What's up with Jazzmaster Pickups?

Discussion in 'Just Pickups' started by zezone, May 10, 2020.

  1. zezone

    zezone Tele-Meister

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    I always thought Jazzmaster type pickups would be somewhat trebly and plinky but the 65 pure vintage JM set I put in my JM build has more body and sustain than any HB I tried. It's definitely not what I expected. They take gain like a really great HB without losing any definition, and the clean sound is warm and not ice picky at all. The hum is there but it's not bad, even at hi gain.

    Is this typical of Jazzmaster pickups? They are all I'm going to use if that's the case.

    IMG_20200214_140127-01.jpeg
     
  2. ratedepth

    ratedepth TDPRI Member

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    What value volume pot are you using?

    Jazzmasters are pretty magic. And they seem to take effects (drive, delay, reverb, etc) so well. Good balance of clarity and warmth.

    Great looking guitar, btw! What model/make?
     
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  3. Matthias

    Matthias Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    Yes. The wide bobbins give them a much wider frequency response, including a chunkier bass to balance out the highs. The caveat is because the response is quite flat, you need to get a good amp EQ setting and they take a while to find the best height.

    The plinky ones tend to be stuff like the MIJ version that were just Strat pickups in a big cover.
     
  4. zezone

    zezone Tele-Meister

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    It's a body I built and a Musikraft neck.
     
  5. monkeybanana

    monkeybanana Tele-Meister

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    That's a great looking guitar. I too like jazzmaster pickups and the guitar although it's a little heavy for me. Alnico pole P90s also come close I think.
     
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  6. Verne Bunsen

    Verne Bunsen Tele-Afflicted

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    “Real” Jazzmaster pickups (wide flat coils and magnetic pole pieces) are wonderfully versatile. They do the bright “plinky” thing with the standard spec 1Meg pots, but warm up and thicken up nicely with 500Ks or even 250Ks. I have 2 Jazzmasters, one with 1Megs and one with 250Ks, I love them both. Congratulations on your discovery and welcome to the club :D
     
  7. Southpaw Tele

    Southpaw Tele Friend of Leo's

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    I have the Fender Pure Vintage pickups in one of my Jazzmasters and I lowered the neck quite a bit. It was overly bassy raised up as you usually see them and quite a bit louder than the bridge pickup. I use 1 MOhm pots. Really beautiful sounding pickups once the height is adjusted to taste. Way better than the hotter pickups in my Squier Jazzmaster.


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  8. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

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    .

    JMs have a lot of variation:

    Pickups:
    -alnico pole pieces with thin large area bobbins
    -bar magnets (ceramic or alnico) with steel pole pieces and thin large area bobbins
    -bar magnets with steel poles and tall large area bobbins (more like a Gibson P90)
    -humbucker layouts (wide-range) used in Jazz Blasters
    -humbuckers like used in traditional Les Paul styles
    -single coils more like Strats that are tall skinny area bobbins and either magnetic poles or bar magnets with steel poles

    Non-JM players often talk about "P90s" for everything just because the bobbin covers are so large, which is only true for some of them.

    Pots:
    -1Meg = brighter
    -500k = darker

    Then different circuit mods for the bass circuit like: deleted, or polarity swapping, or series, and more.

    .
     
  9. Antigua Tele

    Antigua Tele Friend of Leo's

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    Technically, that's not true.
     
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  10. Antigua Tele

    Antigua Tele Friend of Leo's

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    I suppose they do come in a lot of shapes and sizes, but the spec/values of the PV 65 are pretty much vintage correct:


    Fender Pure Vintage 65 Jazzmaster Bridge (red dot)
    - DC Resistance: 6.645K ohms
    - Measured L: 3.184H
    - Calculated C: 29pF
    - Gauss: 750G

    Fender Pure Vintage 65 Jazzmaster Neck (blue dot)
    - DC Resistance: 6.574K ohms
    - Measured L: 3.160H
    - Calculated C: 29pF
    - Gauss: 750G

    Bridge unloaded: dV: 18.9dB f: 14.3 kHz (black)
    Bridge loaded (200k & 470pF): dV: 6.5dB f: 3.76kHz (blue)
    Neck unloaded: dV: 18.9dB f: 14.3 kHz (red)
    Neck loaded (200k & 470pF): dV: 6.5dB f: 3.76kHz (green)


    I don't think they sound thick or chunky, but I think the pickup placement, set more inwards relative to a Strat or Tele, pickups up a distribution of harmonics that's more whole sounding (not as bright and prickly a bridge, not as deep and bell-like at the neck).
     
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  11. scooteraz

    scooteraz Friend of Leo's

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    So, you’re saying the placement and not anything about the actual pickup geometry is the key to their different sound? Not picking a fight; I’m truly curious.
     
  12. Antigua Tele

    Antigua Tele Friend of Leo's

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    Yeah, despite the width of the coil, the pole pieces are magnetizing only a small portion of the guitar string. The resonant peak of the pickups are about the same as Fat 50's. Another difference, though, is that they have flat pole pieces, no stagger, that helps it to sound more full and even too.

    As for the placement, a Strat and a Tele have the neck pickup in a spot that causes it to miss, or get less of the 4th harmonic. When the neck pickup's focal point is shifted toward the bridge, if get's more of the 3rd and 4th, apparently less of the 5th, it starts sounding more like a cross between the neck and middle position. And when the bridge pickup it shifted towards the neck, the amplitude of the lower harmonics goes up relative to the high harmonics, which makes it sound more full.

    upload_2020-5-11_10-7-59.jpeg
    Leo Fender thought the wide coil would pickup more frequencies or something like that, but in fact the wide the pickup, the less high end it picks up. The high harmonics are very thin, if the aperture of the pickup is wider than the width of those harmonics, then it aperture captures both sides of the alternating movement cycle at once and it cancels out. The pickup with the broadest frequency response would be the thinnest, like a split rail.
     
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  13. chris m.

    chris m. Poster Extraordinaire

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    Antigua-- thanks for this. It's actually quite revelatory to think that a lot of the differences among the sound and character of different electric guitars is not the pickups themselves but their positioning with respect to the bridge and neck. It's obvious once mentioned, but I hadn't really thought about it much. I do know that a lot of players prefer 22 frets over 24 because they feel that the neck pickup works best when placed very close to where the 24th fret would be.

    I used to have Joe Barden pickups, which are rail humbuckers and I must say they were quite high fidelity sounding. They are kind of renowned for this and I'm sure there are other factors as well since there are plenty of rail pickup designs out there that don't necessarily sound quite as hi-fi.
     
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  14. schmee

    schmee Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    HB? JM pickups are single coil aren't they?
     
  15. EsquireOK

    EsquireOK Friend of Leo's

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    I think you are attributing to the pickups what is actually the very different pot values than a Strat...if you used original JM wiring on your build.

    JM pickups in and of themselves aren't notably different sounding from your typical Strat pickup IME. But they are [usually] in a different guitar. Different wiring. Different bridge/vibrato. Different number of pickups.

    I think the wiring provides the biggest difference. For one thing, the pickups respond a little differently when they have high valued pots downstream. For another, there is less treble leakage past the pots. With a traditional JM, you've got 1M linear volume pots on both circuits. 1M tone pot on lead circuit, and 50K tone pot on rhythm circuit. Far different sweeps on the pots compared to a Strat, and on the lead circuit, far less attenuation of the super high end. Use the rhythm circuit with the knobs dimed, and you sound very close to a Strat neck pickup, IME. The 50K tone pot balances out the excess high end that gets past the 1M volume pot (vs. 250K on a Strat), and you have closer to a "normal" Fender tone (though you get neck pickup only in the rhythm circuit).

    What you are calling "more body and sustain" is, I think, a lot more treble than you're used to, without more output and bass muddying things up. The extra treble gives the illusion of a hotter pickup, but without the extra bass that usually comes with hot pickups, muddying things up. It's ideal for driving a deliberately distorted sound.

    Jazzmasters (and Jaguars) are well suited to being run with the knobs down a bit as their "normal" position – a lot like you'd approach onboard knobs when you have active electronics. Then they sound more like a typical guitar...and you can move onboard volumes and tones either up or down as needed throughout your set or recording session.

    If you want this from a Strat or Tele, try using 1M linear pots for volume, and 1M audio (or linear, if you prefer) for tone.

    FWIW, on my "non-vintage-repro" Strat builds, I split the difference between Strat and JM. I use 500K pots as a matter of course. The knobs behave a lot like a JM when I do that.
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2020
  16. scooteraz

    scooteraz Friend of Leo's

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    Thanks. Another little piece of information tucked away. Whether it will be retrievable or not....LOL
     
  17. Golem

    Golem Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    I've always found the few pre or early CBS JMs I've tried to be too bright so it's good to hear that they may be better than the vintage ones I've tried. :)
     
  18. BorderRadio

    BorderRadio Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    Thinking of that HB pickup thread—I thought about commenting, then thought better of it. Almost the same here, but it seems like a good point: what we ‘see’ often defines how we hear, and what words we use to define what we hear might as well be in a foreign language lol.

    I love JMs though, and with a set of Novak goldfoils in place of traditional JM pickups, I can say that it still sound like a JM, and that’s likely because of bridge/trem design and the pickup placement, followed by choice of pots. 500k, that’s the way to go guys, unless you’re a fan of Roy Buchanan and Danny Gatton’s tone :)
     
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  19. Antigua Tele

    Antigua Tele Friend of Leo's

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    A Strat with 500k or 1 meg pots would be considered too bright for a Strat, but that's the status quo for a Jazzmaster. It has a hole-punch resonance somewhere between 3 and 4kHz, but if you roll the tone control back, it will become the same as a Strat or Tele.
     
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  20. chris m.

    chris m. Poster Extraordinaire

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    Hole punch as in it will ice pick a hole right through my eardrum?
     
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