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dave74200

Jazz Bass cutting through issues

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Hi folks. I have a Flea Jazz bass that I absolutely love. The only issue is, when playing high up the fretboard, the notes don’t cut through as much as my P Bass. I’m talking above 12th fret. When played solo, all the notes seem to jump out perfectly, but it’s when playing in a band situation that this happens. Any tips or ideas would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance, Dave.

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14 minutes ago, dave74200 said:

Hi folks. I have a Flea Jazz bass that I absolutely love. The only issue is, when playing high up the fretboard, the notes don’t cut through as much as my P Bass. I’m talking above 12th fret. When played solo, all the notes seem to jump out perfectly, but it’s when playing in a band situation that this happens. Any tips or ideas would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance, Dave.

I had this issue with my Flea too.. in fact, I found the overall sound too dark in general; which surprised me somewhat.

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What is the guitarist doing? Specifically, what kind of pickups does his guitar have and where is the pickup selector switch? Is a keyboard player involved too?

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11 minutes ago, paul_c2 said:

What is the guitarist doing? Specifically, what kind of pickups does his guitar have and where is the pickup selector switch? Is a keyboard player involved too?

Les Paul Junior mate. Single coils, no keys.

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I prefer the look of Jazz basses but I always found they do get more lost in the mix. I put flats on mine and boost the upper mids BUT they don't work well in stripped back bands like 3 pieces. Better in a bigger band set up, in my humble opinion. 

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They have one pickup?

When I play guitar in a band I play a Strat, almost always bridge pickup; and the amp has the bass all the way down to almost nothing. Mind you I am looking for a gap amongst a bass, piano, saxes, trumpet(s), etc

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A P bass is two single coils run in serial, which cuts the lows and highs, leaving plenty of lovely mids your amp can project and your ears are great at hearing. The average guitar humbucker is wired this way too, it's a great way of being heard. Think of the EQ being like the lips in a sad face :(

A J bass with both pickups on is two single coils run in parallel which works differently to serial, in that it cuts the mids, leaving lots of low lows and high highs. It's a great sound for some applications but, generally, you've got to get the mids back in there to be heard.

If you want to cut through with a J bass, only run one pickup and don't run a disco smile EQ on your amp.

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assuming your ‘flea jazz’ is the trad JJ passive (not the active humbucker one) - fitting a decent pre amp or pedal would give you more control here 

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1 hour ago, Doctor J said:

A P bass is two single coils run in serial, which cuts the lows and highs, leaving plenty of lovely mids your amp can project and your ears are great at hearing. The average guitar humbucker is wired this way too, it's a great way of being heard. Think of the EQ being like the lips in a sad face :(

A J bass with both pickups on is two single coils run in parallel which works differently to serial, in that it cuts the mids, leaving lots of low lows and high highs. It's a great sound for some applications but, generally, you've got to get the mids back in there to be heard.

If you want to cut through with a J bass, only run one pickup and don't run a disco smile EQ on your amp.

Excellent explanation!

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2 hours ago, Doctor J said:

A P bass is two single coils run in serial, which cuts the lows and highs, leaving plenty of lovely mids your amp can project and your ears are great at hearing. The average guitar humbucker is wired this way too, it's a great way of being heard. Think of the EQ being like the lips in a sad face :(

A J bass with both pickups on is two single coils run in parallel which works differently to serial, in that it cuts the mids, leaving lots of low lows and high highs. It's a great sound for some applications but, generally, you've got to get the mids back in there to be heard.

If you want to cut through with a J bass, only run one pickup and don't run a disco smile EQ on your amp.

Isn't it because on a Jazz bass there are 2 pickups picking up each string in different locations so when they're added together some of the frequencies get cancelled out while on the P bass, even though the pickup comes in 2 pieces wired together, each string is only being picked up at one location?

I think that's more to do with it than series/parallel thing because you can wire J pickups in series and it sounds very different but not like a P. It's a possible option for the OP though - to either wire the pickups in series or even add a switch that switches between that and normal.

Favouring one of the pickups rather than having both on full might also help cut through.

P.S. I'm jealous you have the Flea Jazz - I see it every time I'm in the guitar shop and it just looks so beautiful. I fear by the time I can afford to buy it they'll be out of production.

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3 hours ago, Cat Burrito said:

...they don't work well in stripped back bands like 3 pieces. Better in a bigger band set up, in my humble opinion. 

Not sure JPJ, Lee or Redding would agree! It's all about the elusive balance between overall band sound and bass tone, whether it's the result of strings/EQ/technique, you just need to find what works. Plenty of players have made Jazz Basses work/cut through just fine

 

Although I think Precisions are generally better :

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Posted (edited)
20 minutes ago, Beedster said:

Not sure JPJ, Lee or Redding would agree!

 . . . . . or me. I can make a Jazz bass work just fine in loud or quiet trios.

This is probably an EQ problem. If you have both pickups full on they will cancel each other out a little. What you do is dial back one of the pickups. I usually take the bridge pickup back a little, until I hear the volume come back up.

Also, if you are standing right in front of the cab you can sometimes hear the lower frequencies better than the top frequencies. Out in the room, though, all the notes should be cutting through.

Edited by chris_b
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Just listened to a gig where I used my jazz.

has totally put me off track as I thought the modulus flea was a better fit...reality is that the jazz sounds loads better in the band setting.

errrmagehherd....😳

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1 hour ago, chris_b said:

 . . . . . or me. I can make a Jazz bass work just fine in loud or quiet trios.

This is probably an EQ problem. If you have both pickups full on they will cancel each other out a little. What you do is dial back one of the pickups. I usually take the bridge pickup back a little, until I hear the volume come back up.

Also, if you are standing right in front of the cab you can sometimes hear the lower frequencies better than the top frequencies. Out in the room, though, all the notes should be cutting through.

I agree,for  me I just bring back the bridge pup until I hear it “swell” has always been the sweet spot

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6 hours ago, thegummy said:

Isn't it because on a Jazz bass there are 2 pickups picking up each string in different locations so when they're added together some of the frequencies get cancelled out while on the P bass, even though the pickup comes in 2 pieces wired together, each string is only being picked up at one location?

I think that's more to do with it than series/parallel thing because you can wire J pickups in series and it sounds very different but not like a P. It's a possible option for the OP though - to either wire the pickups in series or even add a switch that switches between that and normal.

Favouring one of the pickups rather than having both on full might also help cut through.

P.S. I'm jealous you have the Flea Jazz - I see it every time I'm in the guitar shop and it just looks so beautiful. I fear by the time I can afford to buy it they'll be out of production.

I didn’t say it would sound like a Precision, I’m just highlighting what many overlook about the effect of pairing up coils. Parallel will hide mids somewhat, giving you a sound full of lows and highs which can sound fine in certain areas of the fretboard but you vanish in others. Lots of people suck the mids out on their amp EQ too, which magnifies the effect. It’s a generalisation, of course, but understanding the effect will make it easier to figure out what is required to remedy the situation in terms of what is coming out of the speaker. A Stingray pickup run in series doesn’t sound like a Precision either, after all but it is a very different beast to one running parallel.

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Get the opnion of others or the rest of the band Dave74200?  The reason I ask is that I know that I hear things in my own way and am always like to hear strong low frequesncies. It's always worth getting a 2nd opinion from the sound man or someone that you trust.

I would also say if you aren't happy and have to keep searching for your sound, trade it as you probably never be truly happy.

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7 hours ago, Beedster said:

Not sure JPJ, Lee or Redding would agree! It's all about the elusive balance between overall band sound and bass tone, whether it's the result of strings/EQ/technique, you just need to find what works. Plenty of players have made Jazz Basses work/cut through just fine

 

Although I think Precisions are generally better :

I actually think it's more to do with the combination of what the other players are doing too. My 3 piece is more old school rock 'n' roll and the Jazz doesn't sound so good up against a Getsch type guitar. I'm sure with Jimmy Page or Jimi Hendrix, I would have less of an issue!

Or perhaps I just need to play with somebody called Jimmy?!

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3 hours ago, Cat Burrito said:

I actually think it's more to do with the combination of what the other players are doing too.

Absolutely, I wasn’t suggesting the bass be EQ’d in isolation. EQ that works in one band could be entirely ineffective in another, and yes, thick gutsy driven guitar tone versus thin and clean will make a big difference. You can change EQ entirely mid set to accommodate different songs or instrumentation, but to the audience the bass will sound exactly the same (whilst if the EQ had been left the same, it would have sounded entirely different). The Keith Richards isolated bass line in Sympathy for the Devil is a great example of how EQ solo and EQ for the mix are two entirely different things. 

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15 hours ago, dave74200 said:

When played solo, all the notes seem to jump out perfectly, but it’s when playing in a band situation that this happens.

As above.....a simplistic view is that the bass, or the EQ, or the amplifier etc, ISN'T the problem. Its the others which are the problem, and you should be focusing on those first.

In reality though, its difficult to oblige others to change (or turn down....) unless there is someone in overall charge or they are not selfish; and often the situation descends to "what do I do to cut through" and often that produces the answer of "turn up the volume/EQ" which results in volume wars etc etc not great.

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