John East J Retro Deluxe



Same as J Retro, but with an added fourth knob for passive tone control. This preamp is made for Fender Deluxe style basses with a side mounted jack.

$325.00 - $350.00
$325.00 - $350.00

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Control Configuration

  1. Volume/Blend Stack
  2. Treble/Bass Stack
  3. Mid/Mid Stack
  4. Passive Tone
  5. Blend & Pickups Switch
  6. Active/Passive Switch
  7. Available in Black, Chrome, or Gold Finish


This preamp is made for Fender Deluxe style basses with a side mounted jack.The J Retro 01 Bass Preamp is designed to fit directly into standard "Jazz" style basses without modification, including a 9v battery. Its high quality circuit uses three stacked knobs a passive tone control and includes an active blend circuit plus a 3 band equalizer with bass, variable frequency mid, treble and bright function.

A very gentle built in contour gives immediate colour without detracting from the basic sound of any bass. The active blend circuit prevents the loss associated with many passive basses where, when both pickups are up full, the signal from one pickup feeds into the other and vice versa.

However, a switch is included to allow a passive equal mix of both pickups. A second switch - basic "get-you-out-of-trouble" passive mode is included in case the battery dies in crucial circumstances, but this mode allows lots of useful settings too.

Easy to fit, no routing or modification on most basses.

A standard PP3 battery fits under the plate in the standard cavity in most J-style basses.

Technical Specifications

Volume/Blend Stack

  • Volume

  • The upper knob is the Volume which has two sections under the same knob. A high impedance for the passive path and a low impedance section is used for the active circuitry. When used active, this knob has active circuitry after it'so that the feed to your amplifier is a low impedance drive.

  • Blend & Pickups Switch

  • The lower outer knob is the Blend balance for the pickups. Turn it fully clockwise for the neck pickup alone and fully anti-clockwise for the bridge pickup. The midway position, which has an indent, gives an equal mix of both pickups. The balance between the pickups is continuously variable with progressive level compensation towards the single pickup settings. Important:- The Pickups switch (by the blend) must be set pointing towards the jack for the Blend to function.

    Treble/Bass Stack

  • Treble: (+12dB @ 3 kHz, -12dB @ 1kHz)

  • The upper knob is the Treble control with boost and cut. The central 'flat' position is indented. The cut settings work on lower frequencies compared to boost to give a deeper sound when the top is rolled off.

  • Bright: (+8dB @ 7kHz)

  • Pull the Treble knob for the Bright setting.

  • Bass: (+15dB @ 50Hz)

  • The lower outer knob is the boost only Bass control. The frequency band of boost gets progressively lower as the boost is increased. An indent midway is included to aid the setting of this control.

    Mid/Mid Stack

  • Mid Boost/Cut: (+/- 12dB)

  • The upper knob controls the amount of Mid boost or cut at frequencies according to the setting of the Frequency knob. The midway indent is the 'flat' position.

  • Mid Freq: (150Hz - 3kHz)

  • The lower outer knob is continuously variable and sets the Mid frequencies for boost or cut.

  • Passive Tone

  • The passive tone pot consists of two sections, one for each pickup. Two sections are necessary since the pickup signals are kept separate and fed to their own individual input amplifiers prior to the electronic blend circuitry.

  • Active/Passive Switch

  • Towards the jack for active, the opposite for passive.

    Question: Where Can I Buy a John East J Retro Deluxe ?

    Answer: You can buy this from Best Bass Gear by Calling 877-839-3531 or Emailing us at or chatting with our Bass Techs


    Rate and Review this item
    Verified Buyer
    Love this Pre !
    By Russell
    If you are on the fence about the price of this pre, don’t be. Yes it’s more than many others but the endless tones you can get from this piece of hardware is amazing !! John East Thank You !!!
    Verified Buyer
    This preamp is Bloody Awesome !!
    By Albert
    So, I installed this, Gold, J-Retro Deluxe preamp, on a 1991 Fender J- Bass V Deluxe, with the factory low noise passive pickups in it. It has a Badass Bridge, and an Extra Long Scale, All Rosewood, Warmouth Neck on it. This Preamp is Bloody Awesome !! It is hands down, 10 times better than the factory Fender preamp that was in this Bass. Any tone you want, is now at your fingertips. No need to touch the amp settings, anymore, for tonal changes, from song to song. The Bass, Treble, and Mid controll is Beautiful now. The addition of the passive tone controll pot, that also functions in Active Mode, gives even further refinement of your tone. I use a Trace Elliot Series 6, GP-12 preamp Bi-amped through a CrestV450 power amp. 2x15 bass cabinet, 4x12 tilt top cab for the mids and highs, and This thing Rocks !! All I can say to John East, is ; Thanks Mate !!
    Verified Buyer
    A true masterpiece!!
    By Javy B./Producer-Arranger-Composer & Bassist.
    I can not believe the color, life and essence my bass has got since I install this preamp, I have been looking for this sound for years literally, thank you John for creating a device that allows for music on the bass to sound the way should, and thanks Best Bass Gear for facilitating it, If Jaco would be alive, he would definitely had a J-Retro on his bass!
    Verified Buyer
    Switched out Fender AMD Pre to J-Retro Dlx
    I had picked up a Fender AMD Jazz Bass and I was not satisfied with the Fender stock preamp at ALL!

    Once I had put it bass sounded amazing!
    I'm being completely honest, I now have all my amp's (Markbass-LittleMark) Eq's and tonal shaping knobs flat! The bass itself already sounds lie! All at 12 o'clock!!

    I highly recommend it if you like having a lot of tonal control and can afford the cost.
    Verified Buyer
    John East J Retro Preamp
    By Cem
    Best Preamp
    Verified Buyer
    Bass player
    By Nate
    This is the best aftermarket pre-amp I've ever purchased. After spending a few minutes learning the different controls I couldn't be happier with this preamp. I installed it in a Carvin SB5000 jazz bass. I now have the jazz sound I'v been looking for for years. I can dial up punchy Marcus Miller tones to smooth vintage to Jaco fingerstyle. If I ever sell the Carvin bass, this preamp is coming out first to stay with me!!! BestBass Gear is also a first class merchant, support is awesome!!!