Need some direction on a JB5

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Need some direction on a JB5

Postby bassundergrace1 » Tue Mar 20, 2018 4:11 pm

I have 1998 ash/rosewood L-2500 I have been playing since 2000. It just fits my hands, would like to find a lighter, possibly quieter (hum) version. I have found a couple empress JB5's online but am curious
1) if the neck is going to be close to what I am used to?
2) is the lighter weight wood going to be lacking in low end?
3) is it quiet? Last year I ordered the complete prewired harness with pots and board and had it profesionally installed on my L-2500 and it still buzzes if I take it out of passive or flip the series / parallel switch

Thanks for any help/guidance!
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Re: Need some direction on a JB5

Postby Ken Baker » Tue Mar 20, 2018 5:08 pm

bassundergrace1 wrote:1) if the neck is going to be close to what I am used to?


Close, but even better. Thinner front to back, nicely rolled edges. You'll like it.

2) is the lighter weight wood going to be lacking in low end?


Nope.

3) is it quiet? Last year I ordered the complete prewired harness with pots and board and had it profesionally installed on my L-2500 and it still buzzes if I take it out of passive or flip the series / parallel switch


Like any bass with Jazz-style pickups (properly wired, of course) it will be hum canceling when both pickups are at equal levels.

As to the L-2500: If wired properly and in good electrical condition, it should be virtually silent. Please differentiate between buzz and hum.

If you're hearing hum (roughly a B on the A string or 60Hz here in the US), you should look for an open ground. At your bass' age, it could be the bridge ground or a failing jack. Both are common, the bridge ground on most basses and the jack on L Series basses.

If you're hearing buzz, then you'll want to check the jack and the pickups. If an L Series pickup has a failing or failed coil it will no longer be humbucking and will pick up single coil noise from the environment. To check the pickups, do a tap test. Passive, parallel mode, master volume reduced at the amp. Tap a pole piece on each coil with a small steel screwdriver. You should hear a clear and sharp sound from each coil and the sound from each coil should be pretty much equal in loudness. A softer and kind of distant sound would be the tap being picked up by the adjacent coil and is an indication that the coil being tapped is open or damaged. Flip to series mode and you'll likely kill the whole pickup.

A little more on buzz. If the pickups test good and the jack is in good condition, then you get to check your environment. Sometimes a REALLY noisy environment can put out so much noise that it overpowers the pickups. I ran into this here with my L-2500, where I had to re-wire and carefully ground a heavy brass table lamp. Problem solved. Also be sure to check earth ground feeding your amp as well as chassis ground between the amp and bass.

That oughta get you started.

Ken...
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Re: Need some direction on a JB5

Postby bassundergrace1 » Wed Mar 21, 2018 5:01 pm

Thanks for all the info Ken!!!!

Still on the fence as to which bass, but I am taking your advice and ordering two new pickups for my current bass (mine are shamefully corroded) from G&L. I had already ordered a new jack from them a while back but never got around to replacing it. While I am making everything else shiny, is there any reason I should not order a new bridge and have it replaced as well?
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Re: Need some direction on a JB5

Postby Kevin Baker » Wed Mar 21, 2018 5:39 pm

bassundergrace1 wrote:Thanks for all the info Ken!!!!

Still on the fence as to which bass, but I am taking your advice and ordering two new pickups for my current bass (mine are shamefully corroded) from G&L. I had already ordered a new jack from them a while back but never got around to replacing it. While I am making everything else shiny, is there any reason I should not order a new bridge and have it replaced as well?

There is very little that can go wrong with most bridges. In the case of G&L, as long as all of the screws turn correctly and the saddle lock is properly pushing all of the saddles together, it's doing its job perfectly. If you're worried about a bridge ground failure, as per Ken's post, simply lifting the bridge and ensuring that the ground wire is making good contact is all that is necessary. Other than that, any need for replacement would be purely cosmetic, and you might be better off seeing if it can be cleaned up and/or polished back to its original shine, rather than purchasing a new bridge.
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Re: Need some direction on a JB5

Postby Ken Baker » Wed Mar 21, 2018 5:43 pm

bassundergrace1 wrote:...but I am taking your advice and ordering two new pickups for my current bass (mine are shamefully corroded) from G&L.


I'd certainly check the pickups for faults before ordering new, but that's up to you. If (1) the pickups are electrically sound, (2) the corrosion is just surface rust on the poles, and (3) the pole adjusters work, you might look into one of these to clean them. You'd need to be careful to not allow dust into the coils, but it's a lot better than a metallic brush.

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