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Building my own bass, need advice on pickups

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Cambass, Jul 10, 2001.


  1. I'm currently in the middle of building my own bass guitar. My plan is to take bits from my oldest bass (I recently bought a new one) which is a crappy Samick P bass copy. It's pickup configuration is the standard P/J (which stands for PBass/JazzBass I assume?).

    My question is, would the jazz pickup, which is located near the bridge, be enough on it's own if I put it in my new bass? (I.e. would it give enough output) What's the difference between the P and J pickups? Would the J pickup give a different tone? I'm planning on having just one pickup closer to the neck and I also plan to upgrade it when I get the money.

    Thanks.
     
  2. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Cam - Right, they stand for "Precision" (staggered pickup that looks like two halves of pickups), and the "Jazz."

    Tone-wise and output-wise, this is a real crap shoot. Crappy (to use your term) basses like Samick may copy the cosmetic designs of good pups like Fenders but when it comes to tone and output, they're dogs. So what I'm saying is if you want a bass with only one pup, try both of your pickups alone, (I assume you can select one to be on full and the other to be off). Use the better sounding one.

    Typically, Jazz pickups are single coils that hum when used alone and have a very pure sound (deep clear bass & crisp, glassy highs), and are warmer than the split coil, punchy, cutting, Precision pups. Of course, whethter the J is placed in the neck or bridge position and your technique makes a lot of tonal difference.

    The J, if it is anything like conventional J's, can easily be enough on its own. Don't let the thin size fool you. Good J's have plenty of magnet and coiled wire under them for output to compete with other designs.

    Personally, I find traditional sounding P's pups more versatile but the neck position may affect that, since they are usually placed mid way between the neck and bridge.
     
  3. This is just a suggestion, but you could use both the pups, but switch their position around. By that I mean have the J at the neck, and the P at the bridge. I personally have never seen any production bass with this, so your instrument would truly be one of a kind. I also have no idea about the tone... the neck pup would be similar to a J bass with a soloed neck pup, but I have no clue as to what a P pickup in the bridge position would be...

    I've seen a BC Rich with 2 P pickups in though, never played one.
     
  4. Thanks for the replies. I should clarify what sort of tone I'm after which is a warm tone with a bit of punch.

    People have suggested soapbars, would these be worth getting?
     
  5. Well, soapbars are normally humbuckers in a square casing, nice fat tone. Punchiness comes down to the model...

    Bartolini are very warm..and you can get them in deep, bright or brightest. Maybe Bart, bright soapbars would do the trick?

    Otherwise, look at DiMarzio, Seymour Duncan and(if possible) Lane Poor. EMG's would be too bright, IMO.