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Motown Bass

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by staybobo, Nov 8, 2012.

  1. staybobo


    Oct 6, 2012
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    What PJ bass pickups will get me the Modern & Classic Motown Sound, Bootsy Collins Sound, Modern Funk, Jazz, and Blues?
  2. giacomini

    giacomini Supporting Member

    Dec 14, 2008
    Likes Received:
    Endorsing: Copetti Guitars
    Pretty much any P/J set will give you versatility for those styles...

    I'd say a Fender '62 P + '60 or the original Fender J will get you covered pretty well.

    Seymour Duncan P/J Basslines do the job too.

    DiMarzio Model P/J if you want a tad more gain.

    Wylde pickps are great, too. Those are my choice, not as vintage sounding as the Fender, but not too modern sounding either, middle of the road (tonewise).

    Then there are more expensive brands...
  3. dfp

    dfp Supporting Member

    Sep 28, 2004
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    for classic bass sounds (60's, Motown, Funk, etc), avoid ceramic magnets. ceramic magnets do not have the same biting treble or mids as the Alnico magnets. Fender used Alnico back in the day, and they still do on their USA bases. all the good after market makers use Alnico as well, b/c it is the sound.

    That said, i suspect the grade of copper used in the coil should not be ignored either. i have some modern Fender J pups that are Alnico, yet sound poorly compared to Fralins, etc. they sound better than ceramic, but still not all the way great sounding. i think they are Hwy 1 or something.

    Most Squier and maybe even Mexico Fender basses use ceramic magnet pickups. they are cheaper for who knows how many reasons, but at least one reason is they are less desired by most from a sound standpoint.

    also, depending on your impression of "modern" sounds, you may also find ceramic magnet pickups lacking the treble definition you want there too. I will say that the one time i really dug a ceramic magnet pickup was as a solo'd Jazz Bass bridge pickup. it gets burpy like you want it to, but not too thin like a J bridge pup tends to sound on its own.

    so w/ that caveat about ceramic vs. Alnico, +1 to what has already been said, pretty much any P/J set will get you the range of tones you're looking for, if you know how to approach those tones in the first place, but the ones that use the better, costlier materials will usually get you better tones. cheers!
  4. iiipopes


    May 4, 2009
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    Quite the contrary. Ceramic does not have inductance, as does Alnico, so the overall impedance of a ceramic magnet pickup can be lower and in some instances have more harsh top end due to the coil being saturated with magnetism than an Alnico magnet version of the same pickup. To counter that, most reputable ceramic magnet pickups are overwound. The result of this is artificially pumped mids due to more impedance of the coil, and less top end due to more intra-coil capacitance, so it seems mellower.

    Oh - Motown tone: Fender '62 reissue (or whatever it's called now) for the P, and your choice of J, although I would recommend something like Fralin's or Aguilar's end-to-end J pickup to keep the noise reduction and blend with the P pickup.
  5. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Supporting Member

    Aug 21, 2008
    Likes Received:
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    Ceramic magnets are stronger, so they have more biting treble than alnico, which tends to be softer sounding. The problem with ceramic magnets is not the magnet, it's just that it's often used on cheap pickups that aren't made very well. On the Fender pickups with ceramic magnets, the rest of the pickup is not made the same way as the vintage ones, with the coil geometry often being wrong.

    You can very nice sounding pickups with ceramic magnets, but you can't just take a P bass pickup and swap the alnico poles for steel and slap a ceramic magnet on the bottom and expect it to sound the same.
  6. mjac28

    mjac28 50th Anniversary Ed Sullivan February 9, 1964 Gold Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2010
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    Curtis Novak makes a great selection of P pups he can also custom wind anything you want
  7. FunkRenegade


    Jul 7, 2012
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    turn off the j pup..

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