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Choosing the Correct Match PJ Pickups

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by jd_watt, Dec 16, 2013.

  1. jd_watt


    Mar 22, 2013
    Hi Everyone, I have a 2003 American Precision that I'm planning on modding with a J pickup in the bridge position. Is there any way of calculating the output of the P pickup so I can choose the best fit for the bridge? I don't have the luxury of trying several, so I really only have the internet to guide me. I was hoping there was someway of measuring to output, frequency response, etc. to find the bet fit. If there isn't, and you still have a suggest, please let me know. Thanks!
  2. Matthijs


    Jul 3, 2006
    As far as I know there's not really a good way to calculate this, there are just too many variables involved. DC resistance comes to mind, but it does not automatically relate to output. It does give you an indication of how much the impedance mismatch is. (and there will always be some mismatch). It would be a matter of getting those figures as close together as possible.

    Besides trial and error your options are:
    -Choose a fairly high output J, the Dimarzio model J is pretty popular.
    -Go for a matched set.
    -Install a buffering pre for one ore both of the pu's, but you'd loose some of the typical p/j sound options created by the pu's loading into each other.

    I myself have one p/j with a humcanceling Nordstrand set and one scpb p/j that's buffered with a 2 channel bartolini pre. In the past I also had good, but noisy, results with a 70's fender P and a fender 62 ri J.
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  4. Matthijs


    Jul 3, 2006
    I should add that pairing your P with a J is also very much a matter of taste and personal preference. What is your goal with this mod? Is it important to have a good solo bridge-j sound that can compete in volume with the p, or will you probably only use the J together with the P? Do you have a specific p/j sound in mind like Tony Franklin or Victor Wooten?
  5. jd_watt


    Mar 22, 2013
    Hey, thanks for your reply and inquiry! Honestly, I'm coming to this mod from a point of frustration. I've had my P for a few years now, and I just can't seem to get the right sound out of it. For lack of any technical description, I'm looking for a sound that has a solid bottom, and good defined, but round top (without sounding brittle). I've also noticed that my P sounds kind of hollow, which I don't really like. I like that "burpy" kinda bubbly sound that I hear coming from some J basses, but I'd still like to keep the P. I'd also like something that adds a little more cut or definition with OD, and I hear a J pickup is good for that.
  6. Matthijs


    Jul 3, 2006
    Maybe you shoud do a search for Tony Franklin. I think he comes close to what you want. As far as I know he added a Dimarzio to a standard P
  7. jd_watt


    Mar 22, 2013
    His signature bass looks nice, although I don't particularly care for the three switch. The Dimarzio seems to be a popular pickup around the forums. Hmm... wish I had a more definitive way to know!
  8. The three-way switch is part of the reason that the Tony Franklin P bass has a balanced output. All three positions "work" without the undesirable behaviors that occur when messing with volumes and blends.
  9. jd_watt


    Mar 22, 2013
    Yeah, I can see that... basically just neck/neck & bridge/bridge. It seems like there could be some interesting tones in-between with each pup having it's own control. Of course, they could be not so great as well...
  10. jd_watt


    Mar 22, 2013
    One specific question I have: should the bridge J pickup generally be rated at a higher mv output than neck/middle P pickup? I noticed Dimarzio's site had their bridge J pups at 155 and 250 mv and their P at 163mv. It seems like a good idea to have the bridge pickup a little mellower, just adding in a bit of snap, grind, and burp lol. Ah those adjectives...
  11. The bridge pickup absolutely needs to be hotter! Remember that in the bridge position, there is less string movement to disturb the magnetic field. This means that any pickup in the bridge position will be quieter than if it were closer to the neck.
  12. Zootsuitbass


    Mar 13, 2011
    Fralin recommends +5% on the bridge to match. Once I bought a +3 P and +8 bridge. Sounded great!
  13. Koeda


    Aug 21, 2007
    Put together a poor man's Frankin Franklin. Paired a Model J with a MIA '08 P. Pup height can help adjust the balance to taste between the P & J.

    Used the 3-way for a number of reasons:
    1. You can go back to a stock P tone anytime
    2. Simple - only one V knob
    3. Simple - it is a 3-way :p

    Note: Did have to swap the wires between the P Pup's though. Had the Fender EA side phased out with the Model J. Few discussion in the various threads on this issue. My final wiring diag is here:
  14. I have the original models EMG p/j set in a fretted and fretless ESP and find this to be a good sounding set up. I have a '62 Fender p and a Duncan vintage j in another fretted and the bridge is def weaker. I normally prefer passive but like this EMG set up.

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