1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

Best upgrade from strange fender pickups

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by BoogieWoogie, Dec 8, 2013.

  1. BoogieWoogie


    Sep 11, 2012
    Staples MN
    Hello all,

    Here's the situation. I have a fender performer bass that I'm in love with the exception of the very low amount of signal it pumps out. The stock pups are two single coils like I've never seen before. White diamond shape things. Like I said I love the design of the bass with the strange angles and narrow neck but the sound isn't usable on stage, just doesn't cut through so I must resort to the Gibson G-3 always for shows.

    Naturally the first thing that comes to mind is to add a preamp. However I would much rather stay passive. And of course I could get an eq pedal or boost pedal but I have a feeling that isn't going to satisfy me.
    What I would like to do is upgrade the pickups for a better more powerful sound. Does this sound like something different pickups could fix?

    So if I could get some input on different PASSIVE bass pickups/ setups that could possibly help me get the sound I need on stage.


  2. fhm555

    fhm555 So FOS my eyes are brown Supporting Member

    Feb 16, 2011
    never heard of the Performer so I looked it up. From what I just read, if I had one and it was in decent original condition I'd leave it that way and get something outboard to boost my signal or get another bass to do what I needed it to do.

    Apparently the Performer was made in very small numbers and collectors are starting to sniff them out. Good examples have been bringing in excess of a grand on the bay these days. Hold it another 10 years and who knows what it might be worth.
  3. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    Owner/Builder @Hopkins Guitars
    What are the measurements between the two screw holes?
  4. Stone Soup

    Stone Soup

    Dec 3, 2012
    You shouldn't modify that bass. As I recall, they weren't huge sellers, but the ones I played in the '80's sounded great. They are pretty unique and as mentioned above, there aren't a million of them around. Get an outboard preamp, if you need more from it. Keep the bass stock.
  5. Grissle


    May 17, 2009
    Get a nice outboard preamp pedal like Sadowsky, Tonehammer or Markbass. Or you could go onboard? I don't think adding a preamp will hurt its future value.
  6. TimboZ


    Jan 4, 2009
    South of Buffalo
    Whats it look like under the pickguard? Is there room to put different pickups in without routing out the body. If so get a new pickguard made and put some other pickups in it.
  7. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    Owner/Builder @Hopkins Guitars
    To me it looks like you could put a couple single coil P pickups in it with no modification. They may even fit under the covers. I would use a set of noiseless like the Frailns or Duncan Custom Shop because it would not be hum canceling with both pick ups on, unless you could find two single coils that were RWRP
  8. Cadfael


    Jan 4, 2013
    Germany, EU
    I agree with Stone Soup ...

    This seems to be a Performer 555 from (about) 1985 ...
    I have its wiring diagram in my compilation ...

    This is a unique Fender bass with TBX plus tone control.
    Your children will curse you modifying this bass!

    Cable as short as possible and then some kind of preamp if the signal is too low. An equalizer pedal might already fullfill the needs (just boosting the whole signal).
  9. BoogieWoogie


    Sep 11, 2012
    Staples MN
    Wow thanks for all the replies.

    Like I said I really like the way this bass feels and I haven't seen any other basses designed like it. I've tried to consider selling but would rather put it to use on the road.
    I don't intend to modify anything I can't return to stock. With the exception of new pickup mounting holes. Unless I find a perfect fitting replacement, the stock measurement I got was 4 1/8" on center from screw to screw.
    That being said I plan to make a (mostly)clear pick guard to house the new pickups and to show off that beautiful sunburst that has been hiding for so long. But that's a whole different thread itself.
  10. What about a pickup rewind from a reputable builder?
  11. BoogieWoogie


    Sep 11, 2012
    Staples MN
    Having troubles uploading a pic of the actual guitar but this might give an idea of the amount of space under the guard.

  12. BoogieWoogie


    Sep 11, 2012
    Staples MN
    I was considering this earlier today, any good recommendations?
  13. JustForSport


    Nov 17, 2011
    A different pickguard with choice of single coils and controls installed would allow a return to original very easily.
    Or a couple single coils that fit under those covers will allow the originals to be replaced at a later date.
  14. Dogghouse


    Jan 25, 2011
    Santa Barbara
    Bass Guy @ Seymour Duncan
    Seymour Duncan Custom Shop can rewind those hotter or to any voicing requsted for about $75 each. Maybe less.
  15. MarkoYYZ

    MarkoYYZ Commercial User

    Jan 31, 2012
    Hammersmith Music
    Before doing anything else, google 'Redeemer' circuit. Its basically a booster circuit that can go right into the bass and can easily be reversed later. It doesn't alter your signal in any way like a preamp would, it simply amplifies (and clarifies) the existing signal that the pickups are already putting out.
  16. knigel

    knigel Supporting Member

    Apr 20, 2009
    Somerville, NJ
    I'm the Squier of Fenderbirds
    That redeemer circuit is pretty cool!
  17. kohntarkosz

    kohntarkosz Banned

    Oct 29, 2013
    Edinburgh - Scotland
    Modify the bass for alltruistic reasons. You made the remaining stock Fender Performer basses go up in price!

    I'm sure Curtis Novak or similar could wind a pickup to custom specs that would fit those covers...
  18. BoogieWoogie


    Sep 11, 2012
    Staples MN
    My serious considerations are the SCPB-3 by duncan or the stacked version to satisfy my want of hum cancelling. or...has anyone ever use any guitar rail pickups in basses? Ive read probably every post about it on here but theyre mostly all relating to the musicmaster and bronce short scale basses. Would say a Dimarzio Fast track work for me?
    No modifications involved other than wiring...just curious.
  19. I have used the single coil sized rail humbuckers(intended for guitar) in basses. The main two concerns are if they are wide enough, and that they aren't voiced quite like regular bass pickups. The ones I used were hot as hell, and could really drive a distortion pedal. I liked the sound though, and I mostly kept the tone rolled off to deal with the extra highs.


    Also, I just went and measured my remaining one(Duncan Performer), and it has a rail length of about 2 1/4". You would want this to be slightly wider than your string width were you are putting it.