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Best bargain basement / import PUs?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by lossfizzle, Nov 12, 2013.

  1. lossfizzle


    Jul 8, 2013
    I've been curious about the world of low-end bass pickups. They don't seem to find much discussion here on TB, as opposed to the amount of debate you'll find re Guitar Fetish / Artec stuff on just about any mostly-Western guitar forum.

    For my part, I have an SX Ursa 2 with stock pickups. I definitely like the Ursa but-- call me old school and/or skinflint-- I'm not sure a $120 bass merits a $100 pair of new DiMarzios, let alone a set of Bardens. The stock pickups sound pretty good overall, actually, but are prone to getting a little microphonic at the gig when run through my Zoom MS-60B, an occasional source of embarrassment. I'd like to replace them with something more uhhh "instrument-appropriate" in terms of total expenditure, but I also don't want to spend the money only to end up with essentially the exact same pickups simply rebadged.

    I also noticed that David Certain builds his lower-end custom models with explicitly-unnamed "secret weapon" import PUs. So I'm guessing someone must be making passable imports.

    Again, I've done pickup-forum queries on all the usual suspects and I am sort of shocked at how little ANY of the cheaper pickup options ever seem to earn discussion here. Any brand- / seller-specific good experiences and/or personal confessions?
  2. ctmullins

    ctmullins fueled by beer and coconut Supporting Member

    Apr 18, 2008
    MS Gulf Coast
    I'm highly opinionated and extremely self-assured
    I have a personal confession: I've dipped my toes into the budget-import-pickup pool several times, and I've been sorely disappointed each and every time. I had to learn the hard way that you really do get what you pay for in the vast majority of cases. For me, life is too short for cheap pickups. Duncan/DiMarzio is as downmarket as I'll ever go.
  3. Maybe keep an eye on the classified section here? I've seen some good prices on that kind of stuff
  4. Grissle


    May 17, 2009
    The Guitar Fetish pups are the only ones I've ever heard good things about.
  5. b_carville


    Jun 26, 2008
    I'm using the GFS Vintage P bass pickup.
    To my ears it sounds a lot like a Duncan Vintage P. Installed in a Fender Classic 50's body with an Allparts jazz neck.Sounds like an old P bass.I've owned enough of them.
    I will say the build quality of the GFS is not as good as a Duncan/DiMarzio/name brand.Also had to do some routing.The GFS did not drop right in.I'm not unhappy with the sound,but I might go a bit more upscale eventually.
    I dropped a set of standard Dragonfire Jazz pickups in a Starcaster Jazz bass.At 19.95 a set that's as cheap as it gets.They were nicely made & dropped in easy.They sound similar to DiMarzio's except with a bit more high end probably due to the fact they are not hum cancelling.Probably ceramic magnets.They are a lot better then the original Starcaster pups but a little too "ROCK" sounding for me.Ya know that 70's jazz sound.I didn't expect much but the bass is quite usable now.Once again I'm gonna stick something more vintage sounding in eventually.

    I can't complain about either GFS or Dragonfire but I think the best advice is to seek out used name brand pups.