An analysis of Fender Custom 60's Jazz Bass Pickups

Discussion in 'The BASS Place' started by Antigua Tele, Jul 27, 2019.

  1. Antigua Tele

    Antigua Tele Friend of Leo's

    Jun 2, 2014
    west coast

    I've recently bought another Jazz Bass set, which makes this my third or fourth set. I recorded technical values of those here .

    Fender Custom 60's Jazz Bass

    - DC Resistance: 7.35K ohms
    - Measured L: 2.837H
    - Calculated C: 183pF ( - 10)
    - Gauss: 1000G (AlNiCo 5)

    - DC Resistance: 7.05K ohms
    - Measured L: 2.480H
    - Calculated C: 172pF
    - Gauss: 950G (AlNiCo 5)

    Bridge unloaded: dV: 14.8dB f: 6.89kHz (black)
    Bridge loaded (200k & 470pF): dV: 6.7dB f: 3.51kHz (blue)
    Neck unloaded: dV: 15.9dB f: 7.81kHz (red)
    Neck loaded (200k & 470pF): dV: 7.0dB f: 3.81kHz (green)


    This Fender Custom 60's set has less wire than the Pure Vintage 74 set, therefore lower inductance and increased treble response. With 470pF capacitance thrown in to represent a ~12 foot guitar cable, the Custom 60's have about 500Hz of additional reach into the upper 3kHz range. Both sets use AlNiCo 5 pole pieces.

    Fender also sells the "Yosemite" Jazz Bass set, which I haven't measured, but which I see uses AlNiCo 5 pole pieces also, and has DC resistances of 7.3k and 7.0k, which is exactly what I measured with the Custom 60's set, so it appears these pickups are more or less identical, aside from the hookup wire, and they cost about $30 less.

    There is also the Original Jazz Bass set, which cost less than the Yosemite set can have the nicer cloth hookup wire, too, except that this set features AlNiCo 2 magnets, and a bridge pickup with a DC resistance of 7.7k on the bridge, and 7.2k on the neck. AFAIK, Fender only used AlNiCo 3 some time in the early 50's, due to cobalt being expensive, possibly in relation to the Korean War, and I've never heard that they used AlNiCo 2 at all, so in the interest of achieving a good vintage Jazz Bass sound, I'd personally stick with pickups having AlNiCo 5 pole pieces.

    The reason I bought a new Jazz Bass pickup set is that a recent purchase came with stock ceramic pickups with steel pole pieces. Even though the DC resistance of stock steel poled ceramic pickups measured a DC resistance of 5.7k ohms, the highly permeable steel pole pieces in such pickups causes the inductance of the pickup to increase way beyond what it will be with AlNiCo pole pieces, so even though the pickup only reads a DC resistance of 5.7k, the frequency response with 470pF capacitance didn't even break 3kHz in testing, while the Fender PV '74 and Custom 60's both exceed 3kHz, despite having DC resistances in the 7k ohm range. This is true of all stock single coil pickups that have steel pole pieces; they are a lot darker and louder than their AlNiCo counterparts, even if the DC resistance shows that they have so much less wire on them. The steel pole pieces also causes eddy currents, robbing the single coil of a high resonant Q, that gives vintage Fender AlNiCo pickups a bite (some say ice pick) that they're well known for.
    Bones, Bassman8 and Wyzsard like this.
  2. Fretting out

    Fretting out Tele-Afflicted

    Jun 13, 2019
    Land of Mary
    I don’t understand any of this but it seems like you’re very passionate about pickups.
    Maybe someone that can appreciate this will see it.
    Wish I knew more about these things
    slacquin likes this.
  3. Guitarteach

    Guitarteach Poster Extraordinaire

    Aug 6, 2014
    I am after a set to give me more of a punch to the guts from my 80’s Jazz.

    It’s just a bit weedy, even with a series switch which helps.

    These all sound like they’d be similar.

    I want to avoid the darkness of the SD Quarter Pounders and don’t want to pay a fortune either.

    I want the Jazz bass equivalent of a P90 vs a strat single coil. Help!

    Or should I just go active and put a little preamp in?
  4. erratick

    erratick Tele-Holic

    Feb 11, 2013
    Love your pickup analysis.

    re: Guitarteach - no input. 80s jazz have 60s pickup spacing or 70s? I find the spacing affects the pickup choice.

    I'm a P90 guy- but not sure what you mean on P90 vs. strat.

    Midrangey and thicker?

    Fralin's are well thought of. I'm a fan of the Bill Lawrence pickups as well. There are plenty of good aftermarket jazz pickups.

    I'm not a fan of active though.
  5. Martinp

    Martinp Tele-Afflicted

    Mar 17, 2003
    Westbury, N.Y.
    those Fender Custom 60's pickups are what they put in the CS Jaco, awesome pickups, Jaco is in there.
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