Guitar

Best Fender Jazz Bass Pickups

Fender Custom Shop’60s Jazz Bass Pickup Set
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It’s no surprise to find that a set of Fender pickups in this chart — they are, after all, the founders of the Jazz Bass. And this Custom Shop’60s set provides a sweet vintage sound with a few modern improvements.

In actuality, the tone is uncannily like that of classic Fender Jazzes — albeit with a bigger output and much more punch, coming from using Alnico 5 magnets and over-wound coils. You’ll also experience a cleaner low-end, and highs with a bit more sting when compared to stock pickups.

In actuality, with such an articulate and hot tone, it’s no wonder these pickups are found as standard in the majority of Fender Custom Shop basses. Highly suggested.

EMG JVX Bass Pickup Set
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EMG are famous for their active pickups, so one of the sets was bound to make it onto our graph. Their JVX set is very interesting and offers the best of both active and passive worlds in 1 pickup, with the power and quiet of active pickups, and the natural tone of passive.

All in all, the sound is outstanding, and cleans are some of the crispy and crispy we’ve heard, while staying organic and true to the tone of original Jazz Bass pickups.

Installation is also surprisingly simple, although they can be a tight squeeze. This pair of JVXs isn’t the least expensive set but surely adds a high-end seem to any Jazz Bass — for that, they’re worth every penny.

Lindy Fralin 4 String Jazz Bass Pickup Set
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Unlike a Fender or Seymour Duncan, Lindy Fralin are not as well-known in the mainstream, but they have built a loyal following due to the sound and quality of their pickups, which are so very classic Fender in tone.

With their Jazz Bass set, you may indeed find that classic vintage Jazz Bass sound with a little more bass and meat, thanks to its Alnico 4 magnet. Handmade in Virginia, this set is quite versatile, with a fat mid-range and round bass tone that works well in everything from blues to hard rock.

Though they include a higher-end price tag, it is one that’s justified thanks to the premium sound they can provide any bassists — powerful, clear and consistent. Who could say no to this?

DiMarzio DP123 Model J Bass Pickup Set
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DiMarzio’s DP123s are another set that replicate traditional classic Jazz Bass tones with a few modern tweaks to improve output. While not true humbuckers, these pickups are made with a ceramic magnet and feature a powerful tone that stays crystal clear as the volume is increased.

They’re also one of the greatest performers on this list in regards to adding gain to the mixture. While they can do with a bit more punch in the low-end, the tone is overall excellent — best described as warm, woody and natural, with the bridge pickup particularly offering good thump.

Awesome for punk and hard rock, in addition to fretless basses. We are also impressed with the sub-$100 price tag, which makes these some of the greatest value pickups on this listing.

Seymour Duncan SJB3 Quarter Pound Jazz Bass Bridge Pickup
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Unlike others on this graph, this entry is a single bridge pickup rather than a set, and — for the tone on offer — proves a great way to update any Jazz Bass without spending a fortune.

The SJB3 Quarter Pound is fundamentally an extremely versatile pickup, capable of producing excellent tones for all fashions. Constructed in California, Seymour Duncan utilizes quarter-inch diameter Alnico 5 rod magnets with sexy coil windings to deliver a punchy sound with a moderate output.

Not the hottest we have reviewed, but volume is certainly no issue, and substituting a stock bridge pickup with this Quarter Pound will have a noticeable effect on your sound. Perhaps not as traditional in tone as you might desire, but for the price it is hard to go wrong.

What Makes a Fantastic Jazz Bass Pickup
More often than not, a J Bass pickup will be a single-coil design rather than a humbucker. Naturally, there are exceptions, but in the world of the Jazz Bass, single-coil pickups rule.

As you’d find with regular guitar pickups, the J Bass single-coil will primarily feature a bright and defined tone, which is ideal for keeping your low-end sound from drifting into mud. It’s worth noting that these single-coils feature two pole-pieces per series, which helps deliver that tighter bass sound with more powerful trebles.

Meanwhile, like their guitar counterparts, Jazz Bass single-coils are vulnerable to background interference in the form of hum, and may be an inconvenience as the quantity and gain increase.

So, a good J Bass pickup will keep a defined low-end with ample brightness, while keeping noise to a minimum. The five on our list certainly do so with varying degrees of success, while others — such as DiMarzio’s DP123 in particular — offer the best of both worlds, by shocking two halves of a single-coil for a humbucking experience that keeps the bright snap of the single-coil.

How Do They Sound Compared to P Bass Pickups?
As we’ve established, generally, when compared to the tone of a Precision Bass, a Jazz Bass pickup traditionally offers a brighter and cleaner sound, though you’ll tend to get a bit more background noise and hum. P Bass pickups are a bit fatter in tone. It is all very subjective, but this is the overall agreement.

For an audio example, it’s worth checking out the next movie, which appears at the subtle tonal differences between Jazz and Precision Basses:

Why Change Your Pickups?
Whether your bass cost $150 or $500, odds are the stock pickups are fine and do a decent job. However, if you are with a band in a gigging or recording environment, or even looking for a new sound for your solo work, changing the pickups can bring any bass guitar to life.

Some manufacturers offer single pickups individually, rather than sets, which can be great if you’re on a budget and prefer to change just one pickup at a time, like the neck or bridge.

Remember that pickups are sometimes complex to put in — particularly J Bass single-coils — so if you aren’t sure what you’re doing, ask your local guitar professional to install them for you. Saving a few additional dollars isn’t worth destroying your bass over!

The Final Word
Do not believe everything you read! It might sound odd coming from us, but all reviews are subjective.

While our reviews can surely help highlight the best versions, if possible go and test the pickups that attract you. Or — at the very least — listen to them in actions, whether live or via videos. This way you’ll get a real feel of what the pickup sounds like, and whether they will work for your style of playing.

Good luck in your hunt for your ideal Jazz Bass pickup!

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