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Advise on pickups for a versatile 3 pickup Ric/Jazz/Precision killer

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by MOTORHEADBANGER, Feb 6, 2017.


  1. MOTORHEADBANGER

    MOTORHEADBANGER Spud-boy looking for a real tomato

    Dec 23, 2008
    Sidney, Indiana
    Hi everyone,
    I've been thinking for a while about putting together a tonally versatile bass for the music I play. I switch from quite regularly from pick to fingers, aggressive 4001-esque tones to smooth jazz bridge pickup mwah, often in the same song, and would like a single instrument to eliminate the need for switching on stage. My Geddy Lee has proven to be very versatile, but the neck pickup lacks the true grunt of a precision or a 4000 series and is a bit too "brittle" in the top end.

    Ideally, I'd love to go the Dave Meros route and build an instrument with kind of a 4004/4003s body and a set of Hi-Gains in the 4003 placement and a set of jazz pickups in the 70's jazz placement with a 3 way toggle to flip between "Ric mode," "J mode" and "all in." Sadly, budget/time available is an issue so I think I'm settling for a precision body, a maple board jazz neck (to get the brightness of a Rickenbacker fretboard and a little bit of mwah with low action), and three pickups. A Rickenbacker type pickup in the 4003 neck position, a precision pickup in the usual spot, and a j bridge pickup in 70s position.

    My main dilemma is on pickup selection and wiring. I'm thinking about going with humbuckers for all 3 pickups to reduce phasing issues and noise. I figured an HB-1 in the neck would be a good fit for the Rickenbacker tone and it would play well with the P pickup and if both were wired with 500k pots it'll bring out a little extra clarity and brightness from both to get a little closer into the 4003 territory.

    I was curious on Talkbass's collective thoughts on the matter. I'd really like some advice on what pickups I should choose and whether or not this venture will get me what I'm wanting tonally.
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2017
  2. sikamikanico

    sikamikanico

    Mar 17, 2004
    Arkansas
    I don't see why this wouldn't work - it's essentially a PJ bass with a neck pickup. The question is whether you would be satisfied, and it may be best to just try it. If budget is a concern, get a cheap PJ and put a neck pickup in there. This should get you in the ballpark and help you figure if you want to go further or not. What might be interesting is to reverse the P - I find it that reverse P can get somewhat Rickenbackerish on the EA side (then again, I suppose that could be said of DG on a classic P).

    It may be far easier to just get some meaty pickups for your Jazz bass, if you're willing to mod it. Perhaps Dimarzio Model Js... (Model PJ would be my choice for the PJ side of your original idea - ubiquitous, rather cheap, works well). Or some people like series wiring on a jazz bass. Another way you can mod the jazz tone is with some caps, but you'd have to experiment with different values to see if it would work for your purposes.

    Last, and possibly best, are you sure you've exhausted all technique options? By far the easiest to change mid-song, and often to best results... Then again, maybe you just need a P... :D
     
    MOTORHEADBANGER likes this.
  3. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Try the series/parallel mod on your Gaddy. I think you may be surprised at how much more versatile it is.

    But other than that, your idea should work fine.
     
    MOTORHEADBANGER likes this.
  4. MOTORHEADBANGER

    MOTORHEADBANGER Spud-boy looking for a real tomato

    Dec 23, 2008
    Sidney, Indiana
    Of course, change of technique is the biggest factor, but no matter where you play on it, a bass with a single coil jazz pickup in the jazz neck position is not going to sound exactly like a precision pickup or a 4003 bridge pickup (at least to me, somewhat close but no cigar)
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2017
  5. MOTORHEADBANGER

    MOTORHEADBANGER Spud-boy looking for a real tomato

    Dec 23, 2008
    Sidney, Indiana
    I've had a jazz (well, jaguar technically) with a series/parallel switch and it really didn't blow me away
     
  6. sikamikanico

    sikamikanico

    Mar 17, 2004
    Arkansas
    Yeah, that's only a recommendation if you don't want to cut up your jazz bass. I used to have Aero Type 1 jazz pups in a Lakland and that was the meatiest single coil jazz I've heard so far. Some people like Model J's, but those are split coils. Nordstrand SE series are also popular meaty split-coil jazz pups, and they're alnico (unlike Model Js).

    Truth is, you imo can't go wrong trying a PJ. You might find that you don't need a neck pickup. Heck, you might find it that you don't need a bridge pickup :)
     
  7. MOTORHEADBANGER

    MOTORHEADBANGER Spud-boy looking for a real tomato

    Dec 23, 2008
    Sidney, Indiana
    Well, I'm planning on building a parts bass so cutting up the jazz will not be on the table (I love it too much as is).:)

    I'm definitely going for the Rickenbacker tone so I'll definitely be using a neck pickup (the Squire and Macca tones you can get from it are too awesome to pass up), and the bridge pickup is something I really like for a faux fretless tone.
     
  8. MOTORHEADBANGER

    MOTORHEADBANGER Spud-boy looking for a real tomato

    Dec 23, 2008
    Sidney, Indiana
    Has anyone on here paired a RIC HB-1 with a precision pickup before? I'm really curious to see how they sound together. In a perfect world it'd be great to get a slightly thicker 4001 tone without the hum.

    Also, would adding a .0047 cap to the p pickup get me closer into that vintage 4001 territory or would that make it too thin compared to the HB-1?
     

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