Jazzmaster Pickup Recommendation Request (with Guidelines!)

SixStringSlinger

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I’m currently using a set of Fender Pure Vintage ‘65’s. They sound great, I love them, and as far as I can tell they sound very particularly “Jazzmaster”, which I definitely want.

However, I do wish that they would drive my amp a bit more, and they (and the bridge pickup in particular) sound just a tad “weak” (for lack of a better term).

And before anyone asks, I don’t think this is a question of pickups heights. I’ve spent a lot of time tweaking that in this guitar, and I believe that each pickup sits where it sounds best, and where they roughly balance each other out volume-wise.

Since I’m still figuring out what I’m looking for (never mind what product provides it), budget isn’t really a concern. So far I’ve looked at these:

Novak JM-V/Fat - Solid maybe
Lollar/Black Bobbin - Another solid maybe. I love the results of Mike Adams’ demo.
Fender AVRI ‘62 - Unsure if that’s their “real” name, but basically Fender’s recreation of a vintage Jazzmaster pickup that’s not a ‘65.
Bootstrap Lake Surfers - Love the price, and never heard a bad word about Bootstrap, but their description (heavy on the “bright” and “sparkle”) makes me think this isn’t the direction I want to go.

It’s hard to tell which of these (or any of the many, many others) might match what I’m looking for, especially since it’s hard to find relevant specs on all of them and demos can be a crapshoot.

So does anyone have a recommendation for a Jazzmaster pickup (set or maybe just bridge) that has the same basic tonal character as the PV’65’s, but with a touch more “throat” to it and a little more output overall (and I realize that simply having more output may also provide the slight tonal nudge I’m looking for)?
 

monkeybanana

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I'd go Novaks or consider Antiquity IIs if you haven't tried those already. I would avoid black bobbin/A2 styles, including Ant Is. They are getting away from what you describe, which is well represented by PV '65s.
Looking at specs it looks like the '65s are A5 and around 6.8k? That's pretty hot compared to say Tele or Strat single coils. I would start with that and find one with more winds.
 

SixStringSlinger

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It's probably not what you want to hear, but if I was in your shoes I would look into getting a clean boost pedal for a bit of extra output, especially if you already like the sound of the pickups you have.

I do use an MXR Micro Amp that seems to get it into the territory I’m looking for, but I’d like for the guitar to get there in its own and use the MXR to go over and above that like I do with my other guitars. None of my single-coil guitars has particularly hot pickups, but they all drove the amp harder with the guitar turned up than the PV’65’s do in my JM.

I'd go Novaks or consider Antiquity IIs if you haven't tried those already. I would avoid black bobbin/A2 styles, including Ant Is. They are getting away from what you describe, which is well represented by PV '65s.

That’s interesting, since I really liked the tones Mike Adams got in his Lollar/Black Bobbin demo. Then again, YouTube demos.

What’s the general difference between A2 and A5? Are A2’s brighter, all other things being equal?
 

BorderRadio

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Looking at specs it looks like the '65s are A5 and around 6.8k? That's pretty hot compared to say Tele or Strat single coils. I would start with that and find one with more winds.
All things are not equal when comparing different pickup designs. 4k Filtertrons hit much harder than any traditional Fender single coil. Same with a CC pickup at 3k. Inductance is a better measure of output. PVs are about 3.2H, fwiw.
 

BorderRadio

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That’s interesting, since I really liked the tones Mike Adams got in his Lollar/Black Bobbin demo. Then again, YouTube demos.

What’s the general difference between A2 and A5? Are A2’s brighter, all other things being equal?
Only way to be sure is to go there. You likely won't get a significant push in output with Lollar or any black bobbin type, it even says "low output" in the description. In some regards, you're getting an "A2" sound when you lower your A5 pickups from the strings (I'm simplifying a bit). Maybe you really want to round out the highs and soften the bass, which is what I heard in Antiquity Is. That's why Novak Fat and JM-V are likely to get you what you want, but of course he doesn't share any specs. He could recommend a custom wind, and I trust him to understand JM sounds in general.
 

SixStringSlinger

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So I’ve been looking into options and reading your suggestions, and I think I may actually be leaning toward keeping the PV’65 in the neck and something like a ‘62/Antiquity I or the like in the bridge.
 

SixStringSlinger

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I see a jazz II antiquity bridge for sale at tgp

My understanding is that the II’s are basically the same as my PV’65’s, albeit with a touch more output. An Antiquity I sounds attractive to me because it’s both a little louder than the ‘65’s/I and a little less trebly/more middy.
 

naneek

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the "string separation" is what gives the jazzmaster its distinctive sound in my opinion.

I don't really have any experience with aftermarket jazzmaster pups, but to me the defining characteristic of a good sounding jazzmaster pickup set is that each string should be heard distinctly and clearly. This gives additional clarity to complex or dissonant chords.

I think that's what makes it "jazzy" even though the sound of the jm is not the standard warm jazz tone.
 

Matthias

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It's probably not what you want to hear, but if I was in your shoes I would look into getting a clean boost pedal for a bit of extra output, especially if you already like the sound of the pickups you have.

It took me a LOT of years to discover a clean boost was the missing link. The LPB-1 has been the best investment I’ve made on my pedal board and I realised just how many recordings and online demos use a clean boost to get a bit of raunchiness (and a lot of demo-ers are quite open about it). And easy and cheap to build if you’re less lazy than me.
 

W.L.Weller

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I bought a used LPB-1 for less than a metal enclosure and 2 Switchcraft phone jacks would have cost me ($20 shipped). When I play my Jazzmaster or Danelectro, it goes first in the chain.

Please report back with your eventual decision though, I'm always looking for new stuff to covet and expensive JM pickups fit the bill nicely!
 

SixStringSlinger

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I bought a used LPB-1 for less than a metal enclosure and 2 Switchcraft phone jacks would have cost me ($20 shipped). When I play my Jazzmaster or Danelectro, it goes first in the chain.

Please report back with your eventual decision though, I'm always looking for new stuff to covet and expensive JM pickups fit the bill nicely!

I do have an MXR Micro Amp which is great, I’d just rather not have to use it to make up for a guitar’s “handicap”.

I’m interested in the new J. Mascis signature set Fender just released. Specs-wise they look promising, and the price isn’t bad. I’m hoping for some demos/reviews soon before I pull the trigger.
 




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