Noiseless Jazzmaster Pickups: Options, Opinions Favorites

Discussion of newer designs, copies and reissue offset-waist instruments.
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Re: Noiseless Jazzmaster Pickups: Options, Opinions Favorites

Post by Funkybot » Tue Apr 02, 2024 5:02 am

andy_tchp wrote:
Mon Apr 01, 2024 6:02 pm
Why did your tech wire them out of phase initially? A somewhat confusing review.

This is not the same thing as reverse wound/reverse polarity pairs (which probably isn't a requirement with truly noiseless pickups anyway).
That was my fault, I asked him to. I assumed the third wire, which they called out of phase was meant to emulate a reverse polarity sound in the middle position. Because 95% of guitarists don't understand the terms phase and polarity and use them interchangeably so I thought that's what was happening on the KInman's. I'm pretty sure that was the tech's understanding too or he would've warned me. Was easy enough to resolve.

That's just one part of the overall review though and one that I resolved easily enough that even I could do it. I'm not sure what else would be confusing unless you're just hung up on that one error - in an uncommon pickup design that has 3 wires per pickup that I and my tech never had any experience with before. But I'd be happy to go into more depth about anything else that you found confusing if you let me know what else bothered you.

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Re: Noiseless Jazzmaster Pickups: Options, Opinions Favorites

Post by crazyzeke » Tue Apr 02, 2024 5:56 am

I literally wrote all this before I realised it was a solved problem, but hey, it might help somebody dipping their toes into the fun and challenging world of hotter output offsets for versatility so I'll post it anyway...


Funkybot wrote:
Thu Sep 07, 2023 9:49 am
I find the bridge just a little too bright and thin

I find this with every Jazzmaster and Jaguar I play stock that's loaded with vintage-correct style singles, and even some bridge humbucking modernish ones like Classic Players. The neck is usually fine though because the thinness gives it clarity and the bass is better due to the positioning. I always end up fitting really hot pickups to Jags, or preferring ones I pick up where someone else did that if it's a Jazz (I played one with SD Hots and it literally rocked, fat midrange and fair bottom but still kept a lot of the trademark note attack).


Funkybot wrote:
Thu Sep 07, 2023 9:49 am
I'd like to limit myself to "sounds like a Jazzmaster pickup". So no noiseless P90 style or WRHB's for example. Seems like the current market options are:

It's a shame your criteria is noiseless only, because otherwise I'd recommend the Seymour Duncan QP for Jazz set as you have SDs already and like them, plus they boost bass like you would not believe. I find it's easier to have a pickup with more bass and then rolloff in the signal path or amp stages if it's too much, rather than have a weedier pickup and try and pre-EQ before effects chain or get a clean boost and whack the output up really high. Doing the latter usually just increases the icepick treble too and doesn't fully fix the often slightly scooped mids vintage style Fender pickups have in general.

We're coming up to the big YMMV on the next bit...

The other benefit of the Hot/QP sets is that it compresses the dynamic range a bit so the sharp attack is reined in, less of a problem when overpicking a note and it jumps out when clean especially unless you've compressed the hell out of it. This might be an undesirable quality for some, but for me the challenge of running an offset as a main instrument used to be, how do I tame this a bit while not completely crushing the character I loved in the first place, as I found when you get one from Fender where it's dual humbucking and Gibson style bridge/tail and it just sounds like it has no identity. I owned one of those Jaguar Special HH models in black/chrome and that thing had no character whatsoever). Now it's just, pick it up, tune it, play, don't worry, and every time I pick up a more regular spec Jag I'm amazed how a) it usually struggles to stay in tune and b) the pickups leave a lot to be desired.

I suppose it really depends what you're trying to do with the instrument...
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Re: Noiseless Jazzmaster Pickups: Options, Opinions Favorites

Post by crazyzeke » Tue Apr 02, 2024 6:34 am

JSett wrote:
Thu Sep 07, 2023 12:19 pm
Surfysonic wrote:
Thu Sep 07, 2023 12:16 pm
1. Kinman Surfmaster (may be a tad brighter than you want, though)
I found this, but it was immediately solved by using 500k pots instead of 1meg.

Good general "fix" for the lead circuit if you find it broken. I did this and never looked back, simple and great mod.


daysleeperjeff wrote:
Tue Mar 05, 2024 8:46 pm
I just finished a build with Kinman Fatmasters. I love them so much I decided to build two more models to try all the Kinman Jazzmaster pickups. Just ordered a set of Surfmasters for my next one. Thickmasters will go in the third. My search is over for Jazzmaster pickups based on the Fatmasters alone.

I heard so much good press on this thread about Fatmasters that I looked them up and wow... yeah... for me if I was a Jazz player and I wanted to stay with dual singles, that would be an easy ✅ yes please for what I'd fit. Damn. That's what I'm talking about which is fatten the sound without stealing all the offset goodness.


Funkybot wrote:
Sun Mar 31, 2024 9:55 am
This is supposed to be the honeymoon phase, but being honest, I'm quite disappointed. These don't sound anything like my idea of 60's Jazzmaster pickups. Yeah, I can roll back the tone and dial the amp in for the increased brightness, but I was really thinking these things would be on par tonally with the Duncan's and they're not.

Oh man that's disappointing as hell, sorry to hear that and that the ordering was tedious. I've mostly had good luck when delving into offset modding, dealt with some great people, so that's a real shame.



Funkybot wrote:
Mon Apr 01, 2024 6:14 am
Ended up writing and recording a riff that turned into a song demo (sounded kinda like Siamese Dream era Pumpkins, though I'm not a big fan of theirs overall). So that's always a great sign with a new piece of gear.

Agreed - new gear being the gateway to different approaches and creative inspiration is kind of the point, I feel, otherwise it's just wasted money.

Funnily enough I wrote a hybrid QOTSA/Pumpkins riff driven neck pickup fuzztoned thing when I got the RAT clone recently, Neither Whippersnapper Nor Wiseman which is fun to try and say out loud and even more fun to try and sing in the choruses 😂


Funkybot wrote:
Mon Apr 01, 2024 6:14 am
So my opinion is improving. Seems I quite like them for distorted tones. The key so far is keeping the tone rolled back a bit. You may just be right in that I need more time to adjust to them. It was quite a dramatic difference and the extent of that caught me totally off guard.

At the risk of sounding like a naysayer - I'm not, I'm trying to see what you'd need to do to dial the best sound that'll make you play the hell out of the JM all the time, I will point out gain does hide a multitude of sins because it often compresses and lifts the bass up more, depending on the pedal (and let's be honest a Muff is wonderful at smashing the front end of an amp with loads of bass and gain if it's set a certain way), and it seems like that tone you're the most drawn to at the moment over the cleans.
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Re: Noiseless Jazzmaster Pickups: Options, Opinions Favorites

Post by Tone Bakery » Tue Apr 02, 2024 12:07 pm

Dollywitch wrote:
Sun Mar 03, 2024 7:27 pm
are there any worth getting in the affordable range? Like under 100. Esp. Jazzbuckers like on some of the G&L stuff.
Try the trick Seymour Duncan uses with their Stacked P-90. Take a high output humbucker and wire it in parallel. The bridge 5-wire version of the following pickup should work well (I have no affiliation with them, it's just something I've been trying lately):

Cheap Hum Cancelling Jazzmaster Pickup

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Re: Noiseless Jazzmaster Pickups: Options, Opinions Favorites

Post by andy_tchp » Tue Apr 02, 2024 4:19 pm

Funkybot wrote:
Tue Apr 02, 2024 5:02 am
andy_tchp wrote:
Mon Apr 01, 2024 6:02 pm
Why did your tech wire them out of phase initially? A somewhat confusing review.

This is not the same thing as reverse wound/reverse polarity pairs (which probably isn't a requirement with truly noiseless pickups anyway).
That was my fault, I asked him to. I assumed the third wire, which they called out of phase was meant to emulate a reverse polarity sound in the middle position. Because 95% of guitarists don't understand the terms phase and polarity and use them interchangeably so I thought that's what was happening on the KInman's. I'm pretty sure that was the tech's understanding too or he would've warned me. Was easy enough to resolve.

That's just one part of the overall review though and one that I resolved easily enough that even I could do it. I'm not sure what else would be confusing unless you're just hung up on that one error - in an uncommon pickup design that has 3 wires per pickup that I and my tech never had any experience with before. But I'd be happy to go into more depth about anything else that you found confusing if you let me know what else bothered you.
No, I wouldn't say bothered.

It was more the 'I deliberately had my pair of pickups wired incorrectly and they sounded awful!' and the multiple, continuous, ongoing misuse of 'polarity' throughout (that has persisted through numerous edits) that was confusing.

Thanks for clearing things up.

I didn't even know these were a 3 wire pickup (why would I?) as this doesn't appear to be mentioned on Chris's (terrible :D ) website so thanks for the new information. I'm still intrigued by these things but not sure it's enough to outlay the $$$.
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Re: Noiseless Jazzmaster Pickups: Options, Opinions Favorites

Post by idrankthebeach » Thu Apr 04, 2024 11:56 am

I think my question about getting the fatmasters or surf masters have been answered. Think I’ll go with the fatmasters.

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Re: Noiseless Jazzmaster Pickups: Options, Opinions Favorites

Post by crazyzeke » Thu Apr 04, 2024 5:16 pm

idrankthebeach wrote:
Thu Apr 04, 2024 11:56 am
I think my question about getting the fatmasters or surf masters have been answered. Think I’ll go with the fatmasters.
I would. I checked both out comparing sound samples on YouTube and for me personally, the Fatmasters absolutely make the JM a more versatile guitar. It can still do mellow if you back off the volume and play a little more gently but it'll just handle high gain so much better - important for anything with loads of drive or fuzz.
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Re: Noiseless Jazzmaster Pickups: Options, Opinions Favorites

Post by idrankthebeach » Fri Apr 05, 2024 6:40 am

crazyzeke wrote:
Thu Apr 04, 2024 5:16 pm
idrankthebeach wrote:
Thu Apr 04, 2024 11:56 am
I think my question about getting the fatmasters or surf masters have been answered. Think I’ll go with the fatmasters.
I would. I checked both out comparing sound samples on YouTube and for me personally, the Fatmasters absolutely make the JM a more versatile guitar. It can still do mellow if you back off the volume and play a little more gently but it'll just handle high gain so much better - important for anything with loads of drive or fuzz.
I do wish there were more videos of their pickups.

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Re: Noiseless Jazzmaster Pickups: Options, Opinions Favorites

Post by idrankthebeach » Fri Apr 05, 2024 6:40 am

crazyzeke wrote:
Thu Apr 04, 2024 5:16 pm
idrankthebeach wrote:
Thu Apr 04, 2024 11:56 am
I think my question about getting the fatmasters or surf masters have been answered. Think I’ll go with the fatmasters.
I would. I checked both out comparing sound samples on YouTube and for me personally, the Fatmasters absolutely make the JM a more versatile guitar. It can still do mellow if you back off the volume and play a little more gently but it'll just handle high gain so much better - important for anything with loads of drive or fuzz.
I do wish there were more videos of their pickups.

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Re: Noiseless Jazzmaster Pickups: Options, Opinions Favorites

Post by crazyzeke » Sat Apr 06, 2024 9:46 am

idrankthebeach wrote:
Fri Apr 05, 2024 6:40 am
I do wish there were more videos of their pickups.
Of the limited selection I feel this was the best one.


Pickups are such a niche and diverse thing, especially for offsets, I guess it's just not possible to have demos of all of them in a variety of guitars. That's part of the reason why when I stuck an Invader pickup in my Squier Mustang Bullet HH I figured I'd do a demo as probably no one else had done that swap. I'm biased with the example above because he plays similar stuff to what I do but you can tell the pickups are powerful and versatile without totally squashing the offset signature tone.
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Re: Noiseless Jazzmaster Pickups: Options, Opinions Favorites

Post by idrankthebeach » Tue Apr 16, 2024 5:23 pm

Not to beat a dead horse…but here we go.

Has anyone here had the chance to do a comparison of the Fatmaster and the Thickmaster?
Now that I’ve ruled out the Surfmasters, my concern is that the Thickmaster might sound too muddy, and the Fatmaster might not have enough beef, specifically when using gain.

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Re: Noiseless Jazzmaster Pickups: Options, Opinions Favorites

Post by Larry Mal » Wed Apr 17, 2024 4:46 am

idrankthebeach wrote:
Tue Apr 16, 2024 5:23 pm
Not to beat a dead horse…but here we go.

Has anyone here had the chance to do a comparison of the Fatmaster and the Thickmaster?
Now that I’ve ruled out the Surfmasters, my concern is that the Thickmaster might sound too muddy, and the Fatmaster might not have enough beef, specifically when using gain.
Well, no, sorry. I can say as an owner of Jazzmasters with both the Surfmasters and Thickmasters in there, and after discussions with a friend who did put the Fatmasters in his guitar, I would probably buy the Fatmasters if I only had one Jazzmaster and was starting all over.

That being said, my fear with the Thickmasters was that they would sound muddy. They were the first Kinmans I ever got and I only bought them because I found the bridge pickup used for a very good price. I had assumed that Kinman pickups would be uninspiring like all the other hum-free "single coil" pickups I'd been trying.

I was immediately impressed with the dynamic range of the pickups, which I've come to find is a Kinman characteristic. As you've read above about the Surfmasters it can actually be a thing to have to tame.

So I don't find them to be muddy. They are darker voiced but they don't compress and lose the note separation like a lot of pickups do.

Oh, and here's what I can do for you, I actually recorded with the guitar the other day, and while I'm not going to use the part, I'll do a bounce with that guitar on it and put it up on Soundcloud for you.
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Re: Noiseless Jazzmaster Pickups: Options, Opinions Favorites

Post by idrankthebeach » Wed Apr 17, 2024 11:13 am

That would be awesome!

I’m a sucker for warm cleans, so I’m interested in hearing more from the thickmaster.

Seems like the Fatmaster sounds kinda thin with overdrive/dirt, at least from the clips I’ve heard.

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Re: Noiseless Jazzmaster Pickups: Options, Opinions Favorites

Post by idrankthebeach » Wed Apr 17, 2024 11:13 am

That would be awesome!

I’m a sucker for warm cleans, so I’m interested in hearing more from the thickmaster.

Seems like the Fatmaster sounds kinda thin with overdrive/dirt, at least from the clips I’ve heard.

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Re: Noiseless Jazzmaster Pickups: Options, Opinions Favorites

Post by Larry Mal » Wed Apr 17, 2024 1:37 pm

idrankthebeach wrote:
Wed Apr 17, 2024 11:13 am
That would be awesome!

I’m a sucker for warm cleans, so I’m interested in hearing more from the thickmaster.

Seems like the Fatmaster sounds kinda thin with overdrive/dirt, at least from the clips I’ve heard.
I just played it a little bit, it's both pickups, tone all the way up, some kind of Deluxe Reverb sim in Amplitube, I was trying for "warm clean" anyway:

Thickmaster

It's just me playing the guitar for a couple of minutes.
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