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How to dial in a J-bass pickup

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    How to dial in a J-bass pickup

    On the 'former-forums' someone, maybe Jacksonplayer or 7DT, posted some great info about dialing in a metal tone on a bass with J-pups. Since I'm too lazy to go there and subject myself to seizure inducing clickbait mines akimbo, I thought I'd just start a new thread and wait for whomever it was to come school me.

    Memory-jogger: I was assuming the bridge pickup was the deal, not the neck, but was informed that was not correct...

    Gratuitous bass shot:
    Don't expect much, it's not like I'm a Rocket Surgeon...

    #2
    I prefer both pickups on. Bridge full on, but neck adjusted in to taste for added ... err, «girth»? Blending in the neck is like an opposite to the tone knob.

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      #3
      For most rock, I recommend starting with just the neck full up and then dial in the bridge until you get the right amount of cut and "clank". It'll probably be somewhere around 25% bridge in the blend, depending on the natural sound of the bass and what you're doing with the guitars.

      Both pickups full-up is great for modern fusion or slap, but it's too "guitar-ish" and punchy for music with heavy guitars. That blend favors the same EQ ranges that heavy guitar does.

      Going all neck pickup works for Motown or classic R&B where all you want is the thump. The Jaco Pastorius setting for classic fusion and fretless is 75% favoring the bridge but with the tone knob almost all the way down.

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        #4
        Thanks, JP! I'll message around with that this weekend for my SAW Preseason song...
        Don't expect much, it's not like I'm a Rocket Surgeon...

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          #5
          I've really been liking going full Neck pup. My EQ is almost flat, save for a touch of mids rolled back.

          My bass is an Ibanez SR500, with Bartolini soapbar pups.

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            #6
            Jazz bass pickups on an actual jazz bass are a bit different in terms of traditional use in other genres, but in terms of PJ type shit and other styles of bass with one or more jazz style pickups the rule of thumb is "neck on full, bridge to taste".

            There's definitely a misconception coming from guitar that it functions the same with the bridge being the one that is more defined. Some of the most ridiculously defined tones are on standalone P basses. Alex Webster's early white one with the Sadus sticker is an excellent example.



            On standalone Jazz basses that are actual Fender style Js with jazz pickup, sometimes people go for bridge only for specific applications, but those are usually non metal genres. Metal is usually "neck on full, bridge to taste, go from there". In bass the neck pickup is usually the "growly" one in terms of a lot of more traditional bass designs.

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              #7
              Originally posted by Greg McCoy View Post
              On standalone Jazz basses that are actual Fender style Js with jazz pickup, sometimes people go for bridge only for specific applications, but those are usually non metal genres. Metal is usually "neck on full, bridge to taste, go from there". In bass the neck pickup is usually the "growly" one in terms of a lot of more traditional bass designs.
              A traditional Jazz setup, like Iron1 has, is tougher to dial up for metal than a P/J setup. The crux of it is that the neck pickup is slightly further away from the bridge than a Precision pickup is, making the Jazz neck darker sounding despite being single coil (or stacked hum, which I suspect Iron1's is). I love the sound of a regular P-Bass in metal, but there's almost no way you can do metal with just a Jazz neck pickup. You'll feel the bass but not be able to distinguish it in the mix.

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                #8
                Originally posted by jacksonplayer View Post

                A traditional Jazz setup, like Iron1 has, is tougher to dial up for metal than a P/J setup. The crux of it is that the neck pickup is slightly further away from the bridge than a Precision pickup is, making the Jazz neck darker sounding despite being single coil (or stacked hum, which I suspect Iron1's is). I love the sound of a regular P-Bass in metal, but there's almost no way you can do metal with just a Jazz neck pickup. You'll feel the bass but not be able to distinguish it in the mix.
                Is it? I thought spacing was the same but there was less lower mids than a traditional P. Always seems that way to me. Regardless, neck on full and bridge to taste is the way to go for me (though I'd almost rather just have a straight P pickup most times, both pickups on full into an Ampeg-type sound is all the clank you need with tone knob to taste.

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                  #9
                  Originally posted by Josh View Post

                  Is it? I thought spacing was the same but there was less lower mids than a traditional P. Always seems that way to me. Regardless, neck on full and bridge to taste is the way to go for me (though I'd almost rather just have a straight P pickup most times, both pickups on full into an Ampeg-type sound is all the clank you need with tone knob to taste.
                  I just eyeballed it with my P and J basses sitting next to each other in the rack, and you're right. The J neck sits right in the middle between the offset pickups on the Precision. It's funny how even the two lower strings on the Precision don't sound as dark as on a Jazz neck PU by itself, despite the fact that the lower P pickup is actually closer to the neck.

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                    #10
                    Originally posted by jacksonplayer View Post

                    I just eyeballed it with my P and J basses sitting next to each other in the rack, and you're right. The J neck sits right in the middle between the offset pickups on the Precision. It's funny how even the two lower strings on the Precision don't sound as dark as on a Jazz neck PU by itself, despite the fact that the lower P pickup is actually closer to the neck.
                    Interesting. I always felt Jazz neck pickups were brighter but scoopier than a P. The place for me where positioning matters is in ’60s vs.'70s Jazz bridge pickup position. The 70s position is a little closer to the bridge and noticeably more aggressive.

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                      #11
                      Interesting. I've pretty much just settled into using both pickups at 100%, rathe than trying to blend in a little of the bridge behind the neck. I'm not really doing anything THAT metal, though, but it does have a good amount of growl to it.

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                        #12
                        Originally posted by Josh View Post

                        Interesting. I always felt Jazz neck pickups were brighter but scoopier than a P. The place for me where positioning matters is in ’60s vs.'70s Jazz bridge pickup position. The 70s position is a little closer to the bridge and noticeably more aggressive.
                        Mine's probably spaced more traditionally. It's a Mighty Mite neck on a Mexi-Fender body with Joe Barden pickups.

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                          #13
                          I have mine wired in permanent series, sounds amazing and nothing to think about in terms of balance.

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