Introduction: A foreword about the Best Jazz Bass Pickups
Don’t let the name fool you – the Jazz Bass is one of the most versatile instruments out there, partially because of its two pickup configuration.
If you have a Jazz Bass, you should make sure to equip it with the best Jazz Bass Pickups available.
Here are our thoughts on the best J-Style Pickups on the market!
The Jazz Bass (or J Bass) is the second model of electric bass created by Leo Fender.
Compared to a Precission Bass, it has a brighter tone and it is richer in the midrange and treble with less emphasis on the fundamental frequency.
Due to these characteristics, it is most often used in jazz, but also in funk, disco, reggae, blues and many different rock genres.
If you are in a hurry these are our Top Picks:
These amazing J-Style humbucker pickups offer amazing versatility and a wide range of tonal possibilities. In the neck position, they resemble a P-Bass sound, in the bridge possition a typical, mids and highs loaded Jaco Pastorius type of sound, but without any unwanted interference.
They are also available as a P/J pair, as well as for 5 strings.
The Agular AG 4J-HC is simply superior to the stock pickups on Mexican Jazz Basses. Even the lower end notes sound very clear, crisp and have a lot of growl.
The Aguilar pickups are generally easy to install, but might be a tad bigger than the stock pickups on some models. Also, they have cloth covered wires for additional protection.
The fact that you may need the help of a technician while installing them is probably the only downside to these amazing pups.
With good shielding and routing, the humbuckers cancel out even the slightest traces of hum. For the most amazing tone, we recommend pairing the bass up with an Aguilar TLC Compressor, although this is purely personal preference.
- Tone 98% 98%
- Quality 96% 96%
- Performance 98% 98%
The SJB3 Quarter Pound Jazz Bass Pickup is a fantastic pickup for the bridge position that can be paired with a P-Style pickup in the neck position, but two of these work great, too.
Power and volume is what the Seymour Duncan SJB3 Quarter Pound Pickups are all about.
This is a single coil pickup that produces hum, but much quieter than your everyday single coils. Loud but not noisy is the best way to describe it. If you want to tune up your axe for harder rock genres, then this is the perfect solution.
On a Fender P/J bass, this bridge pickups sounds best when paired with a Seymour Duncan Quarter Pound P-Style pickup, but on a more traditional Jazz Bass, two of these SKB3s sound great.
When you’re playing with both pickups at the same time, they function as humbuckers, which means less noise even with a familiar pickup set.
If you like fast, punchy rock lines in the style of Unwritten Law or Rise Against, then these pickups won’t disappoint you.
- Tone 96% 96%
- Quality 95% 95%
- Performance 94% 94%
A.K.A. DiMarzio DP123, the Model J Bass Pickups Set looks great on black and sunburst basses, but sounds amazing all of them. It offers a more traditional bass tone with warm notes, but with slightly boosted fundamentals.
A great choice, especially for fretless basses.
The DiMarzio DP123 are very interesting pups. They offer a bigger, more pronounced tone, especially in the mid range and with bigger lows, but without being too boomy on the low end or glassy on the high end.
The pups offer a very even sound across the whole fretboard and all the notes ring out rather clear. They cut through the mix very nicely. The price-performance ratio is pretty good.
The opinions on how effectively these pickups filter out the hum are divided.
This might additionally depend on your other gear, but if you don’t mind a little bit of hum during the quieter parts and want a sound that seems to be in-between single-coils and humbuckers, then these pickups won’t disappoint you.
- Tone 92% 92%
- Quality 94% 94%
- Performance 92% 92%
The Lindy Fralin 4 String Jazz Bass Pickup Set is a great addition for a J-Bass as it offers an even sound with the crispy highs and well articulated mids and lows.
These are a very standard choice for people who want to upgrade their Squier Bullet or Fender MIM basses without spending too much money.
The Lindy Fralin 4 String J-Pups set isn’t the most unique set on the market. It is more of a standardized set that does everything it needs to do really good and doesn’t particularly stand out.
The very even and bright notes are great for many different genres and if you have pickups that simply are cheap and weak, the Lindy Fralin might be a good set. That is because you won’t change the tone completely – just improve it.
The neck pickup is slightly shorter than the bridge pickup to accommodate all strings equally well, which probably helps to smoothen out the output even more.
The pups are durable and made of high quality parts, so you won’t have to worry about that. All in all they are a nice set which could only use rounder pickup corners as they are not the most comfortable pickups for resting your thumb and fingers.
Besides that, they are very well-rounded and great for everything from jazz to metal.
- Tone 90% 90%
- Quality 94% 94%
- Performance 92% 92%
The Nordstrand Jazz Bass NJ4 Single Coil Pickup Set offers great-sounding pickups which are very comfortable with their rounded corners.
They are very affordable and offer a very classical vintage sound. Must-have for all Squier Vintage Modified owners!
If you are searching for that vintage sound of the 60s, look no further than this. The pups aren’t hot and have a very warm, dark tone with an emphasis on the mid range.
These pickups can feel like a dramatic change if you’re used to humbuckers, but generally they sound great if you get used to them.
This is a true single coil pickup and sounds closest to the pickups that were used 40 or 50 years ago. Of course, because they are a true single coil pickup, they are also susceptible to noise and 60 cycle hum.
If you want a near-perfect emulation of old recordings, then these babies are the way to go.
- Tone 88% 88%
- Quality 92% 92%
- Performance 94% 94%
As mentioned, Jazz Basses are mostly produced by Fender. In 1982, the Squier brand was reactivated by Fender to become its brand for lower priced versions of Fender guitars, thus Squier Jazz Bass models are available and offer a more affordable alternative.
Mexican Fender Jazz Basses and lower end Squiers usually come with pickups which are decent, but not quite high-end.
The easiest way to improve the sound of your bass is by changing the pickups. Keep in mind that Jazz Basses have two pickups and that some retailers only sell one, while other sell them as a pair.
Also keep in mind that Fender and other companies produce basses that have a Precission/Jazz pickup configuration, which opens up additional tonal possibilities.
Another thing to keep remember is that Jazz Bass Pickups are generally harder to install because some are of equal length and some have a bigger, longer bridge pickup.
Unless you really know what you’re doing, ask a technician for help.
In case you that you want even more tonal versatility out of your bass, changing it from a pure J bass into a P-/J- Bass will require you to learn about Precission Style pickups, too.
Luckily we’ve got you covered as we have a detailed review of the best Precission Bass Pickups, too!
We hope that you’ve liked this article and that you will share it with your fellow bassist friends. And in case that your friends prefer playing guitar, we are sure that they will find something interesting in our guitar archive.
All the best to you and have fun with your new pickups!