I've always been a neck pickup or P bass guy. Never liked bridge pickups. I think they sound thin and harsh, no matter how I try to eq them. Well, recently I picked up an Ibanez GWB35 fretless, which only has a bridge pickup. I've managed to get acceptable tones out of it, although it can't match my P basses or a neck pickup for warmth.
However, what I'm finding after gigging it three times now is that it absolutely kills in the mix. Soloed I still prefer a neck pickup or a P, but this thing is awesome on the gig. This has me rethinking my longstanding prejudice against Jazz basses (I know the GWB35 isn't a jazz). I've never liked having a pickup I never use on a bass, and I always played a jazz with the neck soloed. But if the Ibanez sounds this good in the mix, maybe a jazz bridge pickup has some hope after all ...
Last night's gig, which really turned my head, was with my blues/funk/soul band, the Brian James Band. Medium sized club, lineup was two guitars, drums, bass, and the harp player from Los Lonely Boys (amazing harp player). We played three hours, and a handful of pretty hot local cats were there sitting in for a few tunes each, including a guy who plays with Michael McDonald. It was a stellar show, tons of energy, great playing all around, and a great crowd. I was using my Ashdown Mag300 head and my two Carvin 112AG cabs. I like the Carvins, but they're not the fullest cabs around (they're pretty small). I halfway expected that combined with the GWB35 bridge pickup the sound would be too thin, and that I'd have to really compensate with eq on the amp. However, I didn't. I had all tone controls on the amp at noon except a boost to 1:30 on the 220hz control. The overall tone was really full and punchy.
Sorry to ramble on so long. Just wanted to share my surprise and the fact that my opinion on bridge pickups is in the process of changing.