Humbucker” used often when referring to pickups. Should I assume these are good pickups and just leave them be?

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it is the style of a dual coil pick up. Your bas probably had plastic pick up covers, if you were to see it off, you would see two rows of pick ups or the magnets.
Humbucker is the TYPE of pick up, there are many that are better then others. Some basses do come with good pick ups, others are going to be economy pick ups.
I do not know what your pick ups are, or what the alternatives are, but chances are they could be upgraded, and, depending on what you upgrade with ,and what you are wanting to get out of the bass that you want new pick ups to get will determine what you want to do with them.

Many people upgrade their pick ups, on any bass.
Other people do not upgrade them ever and do just fine.

I am upgrading one pick up on one of my stingrays to test out, based on the recommendation of a friend who is a stingray enthusiast as well, and he’s says the difference with the pick up that I am putting it, to the one that is stock is night and day.

I am putting in an Agiular stingray pick up.
He also said that the Seymore Duncan pick up for stingrays hardly made a difference. And that is not to say that Seymore Duncan pick up are pad, they most certainly are not, but in a stingray, they don’t seem to make a bid difference. but many people like that brand for other basses / guitars.

its another rabbit hole you can jump down, or not…

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Dual hum bucking means you have 2 hum bucking, which are dual coil pick ups. The dual is used twice in that statement and it is correct that way.
hoping not to confuse you any further.

My Stingray 4HH has two pick ups, both are dual coil

I have a 5 position switch on it.
position 1 thru 5
1 - dual coil bridge pick up
2 - single coil bridge pick up
3 dual coil neck and bring pick up
4 - single coil neck pick up
5 - dual coil neck pick up.

I hope this helps to understand what you can get out of due hum bucking pick ups for sound and tone options

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This forum is rife with rabbit holes…

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“humbucker” means that the pickups have two coils in series each with an inverted phase and inverted magnet. this is very efficient to reduce the ambiant noise, and it brings a distinctive sound with more midrange than single coils.

“humbucker” does to refer to any size or dimension or quality.

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Thank you or clarifying that :+1: