A Lollar split coil P pickup completed my ash/maple 1973 Precision Bass P/J

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Snaxster, Feb 28, 2016.

  1. Snaxster


    Nov 29, 2008
    The title nearly says it all. This was a case of me sampling pickups that were new to me, for discovery rather than seeking a particular sound, and stumbling on one that fit the test bass perfectly.

    With this 1973 Precision P/J, upon swapping the Lollar split coil P pickup into it, I reached the dreaded “end of the musical chairs music”: as it was at that moment, the instrument sounded perfect to me, complete, so any untried pickups were left with one less home. Several months ago, this happened when I swapped a set of attrib. 1966 Fender Jazz Bass pickups into a Custom Shop bass. Though I owned other worthy contenders, some untried, I was forced to acknowledge that with those pickups in it, the bass was complete.

    Heard both alone and blended to any degree with the Klein 1962 Epic Series Jazz Bass bridge pickup that already was installed in the 1973 Precision, the Lollar split coil P pickup sounds one part glorious and one part simply “right”.

    That sense of right-ness is variously like a track that sits well in a mix, or a feeling that the instrument always was meant to sound that way. The sonic characteristic to which I attribute this is the Lollar split coil P pickup's well-balanced, but prominent low midrange with just a sweet, understated cushion of low bass beneath it.

    At first I was unconvinced, noting that this bass now sounded as if it had a slight head cold. The Lollar pickup was replacing a superb Arcane Inc. 65 Experience P pickup whose spectral balance was quite different. From the low midrange down, the Arcane 65 P's low end response was about the reverse of the Lollar's. After several weeks, I grew accustomed to the Arcane's voice in this bass. So it took me a few minutes to reject both familiarity and novelty, to try to hear and feel the new sound for what it was.

    The glory part of the Lollar pickup's sound was its richness. Once I had its heights adjusted well enough, while playing it for some minutes I muttered “Harmonics...,” lingering on sustained notes and simple chords. This 1973 Precision Bass is heavy in weight, and sonically a snarling, sensitive beast. Its beautiful, rich and prominent harmonics only need to be properly conveyed. Like the Klein bridge J pickup in it, the Lollar P pickup did this bass full justice in that way.

    Special thanks go to Laurent, who inadvertently reminded me that I owned this Lollar pickup. Who knows when it would have gotten its chance otherwise.
  2. Laurent

    Laurent Supporting Member

    May 21, 2008
    Napa, California
    Thanks for the kind words.

    I absolutely love the Arcane 65 P Pickup, the Lollar P and also the Lollar P overwound pickup. These are amazing pickups.

    You touch on an important topic which is matching the pickup to the bass. Some bass can be more picky than others. There is no good way to know what's going to work without testing. When working on a PJ setup, matching pickups for both tone and output is also really difficult.
    Snaxster and Pbassmanca like this.
  3. Snaxster


    Nov 29, 2008
    Laurent, you deserve the credit. Again, thank you! Also, I did not forget the Arcane Inc. 57 Experience P pickup. Any day now...

    Agreed. Even balancing the heights of a set of J pickups can be challenging. Matching and balancing a P/J pair (especially if they were not designed to be a set) compounds the challenge.
    Pbassmanca likes this.
  4. Yes but it’s not clear whether you prefer the Arcane the Lollar or the Klein ... what to buy for a maple fretboard P bass?
    Pbassmanca likes this.
  5. Snaxster


    Nov 29, 2008
    Hello Gianni. Whether I prefer which of them for what particular instrument? That is to say that I don't have a generic preference for one make/model of pickup; neither in itself nor necessarily for matching with any certain feature of bass guitars in general.

    For example, to your question: Do you mean fretted or fretless? Ash or alder body? Traditional Fender type construction or something else? For what sonic objective? And so on.

    On Friday I received a custom bass guitar built with neck through, single cut, and body top wood construction. The woods are all traditional, even the Brazilian rosewood fingerboard (found in early Fender and Gibson guitars). But the overall design is not traditional in the Fender sense. Yet for this instrument I commissioned a custom set of traditional Fender type P/J pickups. They are from an independent maker whom I ordered and talked with repeatedly during the past few years (so we understand each other). These pickups sound perfect in this bass. I took my best guess about the pickups, based on my multiple personal experiences with both the pickup maker and the luthier. This time it worked out very well.

    My advice always is to take your best guess at which makes/models of pickups to get, then try each in your own instrument. This is actually no other way to know which pickups you will like best in your own bass.
    Pbassmanca likes this.
  6. Bah... I'm much less sophisticated than you may think of ... a P bass is made by Fender for what I know and in any case according to my definition of P bass ... ash or alder in the body in my opinion has not a great effect on the bass tone .. not the same for the fretboard wood ... maple tone is much different from rosewood which I prefer ... I'm looking to install an Obsidian Wire harness on a maple fretboard MIJ PB70 to test some pickups ... I'd like to test the Fender Pure Vintage '63 and I found interesting your review of the Klein although they cost like Parma's ham but reading your other review of the Lollars etc. They all seem good ... personally I like a lot the tone of the V Mod of the Am. Pro. line... I believe AlNiCo 2 yields a clearer tone ... I'd like to test the SD Antiquity which should be AlNiCo 2 as well although they are all sold at a non-boutique price ... I'd like to know whether the boutique price of the Klein is really worth... have you tried the Fender Pure Vintage '63?
    Pbassmanca likes this.
  7. Snaxster


    Nov 29, 2008
    Probably not. I own a few modern Fender pickups, but none of those, I think.
  8. petrus61

    petrus61 Supporting Member

    The standard wind Lollar is a fantastic pickup. It pretty much ended my P pickup GAS after trying all of the Fender variants, Fralin, Duncan, GZR...it leaves me wanting for nothing. I will probably wind up grabbing an overwound for curiosity's sake one of these days. While all the others I mentioned I have liked very much at certain points in certain basses, for different reasons (the Fralin's textured and shimmering upper mids, the Fender Original's clanky highs that turn into a gut punch with rolling off the tone), the Lollar is easily the most balanced and "full range" of the lot, IMO. It just performs flawlessly in any number of situations.
  9. This is what can be read between the lines of Snaxster's reviews, I believe, although he hasn't made a clear statement in this regard ... I'll probably end up in buying the Fender Pure Vintage '63 and the Lollars non-overwound to give them a try ... on that bass (the one on the first row of basses in my avatar .. now they are 5 by the way including an Am. Pro. P bass with an Am. Pro. loaded body and an Am. Std. jazz bass neck with super sweet and balanced V Mod pickups which i suggest you to try sooner or later), a MIJ PB70, i have currently installed a pair of EMG-GZR mainly because of the hype picturing these pickups as the best overall P pickups ever made ... they are ok I have to say, powerful and complete but they lack the clarity and roundness of the V Mod and I'd like to try something else also since the bass is very valid with its 70s "A" neck and being a lightweight one ...
    Pbassmanca likes this.
  10. Snaxster, since you seem to have passion and a lot of experience in testing P bass pickups, have you ever heard about Dominger Custom Pickups? There's a comparison test on Youtube where they are compared with SD Antiquity I, SD SBP-3, EMG X and Fender Originals ... the Dominger are the best according to me and to many of the listeners ... you may give them a try and share your opinions if you are still in search of something to test in this regard ;)
    Pbassmanca likes this.
  11. Snaxster


    Nov 29, 2008
    Thanks for the referral. The name looks familiar. Currently I'm not in pickup research mode; but if ever I resume, I will check them out.
  12. Pbassmanca

    Pbassmanca In the pocket n' thumpy. So woody, so greasy...

    After reading through some of these threads with the wonderful reviews and comments by @Snaxster and @Laurent, I'm painfully reminded of my need to purchase another 5 or 6 Precision pickups to try in my basses in the quest for "that sound"......:D
  13. Planning to buy and mod a Squier PJ ... most likely an Affinity with rosewood fretboard and alder body (plus some glue, yes I know) ... I’m planning to install a SD SPB-1 pickup in the neck position (another one to add to the list) after listening to the videos from Andreas Brink ... don’t know what to put in the bridge ... I’ve been told SD stack by @Zoobiedood (don’t remember the exact model) ... another alternative, which nobody tried AFAIK, may be Fender PV ‘63 in the neck and Fender CS ‘60s in the bridge ... what do you suggest?
    Pbassmanca likes this.
  14. Zoobiedood

    Zoobiedood Commercial User

    Sep 1, 2015
    Writer/Ambassador/Artist/Resident Bass Expert for Seymour Duncan
    To blend with the SPB-1, and remain hum cancelling, you can either use an Apollo (for vintage sounds/output) or, Hot Stack to match the output of the P pickup.
  15. Pbassmanca

    Pbassmanca In the pocket n' thumpy. So woody, so greasy...

    @Zoobiedood is correct. I have personally used the SPB-1 (in standard Precision neck posistion) with the hot stack Jazz Bass pickup in the bridge position and I have zero complaints about both of those pickups both alone and when used together. I used to have a 2004 American series with an ash body with these pickups. (Now I just have the neck, waiting to be bolted to a light alder body that I have).The SPB-1 is a great Precision bass pickup with a nice punchy, vintage tone and when used in conjunction with the hot stack Jazz, I was able to get a very fat and punchy bridge sound when backing off the neck pickup. I say go for it! :thumbsup: Here is a video of me playing (with many mistakes) this exact bass at a charity Christmas concert a couple of years ago...

    Billyzoom, Snaxster, Laurent and 3 others like this.
  16. :thumbsup::thumbsup:;):thumbsup:
    Pbassmanca likes this.
  17. Great show ! Thanks for sharing :woot:;):thumbsup:
    Pbassmanca likes this.
  18. Pbassmanca

    Pbassmanca In the pocket n' thumpy. So woody, so greasy...

    Thanks @Gianni "Orlandez" Orlati! We do the show every year with local artists and musicians to raise money for the united church mission which assists local people who are facing serious socio-economic difficulties. Always lots of fun!
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