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Adding a third pickup to P/J bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by c3powil, Oct 9, 2016.


  1. c3powil

    c3powil

    Apr 18, 2008
    North of ATL, GA
    I have a bass that plays well and sounds good as it is, and I got a great deal on it, which is the only way I'd really ever be able to afford it. It's the ESP RB-1005 Rocco Prestia signature bass.

    The problem is that, while it sounds good, I'm having a hard time getting that "soapbar" sound, which is a must have. The bass already has some pretty weird configurations going. It's got an inverted P, and a J that is slanted very close to the bridge at the B and E strings. The PO had an active three band seymoure duncan preamp installed with a double pot for treble and bass, a mid knob, blend, and volume.

    I'm thinking that adding in a pickup just above the slanted J would get at the sweet spot that I want. But what kind of pickup. I lovvveee bartolini soap-bar sound in the bridge. Would adding in a soapbar right in front of the J be a smart idea?
     
  2. dedpool1052

    dedpool1052

    Jan 10, 2011
    Seattle, WA
    I would take a different approach. Instead of installing a third pickup, I'd ditch the J and have it routed for a soapbar that has the ability to be split, so it can still get a single-coil tone.
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2016
    DigitalMan likes this.
  3. c3powil

    c3powil

    Apr 18, 2008
    North of ATL, GA
    I was thinking of that, too. The low end of the J is very close to the bridge, though, and just gets too trebley for me to use full on, by itself. Not enough oomph. I just use it to color the P and it gives the P a more modern vibe. Mainly I sit in a 60/40 split between the P and J respectively. So, with that said, wouldn't putting the soapbar there create the same situation?
     
  4. dedpool1052

    dedpool1052

    Jan 10, 2011
    Seattle, WA
    IMO, it shouldn't be too much of a problem assuming the output of the soapbar matches the output of the P and the height is adjusted accordingly. Also, if I were to add a switch for single-coil operation, I'd use the coil on the neck side.


    *edit*
    Another idea is instead of a soapbar, add a secondary J pickup directly in front of the bridge pickup and wiring both to a 3-position switch,
    both in series
    both in parallel
    front coil only
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2016
    superheavyfunk likes this.
  5. Minirehak 212

    Minirehak 212

    Mar 7, 2015
    Milwaukee
    Now when you say soapbar are you talking about a humbucker sound? The soapbar is just the shape of the pickup and it can have a single coil, split coil, dual and quad coil setup. So what pickup are you talking about exactly, I am confused
     
  6. DigitalMan

    DigitalMan Wikipedia often mistakes my opinions for fact Supporting Member

    Nov 30, 2011
    This could be both a sonic and aesthetic win.
     
  7. BassBuzzRS

    BassBuzzRS

    Oct 18, 2005
    Norway
    Don't do it! It already has a pickup too many (the J) :p
     
  8. c3powil

    c3powil

    Apr 18, 2008
    North of ATL, GA
    Yes, I mean Humbucker. Would adding a second single coil give me the same tonal effect as a humbucker? Also, I'm beginning to suspect that a lot of the problem is the P. it's Aguilar's 60's style P. If i replaced it with a more moder sounding P, I wonder how much it would help.
     
  9. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    Connecticut
    Agreed on a better second pup rather then #$&&$-ing with a third. Would also make it easier to sell in the future (the weirder something is, the smaller the market).
     
  10. Minirehak 212

    Minirehak 212

    Mar 7, 2015
    Milwaukee
    If you wire your pickups in series it could give it more of a humbucker sound. Like others have said I would do a pickup swap before routing anything. The PJ is a really good config. I would look for a more modern set, my personal choice would be active EMG's. Can't get much more modern sounding than that
     

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