SO... have you played many JJ basses with different pickup placements? What did you think?
Gerard, I have managed to play for close to 35 years without ever having a Jazz bass - at various times I've played Ric, MM, Yamaha, am currently playing a couple of Sadowsky 24/5 basses and a modded Fender Precision Deluxe. I've gotten it in my head that I'm probably short changing myself as a bassist by not having a Jazz style bass in my toolbox, so have been reading up and asking questions. Only very recently became aware of the 60s/70s placement difference.
I know from experience how much the placement of a pickup can profoundly affect the tone that comes out of a bass. For the longest time I tended to go for an even balance between pickups (on 2 pickup basses) but have recently been favoring the bridge a bit more, going for a sweet spot where there's more articulation from the bridge pickup yet keeping the neck pickup in to the degree that a solid fundamental is retained in the notes up and down the bass.
I'm guessing that the change Fender made in 70s - 1/4" closer to the bridge - didn't make as significant a tonal change as it would have if they'd made that same adjustment with the neck pickup. But that's only a hunch. If I go and buy a bass off the shelf in a store I'm apt to not even think about it, instead just go with my gut instead. But if I opt to have Roger build me a Jazz style bass then I thought I should at least get as informed as possible about this aspect of it...