Fender American Standard Jazz Bass guitars have a long history of providing warm, rounded tones and excellent response. If you have a jazz bass, you know that they are great for holding a steady, thick low-end with clarity and sustain on the high-end.
So, what should you do if your jazz bass has lost some of its slyness or is just kind of wimpy?
An upgrade to your jazz bass pickups could be just the thing to get that pep back in its step.
But, which J-Bass pickup is the right one for you?
We are here to give you the rundown on the best jazz bass pickups on the market today and help you make a perfect choice…
- Top 5 Best Jazz Bass Pickups In 2020 Reviews
- Best Jazz Bass Pickup Buyers Guide
- So, What Are The Best Jazz Bass Pickups?
Top 5 Best Jazz Bass Pickups In 2020 Reviews
1 Emg Jvx Jazz Bass Pickup Set
A little bit of old, and a little bit of new.
This set of two pickups blends old, new, and classic designs to bring you the vintage tone and look of traditional jazz basses.
What does that mean?
While these are technically active pickups, the off-set poles act as a passive pickup. The result is the vintage tone of the earliest jazz basses but without the hum or noise of a traditional single-coil pickup. You are getting the best of both worlds with these pickups – active punch and passive response.
The retro look of these pickups will pique your interest, but it is the design of the coil and electronics that will have you sold on these pickups.
A bridge between passive and active tones…
The EMG JVX pickups are a bridge between passive and active tones. You will get an organic and open-sounding tone that retains the clarity and response of standard EMG pickups. They have a distinct jazz snappiness to the sound but hold onto that classic tone.
The sound is quite powerful and clear. An added bonus is that the installation process is relatively easy.
If you are looking take a part of the past with you into the future, the EMG JVXs are just the pickups to take you there.
2 Lindy Fralin 4 String Jazz Bass Pickup Set
Balance and beauty.
This jazz bass pickup set includes a neck and bridge pickup. The neck pickup is slightly shorter than the bridge pickup. They are passive in design and offer clear and balanced tones. The sound they produce is actually very warm and a bit dark. They definitely have a vintage sound and no noise or hum.
Plenty of liveliness…
These Lindy Fralin jazz pickups can really even out the sound and tone of your bass. They are not super-punchy, but they have plenty of liveliness. Every note is clear and even, and the dynamics are subtle without any growl. And, because these are hum-canceling pickups, you will notice a fatter and thicker sound than that of single-coil pickups.
These are made with Alnico 5 magnets and Fralin’s special hand-wound “sectioning winding” that produces great response and dynamics. The poles are staggered on the center magnet to give you a more pronounced mid-range.
The overall sound is lovely. All the frequencies are thick but clear…
You can really dial in a smooth, jazzy tone and vibe that wanders and walks without missing a step.
3 Fender Custom Shop ’60s Jazz Bass Pickups
Speak softly with a big stick.
Fender’s Custom Shop has done it again with these 60s Jazz Bass pickups. They are a reissue of the pickups found in jazz basses in the 1960s. They are made with Alnico 5 magnets and Formvar magnet wire which utilizes copper to enhance the responsiveness and frequency fidelity.
But, how does this work?
Copper is a very conductive material. This means that more of the signal from the strings is carried through the pickups. The sound is fuller and more responsive because of the Formvar wires.
These pickups are overwound for added overall output, low-end punch, and mid-range definition. The vintage sound is more powerful without losing balance or clarity. These pickups have a softness to their tone. None of the frequencies are overpowering; instead, a full range of sound and tone are given more output and punch.
Make no mistake as you turn up these pickups they will get very loud, but still have a certain amount of restraint.
These are single-coil pickups, but they are very quiet. When both pickups are engaged at the same level, there is no hum or noise. When the pickups are set to different output levels, there is the faintest of hums.
A truly surprising feat for single-coil pickups, which are notorious for their hum. Credit goes to the team at the Fender Custom Shop for designing these quiet yet powerful jazz bass pickups.
Sold as a set with all mounting materials included.
4 Dimarzio Model J Bass Pickup Set
Humbucker pickups with great response.
DiMarzio Jazz bass pickups are passive pickups that can add all kinds of tonal variety to your sound. These pickups have less hum and noise than single-coil pickups. While they are not true hum-canceling pickups, there is practically no noise. You would really need to pump up the volume to get any really noticeable noise.
Each pickup has independent volume controls, which means you can easily shape your tone and overall output.
These pickups are very rich sounding. The lows, mids, and highs are all crystal clear, and none overpowers the others. The balance and responsiveness are terrific. The neck pickup is quite fat and punchy when used on its own, and sounds very similar to a precision bass tone. The bridge pickup gives you that hollow, almost croaky vintage jazz bass tone.
Perfect for slap bass and funk…
With both pickups engaged the sound possibilities can cover a ton of ground. Snappy and hollow tone perfect for slap bass and funk. The warm, thick and rounded tone is superb for the latest jazz styles. Also, great rock n roll tones that are fat and punchy with just a sprinkle of crunch.
The DiMarzio Jazz Bass pickups are versatile and dynamic. They are ideal for rock n roll because of the variety of tone and color you can dial in.
The overall sound is smooth, pure and balanced. An excellent choice for any style of music, these pickups will add new sonic dimensions to your jazz bass.
5 Seymour Duncan Sjb3 Quarter Pound Jazz Bass Bridge Pickup
A whole lot of attack.
Seymour Duncan designed this pickup with one aim in mind; strong attack for studio or concert musicians.
The SJB3 Quarter Pound bridge pickup delivers high output, high-end punch, and stupendous clarity. And, features quarter-inch wide rod magnets. By using larger rods, this pickup offers greater sustain and generally a fuller sound and tone.
So, how does this work?
Larger magnets mean a bigger magnetic field. This results in more frequencies being picked up in the signal. These produce greater definition and overall clarity.
Another added bonus of the larger rod magnets is an increase in output and power. With this bridge pickup, you can use the volume knob to shape your sound and tone instead of just adding more attack. For those working in a studio, this pickup can act as its own little preamp because of its output potential.
As a single-coil pickup, you will hear that vintage sound. It is organic, crisp and full without sounding scratchy or with any loss of clarity.
An incredibly powerful jazz bass pickup that is locked and loaded to bring you plenty of punch and power.
Best Jazz Bass Pickup Buyers Guide
Now that we have had the chance to review the best jazz bass pickups, we would like to offer you a few more tips.
All That Jazz
The pickups found in a standard jazz bass are typically quieter and more restrained than those found in precision basses. The tone is warmer and fuller but tends to have less power and grind. This is because the original models were truly made for jazz music. The tone was meant to be more tamed but also clear.
While a jazz bass can be used for heavy rock styles, it is less than ideal for that purpose. A jazz bass pickup can add output and fidelity, but it is not looking to come crashing through the mix. Rather a jazz bass just sits right in the middle. Not too hot or too cold.
Who’s Your Handyman?
Another important aspect of any pickup is the installation process. With the jazz bass pickups we went over, it is recommended to seek professional assistance when it comes to installing your new pickups. Some of these pickups are relatively easy to install, but even the easiest to install can be a hassle if you are new to the whole process.
If you have little or no experience installing jazz bass pickups, we suggest you find a professional to ensure that your new pickups are properly in place.
So, What Are The Best Jazz Bass Pickups?
All of the jazz bass pickups we looked at are high-quality hardware, but there is one that takes top honors.
The best jazz bass pickup is the…
Sold as a set that is amazingly free of hum for single-coil pickups, these are vintage reissue pickups that are discretely powerful. The tone and sound is pure, powerful, and punchy. The balance and resonance is also fantastic.
These pickups have a great mid-range output that allows you to rock out while holding down a steady rhythm that hops and bops with a nice vintage feel.
An excellent set of pickups that will have your old jazz bass revitalized and hammering out all your favorite jazz, blues, and rock jams.
Honorable mention goes to…
The humbucker pickup set offers a wide range of tone and sounds that can be dialed in. This makes them very versatile with a warm and rounded sound. They are also quite powerful and balanced.
We are sure your new jazz bass pickups will be a shot in the arm for your bass guitar. Enjoy playing, grooving, and jiving all hours of the night with the new pickups that won’t leave you stranded at the stroke of midnight.