Another P-bass pickup upgrade thread

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by guroove, Feb 19, 2010.

  1. guroove


    Oct 13, 2009
    Buffalo, NY
    OK, I've read all the stickies and searched, but I'm looking for something very specific, and I know there is a simple answer to this. I have a 2008 standard (MIM) P-bass. The sound is very midrangey, and sounds thin. I can hear a lot of the octave harmonic in the low E string instead of a strong fundamental. I need a fat, deep sounding pickup, with a strong low mid presence without losing that characteristic precision growling sound.

    I don't think I have any shortage of highs, but I don't want a dark sounding pickup, just big, fat, round, and punchy.

    I'm looking at the '62 reissue pickup and the quarter pounders. Which is closer to the sound I'm looking for? Does anyone have any other suggestions?
  2. bongomania

    bongomania Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    Not the QP. The QP is mid scooped, not "fat" or "round". The '62 is a good bet, and the Bill Lawrence P46 is another.
  3. guroove


    Oct 13, 2009
    Buffalo, NY
    Thanks, bongo. Another issue I have with my P-bass sound is the sound with the tone pot turned down, but I think changing the pickup might correct this. When I have the tone turned all the way down, I can still hear the mids way more than I would like to. The octave harmonic is almost more pronounced, and I find it to be an ugly sound. Would the '62 reissue pickups fix this problem as well, or should I go with a different capacitor?
  4. bongomania

    bongomania Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    It's a balancing act between the pickup, the resistive value of the tone pot, and the cap value.
  5. guroove


    Oct 13, 2009
    Buffalo, NY
    Do you happen to know what the value of the stock resistor in a 2008 MIM p-bass is? If I increase the value of the resistor, that should lower the frequency that the tone pot starts rolling off, correct?
  6. AFAIK, there's no resistors in a 2008 MIM - I have 2 2009 MIM P's, and they didn't have any, sooo...

    I think you're referring to the cap - and I suspect that they're .022's, although I haven't metered one.

    I find that for a richer, darker sound, a .047 on a 250Ko pot works well. Some people like .068's or even .1's. I tend to stick with a .047.

    As for pickup - I suggest a SeyDunk Antiquity 2. I have a 2009 MIM set up with an Antiquity 2, 250Ko CTS pots, and a .047 Orange Drop, and her sound is really rich and round.

    My 2 cents.
  7. kraigo


    Jun 21, 2007
    Minneapolis, MN
    This basically describes my P-Bass's electronics. I think it's the way a P-Bass is supposed to sound, and given my preferences, how a bass is supposed to sound.


  8. GlennW

    GlennW Inactive

    Sep 6, 2006
    IME the Fender '62 RI aka Original would be the best choice for the money.

    And more important than that, get two 250K CTS pots while you're at it. Crappy pots WILL choke the sound.

    I'd even suggest you change the pots and try OD caps in the .047-.1uF range before swapping the pickup. That might be enough. If it isn't, then swap the pickup.
  9. Crappy pots don't "choke" the sound. The issue with crappy pots is they won't last as long as CTS (yet to see this in reality) and they don't have tolerences as tight as CTS pots. And having a higher or lower resistance from the pots will have an effect on the sound.

    I've used Alpha and CTS. Going to stick with Alpha.
  10. GlennW

    GlennW Inactive

    Sep 6, 2006
  11. Nedmundo

    Nedmundo Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2005
    If cost isn't a problem, I'd recommend a Lindy Fralin with a 5% overwind for a little more phatness, though I find plenty with his stock wind. Otherwise, you might like Seymour Duncan's SPB-2, which is a heavily overwound version of the vintage-voiced SPB-1. It's deep, fat and thick, with lots of low mids and reduced treble. However, it's smooth and creamy, not slightly ragged like the Fralin, so if you want growl -- or at least my interpretation of "growl" -- I'm not sure you'd like it. That's largely why I replaced it with the Fralin, which IMO is a perfect blend of vintage vibe and aggressive punch. The SBP-2 is a very good overall pickup though, especially if you normally roll off some treble.
  12. Emergancy Exit

    Emergancy Exit

    Sep 26, 2007
    Mobile AL
    what about a dimarzio split P? or do you want like a classic sound? still not sure what you are after
  13. guroove


    Oct 13, 2009
    Buffalo, NY
    I guess it's a more traditional sound I'm after. What I really wanted was to get rid of this ugly nasal sounding upper mid pronounced sound that my MIM P pickup is putting out. Low end, punch, and some growl are what I'd really like. I don't mind a bright pickup as long as it isn't over accentuating the high mids.
  14. mellamoyo


    Jan 19, 2010
    +1 to Bill Lawrence pups
  15. i'm writing in attempt to offset the 62 fender pickup suggestion ...because i don't think it would be a good idea.

    that pickup design is "deeper" when used in combination with the mellower wood of the old instrument design and with flatwounds. I don't think its going to be a drastic change from your current set-up. It sounds like you need to compensate for some bright, thin, new wood.

    Look into getting a Aero, Fralin, or Nordstand that has a wider spectrum. Someone mentioned an overwound Fralin which is think is a great idea; its going to shift the frequency spectrum down to where you want it.

    I have a squier precision (my first bass) that i gig with. Its ****** acoustically but i popped a Dimarzio P in there, use it with steel rounds, and it is deep, full, with a little bit of zing (from the steels) if i need it. That pickup is super punchy, deep as hell, but also the most colored pickup i've ever used.
  16. Emergancy Exit

    Emergancy Exit

    Sep 26, 2007
    Mobile AL
    in the discription from dimarzio's site it says the split P was designed to compensate for how midrangy the 1 pickup P sounds and extend the bass and trebble to make it sound more full sounding. so it sounds like it was made to enhance the good reduce the bad.
  17. You've spent money, of course you're going to think you hear something different.

    Unless the pots were faulty, a resistor is a resistor. If there was any actual difference, it was more likely caused by the more expensive pots being closer to the rating they have. The cheaper ones may have been a bit on the low side, resistance-wise, causing a slight loss of high end.

    I remember sticking a new pickup in the bridge position of a friends tele. It had extra lengths of wire inside so you could tap between the number of turns in the pickup. (basically switch between tele sounding to a P-90-esque tone).

    To mess with him I didnt wire up the switch when I first stuck it in. Yet he was positive he could hear a change in tone when he toggled the switch :smug:
  18. Datsgor

    Datsgor Supporting Member

    Jul 29, 2000
    Before you buy, check out the:

    Rio Grande- Muy Grande for P
    Delano- PMVC 4 FE/M2

    at least read a little about them.:)

    Peace, John
  19. RedsFan75


    Apr 26, 2007
    It's funny this thread is here and active today, I just came in here with the thoughts of upgrading my P. I've got a '96 Black Label Fender, and the pots are starting to get a bit scratchy, so I thought while I was at it I'd upgrade it all.

    I use flats on it and am really looking for that classic sound, and, if I'm reading morehorn right that '62 should be what I"m looking for???

    I'm looking at upgrading my pots to 250k CTS and an .047 Orange Drop, Get the whole kit...

    Sound right?
  20. tito0515


    Aug 21, 2008
    I have a MIM P-bass that had the same problem. HATED the sounds I was getting. I found that they were out of phase. Still, didn't dig the sound after the rewire. Tried the QP with rounds and flats. Liked it better with flats, but they do have the "scooped" sound with either set. I wound up going with DiMarzios strung with the exact same flats and I now love the sounds I get from it. (I also changed pots as I changed PUPs.)

    Hope you find the sound in your head!