It is my favorite neck humbucker from Seymour Duncan. I like the Pearly Gates too, but the Jazz is still my favorite. I don't think that its weak or sterile in the least.
Gibson LP Melody Maker -- stock, Epiphone Dot -- Jazz neck and '59 bridge, Fender Telecaster Blackout Deluxe -- stock, 90's MIM Standard Strat with Duncan Texas Hot Custom in the bridge.
I dig the Jazz neck. Got that and a JB in my Dean Black Gold ML. Not digging the JB much, though. Might have to buy some magnets and try that out (hopefully without destroying my pickup in the process).
I LOVE the JazzN either stock or with my personal favorite neck magnet: Alnico 4.
It pairs excellently with a Custom 8 or a JazzB 8 having 500K pots.
Having said this, the neck p'up in my #1 guitar is actually an A4 '59B, paired with a Custom 8.
Pepe aka Lt. Kojak
I like it in the neck of a dark sounding guitar. Like others have said, though, it's not love.
It combines well with the JB when both are split.
It is absolutely misnamed. It sounds like a weaker EMG neck pickup. Thin, bright and no personality.
Just because other Duncan pickups are misnamed doesn't make it less confusing to the average buyer. Because it is named 'Jazz', most rock players won't buy it. Jazz players who have bought it (who aren't generally gearheads, so they essentially go by what SalesDude in GC says who has no training and is misinformed himself after he reads the copy on the label) hate it, and then say Duncan pickups suck- I have seen it more than once.
'Clean and clear' and 'articulate' isn't a traditional Jazz sound- but it is what Seymour calls it, and he is the head of the company, so it probably can't be changed unless someone convinces him he is losing sales.
Duncan doesn't make a pickup to get Wes-sounding Jazz tones, at least not in their normal lines.
Change the Jazz name, and come out with a 'Wes' or 'Pass' pickup, and retire the Jazz name.
I have to agree that the Jazz isn´t necessarily a bad pickup, even if not quite my cup of tea, but the name is a huge mistake.
In my years in retail I sold 2 jazz humbuckers. One was to a high profile local jazz player, and the other was for a Jackson that some Mustaine fan wanted Duncans in. Had it not been for mustaine, the number would have been zero, because tMustaine using it then was the only thing that convinced him. Without Mustaine he´d probably have opted for a Fullshred neck.
Unfortunately, the Jazz cat was far from pleased, "Wie ein Eispickel durch die Stirn" (eng. "Like an Icepick through the forehead"), and that made it almost impossible to get any non-rockers turned on to Duncans for a good 3-4 years, during this time all the Jazz and blues guys were buying up Bartolinis, Fenders, Häussels and Benedettos like hotcakes as a result because I also carried those and they´re tried and true. Interestingly enough Dimarghzio was never a real player in this area, or at least not one that I´d taken notice of...
As shallow as this may sound, just imagine if, say, Joe Pass were still alive, and wanted to switch out a pu for a Duncan, and chose the "Jazz" becasue he lileky wouldn´t be wanting to play death metal.... I can imagine that might still go sour pretty quick, because while cool enough output wise, it´s tonal response is more or less the exact opposite of what most people think of when they hear "jazz".
Zerberus Industries: Where perfection isn't good enough.
Should be called the "Pleaser".
Good in any guitar.
So what is a classic Jazz guitar tone?
If the benchmark is Charlie Christian, Kenny Burrell or Wes Montgomery: very warm, round and mellow I would say.
When I used to work in a music store back in the 60's the jazz guys would come in and pick up an L5 or the like and seem to turn all the treble off - or so it would sound to me. Even though I was 17, I knew you couldn't possibly play a gig like that and be heard. Pianos don't sound like that - neither should jazz guitars. They'd just disappear onstage - you need some highs.
I think those would be jazzers were as mixed up about tone as many young rockers are today when they just crank up the gain to "saturated buzz drone" and grind away. EVH doesn't/didn't do that - no one really good does either.
Anyways, the Jazz is misnamed. It's an excellent pickup that can rock with the best of them - just listen to any of Jolly's clips.
And I think if you set your tone "right" it can do jazz just fine too.
But to me, it sounds sort of like a 60's Gibson T-Top. I know they're not supposed to be as good as a paf, but I've always liked the lively cleanish tone of a T-Top neck pickup in a guitar like an ES 335.
We've got the 59. Maybe the Jazz should be called the 67 - or the 69.
Yeah - that's it! The sound of the 60's. Flower Power!
At band practice today I was giving it a bit of a workout. rolled back the volume a bit on my overdrive patch on my midi preamp...sounded clean, and clear, just the right amount of warmth, but still bright enough to sound sweet and not muddy. full volume on the overdrive patch sounded full and liquidy, chord work was again clear.
On high gain, it sounded a bit like a John Petrucci neck pickup kinda tone. once again, very clear, good articulation.
Mind you this is with the screws having an almost strat like stagger. I wish I could put a stagger on the actual slugs too. and add some character to the overall sound. Regardless, putting a stagger on the screws DEFINITELY helped to bring out some character in the pickup. the low strings have a nice spongy high-mids feel to them, and the high strings have a nice smooth treble response that sounds very slightly like a Strat neck single coil.
As mentioned before though, it just doesn't sound exciting. It's like the difference between a nice sharp cleaver and a katana. They're both knives, they're both sharp as hell, and if you wanted to chop something like a carrot in half, they would both do it without a problem. The difference is that the Cleaver will do the job and stop at that. The katana would not only cut the carrot, but chop your chopping board in half and go most of the way through the countertop as well. It just goes well beyond your expectations and is a thrill to use.
the Jazz is the cleaver. the Katana might be something like a Full Shred neck?
Since I've been researching magnet swaps, I'm thinking about maybe putting a ceramic in place of the Alnico V to get a different kinda brightness in there. Orrrrrrrrr I might just cave and get a Full Shred neck haha
I like the Jazz pickup far more than the 59. But then again I don't love it enough... I use the Invader neck. Which sound tons better than the 59 or the Jazz in my SG. It's the same in output as the others too! Not sure that anyone else even considers the Invader neck as an option, but it's better than you'd think. I actually got mine thinking it was a bridge, then I saw on the back that it was a neck model... so I said "well, what'll it hurt" and I stuck it in the neck, and wouldn't change it for anyhting.
In my Les Paul I use a Silverbird model duncan bridge pickup in the neck ... its about 15K I like it alot.
Remember, I run my Presence and treble all the way up on my amps, so nothign could be muddy for me... lol
1975 Fender Stratocaster W/ Floyd Rose + mods
2001 Gibson Les Paul Studio w/Floyd Rose, Scalloped neck, EMG 81/85 Combo
Marshall FJA Signature modded JMP 1979 50 watt
Marshall 1960AX cabinet(w/ 2 V30's & 2 G12M Greenbacks)
+ a bunch of pedals
Wow, that's a lot of people that dislike the jazz pickup. I had it in a Les Paul that I sold about a year ago. I loved it! What a difference it made, it was not weak. The biggest difference was that I could now use the neck pickup and get something that was not a blurry mess of bass. I have stock pickups in my current Les Paul and I like the bridge burstbucker, but I may switch the neck to a Jazz at some point.
Believe me when I say that some of the most amazing music in history was made on equipment that's not as good as what you own right now.
First of all How you guys doing? Its been along time since I posted here... though I came and read a few posts.. I have been busy with work .. and have started playing bass and am loving it.
My take on the Jazz ... It is a nice pick up hmm probably GREAT and I love it. I just think it has got the wrong name. If it was not for this forum and you guys I would not have even bothered trying it out. I do like it more than the 59 N .
Digitech Bad Monkey,digitech Digi delay,
Ibanez SA 120- Bridge JB Trembucker Neck Jazz
JFG Flying V, Egmond 1963 LP-stock pickups, Strat copy SSL1s
John 8:32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."
I love the JazzN. It works awesome in my FX260, but in my H500 I'd prefer it to be a little dirtier/more aggressive. Perhaps a 59/JazzN hybrid would be the answer, but I'll just get a 59N for the 500 and use the JazzN in the Drop C tuned 1001.