A jazz bass guitar is one of the most iconic and unique sounds out of all kinds of guitar. You can captivate an entire audience with the bluesy rifts, or you can get down and funky where even the most hardened of listeners can’t help but tap their feet.
However, when it comes to producing the sound you’re passionate about; the sound that best suits your style of play, there are plenty of options available of what you can change. You can upgrade strings, add effects pedals, etc., but perhaps one of the most overlooked aspects of customizing your sound is upgrading your pickups.
In its rawest form, your pickups are uniquely responsible for how the vibrations of your strings are converted into a sound signal, and therefore your pickups are where you should always begin when finding your sound.
Whether you’re looking for your next awesome set of pickups, or you fancy trying out a new set for the first time, we’ve got you covered. Today, we’re going to share with you our top five pickups for your jazz bass guitar.
We’ve taken everything into account, so you don’t have to. This includes the installation process, the sound, the technology included in each set and, of course, the price. So, without further ado, let’s jump straight into it!
DiMarzio Model J Bass Pickup Set
Starting off our list, we’ve chosen one of the most iconic names in the audio industry; DiMarzio. A manufacturer of all things guitar, the Model J Bass Pickup Set, as the title suggests, is designed specifically for jazz bass guitars.
What you’ll instantly notice from installing these pickups is the fact that they produce a warmness which is very similar to the traditional Fender Jazz sounds. However, looking deeper, these have been designed with a tremendous amount of power, and include hum-canceling technology.
This means you’ll be able to enjoy the pure delightful sound, without the irritations that came with these original pickups. These passive pickups are designed for the neck of your bass guitar, but there’s a variation that exists under the same name if you were interested in a full guitar upgrade.
All in all, there’s really nothing to say bad about these pickups. The sound is far and punchy which is exactly how you want your bass guitar to sound, and they’re so much better than any stock counterpart you’re used to.
- Ideal for a neck upgrade
- Has the warmth of traditional Fender guitars
- Perfect for four-string bass guitars
- Hum-cancelling technology
- Cannot remove covers of the pickups (if you were interested)
Seymour Duncan SJB3 Quarter Pound Jazz Bass Bridge Pickup
If you’re looking for an affordable jazz bass pickup set that doesn’t lack at all when it comes to performance and quality, Seymour Duncan always has something to offer. One of the most coveted manufacturers in the audio industry, we love Seymour Duncan products, and this is no exception.
These particular pickups pride themselves on their focus on the attack, as well as using a professionally-selected range of wide-rod magnets that deliver that jazzy sustain that musicians and audience members alike have grown to love over the decades.
Since these pickups pack such a punchy attack, we’d easily classify them as a high output set that you’ll be shocked on how well they retain their clarity, especially for such a low-budget price. Each set even comes with its own set of covers!
One downside to these pickups is that you will have to have some soldering experience to install them as they’re not drop-in pickups, or you’ll need a music store or guitarist with the equipment to help. Apart from that, these pickups are gold!
- A high output jazzy punch
- High emphasis on the attack sounds
- Come with pickup covers
- Incredibly affordable
- Needs soldering to install
Seymour Duncan Apollo Jazz Bass Pickup (4-Strings)
The second Seymour Duncan Jazz Bass pickup set to enter our list is this amazing four-string set that may be more expensive than other pickups on this list but excels when it comes to product quality and the performance you’ll get from it.
you’ll find these pickups to produce that classic Seymour Duncan sound that you simply can’t find with other pickups or brands. You’ll get all the punchiness you’ll want from your bass guitar and retains its clarity, no matter how hard you want or need to push your attack.
As with the majority of Seymour Duncan pickups, this set prides itself on its humbucker design and contains two coils that are expertly positioned just under the covers; ultimately providing with a minimal amount of hum.
You’ll really like these pickups due to their sharpness, and you can really distinguish the high and low sounds. Perhaps the one downside to these pickups is the premium price tag, but if you’re looking to pay for a premium quality pickup set, it doesn’t get much better than this.
- Beautiful clear sound
- Humbucker design with two coils
- Distinctive high and low sounds
- Comes with two pickups for a full upgrade
- The premium price tag
mLavel Bridge & Neck Pickups for Jazz Bass Guitar – Black
This next set from mLavel is the perfect option for jazz bass guitarists who are looking for a low-cost budget option while still seeking for a product that produces the best sound. These pickups are easily the most affordable on the list, and indeed the majority of the market.
With this kit, you’ll be able to enjoy all the benefits that come from a full pickup upgrade since you’ll be able to replace both the neck and the bridge. Of course, you can mix and match and perhaps even replace one or the other to see what works best for you.
In terms of spec, these pickups offer a neck resistance of 7.30K and a bridge resistance of 7.00K. Upon receiving these pickups, you’ll also be nicely surprised to see everything you need to install these pickups, including the mounting screws and springs, which we thought is a nice touch.
Regarding the sound, these pickups may seem to have a little less punch compared with premium pickups, but this is to be expected due to the price, but it’s still perfectly suitable for all your jazz bass needs. However, they do produce a uniquely attractive growl, and the overall sound has stunning definition and clarity.
In all honesty, you won’t believe these are as affordable as they are. Even though these are passive, single-coiled pickups, there’s still an absolutely minimal amount of hum and noise produced, and any kind of jazz bass sounds will sound near perfect out of them.
All in all, if you’re looking for a no-frills, bells and whistles pickup set that you can wire in and they get the job done to a fantastic level, pickup sets don’t get much better than this!
- Incredibly affordable price
- Can be used to upgrade your neck, bridge, or both
- Comes with all installation equipment including springs and screws
- Produces little to no hum or unwanted noise
- Less punch than premium quality pickups
- Wires aren’t color-coded
Fender Custom Shop ‘60s Jazz Bass Pickups
To finish up our list, we’ve opted for another one of the leading guitar audio manufacturers that has been in the industry for decades, a brand where you simply can’t go wrong and have proven their abilities over and over again.
Fender was producing pickups for jazz bass guitars all the way back in the ‘60s at the peak of the era, and these Custom Shop pickups are designed to professionally and expertly recreate these sounds, allowing you to take yourself and your audience back to the golden age.
Taking a look at the pickups, you’ll find the coils themselves have been overwound to produce more bass, more punch, a higher output and a beautifully clear mid-range. This is all thanks to the industry-leading alnico magnets and Formvar magnet wire, all using a technique that was extremely popular back in the day.
We also love that these pickups are sold in pairs, which means you can upgrade your bridge or neck, or each one individually, giving you the freedom you want to create the sound you’ve been looking for. What’s more, all mounting equipment you’ll need for installation is included, which means you won’t need to make any extra purchases!
The quality of these pickups looks great and feels very durable, the sound they produce is fantastic and exactly what you’d expect from Fender, making this the ideal choice for a musician of any skill level.
- Great option for four-string jazz bass guitar
- Comes with all mounting and installation equipment
- Comes with a pair for a full guitar upgrade
- Really punchy, high-output with a great mid-range
- An upper mid-range price tag
- Basic installation instructions
And there we have it! As you can see, when it comes to replacing or upgrading your jazz bass guitar pickups, there are plenty of options to keep you busy.
Any of the five pickup sets we’ve listed above are ideal, so simply match what you’re looking for, and you’ll be ready to bring a new life into your jazz performances.