Fender '59 pickups vs. vintage split?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by JLubinsky-Mast, Dec 3, 2013.


  1. JLubinsky-Mast

    JLubinsky-Mast Supporting Member

    Joined:
    May 18, 2007
    Location:
    Vancouver BC
    Does anyone have any info on the difference between these pickups? Is there a difference?

    On Fender's website I've seen:
    The '58 Vintage split
    The Vintage split (on the '63 p basses)
    Custom Vintage '59 Split (on the Mike Dirnt basses)
    Then there is the on on the Pino CS bass which has some voodoo magic in them;)

    Fender sells the "Original Precision Bass" which I assume it what they put on the '63 style.

    Really I'm curious how the "Custom Vintage '59" pickups compare to the '62 style pickups.

    Thanks,

    Joseph
  2. Grissle

    Grissle Supporting Member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2009
    I don't believe the '59s are available aftermarket but could be wrong. I think they are slightly underwound, very clear with a broad warm midrange, from what I remember reading some time ago.
  3. JLubinsky-Mast

    JLubinsky-Mast Supporting Member

    Joined:
    May 18, 2007
    Location:
    Vancouver BC
    I think you're correct regarding the '59 availability. However, I have an aquaintance who has some "connections" and swears he could get this pickup if I wanted it.
    Anyways thanks for the reply, I'm assuming the underwind results in a lower volume output as well?
  4. pbassnut

    pbassnut Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2004
    Location:
    Falls Church, VA
    To my knowledge, they're not available aftermarket. However, I got three of them that were originally from Mike Dirnt signature P basses that I got used for pretty damn cheap from sellers on eBay and here on TalkBass. It's really a great pickup that come up for sale on the used market fairly regularly. I also have a couple of basses loaded with Fender "Original" '62 RI pickups which are very similar to the '59 P pickup and are one of the best buys out there for getting that classic, old school P sound. I got two of them brand new for $55/shipped from some camera store on eBay doing some kind of close out deal, no doubt.
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  6. JLubinsky-Mast

    JLubinsky-Mast Supporting Member

    Joined:
    May 18, 2007
    Location:
    Vancouver BC
    That's good to know.

    Ho would you say the pickups compare tonally? I've dug the '62 re-issue basses I've played, and was playing a Dirnt bass the other day, however it's near impossible to figure out how the pick-up's differ when the basses couldn't be set-up more different

  7. pbassnut

    pbassnut Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2004
    Location:
    Falls Church, VA
    <<
    How would you say the pickups compare tonally?
    >>

    It would be difficult put into words even if I could accurately quantify the difference. Both of my "Original" '62 RI pickups are installed on FrankenP parts basses with mahogany bodies and maple necks (one strung w/flats and the other w/rounds) ... both of which sound somewhat different than your more ubiquitous alder or ash body Ps. I also have a swamp ash/maple 60th Anniversary P which, I believe, is loaded with the same '62 RI pickup and sounds considerably brighter than the above two mahogany Ps. My P-Basses loaded with Custom Shop '59 pickups are a 1998 alder/maple American Standard P, a northern ash/rosewood 50th Anniversary P (the original neck is on one of the above mahogany Ps) and a Warmoth swamp ash/rosewood P ... two of which are string with rounds and the other with flats. Bottom line, there are enough differences inherent with the body/neck/fingerboard woods and strings on these basses that it is difficult to isolate the difference between the '62 RI and Custom Shop '59 pickups. The only reasonable opinion I can offer is that both are excellent choices and are "best buys" from a price/performance perspective. I'd love to hear the Lollar and Nordstrand P pickup offerings someday to hear how they stack up.
  8. Grissle

    Grissle Supporting Member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2009
    I doubt the output levels are affected much, (don't get me started on the "HOT" pickup hype) and that's what amp volume knobs are for anyway. Pbassnut makes great points. I'd say try them. I'll bet they they sound great. Kind of a no-lose situation really. They'd probably be magic in a light P bass with flats!
  9. bassman74

    bassman74 Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2007
    Location:
    Montreal
    Disclosures:
    soon to become reviewer and interviewer for EADG mag
    I have both and imho the original is brighter with more emphasis in the low mid. The custom 59, as a bit more bottom, mids are there but i would say that lows and low-mid are more balanced compare to the original.

    I'd go further by saying that the original sounds best with flatwound and 0.1 capacitor and the vintage 59 sounds better with roundwound with 0,5 capacitor, but that is just me.

    I got my 59 from stratosphere on eBay. My original is for sale if that is what you are after :)

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