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Phil Starr

John East J-retro, how stupid am I?

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A few years ago I fitted one of these to my J bass (would you believe). It was an impulse buy from a fellow basschatter. all my other basses have a blend control and I wanted to rewire the VVT controls to give me blend instead of Volume/Volume, this gave me a shortcut, just drop it in and play, as well as a greater range of sounds.

TBH I've never got on with it. It sounds great soloed at home but in a band situation the mid suckout and bass boost (cut isn't available) doesn't really work for me. The sound that is quite exciting at home just sounds muddy with a band and I haven't yet managed to dial in an uncoloured sound. I play the Jazz at home and the P-bass comes out when it's serious. To cut a long story short this morning I was running through a few songs and contemplating returning the original Fender passive controls back to the bass when I had an inspiration, I switched off the active. Clarity tone and character restored, there's a switch to go from bridge pickup to blended and I can switch the active on with no noticeable change in volume so I can return to the bass boosted mid cut John East sound whenever I want. How stupid am I, three tones at the flick of a switch and clarity through the speakers when I need it. 

Can't wait to try it with the band.

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Or throw in an Audere preamp. Lovely and transparent tone in non cut/boosted mode but with a really musical range of tone controls. And if you go for the "Z" control option you get a three way switch that loads the pickups in different ways (whatever that means) and creates some great character options and growl. Fab little preamp!

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Have to agree. The J Retro I had was very underwhelming. I hated the fact that some of the controls didn't have a centre detent! Might work for some but not for me. I much prefer the passive Jazz Bass sound, although going to look into a series/parallel switch soon

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The 'Z' option on the Audere I had in my MTD Heir made the sound go mahoosive, in a good way. Something else on my long list of things I should have not changed. 

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