Brian from BestBassGear's opinion on P Bass pickups

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Ryan Mohr, Jan 27, 2009.


  1. Ryan Mohr

    Ryan Mohr

    Oct 23, 2007
    I sent him an email last night asking to describe the tonal characteristics between Seymour Duncan Antiquity II Pride P Bass, Lindy Fralin P, and Nordstrand NP4. To me, these seem like the top 3 P bass pickups and are all around the same price so I thought it was a valid question. Here is his response:
    I thought that was interesting that he said the Antiquity IIs were smoother because most people say the Fralins and Nordstrands are smooth, with the IIs being fatter and agressive.

    To those who have tried all 3, would you agree?
     
  2. I pretty much buy my parts from Brian ONLY. I have asked him many questions about the differences in tone of various pickups and he has always been courteous enough to spend way to much of his time on the phone with me.

    Unlike most (not all) TBers, Brian has actually installed and played all the different pickups he carries.

    Also, describing the tone of a pickup is like herding cats - way to many variables to know how a different pickup will sound in YOUR bass with YOUR fingers playing it.

    Regardless, you probably have already spoken to the best source on the matter.

    Regardless again, I really enjoy my NP4, but have never played the other two.
     
  3. Ryan Mohr

    Ryan Mohr

    Oct 23, 2007
    +1, it's great to have an unbiased professional opinion who doesn't take weeks to respond. I sent him the email last night and he responded this morning!
     
  4. Ukiah Bass

    Ukiah Bass

    May 10, 2006
    Brian's great. He's been very generous responding to my questions and I've made several orders from his company. Good prices too. Recommended!
     
  5. pickles

    pickles Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2000
    Ventura, CA
    I've tried all but the Nordy, and I agree with his assessment of the other two. I love the AII-P: ultra deep, warm, smooth, with extended but not aggressive highs (meaning there is a nice smooth response up past 5k, but all of the highs from say 800hz on up are subdued compared to the bottom half of the signal). The Fralins are very balanced, so they seem tighter than the AII-P, and a touch growlier since there is just less beef on the signal. They're both really good.
     
  6. Ryan Mohr

    Ryan Mohr

    Oct 23, 2007
    Thanks, looks like I'm gonna have Antiquity IIs in my J bass (they came today:hyper::hyper:) and my P bass.

    Do the tonal characteristics of the Antiquity IIs for J Bass translate to the Antiquity II for P Bass in your opinion?
     
  7. Slater

    Slater Leave that thing alone.

    Apr 17, 2000
    The Great Lakes State
    Yes.
     
  8. pickles

    pickles Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2000
    Ventura, CA
    Sort of. The P is mellower. Both are super clean and super warm. The J's are brighter.

    I'm probably going to order some AII-Js for my Sadowsky soon, but if I was going to buy a P pickup I'd also look closely at the SJB-2 for its massive rock fatness.
     
  9. lefty007

    lefty007

    Jan 19, 2004
    Miami, FL
    1- +1 on Brian being a nice guy. Had similar experiences with nice and informational replies before buying something.

    2-Don't have experience with Antiquity IIs on P-Bass, but had them on a Jazz, and shortly thereafter I tried Nordstrand, Lollars and finally settled for Dimarzios.

    I agree with most here the the Duncan's have a bigger bottom, and slightly extended highs. There were smooth alright. I didn't like the lack of mids, but they are fine pickups by all means. The Nordys we are also a bit scooped and had a more modern sound, I thought. The Lollars were closer to a vintage pickup, with excelent balance but I wanted something with more character, so at end, I wnet with Dimarzios Js.

    But for Ps, I would go with Fralins. My two Ps have stock pickups, and they sound great, but I once made a comparison with a Fralin-equipped Lakland Glaub, and the Fralins seemed more articulate and had more character. I love mids, so I would never get a pickup withe timid mids.
     
  10. Ryan Mohr

    Ryan Mohr

    Oct 23, 2007
    Ok I was guessing the Js were brighter and the P was mellower. By super clean do you mean that they don't have that vintage breakup/grind in the high mids/low treble?

    What do you have on your Sadowsky now? Also, are the Sadowsky a little different tonally than the Antiquity II? I would guess the IIs would be a little smoother because of the "aging" process.

    I was looking at the SPB-2, but I'm going for more of a fat 60s P bass tone. A good example of this is Paul Turner's tone in Runaway at Abbey Road Studio.
     
  11. Ryan Mohr

    Ryan Mohr

    Oct 23, 2007
    I love mids too, I was under the impression that the Antiquity IIs had quite a bit of mids.
     
  12. pickles

    pickles Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2000
    Ventura, CA
    I've never really heard a pickup that would break up :confused:

    My sad has the HCs right now, which are great, but I like a true single coil. I'm not sure if the aging really changes the tone that much on antiquities. Maybe I'll get the sadowsky singles instead to check that out ...

    Again remember ... vintage pickups != fat tone ... necessarily. True vintage P pickups are balanced and very clear sounding. Paul runs his signal through a bunch of awesome tube gear to get his sound.
     
  13. Ryan Mohr

    Ryan Mohr

    Oct 23, 2007
    I probably shouldn't have said breakup, more like grind. Listen to the chords in the intro to hear what I mean - - but when I play with pickups on full on a Jazz Bass, I like to play over the neck pickup for a meatier sound.

    On an unrelated note, that Stingray tone smokes the Lakland IMO, and the Lakland P bass impersonation sounds too much like a Jazz bass neck pickup which it is.

    That P bass tone is what I want in this pickup, and seems relatively uncolored compared to Turner's Aguilar and tube DI signal path so it is less fat. I intend on buying an OLC Flipster or DHA VT1-Bass for some tubey fatness.
     
  14. Sub5ound

    Sub5ound Inactive

    Sep 6, 2008
    Catskills, New York
    FWIW, I just A/B'd a set of Fender 62's with a set of 57's (American Standard?), and the 62's were WAY smoother...which I happen not to like as much but it depends on your definition of smooth. The 50's had more attack and midrange punch at the beginning of each note, while the 62's attack was lower but stayed more level throughout the duration of the note. The 62's seemed to not have as much output, but their tone was superb(if that's what you're after). I much preferred the 50's pickups. To me they sounded like what a Precision SHOULD sound like. Again, that's subjective, but I hope this helps.
     
  15. Ryan Mohr

    Ryan Mohr

    Oct 23, 2007
    bump
     
  16. pickles

    pickles Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2000
    Ventura, CA
    Yea, that's just high mids/lower treble, which any reasonably traditional J-bass pickup should have plenty of.

    My Fender RBV is probably the closest I've heard to that tone.
     
  17. Ryan Mohr

    Ryan Mohr

    Oct 23, 2007
    This is probably the closest to the tone I am after - - from 3:10 to 3:35. He is playing more towards the bridge, so it is a less fat than it would be if he was playing over the pickup. But that is the classic P bass tone I am after. I also want to stress two things: I don't want the pickup to be overly agressive and have too many highs and I don't want the pickup to be shy in the lows/low mids/mid mids.
    Ok thanks
     
  18. Nedmundo

    Nedmundo Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2005
    Philadelphia
    If you want smooth tone, reduced treble, and hefty lows and low-mids, you'd probably really like the Seymour Duncan SPB-2. That's exactly how I'd describe it. It's a fat, thick variation on vintage tone, which isn't surprising because it's an overwound version of the SPB-1. It is an excellent overall pickup.

    However, I think the P-bass in that clip (which I really enjoyed, BTW, thanks) sounds different. It's more of a classic vintage tone, and I think has more treble and less boom than the SPB-2, but I haven't used the Duncan in a couple of years so I can't be sure. And, as you point out, he is playing close to the bridge, so the treble will be slightly accentuated.

    Even so, if that's the tone you want, maybe start with the SPB-1. It will sound close to a stock U.S. Fender, but probably with more clarity in the lows, where the Fenders can sound "blurry," and it should have the Duncan smoothness.
     
  19. Ryan Mohr

    Ryan Mohr

    Oct 23, 2007
    Thanks for the recommendations, but I really do want a vintage pickup. I just wanted to emphasize that I don't want a lot of highs.

    Yeah that P bass in the clip is the classic tone I want. IMO it doesn't have too many highs but doesn't sound muted at the same time.

    I have heard that the SPB-1 is very bright and focused in the high mids. Any truth to that?
     
  20. Nedmundo

    Nedmundo Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2005
    Philadelphia
    Problem is, vintage P-bass pickups DO produce lots of highs. That tone control is there for a reason. Many folks associate vintage P-bass tone with thick, flatwound thump, but the pickups themselves have loads of treble response and clarity. That's why so many P-bass players roll off the treble and/or use flats. Heck, even with the extra-phat SBP-2 I would roll of the treble sometimes depending on strings, rig, etc. With rounds and the treble all the way up, it was super thick, but also clear. And I usually roll it back with the Lindy Fralin I use now, unless I'm using dark-sounding strings like GHS Precision flats, which are amazing.

    You might know all this, but it seems you want contradictory things. Treble and vintage pickups go hand in hand. You'd probably do best with a punchy vintage-voiced pickup, and should just roll off the treble a bit. Since you want smooth, I'd say Nordstrand over Fralin. I've never tried the Nordstrand, but have heard clips and read descriptions indicating it's smoother than the Fralin, which is a slightly gritty, raw sounding little beastie.

    The quest for one's preferred P-bass tone is fun, so enjoy.
     
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