Guitars is an AUTHORIZED DEALER for all these manufacturers
listed on this page which means any pickups you purchase purchase from us
carries the full manufacturer's warranty.
FRALIN PICKUPS- We love Lindy's P-Bass pickups. They come as close to the pre-CBS Fender sound as you can find. We're talking amazing bite and growl!! We have installed them in countless basses
and what is rather amazing is how consistently good they sound. They are
wound by hand by Lindy and his staff in Richmond, VA.
- CURTIS NOVAK PICKUPS- If you're looking for the highest quality hand-wound "boutique" pickups then check out Curtis Novak. Curt has been hand winding pickups for 20 years and has studied the methods of the masters. He is quite adept at "scatterwinding" which many feel is one of the secrets to great tone.Curt offer 2 options for P replacment pickusp
- One is a traditional P style pickup which are dead-on replicas of the pre-CBS Fender sound
- The other option is a really cool and innovative Charlie Christian style P replacement pickup which is getting very popular. It has some of the design characteristics and tone of a Charlie Christian guitar pickup in that Curt emplyes a heavier than standard gauge wire (38awg). This creates a much fatter coil with a much lower resistance. These 2 features create a VERY FAT tone that over drives well, and creates very nice growl. But most importantly using the heavier gauge wire gets you all this without the extra midranges that most other over wound pickups give. NOTE: This pickup is much taller than the stock P Bass pickup, but this requires NO mods and will fit in a stock P Bass route.
Curtis Novak Charlie Christian style P replacement pickup
Curtis Novak Traditional P replacement pickup
PICKUPS- The NP4's are
amazingly toneful pickups. Carey Nordstand is an established manufacturer
of fine high end
basses and a former employee of Suhr Guitars. We carry the NP4 Model.
Nordstrand NP4 P replacement pickup
- DIMARZIO - DiMarzio
is a fine USA company located in Staten Island New York. DiMarzio has been around for a very long time and practically invented
the after market pickup space. Engineer Steve Blucher is world renowned
for innovative pickup designs. We carry 2 models:
- Model P® (DP122) - Very warm and punchy with a strong mdrange emphasis, and at under $60 quite reasonably priced to boot. Comes with four conductor wiring which allows for a series/parallel switching.
- Will Power™ Middle (DP146) - The Will Power™ middle pickup is a P-style pickup with tremendous punch and mid-range power. The overall sound is similar to the DiMarzio Model P®, but with a broader magnetic field tends to emphasize more harmonic overtones.
Tone Options & Upgrades
- Each assembly comes by default with a high quality .047 uf Mallory 150 Series capacitor at no extra charge. We find these to be an excellent choice for bass providing both reliability and a smooth tone. We offer the following upgrades:
- STANDARD TONE CONTROL UPGRADES - you may select between SBE
Orange Drop capacitors (no extra charge), or for an up charge
Alessandro High End vintage repro wax and paper capacitors, Vitamin Q Paper & Oil capacitors,
or the ultra high quality V-Cap TFTF Teflon® Film and Foil capacitors.
The price will vary depending upon which capacitor you select. Read
about capacitor choices here.
- PASSIVE MID-SCOOP/TONE SWITCH UPGRADE - This versatile control allows you to toggle between a variable treble cut and mid-cut
- When the push-pull
switch is down this functions as a standard tone control which cuts
- When the switch
is in the up position it becomes a mid-sucker that scoops mids as you
turn the knob down which works great for slapping.
SOUND CLIP: Here is a sound clip of this passive midrange control used in a Jazz Bass recorded by pro bassist Tony Senatore. Tony played a Mexican Jazz bass equipped with Nordstrand NJ4 pickups along with one of our JX5 prewired harness with the mid-scoop/tone switch. The sound clip plays the same 2 bar slap phrase 3 times :
- The first time the slap phrase is played in full treble mode
- The second time the same phrase is played in full bass mode. In other words, the push-pull switch is in the "down" position and the tone knob is rolled almost all the way down (to about 1).
- The third time the phrase is played in mid-cut mode and you will notice how the slaps and pops really jump out. To arrive at this setting, the push-pull switch is in the "up" positino and the tone knob is rolled almost all the way down (to about 1).
Mallory 150 Series capacitor
Capacitor Upgrades for Standard Tone Control
Passive Mid-Scoop/Tone Switch Upgrade
- Choose between 250K and 500K. We recommend you choose 250K pots. For most pickups 250K pots will work best, however you may want to try 500K pots for a brighter tone, usually appropriate for hotter or overwound pickups which can use the extra highs. We use only the high quality pots. All pots are tested and treated with Caig DeOxit for long trouble free use. Please note: If selecting the Mid-Scoop/Tone switch (above), the tone pot will always be 500K, as this is required for the MTB circuit.
Installation with the Solderless Option
Instsallation without the Solderless Option
- The assembly comes prewired, except for the pickups so you will need to make just a couple of solder connections. Each pickup wire will need to be soldered to an assigned color coded lug and we will provide detailed instructions, as well as heat shrink tubing to insulate the connection. You will not need to do any routing to install this assembly. We will include a "hanging" string ground wire for you to lay under your bridge.
Long Will It Take? - please read before ordering
Each assembly is hand wired and tested one at a time to your specs so turn around time is approximately 2-3 weeks.
A Few Words About Active vs. Passive Electronics
The prewired bass assemblies described on this page are entirely PASSIVE, meaning no battery is required. To view our active offerings, click here.
The Case for Passive Electronics:
We certainly value active circuitry, find all too often that bassists have a tendency to hide behind it to compensate for lack of confidence, but the end result is that natural tone has been compromised. The most organic tone you can get out a bass is to use passive electronics. Have confidence in your sound and musicianship and let your natural tone shine through!! Think about this list of amazing bassists whose tone was produced by good old fasioned passive electronics:
- Chris Squire-- "Yes"-- Rick 4001
- Jaco Pastorius - stock 62 Jazz bass with concentric pots
- James Jamerson -- Early 60's P bass.
- Jack Bruce - "Cream" - 1968 Gibson EB-3
- John Paul Jones - "Led Zeppelin" - 60's Jazz bass
- Allen Woody- "Gov't Mule" - 1968 Gibson EB-2
- Felix Pappalardi - "Mountain" - Gibson EB-1
- John Entwistle - "The Who" - Gibson Thunderbird
- Geddy Lee - "Rush" - Rickenbacker 4001 and Fender Jazz bass.
- Paul McCartney - Hofner beatle bass
A common myth regarding passive circuitry is that you somehow get short changed because you may perceive a larger variety of tonal options out of active preamps. This is false. We have listed 10 great tonal variations you can get passively without any batteries. If you haven't played around with these you are missing something good.
Series - combine 2 pickups in series for a NATURAL mid-boost and volume boost
Parallel - combine 2 pickups in parallel for a traditional sound with less mids
Out of phase - wire 2 pickups out of phase for an unusual and thin sound
Coil Cut (for humbuckers) - short one coil of a humbucker commonly referred to as a "coil tap"
Passive Mid-Cut - using a "notch filter" midrange frequencies can be cut using entirely passive electronics
Passive Treble-Cut - Vintage tone provided by standard tone controls
Varitone - 5 or 6 position rotary switches can be used for either pickup selection or for a wide range of tonal filters
Experiment with Potentiometer Values - Do you need a brighter tone, try 500K or even 1 Meg pots.
Treble Retention Circuit (aka Volume Kit) - Common guitar mod to prevent the loss of highs experienced when you lower your volume
Stereo - Wire your bass is stereo sending each pickup to a different amp for a wonderfully complex tone
Some Customer Feedback
Read Product Reviews from ActiveBass.com
When I found your site I was looking for a volume/pan/tone assembly like your JBB unit. However after browsing through your very informative web site and studying the various options, the JX5 looked like it would not only do what I wanted, but might also offer some additional tonal versatility. The sound clips on your site convinced me to give the JX5 a try, so I ordered one five days ago.
The JX5 assembly arrived today -- I was very impressed with the fast turnaround! The unit was very well packaged and the instructions were exceptionally clear and easy to follow and it only took me 15 minutes to install (including the time it took to find the proper screwdriver and my elusive soldering gun).
I installed this on a 1999 MIM five-string and I am amazed at the different tones it offers -- and I haven't even fiddled with the tone knob yet! The #1, #2 and #5 positions satisfy my original desire of
having a quicker, easier way of combining pickup signals than fiddling with two volume knobs. However, in the #3 position it thumps like a P bass (just like your web site says) and at #4 I get a bright, funky sound that I swear sounds like a vintage Rickenbacker. For the very reasonable price of your JX5 unit I feel like I am getting three basses in one!
You have a very well-designed, easy to use and informative web site, fast order fulfillment, concise, well-illustrated installation instructions, and an outstanding, high quality product.
Thank you -- I couldn't be happier!
Mark Tully, Bassist
I had heard about your prewired harnesses on various bulletin boards and decided to try one for a Jazz Bass Project I was building called The Dream Jazz Bass ... not only was I pleasantly surprised at the outcome, quality of merchandise and overall customer service, but so was the luthier who assembled my bass - he actually told me that he was considering not giving me the bass, and instead, would make me an offer to buy it! All this was possible because of the attention to detail that Rothstein Guitars put into their product and pickup matching recommendation(s) ... I recommend them highly and with my network of musicians in the Southeastern US, that is a whole mess of guitar and bass players ... great job and keep up the fantastic work!"
Brian Delgross, Bassist
I Love it already!
Francis Hernandez, from the band "He's Dead Jim"