Jazz bass pickup spacing

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Jazz bass pickup spacing

Postby Kurt Veltman » Tue Feb 07, 2017 6:21 pm

I've looked online and can't find a definitive answer. I know Fender changed the location of the bridge pickup (either .25 or.4, depending on the source) in the early '70's, then changed it back in the early '80's. But I haven't been able to find a location from the nut, or between pickups.

Can anyone help? Thanks.
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Re: Jazz bass pickup spacing

Postby Bob Gramann » Tue Feb 07, 2017 7:49 pm

This is a 2016 made in Mexico fretless Jazz bass.
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Re: Jazz bass pickup spacing

Postby Peter Wilcox » Tue Feb 07, 2017 9:40 pm

You asked the same a couple of years ago, resulting in this thread: viewtopic.php?f=10&t=3614&p=34610

Is that info not adequate?
Maybe I can't fix it, but I can fix it so no one can fix it
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Re: Jazz bass pickup spacing

Postby David King » Wed Feb 08, 2017 6:42 pm

I have a lot of figures from various Fender basses and copies I've measured over the years.
Marcus Miller Jazz Bass -distance between pickups 3.330"
American Deluxe Jazz IV -distance between pickups 2.840"
American Deluxe Jazz V - distance between pickups 2.92"
US Masters EP421 Jazz bass - distance between pickups 3.125"
Atelier-Z jazz bass -distance between pickups 2.913.
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Re: Jazz bass pickup spacing

Postby Bill Raymond » Wed Feb 08, 2017 9:01 pm

Are you looking to replicate the Fender specs exactly, or are you seeking the ideal location for a particular sound? If the latter, it might be worth it for you to make up a test instrument on which you can move your desired pickup to various positions and see where it works best for you.
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Re: Jazz bass pickup spacing

Postby Kurt Veltman » Thu Feb 09, 2017 10:57 pm

Bill, Thanks for the suggestion. I have thought about doing something like that, but I barely have the time to build the bass itself, let alone a prototype R&D model. Besides, I'm not sure I have the ear to tell the difference between one position and another. What I'd like is to find the dimensions between the pre-70's J-bass pickups, and for the early/mid 70's J-bass, after they moved the bridge pickup. Still, a great idea.

David, thanks for all the info! Do you know if any of these match the above descriptions? Can you tell a difference in the sound of these, due to the pickup placement?
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Re: Jazz bass pickup spacing

Postby David King » Tue Feb 14, 2017 1:35 pm

If you search the web on the sonic differences between 1960s and post 1972 jazz basses you will discover that the pickup location change is only part of the picture. There were significant changes to the pickups themselves which probably account for most of the sonic character. Marcus Miller is famous in part for bringing the 70's Jazz basses back into vogue with his crisp, glassy percussive tone. His signature Fender bass is simply a reissue of a 70's J bass with some mods that he'd had done along the way. If your prospective owner is a big fan of Marcus then he'll undoubtedly want the same setup including the very heavy ash body with extensive routing under the large pick guard and an active preamp driven by two "70s wind" jazz pickups that are thinner sounding and feature more of the nasal overtones. Of course the pickups will also be further apart.
Meanwhile there is a reason that Fender went back to the 1960's pickup locations and the fatter pickup windings in the early 1980s, most bassists hated the 1970's instruments though probably more because of the 3 bolt neck and the extra 2-4 pounds of wood in the body not to mention the disastrous Fullerplast primer fiasco.
My bet is that Marcus ended up with a 1970's era instrument because he could afford it at the time and he made it his signature tone through force of his personality and his extraordinary talent.
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Re: Jazz bass pickup spacing

Postby Joshua Levin-Epstein » Wed Feb 15, 2017 5:51 am

I have an 1980 article by Seymour Duncan which gives the distance from the nut to the pole pieces (jazz bass) as 27 7/8" and 31 9/16". This looks like the original spacing. My own opinion, worth everything you've paid for it, is that I prefer the old basses for just about any and all reasons. If I were building a bass, I'd stick with the old specs. If it was good enough for ______________(your favorite JB player here), its good enough for me.
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Re: Jazz bass pickup spacing

Postby Daryl Kosinski » Wed Feb 15, 2017 11:54 am

If it helps I could measure my 65 Jazz bass. That would mean removing the covers so only if you really need it.
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