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difference between single coil P Bass and J bass

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by azureblue, Jan 13, 2013.


  1. What are the physical differences, impedance, magnets, etc., between a single coil (1951) P Bass pick up and a J bass front pick up?
    Does the two poles per string make that much difference in the sound?

    I am trying to get more punch out of the front pick up of a JJ type bass (70's pick up location) , and, to my memory, the single P Bass PU was all punch.... Maybe there is a J front that makes that sound, but I haven't found one yet.
     
  2. Stealth

    Stealth Supporting Member

    Feb 5, 2008
    Zagreb, Croatia
    If I recall right the coil is physically narrower but taller with taller and bigger-diameter magnets, and there's the issue of polepieces directly underneath the strings. The polepiece geometry definitely impacts the sound.
     
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  4. Cadfael

    Cadfael

    Jan 4, 2013
    Germany, EU
    The P51 first of all is nothing but the pickup of a Fender Hawaii guitar, equiped with for pole pieces. It was easy to manufacture, cheap and it worked ...
    (same with the Esquire / Nocaster / Tele bridge PU).

    In the mid / late 1950s Fender wanted to create a more "indirect" sound. He experimented with 7 pole guitar PUs, so that every string had one magnet left and one right. But the result was not satisfying ...
    I think this lead Leo Fender to the 8 pole piece P57 pickup. These pickups also had the "new" Gibson / Seth Lover humbucking effect, without paying any patent fees to Gibson - because of split coils and single magnets.

    Maybe the P57 had too much punch for Fender and so the 60s bass got SCs again - but with the 8 magnets of the P57. Result were the J-PUs ...

    "Punch" normally means low mids (which "punch" into your stomack) - P57 PUs ...

    Have you put the neck PU as high as possible? The higher the PU is, the more punch you get (not only output). A J-Humbucker might help? But it might sound too "indirect"?

    A series/parallel wiring of your PUs will give more punch, too! But the output might be too high, compared to the other settings ...

    The punch of a P51 might also have to do with its neck ...
     
  5. sven kalmar

    sven kalmar

    Apr 29, 2009
    ive read tht the splitcoil pu,s actually were two mandolin pu,s.
     
  6. It's that strong attack that I'm after - great for Tower of Power / Meters type music. I have tried various PU settings, but I can't seem to find the sound that I like. I tried a replacement J front PU, but it didn't do it, hence the questions about pole piece location, windings, etc. Thanks...
     
  7. Cadfael

    Cadfael

    Jan 4, 2013
    Germany, EU
    Ah!!!!!!!!!!

    Attack is something different than punch!
    And attack is what I described as "direct/indirect" ...
    To may mind, most humbucking JB pickups would be wrong.

    Maybe SD Quarter Pounders would be right? But I'm not shure ...
     
  8. pbass2

    pbass2

    Jan 25, 2007
    Los Angeles
    Have you considered DiMarzio Model J's? I have them in my Geddy--I can run just the neck pickup and get a very pbass-like tone. In fact, as I understand it, they are a split-coil design in a J-bass housing, so it's essentially a pbass pickup.
    Plus, they're quiet. Really awesome pickups--transformed my Geddy, like night and day....
     
  9. Thanks for the tip on the Dimarzio's I'll look into it. To complicate matters, the bass is a 5 string PU size: 3/4" x 4" I expect I'll have to have a PU made, so I want to sort this it before i have one made. I have DP 547 (FS, BTW) from another bass, and I liked it, but didn't have want I wanted...
     
  10. PDGood

    PDGood Supporting Member

    Sep 19, 2010
    Nashville, TN
    Rocco Prestia of Tower of Power plays a P bass. I'm not sure about the Meters, but if I were going to cover that I'd use a P bass as well. That fits with your definition of punch, but not attack. P's blend into the mix - that's their thing. They do that because they don't have a ton of brightness on the top end which is what most people think of as attack. They "punch" their way to the front of a mix if pushed.
    I'd say, get yourself a split coil P style pickup.
     
  11. I already have a split coil PJ.
     
  12. pbass2

    pbass2

    Jan 25, 2007
    Los Angeles
    Yeah the 547 is the Ultra Jazz--I had a Jazz with those too. I really liked them, but they're very different from the Model J (DP123), which really can sound very "p-like"--really strong mids and low-mids, as it is essentially a P/humbucking pickup.
    Sadly, they don't make the Model J in a fiver!:(

    You could try the Area J I suppose--but again they still look like a regular J pickup--not the unique beast that the Model J is:

    http://www.dimarzio.com/pickups/bass
     



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