J Pup to a Humbucker on a P/J??

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by gregmon79, Apr 9, 2014.


  1. gregmon79

    gregmon79 Supporting Member

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    I have a Squier Affinity. I recently threw a set of the new EMG GZR's in it. Great pups. But I want more output. I was thinking of converting the P/J to a straight J. But now I dont think it would be a great idea. I was sort of thinking this a while back but then forgot about it, I think I would like to route the J cavity a little more and put a humbucker in there. What is a good recommendation for a humbucker for this particular setup?? I was thinking either an EMG MM type of humbucker but then I would think that I would need quite a bit of room in the control cavity for that.....?..... Or I could just go with the humbuckers they put in the Fenders now right? The ones that look like a double jazz pup. I know I would have to route a little, which is fine. Im just not sure which direction I want to go. I would like to keep the EMG GZR P pup in there now. What do y'all think of the direction Im thinking? Madness? Insanity?...... Input is appreciated, thanks.
  2. gregmon79

    gregmon79 Supporting Member

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  3. ctmullins

    ctmullins Registered 8er Supporting Member

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    Before I went routing a new cavity I would explore all of the options for replacement J pickups. It's a hugely popular form factor, and I would be willing to bet you could find a high-output J-style pickup with the tone you're looking for from somewhere. DiMarzio Model J or Ultra J perhaps?
  4. gregmon79

    gregmon79 Supporting Member

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    Will I be able to mix a J pup with that P?? I like the P side, heck, I even like J side of the geezers but the output on the J is what's concerning to me. I want a high output J on there so I don't get such a volume drop when I have both pups maxed out.
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  6. Stealth

    Stealth Supporting Member

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    Here's the thing, there are two types of blend pots. One is marked as A/C (pan pot), the other is marked as M/N (a blend pot). You can look the resistance graphs up on the Internet - the point is, a pan pot has an inherent significant volume drop in the middle simply due to its construction, while a blend pot sums both pickups without an inherent volume drop (in the middle, it almost behaves like a direct parallel connection). An M/N pot behaves even more smoothly when you wire it ungrounded (that is, wire the whole thing except grounding the one leg).

    However, since you're blending two pickups which are electrically complex (they are coils with resistance, inductance and capacitance), they will naturally interact even when the blend pot is in the middle - giving it a slightly scooped sound. Jazz bass players usually counteract this by shifting the blend ever so slightly in one direction or maxing both volumes and toning one down a smidge.

    Finally, because you might have two pickups with differing output levels, you might want to add a 100k trim pot, wired as rheostat (variable resistor) between your louder pickup and the blend pot - it will "soak up" some of the output level of the pickup. That way, you can twist and turn it until you get an equally loud tone from each pickup, and then just forget about it. This may also serve to fix the problem above as you're effectively "shifting" the center of the blend in favor of the quieter pickup.

    In short:
    • if you want a blend pot, get a 500k M/N and try wiring it ungrounded, if you want volumes, just use two equal ones
    • to avoid tone suck, make sure to keep the blend slightly off-center whenever you want to hear both pickups together
    • finally, add a trim pot in series with your louder pickup (between the louder pickup and the blend, or the louder pickup's volume and the place where the volumes' outputs join), then set and forget.
  7. bassgod0dmw

    bassgod0dmw Supporting Member

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    That's really just the nature of the beast. Pretty much any PJ or JJ set is going to exhibit this type of behavior. A P is always going to be the dominant pickup in a PJ setup as they are just loud pickups to begin with. I'm not sure if there are any J's that will outperform one in terms of sheer output.

    As for using a different J with your GZR P, I'd mainly be concerned about them matching up. EMG matched those pickups together to be a complete set.
  8. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

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    As someone who used to match up regular output P's with high output J's, it doesn't work like that. You're still going to get a volume drop with both pickups on full. That's the nature of the beast.
  9. oldcatfish

    oldcatfish

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    The first thing that I'd try is to raise up the j pickup and lower the p pickup. You probably won't be able to get them exact, but you should be able to get them close.

    If that still doesn't work, Then I'd look into rewiring the bass so that each pickup has it's own volume and tone controls, so you can blend accordingly.

    The next option would be a replacement j pickup.

    The final option would be a re-route for the j to a different pickup.
  10. Technotitclan

    Technotitclan Lurking TB from work

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    If its more output your looking for i STRONGLY recommend a preamp rather than heavy surgery on your bass. Installing a pre will give you the option of setting the output level you want.
  11. Technotitclan

    Technotitclan Lurking TB from work

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    Also if you really insist on adding another pup, go with a J. Theres way more options for J pups than for soapbars and lots of them are humbucking and have higher outputs if wired in series. I'm a big supporter of DiMarzio, currently using the Model J's in my Ibanez 500 that I put empty soapbar covers over to fill the big cavities. See my post in the Soundgear club here
  12. VanillaThundah

    VanillaThundah Pleasantly plucky Supporting Member

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    + 1

    Bartolini 2-band on my '93 Ibanez SR800 is quiiiite useful. I also opted for V/V/B/T setup on mine, so that I have more flexibility over the volume level changes you naturally get from a P/J setup. I can boost the bass and dial back EVER so slightly on the J volume to get a little mid bump that helps me cut more. I have a set of Bartolinis in there btw.

    I'm thinking the volume drop is just a mid-scoop that's make you think it's a volume drop. I love the unique tone of the P/J and my pickups are great, but that mid scoop is just present in there by nature of the pickup configuration. I suggest looking at a good 3-band preamp.
  13. bassgod0dmw

    bassgod0dmw Supporting Member

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    Adding a preamp isn't going to solve his problem though. He can set whatever volume he wants, but when both pickups are on full it's still going to exhibit the same behavior as it does now.
  14. gregmon79

    gregmon79 Supporting Member

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    Thanks for all the input fellas! Now that most of you have talked some sense into me, I think I'll go with a onboard pre. Can any of you suggest what would be a good one with what I have going on here please? Maybe an Aguilar OPB or even a Delano?? Those Delanos look pretty sweet. If I were to go with one of those, would it be rather simple to install it in with the EMG Geezers? Or maybe even a Mike Pope pre? I really dig the concept of those preamps but woozaa, they is expensive! Be they are worth it though.
  15. gregmon79

    gregmon79 Supporting Member

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    But a much higher/hotter output would be nice and is what I would be looking for.

    I love those Geezers, but maybe they arent for me and what Im looking for as far as output is concerned....... hmmmmm
  16. 4Mal

    4Mal Supporting Member

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    Not really. In a passive system the pickup interact when both are full up. Using a decent active pre, one with a buffered blend or a Vol/Vol setup prevents the interaction which in turn prevents the volume drop.

    As far as on board preamps go, I like the Audere stuff a lot.

    Another take on the whole thing is to think of the J in a PJ setup as an additional tone control. There isn't enough room in a J housing for the magnets and wire necessary to create a J pickup that is balanced and also as strong as a Split P. So in more of less traditional designs, there is going to be some imbalance. I have a Rumblefish PJ that has no mods and won't have any as long as i own it. It's just one of those basses that needs to be stock... So I set my tone at the amp assuming about 50% vol on the J and the P full up. I can then roll more or less j into the mix and get more or less mid cut through. Reggae, I roll the J out, folk pop, I roll the J in...

    The on board pre is way more flexible and in some cases it is the way to go. It isn't the only way to go however.
  17. 4Mal

    4Mal Supporting Member

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    What do you believe to be the advantage of higher output pickups ? Are you current pickups not capable of driving your amp to it's potential ?

    Have you though about skipping the bass mods and doing something like a Zoom B3?
  18. Technotitclan

    Technotitclan Lurking TB from work

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    He said his issue was not enough output. Preamps will give him an output boost and usually a control to dial in the right amount. Also, I've used a couple pre's on two different basses, both with two pups and pre's defeat the lost signal when set to run both pups, keeping the output almost constant.
  19. bassgod0dmw

    bassgod0dmw Supporting Member

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    I've got a few active PJ's that all still do it.

    Sort of, then went on to explain that he's experiencing a volume drop when running both pickups on full.

    If both of you guys are saying a preamp will fix the issue then go for it. My experience in playing active PJ's as my main basses tell me otherwise.
  20. gregmon79

    gregmon79 Supporting Member

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    Here's the thing, I have tons of tone shaping at my feet, that's not an issue at all. I also have and use an early 90's ATK 300 that I use as my main bass. It's active and has an onboard preamp. That bass kills. It just kills. I've never had an issue pummeling the mix into submission. I want to accomplish this with my P/J and P. I want to be able to use my other two basses in a live setting as well as my ATK. I guess that is what it comes down to. I thought getting a stronger J pup or replacing it with a humbucker would do the trick. I'm probably wrong so to speak. I just like having the onboard in the ATK, I think it's a key factor in the way that it plays in the mix. I'd like that with my P/J as well.
  21. gregmon79

    gregmon79 Supporting Member

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    Anyone here think a boost pedal would help?? Engaging it when I want to use my P/J or P maybe?

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