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1970 P-Bass Pickup Replacement

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Lagaupia, Feb 25, 2016.

  1. Lagaupia


    Apr 23, 2007
    I have an all original 1970 Fender P-bass but to me the pickup sounds thin, lacks low end and has a pretty low output. It has a trebly aggressive tone instead of the warm bassey tone I get from my 2003 American P with a '62 reissue pickup.

    I've been thinking about swapping the pickup out for something with more output that still maintains a somewhat vintage voicing. Anyone have any good suggestions? I've heard good things about Fralins and the GZR pickup.

    Also how much will swapping the pickup affect the resale value of the vintage bass?
  2. jallenbass

    jallenbass Supporting Member Commercial User

    May 17, 2005
    Bend, Oregon
    Just keep the original pickup. No value loss at all.

    Have you tried raising the pickup closer to the strings?
  3. jallenbass

    jallenbass Supporting Member Commercial User

    May 17, 2005
    Bend, Oregon
    There's a whole slew of pickups available that fit your criteria. Snaxster and Laurent have done some recent research on some lesser known makers. Might want to search for those threads.
  4. Lagaupia


    Apr 23, 2007
    I did jack the pickup up and replaced the old decayed foam under them. A little more output but not much improvement in the tone.
  5. Lownote38


    Aug 8, 2013
    Nashville, TN
    Seymour Duncan Antiquity II is what I use. Great sounding "vintage tone" pickups.
  6. 1bassplayinfool

    1bassplayinfool -Nowhere Man- Supporting Member

  7. Snaxster


    Nov 29, 2008
    jallenbass, thanks for the referral.

    Lagaupia, among small producers you might try Arcane Inc., Curtis Novak, Flying Mojo, Klein, O.C. Duff, and Peter Florance.

    You didn't say what woods your 1970 Precision is made of. But I just swapped a Lollar P pickup into my ash/maple 1973 Precision and I think it will stay there. For me, along with the Klein J pickup in that bass's homemade J route, the Lollar P is perfect.
  8. mysteryclock

    mysteryclock Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2010
    Franklin, TN
    I have the GZR PJ set - love them! My only slight regret is not going for a double-P instead of PJ, it is that good. It is definitely (to me) not that bright of a pickup though. I think it has a pretty smooth top, very aggressive mids in a completely non-nasal way and solid bottom. And it is dead quiet.

    As others have said, whatever you do save the original pickups and if you decide to flip the bass you can include them and not diminish the value at all.
  9. jsr914


    Mar 21, 2011
    If the original pickup's output is low, you can get it rewound fairly cheaply from any of the reputable builders. I have used Lindy Fralin and Curtis Novack before for vintage pickups with good results.

    If you want to go the replacement route, my recommendation is the Fralin + 5% over. I've tried about 15 p-bass pickups and the Fralins are tops in my book. The David Allen is my third pick behind the Fralin +5% and the standard wind Fralin.
    Gideon352 likes this.
  10. Lagaupia


    Apr 23, 2007
    It's a bright bass to begin with. Not sure of the body but it's got a maple neck.
  11. Laurent


    May 21, 2008
    Napa, California
    Some random thoughts there:
    - The sort of bass does well with flatwounds, have you tried this to modify the tone?
    - 70's P bass are starting to have some value, keeping it stock is better if you ever want to resell it.
    - When I think 70's P bass I think DiMarzio model P: they are ceramic, aggressive, cut through any mix. They fit in this theme!
    - If you are looking for something that's a little bit more tame and 60's in tone there are lots of good options: the top of my list would be Lollar P, Lollar P overwound (a nice choice if the bass is bright - like an ash bass with a maple body) or Arcane Experience 65.
  12. I have a 70 P and put a set of Duncan SPB4's, the Steve Harris sig, in it about a year ago. Just a touch hot and very vintage voiced. Dig in and it can get aggressive and growly, lay back and it's very smooth.
  13. bassman74

    bassman74 Supporting Member

    Jan 2, 2007
    There is Lauzon Pickups in Canada, who made a copy of 76 p-bass pickup for me, it sounds the same but offered me to tweak it a bit for me but I wanted an exact replica. I know that is 62 pbass pickup replica will give you What you are looking for. The good thing is that Canadian money's value is low, so it'll be a good upgrade at a very low price.
    khangurumc likes this.
  14. bigtone23


    Dec 10, 2014
    Denver, CO
    Keep the factory pickup untouched unless it's tested to be bad. If it has to be rewound to work properly, then do that, why not? Keeps most of those original parts on the bass. I would rewind any vintage pickup that was dead or limping on a player's grade instrument, especially if done in the vein of it's original tone/wind.
    IME, <$100, versatile pickups wound in a classic/text book P tone are the Duncan SPB-1, Fender '62.
    The Geezer is great for a touch more push, as is the SPB-2.
    The Fralin +5% is very nice, too.
  15. booch29


    Mar 27, 2013
    I have the same issue with my 74 p, I've put a set of Flatwounds, which improved the whole sound of the bass
    But I'm still getting a weak e string issue, basically it's lacking definition..
    Would like to hear more thoughts and opinions about a replacement too
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2016
  16. Lagaupia


    Apr 23, 2007
    Something I did notice... the body seems "hot", meaning if I tap on the pickguard or body it makes a thump through the amp. My other basses don't do this nearly as much as this one does. Could this mean the pickup is going micro-phonic?

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