Jazzmaster Pickups -vintage correct or Modern Player?
In 1958 Fender debuted the Jazzmaster guitar which has since been reissued numerous times.
Mainly the grunge music of the 90s made the Jazzmaster guitars and other “offset” like the Jaguar and the Mustang pretty popular.
But, in fact there are tonal differences between the respective Fender Jazzmaster models depending on their very own pickups.
Although the pickups mostly look pretty similar, there are significant technical differences.
Vintage or Modern Player – the differences
For example, the reissue Jazzmaster guitars that have been manufactured in the 90s in Japan, use the Stratocaster pickups with the Jazzmaster typical pickup cover.
The Stratocaster pickups sound a bit more trebly and produce less mids.
I would say, that they sound a bit thinner.
The recent Modern Player Jazzmaster use pickups that are built up like the P90 and thereby offer more output, more mids and more low end.
They sound more raunchy while the vintage Jazzmaster pickups sound more trebly and have more twang.
P90 und Jazzmaster pickups – the differences
A classical Jazzmaster pickup has 6 magnetic pole pieces while a P90 has a block magnet on its bottom.
The adjustable pole pieces of the P90 lead the attack of the strings to this magnet.
The sound of a vintage Jazzmaster pickup can be located between the sound of a P90 and a Stratocaster single coil pickup.
Is vintage always the best?
In my honest opinion, the Japanese Jazzmaster pickups sound a bit shrill and expressionless.
This is way, to me, the P90 of the Modern Player Jazzmaster is the ideal pickup.
For the styles of music, the Jazzmaster commonly is the first choice, the vintage Jazzmaster
Pickup does not provide enough low end and punch.
The P90 is able to solve this problem easily and shines because of its clean as well as its overdriven sounds.
During the great Jazzmaster revival of the 90s, many guitarists replaced the weak pickups by humbuckers.
J. Mascis (Dinosaur Jr.) also chose P90 oriented pickups for his signature Jazzmaster.
For some time, there are also Fender Jazzmaster models with humbuckers which found favor with numerous heavy metal guitarists.
Although especially to guitarists like us tradition is such an important aspect, this alteration of the Jazzmaster does make sense.
To those who perceive the sound of their Amaican Vintage Reissue as too thin or those who own a Japanese oriented Jazzmaster it may worth it, to try P90 oriented pickups.
Besides the expensive Fender original P90 pickups, other manufacturers also offer P90 pickups in Jazzmaster shape.