Artec pickups an improvement over stock MIM Fender pups?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Bluebard, Jun 22, 2016.


  1. Bluebard

    Bluebard

    Oct 21, 2014
    Buffalo
    Hey bass dudes,

    I'm looking at swapping the pickups on my MIM Fender jazz bass for a mellower, warmer, more vintage 60s-ish tone. So I'm in the market for alnico pups rather than ceramic pups (the stock pups in my jazz being ceramic, which yields a brighter tone). Searching eBay for alnico pickups, I came across these pickups by Artec:
    Cream Alnico 5 Vintage Style Neck Pickup for Fender Jazz J Bass® PU-JBA-NC

    I imagine that they will be warmer-toned than my stock pickups because they're alnico, and because they are described as "vintage". I also appreciate that they are cream-colored, to match the cream color of my jazz bass.

    However, I'm wondering whether Artec is considered a step up in quality from the stock pickups in MIM basses. Could anyone shed some light on this question? If they are an improvement, what makes them an improvement? Do you think they'll bring me closer to the sound I'm after?
    (I will also be doing a mod with a push-pull pot to allow switching between series and parallel configuration; the pickup swapping was more of an afterthought, something I figured that I might as well do while I'm working on the electronics).

    Thanks guys! I appreciate your help! :D
     
  2. I've used many artec products over the years, mostly on my own projects. (Customers tend to want american made, name brand stuff.) And I've been really impressed with the stuff. AFAIK, this stuff is designed in Korea, and made in China, but it is very well made IME - not like a lot of cheap and cheerful Chinese made guitar parts.

    I've actually got an alnico Artec P pickup in my main bass, and it has played many gigs and recording sessions, and sounds fantastic.

    From seeing those ceramic magnet mexican pickups, I'd say the artec alnico ones would be a big step up, both in build quality and also tone.

    This is a generalisation, but usually the tonal shift from cheap ceramic mags to decent alnico mags is most noticable in the treble. Alnico sounds much sweeter, more bell-like. Ceramic treble sounds more brash and in-your-face.
     
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  3. Bluebard

    Bluebard

    Oct 21, 2014
    Buffalo
    Thanks RobbieK! That sounds like what I'm looking for! I'm stuck between the Artec pups I linked above and these Guitar Madness pickups, also alnico:
    G.M. Bumpers! 60's Style J-Bass Alnico 5 Pickups

    Any experience with the latter? If I can't learn anything about the GM Bumpers, I'll probably get those Artecs.
    Thanks again!
     
  4. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    May 24, 2006
    home
    You could also try pickups offered by Guitar Fetish. They're very inexpensive compared to most of what's out there, come in a variety of styles and degrees of overwinding, and sound really good to my ears. Especially their Alnico classic models. Might be worth a look.

    Luck!
     
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  5. Bluebard

    Bluebard

    Oct 21, 2014
    Buffalo
    Thanks for the tip 40Hz! I'm looking at those at those now too!
     
  6. honeyiscool

    honeyiscool

    Jan 28, 2011
    San Diego, CA
    A lot of GFS pickups are built by Artec.

    I'll just say that I think almost anything is better than a stock MIM standard pickup. I'd take Squier Standard pickups instead of a MIM Standard.

    Try to see if you can track down a Squier Classic Vibe pickup. In my book, these are THE best pickups for under $40 a piece, no contest.

    But generally, I do like Artec stuff. You just have to be careful, though. It's only cheap if you know you'll never need another set of pickups. It's not economical to spend $30 just to buy $90 pickups later. I'm almost always reasonably happy with cheap alnico P pickups, but J pickups, I almost always end up springing for at least a DiMarzio Area or something to cut down on noise.
     
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  7. Bluebard

    Bluebard

    Oct 21, 2014
    Buffalo
    Thanks honeyiscool, good advice!
     
  8. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    May 24, 2006
    home
    This.

    It's only a bargain if you don't end up replacing it twice before you finally buy what you should have gotten to begin with. So take the long view. Two times $40 here and $60 there for a total of between $80 and $100+ a pop adds up pretty quickly. Especially when you consider how a top shelf set of JBass pups like a pair of Aguilars runs around $170 - and a pair of Fralins about $180 most places.

    So unless you like to experiment - or just keep your spare and junk parts bin full - it pays (literally) to think it through.

    There are serious bargains to be had. And you don't need to spend a lot to get a good sounding pickup. But there's slso some real garbage out there. And the quality control can get dicey with a bargain pickup. So know the score and the risks before you buy.

    Don't forget to check the classifieds here either. Some good stuff to be had at very good prices if you're patient.
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2016
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  9. honeyiscool

    honeyiscool

    Jan 28, 2011
    San Diego, CA
    A set of DiMarzio Model Js run about $119 new and I happen to think they're ideal for just about anything. For me, J pickups are just not worth it until I can get in at least that price range.

    Whereas with P pickups, I am perfectly ecstatic with a single vintage wind Alnico pickup, which I can find for like $28 (Squier Classic Vibe 60s).
     
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  10. Green Knight

    Green Knight Supporting Member

    Oct 18, 2016
    Hi everybody!
    Resuscitating this thread b/c I have a chance to buy a modded Fender Bullet with two Artece Twin JB pickups. I would have modded it anyway, albeit with more expensive pickups, but wondering if anyone can speak to the quality of the Artecs on its at present.
     
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