Jazz bass pickup spacing

Pickups, magnets, microphones, amps, speakers, cabs, whatever...
Post Reply
Kurt Veltman
Posts: 144
Joined: Mon Mar 12, 2012 12:53 pm

Jazz bass pickup spacing

Post by Kurt Veltman »

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.

User avatar
Bob Gramann
Posts: 991
Joined: Fri Jan 06, 2012 11:08 am
Location: Fredericksburg, VA
Contact:

Re: Jazz bass pickup spacing

Post by Bob Gramann »

This is a 2016 made in Mexico fretless Jazz bass.
Attachments
IMG_1861.JPG
IMG_0561.JPG

User avatar
Peter Wilcox
Posts: 1216
Joined: Sun Jan 08, 2012 1:31 am
Location: Northeastern California

Re: Jazz bass pickup spacing

Post by Peter Wilcox »

You asked the same a couple of years ago, resulting in this thread: http://www.mimf.com/phpbb/viewtopic.php ... 14&p=34610

Is that info not adequate?
Maybe I can't fix it, but I can fix it so no one can fix it

David King
Posts: 2689
Joined: Sat Jan 07, 2012 10:01 pm
Location: Portland, OR
Contact:

Re: Jazz bass pickup spacing

Post by David King »

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.

Bill Raymond
Posts: 365
Joined: Fri Jan 06, 2012 5:37 pm
Location: Red Bluff California

Re: Jazz bass pickup spacing

Post by Bill Raymond »

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.

Kurt Veltman
Posts: 144
Joined: Mon Mar 12, 2012 12:53 pm

Re: Jazz bass pickup spacing

Post by Kurt Veltman »

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?

David King
Posts: 2689
Joined: Sat Jan 07, 2012 10:01 pm
Location: Portland, OR
Contact:

Re: Jazz bass pickup spacing

Post by David King »

Kurt,
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.

Joshua Levin-Epstein
Posts: 235
Joined: Sun Jan 08, 2012 7:58 am
Location: Massachusetts

Re: Jazz bass pickup spacing

Post by Joshua Levin-Epstein »

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.

Daryl Kosinski
Posts: 121
Joined: Sat Oct 12, 2013 11:14 am
Location: Fultonville, NY

Re: Jazz bass pickup spacing

Post by Daryl Kosinski »

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

Post Reply