The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
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  1. #1

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    From reading most of the items, I noted that humbuckers are the preferred pickup on jazz guitars.

    Which particular brands and models of pickups do you feel are best?

    I have an Epiphone Dot Deluxe Limited Edition (but not the flame maple top). Any idea which pickup Epiphone used on this model?

    I'm not sure the Dot Deluxe is worth $200 in pickup upgrades.

    I thought about changing the neck with a Seymour Duncan Jazz pickup and keeping the same bridge. Not sure if that is the best route, but one way of getting a good pickup and upgraded electonics if I would do the pots.

    Would changing them out for other pickups be better for jazz? If so, what is recommended?

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    If you like the guitar, a pup change is fine. However, you are talking about putting $200 + pups in a guitar that is worth $? So keep the originals for resale if you do that. Plenty of guys have purchased inexpensive guitars and upgraded tuners and pups, and have been very satisfied.

    A recent post (can't recall who) talked about taking a Joe Pass Epi ($500 new), and upgrading all sorts of things, basically doubling the original price. His argument was that he is very pleased, and it is still approximately a third of the cost of (ES 175) the guitar it emulates.

    Duncan Jazz pups are terrible for jazz imo, and very misnamed. They are one of the brightest humbuckers they make, which isn't exactly what most jazz players are going for. If you go Duncan, their 59' is probably my fav, and have had good luck with it for jazz, rock, blues, etc.

    I think Gibson Classic 57 is the quintessential humbucker for that darker Wes, Martino sound. Hard to go wrong with the Gibbo, I have them in 3 of mine. Good luck.


    Best Jazz Guitar Pickups-gibson-classic-57-pickup-jpg

  4. #3
    I will take your advise and think about trading guitars as well as consider changing out original pickups for Classic 57 Gibson pickups.

    I thought about trading out just the neck pickup with the Classic and leaving the original at the bridge. Is this a mistake? Is it only worth it to change out both?

    The guy I talked to only wanted $30 to install a neck '57 Classic, but wanted $149 for the pickup itself. Seems the bill could be $360 for two pickups in a guitar that I paid about $400 for some 6 years ago...

    I recently changed out the selector switch and found that relatively easy, are pickups difficult to do?

  5. #4

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    I have a PRS Archtop. The pups that came with it are too hot for jazz, and break up too easily. I replaced the neck pup with the Gibson Classic 57, and left the bridge pup alone.

    This way the guitar works fine for jazz, rock, blues, whatever. Works great. $149 is higher than MF/GC, but $30 is pretty standard for install. You can do better than the $149 online.

  6. #5
    Thanks for the info. Will the Dot have the jazz tone if I put in the new pickup? I bought a Roland Cube-60 and the Dot is getting close, but does not have the warm, dark, jazz tone. Thoughts please.

  7. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Civil Guy
    I will take your advise and think about trading guitars as well as consider changing out original pickups for Classic 57 Gibson pickups. I thought about trading out just the neck pickup with the Classic and leaving the original at the bridge. Is this a mistake? Is it only worth it to change out both? The guy I talked to only wanted $30 to install a neck '57 Classic, but wanted $149 for the pickup itself. Seems the bill could be $360 for two pickups in a guitar that I paid about $400 for some 6 years ago. Am I nuts?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I recently changed out the selector switch and found that relatively easy, are pickups difficult to do?
    I installed a clasic 57 and a classic57 plus in my sheraton (basically the same guitar as a dot) and I'm very happy, I would advise to change the bridge pickup too, since I found the bigger improvement in this one, with the stock pup I couldn't dind an use for the sound I got, now is a different guitar whereas with the neck pup I just found more clarity. Those classic are great pickups.

  8. #7
    Jazzarian Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by Marcos Zarevich
    I installed a clasic 57 and a classic57 plus in my sheraton (basically the same guitar as a dot) and I'm very happy, I would advise to change the bridge pickup too, since I found the bigger improvement in this one, with the stock pup I couldn't dind an use for the sound I got, now is a different guitar whereas with the neck pup I just found more clarity. Those classic are great pickups.

    I didn't like them in my erstwhile ES335. They sound good in my ES175 and Super V CES though.

  9. #8

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    If you want to try changing the pots, caps, switch and pick ups yourself... you can always try Steward Macdonalds website... they sell the stuff needed for those things (even wiring kits)... I tried changing my Epi les paul with their Golden Age pickups (not bad for such cheap pups.. much better than stock humbuckers) and used their wiring kit and also converted the bridge pickup for coil swicthing ( from humbucker to single coil) and it was all easy (soldering needs practice though)...


    Best Jazz Guitar Pickups-stewmac-golden-age-pickups-jpg

  10. #9

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    I did my best to get an acceptable jazz sound from my strat knock off, without paying more for the pickup than I did for the guitar. I got a seymour duncan little 59 for strat, a thin humbucker with the paf 59 specifications they state. It made a lot of difference, it's a humbucker as opposed to the single coil standard, and it's a smoother sound than I'd expected, so for a strat at the low price range it sounds ok. But I'm waiting for my 335 style german axe now, hope I won't have to change pickup (I use only neck pup) at once, but anyway, the'59 gave a smooth sound to my taste, I like it.
    Peace

  11. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by AugieRhythm
    I have a les paul, I've never known too much about pickups or electronics, but I need to get a new neck pickup... what would you suggest? I need a big darker tone.
    Do you have a solid body les paul or a chambered les paul. The older models are solid body. They have a thicker darker tone.

    Any thoughts from anyone about the pearly gates humbucker?

  12. #11

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    There are different goals for these. Oem like 'oumth' and some like clarity. I would try kent armstrong - humbucker sized-p90s for clarity.

    SIngle coils have more dynamic range, while hmbuckers have more fundamental tones.Dimarzio Bluesbucker is another very interestign pickup that may work well for jazz. I was very sastisfied with SD 59 as well, but this are very strong neck pickups.

  13. #12

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    If you want the 50's to 60's classic Jazz tone, get the Original Armstrong Handmade Adjustable PAF from Archtop.com (Not Korean Kent Armstong pickups. He sold the Koreans his name.)

    Best Jazz Guitar Pickups-kent-armstrong-paf-pickup-jpg

  14. #13

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    Personally, I'd exhaust all other low-/no-cost avenues before investing in a pickup change that's worth a significant fraction of the cost of a guitar. The problem is that you don't know exactly what you're getting into until after the upgrade is done and paid. The pickups do have some influence on the sound, but they depend upon the guitar itself: wood, strings, setup, etc. Throw in personal preferences, picking style and variations in amps and it turns into a real gamble. A combination that works well for someone else might not work for you.

    Before I even thought about a pickup change I'd try:

    * strings: different brands, guages, styles (flat, round, half-round) and materials (nickel, nickel-plated, stainless)
    * picks: different thicknesses and materials
    * picking technique (even if you play without a plectrum)
    * setup (see below)
    * adjustments: forget the "rules" and adjust amp and guitar settings by ear

    One thing that a lot of players overlook is that the way your guitar is adjusted can have a huge influence on sound. String choice, action height and pickup adjustments can go a long way toward making your guitar sound the way you like. It takes a bit of trial-and-error, but if you do your research and are methodical it's not that difficult. Also, you get a lot more trials for a given amount of money than you do with a pickup swap.

    Experiment with the controls on your guitar, too. There's a wide variety of sounds that most players never explore because they assume that a particular setting is the one correct way. For example, try running both pickups at the same time and use the volume and tone controls. Try lots of combinations where neither pickup is set to full volume.

    Likewise with your amp's controls... I'm not a huge fan of the Roland Cubes. They're reasonably-priced and quite loud for the rated power, but they get that loudness through an inherent EQ that's better (IMO) for rock than for jazz. That said, experiment with the tone controls on the amp.

    Don't be afraid to set the amp's tone controls to extreme positions if a particular setting pleases your ears. Also, be methodical and give your ears *frequent* rests. Your ears very quickly adapt to a new tone. When you have a setting that seems OK, walk away for a few hours. If it still sounds good when you come back, you're done. If not, try to analyze what you don't like about the tone and correct it. Repeat until satisfied.

  15. #14

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    the whole thing about pickups, is a little complicated, is not only the pickups, the guitar construction, the amp (tubes or solid state), and the type of amp, ... Is a rock amp or blues amp?

    So i think the pickups is a very important fact, but is not the only thing for change.

    The old PAFs (gibson, dimarzio, ibanez...) humbuckers, have this mellow tone that the jazz players are looking for, so if you find some of this pickups go ahead, and pay for a better sound.

  16. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by TieDyedDevil
    One thing that a lot of players overlook is that the way your guitar is adjusted can have a huge influence on sound. String choice, action height and pickup adjustments can go a long way toward making your guitar sound the way you like. It takes a bit of trial-and-error, but if you do your research and are methodical it's not that difficult. Also, you get a lot more trials for a given amount of money than you do with a pickup swap. .... Repeat until satisfied.
    Yeah... +1 on that! I wound up with a Seth Lover in the neck and a Pearly Gates in the bridge to get the tone I wanted, plus new 500K pots and fresh caps. I was looking for that George Benson "Breezin'" tone and was able to dial it in, but it took much trail and error to acheive it. I also switch between a nickel saddle and rosewood saddle to brighten/darken the timbre.

  17. #16

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    Just wanted to hear from you guys who you think makes the best sounding jazz pickups!!

    I personally like the Gib 57 Classic! Very smooth tone! Let me know what you think!! Im sure that alot of you guys have tried many other pups.. So tell us what your favorite jazz pup is and why you like it!

    Happy Thanksgiving Guys!

  18. #17

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    I have a Bill Lawrence on my bridge and a Gibson mini humbucker on my neck. I love them, they give a consistantly warm sound and I have never had any problems with them.

    MW

  19. #18

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    Buy EMG or Seymour Duncan pickups. They have a high output and a super clean sound.
    I use Dimarzios on my old '63 Les paul. I play Jazz and rock and get that fat sound and also, the bite to play rock leads.

  20. #19

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    Hey guys,

    Thanks for the pickup advice that many of you offered. It has really helped me narrow down my decision on which one to go with. Over the weekend, i was out of town and found a Seymour Duncan jazz model pickup that i decided to go with. I just hope that it will give me the soud and tone that im looking for.

    Thanks again,
    jason30

  21. #20

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    You found your pickup already, but for the sake of information sharing I'd like to add this.

    In my very cheap Japanese ES-175 copy brand-named "Condor", I installed 2 Golden Age humbuckers that I ordered from Stewart McDonald for $50 bucks each. I am very surprised by these low-budget picks, they deliver a perfect jazz-tone! Compared to the SD '59s I installed in my Epiphone Sheraton they sound more alive and show more character and very "round" and "brown". No sharpness at all!

    The SD's deliver also a good job, being very neutral and clear sounding, which can be desirable for a jazz-tone, but maybe a bit thin sounding and uninspiring.

  22. #21

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    I want to replace the stock pickups on a Washburn J3. Does the type or brand of humbucker make a difference on a solid guitar vs hollow body such as the J3?

  23. #22
    back in the 90s i had a les paul standard someone had taken the pickups out of, replace them with some hot nasty junk dimarzios. i didnt have much money at the time,so some turn me on to the steward mcdonald golden age 50s, so i loaded the guitar with them, took it back to ulik music in wichita ks. we test it with another les paul know one could tell the differents. golden age 50s are great pickups and only 50 bucks.

  24. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by gary mitchell
    back in the 90s i had a les paul standard someone had taken the pickups out of, replace them with some hot nasty junk dimarzios. i didnt have much money at the time,so some turn me on to the steward mcdonald golden age 50s, so i loaded the guitar with them, took it back to ulik music in wichita ks. we test it with another les paul know one could tell the differents. golden age 50s are great pickups and only 50 bucks.
    I recently compared my cheapo ES175 copy loaded with Golden Age pickups to my friend's 1968 single humbucker Gibson ES175.

    Through a Peavey Transtube amplifier both guitars sounded gorgeous. Would you believe that both of us could hardly tell the difference in sound between both guitars with our eyes shut? (After some listening we concluded that the Gibson sounded a little tighter on the low strings.) Makes you wonder......

    (but we might have just very bad ears )

  25. #24

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    Anyone have experience with Seymour Duncan Charlie Christian humbuckers? I'm thinking of putting them into a custom hollowbody that i'll be building soon.


    Best Jazz Guitar Pickups-seymour-duncan-charlie-christian-pickups-jpg

  26. #25

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    I have a (floating) Bartolini 5J (Johny Smith) on my Gretsch Synchromatic. I really love this one.


    Best Jazz Guitar Pickups-bartolini-5j-pickup-jpg