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Want to Change Some Things About My AmPro Jazzmaster--Kind of a Newb, so Help! :)

Messages
80
Hey all, I have been thinking about changing the pickups on my American Professional Jazzmaster. The V-Mods are decent but as I learn more about tone in general (been playing guitar for 2 years, electric for 1) I am noticing the validity of some comments directed towards the V-Mods of not being as warm or rich as traditional Jazzmaster pickups, and almost strat-like at times. I would like to get some pickups that have a darker, mellower, more traditional/vintage tone. So far I am looking at Novaks and Lollars. So my first question is--does anyone have any thoughts on pickups for the JM?

My second question is if anything else would need to be changed to compensate for say, the Novak JM-V and JM-FAT pickups, or whichever new pickups. It sounds like maybe I should get the pots changed from 500k to 250k, something about them being warmer? I don't really know what I am talking about technically here and it's something I'm still researching--but I was hoping you all could help me out.

My third question is about the treble bleed circuit. From my understanding, this is supposed to help prevent loss of treble when turning down volume via the volume knob. I have found the sound too thin for my tastes when I touch the volume knob pretty much at all. This is fine, since I generally don't feel the need to play with that knob at all (I use tone a lot more), besides volume swells. But I have seen some arguments that say these circuits can affect overall tone. My question is, can I just have it removed? Would its removal have other implications for the wiring, or could I just ask my local repair shop to "take that out"? Would there be any cons to this?

Is there anything else I am missing?

Thanks all for the advice!
 

jrbanjo

Member
Messages
505
You’ve got a high end Fender guitar - and unless you know what mods to make and WHY to make them I think you’re just chasing something that ain’t there.

Don’t mean to be rude at all but the above sounds like a modding rat-hole. Have you exhausted different settings on your amp and pedals? Are you evaluating your tones with the amp facing you and speaker pointed at your ear so you’re hearing the real sound of what’s going on? And are you appreciating the tone you HAVE?

I guess this IS the gear page...and I guess I AM and old fart.
 
Messages
80
You’ve got a high end Fender guitar - and unless you know what mods to make and WHY to make them I think you’re just chasing something that ain’t there.

Don’t mean to be rude at all but the above sounds like a modding rat-hole. Have you exhausted different settings on your amp and pedals? Are you evaluating your tones with the amp facing you and speaker pointed at your ear so you’re hearing the real sound of what’s going on? And are you appreciating the tone you HAVE?

I guess this IS the gear page...and I guess I AM and old fart.
haha, you definitely could be right. BUT, I think I am citing a reason WHY to make the mod right? Listening to a bunch of recordings of different Jazzmaster pickups and then mine I think there is definitely a sound difference. But hey I’m new at this so I could be wrong. And I agree appreciating what you have is important :)
 
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jrbanjo

Member
Messages
505
That’s valid for sure. i guess the red flag for me is talking about “anything else would need to be changed to compensate for...”. That could turn into a slippery slope.

BUT I am also just thinking from my own vantage point of expense and time to have that done and that may not be an issue for you. And if it’s your goal to learn that kind of stuff and become versed in it then by all means.

It’s kind of like when people talk about clipping the bright caps on their deluxe reverb’s and then you find out their treble is set at seven on their telecaster. Lol.
 
Messages
607
Haha... what a guitar to have as your first. I had a MIJ Jazzmaster as my first electric and they’re pretty much the guitar we all can’t help but tinker with.

Have you watched any of the videos of Mike Adams/Puisheen on YouTube, or followed him on Instagram? (You did mention Novak JM-V and JM-FAT pickups, of which he did a review on YouTube.) He’s got a huge amount of advice on managing Jazzmasters and their quirks, an incredible resource. Also the blog he wrote for Mike & Mike’s Guitar Bar is invaluable.

Regarding the particular points you’re looking for - AmPro Jazzmasters really aren’t JM pickups, more like Strat in design. Both Novak and Lollar are highly regarded, but by no means the only ones. Even Fender’s own AV65 pickups are pretty good. I’m about to upgrade my own AV65 pickups to Monty’s Retro Wind set, to get a bit more modern beef. Not long ago I changed my pots down from 1Meg to 250k, and that made a BIG difference.

What are the tonal reference points you have? Mine is Nels Cline’s epic solo in Impossible Germany, though that’s admittedly probably more to do with Nels than the guitar itself...
 

romo

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
854
I would say that the regular lead circuit in a Jazzmaster is supposed to be very bright. Don't be afraid to really use the tone knob a lot. The rhythm circuit is much darker sounding, but I don't think the Am Pro has that type of wiring.

The treble bleed should just be a capacitor and resistor attached to the volume pot that could be clipped off. I think you are on the right track if you want to get rid of that and put real JM pickups in. I don't like how a treble bleed changes the sound and feel of the volume control. For the pots, the traditional JM wiring uses 1 meg. They take a little getting used to if you are coming from other Fender guitars with 250k pots, but I learned to love them. Again, the tone control will help you tame the high end when you need to. So if the stock pots are 500k, I would switch them to 1 meg, or if you aren't sure, at least give the 500k's a shot with new pickups before replacing them. If they are too bright, change to 250k.
 
Messages
80
Haha... what a guitar to have as your first. I had a MIJ Jazzmaster as my first electric and they’re pretty much the guitar we all can’t help but tinker with.

Have you watched any of the videos of Mike Adams/Puisheen on YouTube, or followed him on Instagram? (You did mention Novak JM-V and JM-FAT pickups, of which he did a review on YouTube.) He’s got a huge amount of advice on managing Jazzmasters and their quirks, an incredible resource. Also the blog he wrote for Mike & Mike’s Guitar Bar is invaluable.

Regarding the particular points you’re looking for - AmPro Jazzmasters really aren’t JM pickups, more like Strat in design. Both Novak and Lollar are highly regarded, but by no means the only ones. Even Fender’s own AV65 pickups are pretty good. I’m about to upgrade my own AV65 pickups to Monty’s Retro Wind set, to get a bit more modern beef. Not long ago I changed my pots down from 1Meg to 250k, and that made a BIG difference.

What are the tonal reference points you have? Mine is Nels Cline’s epic solo in Impossible Germany, though that’s admittedly probably more to do with Nels than the guitar itself...
Thanks so much for the info! I don’t have a specific tonal reference really, maybe Thom Yorke from Radiohead. I’ve been doing some basic jazz stuff as well and just thought the pickups are good but if I had the chance I would probably prefer the more vintage sound JM pickups
 

JELIFISH19

Member
Messages
586
If you go more traditional, you'll get much more brightness and jangle. The V-Mods have more midrange and bass. Traditional Jazzmaster pickups also aren't as hot as the V-Mods. If I had to say what the V-Mods remind me of, it would be underwound P-90s. They have that grind and the feel of P-90s. I wouldn't say they're like Strat pickups at all. They're way fatter and hotter than a Strat. I found them to be even fatter than a Tele with more midrange.

I honestly prefer the V-Mods to traditional Jazzmaster pickups. But that's just me. They really shine with a cooking amp or with gain. You say you want the guitar to be darker and more mellow but I think traditional Jazzmaster pickups would be going in the opposite direction. You should really try traditional Jazzmasters to see if that's where you want to go. Right now, it sounds like you you're going off of what you heard about the pickups.
 
Messages
2,317
I have an American Pro Jazzmaster. The V-Mod pickups do NOT sound like Jazzmaster pickups to my ears. I will be changing them. Aside from that, the guitar has everything I'm ever going to want in a Jazzmaster.
 
Messages
80
If you go more traditional, you'll get much more brightness and jangle. The V-Mods have more midrange and bass. Traditional Jazzmaster pickups also aren't as hot as the V-Mods. If I had to say what the V-Mods remind me of, it would be underwound P-90s. They have that grind and the feel of P-90s. I wouldn't say they're like Strat pickups at all. They're way fatter and hotter than a Strat. I found them to be even fatter than a Tele with more midrange.

I honestly prefer the V-Mods to traditional Jazzmaster pickups. But that's just me. They really shine with a cooking amp or with gain. You say you want the guitar to be darker and more mellow but I think traditional Jazzmaster pickups would be going in the opposite direction. You should really try traditional Jazzmasters to see if that's where you want to go. Right now, it sounds like you you're going off of what you heard about the pickups.
Thanks for the response. Maybe the exact wording I used was misleading, but I would not say that I am just going off of what I have heard about them. I read a few of the V-Mod critic reviews upon buying the guitar, and for the past 9 months of owning it never thought twice about the pickups. I only recently have changed my mind and still think they are good pickups, but not my favorite personally. I have simply listened to recordings of a few other Jazzmaster pickups and they seem to have something else...different warmth or fatness whatever you want to call it.
 

Fredescu

Member
Messages
96
Here's a pretty good A/B of VMods with Vintage 65s:
The Vintage 65s are a relatively inexpensive replacement, which is a good thing if this is something you're doing for the first time.
 
Messages
80
Here's a pretty good A/B of VMods with Vintage 65s:
The Vintage 65s are a relatively inexpensive replacement, which is a good thing if this is something you're doing for the first time.
Thanks for sharing, I watched this video before, and I definitely liked the Vintage 65's better. Now I guess it's just a question of those vs. one of the boutique companies like Lollar or Novak.
 

Fredescu

Member
Messages
96
Thanks for sharing, I watched this video before, and I definitely liked the Vintage 65's better. Now I guess it's just a question of those vs. one of the boutique companies like Lollar or Novak.
I don't have a good answer for that or for the other technical questions, but I think you're making the right move. Good luck.
 

Sweetfinger

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
12,292
I have simply listened to recordings of a few other Jazzmaster pickups and they seem to have something else...different warmth or fatness whatever you want to call it.
The V-Mods are hotter than a traditional Jazzmaster pickup. The pickups you are looking at will be brighter. You might be hearing different control settings.
 
Messages
607
Thanks so much for the info! I don’t have a specific tonal reference really, maybe Thom Yorke from Radiohead. I’ve been doing some basic jazz stuff as well and just thought the pickups are good but if I had the chance I would probably prefer the more vintage sound JM pickups
Oh that’s awesome, I first wanted a Jazzmaster after seeing a live video of Street Spirit and that became my first reference point.

Another thing to consider is that there are broadly two eras of Jazzmaster pickups. The late 50s they were darker and more midrangey, by the mid 60s they were brighter and more scooped. I think SD’s two Antiquities pickup sets reflect each flavour, both Lollar and Novak are going for the earlier, darker flavour, and Fender’s Pure Vintage set are the later design.
 




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