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"Burpy" (EDIT: “subtle growl?”) PU suggestions for the ole P Bass

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Bruiser Stone, Feb 14, 2020.


  1. Bruiser Stone

    Bruiser Stone Supporting Member

    Dec 7, 2017
    Tennessee
    Warning: overly poetic, non-technical adjectives ahead.

    I've got a '78 P Bass with nice, clean, mid-heavy stock PU's. My plan is to pull them out, maybe send them off for a rewind, and keep them for future contemplation. In the meantime, I'd like to try something else that will drop in easily and keep their spot warm.

    Maybe it's just 41 years of accumulated existence, or an inherent characteristic of late-70's vintage PU's, but a little more grunt in the low-mid's would be nice without scooping any of the mid's. I love mid's, but instead of the clean-ish cut these put out, something with more "burp" would be ideal. Yep...burp is how I describe it...beefier, burpy mid's. I can get there a little with rolling off some of the bottom and top ends, but I'm having a hard time retaining enough low end to stay heavy.

    EDIT: I’ve since learned “burp” is often associated with Jazz basses. I didn’t say full-on “growl” because I think Duff McKagan/GK, but my terminology may not be helpful, so to supplement my clip in post #6, here’s another on from Buddy Walkin...I’m really diggin’ his tone:

    Nickel rounds get me in the vicinity, especially Rotosound nickels as I think Buddy is using in the clip (without the silks), but a certain thickness is lacking that I suspect isn't an amp/string/fingers issue. Nickels have a spongy, springy feel to them that encourage my fingers to squeeze the notes a little more, and this seems to help get me in the right direction of what I want to hear. I suspect time and diminished output could be the culprit, but suggestions aside from different PU's are welcome.
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2020
    jastacey and Skillet like this.
  2. Bruiser Stone

    Bruiser Stone Supporting Member

    Dec 7, 2017
    Tennessee
    I see that I don't hold a copyright on the "burp" after a little more searching, but I'll leave the question open for the TB think-tank.
     
  3. Warpeg

    Warpeg Supporting Member

    Jun 20, 2005
    Ohio
    Fender PV ‘63
     
  4. NKBassman

    NKBassman Lvl 10 Nerd

    Jun 16, 2009
    Winnipeg, MB, Canada
    Hmmm. I'm not the be-all end-all defacto source of knowledge on P Bass pickups, but right now I can tell you that I'm really liking the Nordstrand NP4a I have in my Highway One P bass. On the whole it has a nice classic P bass tone, but I find it has a nice pleasant and present midrange. Not overly hot and/or muddy like some, and not too fat or hollow sounding. I find it offers a nice balanced approach to a slightly different kind of P bass sound.

    The word "burp" is typically used to describe Jazz bass bridge pickups. I don't know that I'd say the NP4a is overly burpy, but I wouldn't describe it as particularly growly (a la Dimarzio Model P), not overly hot, not muddy, not particularly fat/phat, and not a true vintage voiced pickup either. It's got its own thing going on which is subtle, but very nice.
     
    Bruiser Stone likes this.
  5. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    i love "burp." and because i have a J and some PJs i expect to get some "burp" when i want it.

    re: Ps and "burp" --- i recently put a dimarzio DP127 split P pickup in my parts P and i'm actually impressed with the "burp." of course, i can modify the 'burpiness' quality with the amp's EQ (and i'm using TI jazz rounds).

    i can't say that the pickup is the 'burpiest' on my one-trick-pony P ( :D ), but it's enough "burp" for me! good luck with your search for "burp!" :thumbsup:
     
    Spidey2112 and Bruiser Stone like this.
  6. Bruiser Stone

    Bruiser Stone Supporting Member

    Dec 7, 2017
    Tennessee
    Thanks for the suggestions thus far.

    I hope this helps a little. Here’s an example of our friend Buddy Walkin playing something funky on his MIM Classic 50’s P. I messaged him regarding strings, and those are no-silk Rotos, presumably nickel.


    “Burp,””growl,””awesome undercurrent of stank”...maybe I’ve just got some upper GI issues. :laugh: This is something I just can’t seem to get my bass pull off. Other than my fingers failing me, my best guess was different PU’s.
     
    LowActionHero and NKBassman like this.
  7. Slater

    Slater Leave that thing alone. Supporting Member

    Apr 17, 2000
    The Great Lakes State
    That sounds like a good, solid P-Bass tone. I wouldn’t be surprised If that’s the stock Classic 50’s pickup, which is pretty decent. I think the excellent playing and the drop tuning give the illusion that there’s something more special going on.
     
    Curtbass and Bruiser Stone like this.
  8. MAJOR METAL

    MAJOR METAL The Beagle Father Supporting Member

    I would say if you want to go burpy with a P pickup go with EMG or MEC.
     
    Bruiser Stone likes this.
  9. Bruiser Stone

    Bruiser Stone Supporting Member

    Dec 7, 2017
    Tennessee
    The thought has crossed my mind to just find what comes in a stock Classic 50’s and try it...or something similar. The excellent playing is above my pay grade right now, but I’m working diligently to get there. :D
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2020
    Slater likes this.
  10. Bruiser Stone

    Bruiser Stone Supporting Member

    Dec 7, 2017
    Tennessee
    I edited the original post with another of Buddy’s clips and modifying the terminology a bit between “burp” and “growl.” Thanks again so far for the replies.
     
  11. Jackcrow

    Jackcrow Supporting Member

    Jul 10, 2017
    North Dakota
    I think to get that powerful “burp” sound you’re going after you’re probably going to need a bridge pickup.

    I have been able to get some of that tone by playing a lot closer to the bridge on a single pickup P Bass. But bright strings and a pickup with good mids is going to help.

    Personally, if I’m going for that sound I like to have a high output pickup in the bridge position.
     
    Killed_by_Death likes this.
  12. Jackcrow

    Jackcrow Supporting Member

    Jul 10, 2017
    North Dakota
    After listening to those clips, I don’t think I would describe those tones as “burpy”. It’s a great sounding P Bass for sure. I think you could get there with some vintage spec pickups and some stainless rounds like DR Hi Beams or Lo Riders.

    When I think of a “burpy” tone, this is why I think of:

     
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  13. Bruiser Stone

    Bruiser Stone Supporting Member

    Dec 7, 2017
    Tennessee
    Yeah, terminology is subjective and I edited my original post when I realized my description could be bleeding into unintended meaning.

    I messaged Buddy and he confirmed Rotos, though he didn’t specify steel or nickel. With no silks, I guessed nickel, and based on my experience with steel Rotos, his strings sound a little more subdued.

    I agree some vintage, not modern, spec PU is in order, but after listening to so many clips, they start to blend together. But I do love Buddy’s tone however he manages to get it.
     
    NKBassman and Jackcrow like this.
  14. I certainly love my Fender Pure Vintage 63 pickups, haven't been able to head to head compare though.
     
    Linnin and Bruiser Stone like this.
  15. Compression helps a great deal in this case. It creates that "pop" on each note's front end.
     
    Bruiser Stone likes this.
  16. To be that sounds like he's got a good amount of compression going on. Maybe that's what you're after?
     
    Bruiser Stone likes this.
  17. Bruiser Stone

    Bruiser Stone Supporting Member

    Dec 7, 2017
    Tennessee
    I do have a Diamond Comp back home. I’ll mess with it a little later on. But practicing for tomorrow’s gig on my little PJB, I discovered coming down on the both the amp’s mids and the Fender’s tone knob is getting me closer to home, contrary to what I expected.

    I haven’t had the Diamond very long, and overall I’m a compression noob, so it will take some time to find the spot.
     
  18. Linnin

    Linnin

    Jul 19, 2012
    Linningrad, Earth
    They are the burp king
     
    Bruiser Stone likes this.
  19. Bruiser Stone

    Bruiser Stone Supporting Member

    Dec 7, 2017
    Tennessee
    Three votes so far. We may have a winner. Thx!
     
    Linnin likes this.

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