Iconic active pickup manufacturer EMG has ventured into offset waters with the announcement of its new Retro Active JMaster electric guitar pickups for Fender Jazzmasters.
Featuring Alnico V magnets and wide-stacked coils, the active single-coil designs are driven by a vintage-inspired preamp that promises to combine classic feel and playing response with the benefits of an active preamp – namely low noise, more even string response and consistent output.
As well as standalone pickups, the JMaster single coils are also available as a prewired pickguard, which adds additional functionality that goes far beyond the traditional Jazzmaster remit.
That’s no rhythm circuit up there on the upper horn – instead, EMG has packed the pickguards with a range of boosts to shape the sound, which function no matter what pickup selection is active.
First up is the SPC Presence Control, which fattens up tone with a broad midrange boost, adjusted via the roller control nearest the neck. This can be swapped out for a flat boost of up to 12dB via the upper-horn toggle switch.
The other roller tweaks the company’s EXG Expander, which boosts low and high frequencies for chunky yet sparkly sounds.
This is a bold move for EMG and could be a tonal revolution for Jazzmaster players, many of whom will likely find the prewired pickguard’s comprehensive boosting options more useful than the oft-maligned rhythm circuit.
The JMaster prewired pickguard is available at the end of March for $379-399, while standalone pickups – featuring EMG’s solderless wiring kit – start at $229. Black, white and ivory pickup covers are available on all options.
For more info, head over to EMG Pickups (opens in new tab).