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Can a new pickup be added where one did not exist?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by StackAttakk, Jul 18, 2016.

  1. StackAttakk


    Aug 23, 2013
    I currently own a pretty crappy Ibanez Soundgear, and it happens to be one of the extra-cheap models that only has the two middle pickups (p-bass pickups). I've done a lot of custom work to it however, including changing the bridge and nut, changing the tuners, modifying the paint job, and covering it in decently sentimental stickers.
    That being said, my goal is not to just buy a new, better bass, my goal is to improve on this one as much as possible. I've looked around for a while and can't find any answers to this question: Can I rout a new hole near the bridge to add a bridge pickup, and if so how would I install the wiring and create a hole to attach the wiring to the knobs?
    Would I have to switch to active pickups or could they stay passive? Would it maybe help if the new pickup I'm adding was active so it could be switched on or off, while the other pick ups are just constantly doing their thing, or would that create a short circuit in the signal on the way to the amp? I don't really know much about how the electricity actually TRAVELS from the PICK UPS to the AMP, so maybe what I'm asking is not possible.
    Basically, I don't want to drill/route an entire hole in my instrument where there didn't use to be one just to find out that there is no way to actually connect the new pickup to the previously existing wiring, because my bass was only built with two center pickups and I wish to add a third bridge pickup, possibly even a neck pick up at some point.
  2. StackAttakk


    Aug 23, 2013
    Note that though I don't know much about the wiring situation, I do not a good bit about wood working and think it's possible to drill a hole from the area where all the pickup electronics are in the back of the instrument to a hole that's been routed near the bridge, I just think I'd have to remove the bridge and reinstall it later. Is that correct?
    sorry for all the questions in one...
  3. FingerDub

    FingerDub Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2016
    You can put lipstick on a pig...
    StackAttakk likes this.
  4. 58kites

    58kites Save a life....adopt a Pitbull

    Oct 21, 2014
    Austin Texas
    Yes, you can do all that, but a P bass does not need an additional pickup by the bridge.
    It really does not make it a better sounding bass.
    Buy a good used P pickup here, install that and enjoy a great sounding bass.
    Ryan6491 likes this.
  5. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol Supporting Member

    You need wood working Tools to do the woodwork. Ideally, a router and a press drill but it can be done with less if cautious.
    Your bass is passive so you need another passive pickup, with a level that matches or gets a bit higher to match.
    You also need to add at least another pot for volume. It implies that you have room in the electronic cavity or create it.

    Each of these things is heavily documented online, looking for the info by yourself is essential so you understand what's implied.

    Adding a pickup doesn't make a bass better though. It adds options for different sounds.
    Will_White likes this.
  6. RyanOh

    RyanOh Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Jun 10, 2016
    Rhode Island
    Agree with this. You have a P bass pickup, improve the sound my replacing rather than adding. You can get a kit with all parts you need and it can be passive with no battery. Either used or a new kit, like a Dimarzio.
  7. ofajen

    ofajen Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2007
    92.4W 38.9N
    Here's a possibly relevant example.

    I have an SX P bass. I also happen to have a spare single coil J pickup that came on my avatar Wishbass.

    My local tech would charge me $40 to (carefully) rout a slot on the SX P for that J pickup. He'd probably put in a hole to run the wire to the cavity, too. I don't have the tools to do that job and make it pretty, though I'd then install the pickup myself.

    Then I'd need to modify the electronics to allow the J pickup output to be used. One option is to add another volume and do something like VVT. Another option would be to add a toggle that does neck, both and bridge, presumably having both in parallel.

    The most likely thing I'd do is swap the volume for one with a switch that would let me pick one pickup or the other.

    But the basic fact is that the bass is quite satisfactory with just the P pickup, so I have yet to bother with any of this.

  8. StackAttakk


    Aug 23, 2013
    That makes sense... After further research I think I can agree with the rest of you that an additional pickup isn't entirely neccessary.. so I'll refine the question a tad bit; I'm looking for a bit of a brighter sound, but I still want to keep the fullness of my current set-up... So if anyone has any suggestions on pick ups that might have a bit more brightness to them, some kind of Seymour Duncan or something? Idk, I'm going to do some searching in some other forums as well as some research online and around youtube myself but any additional information to help refine my search is useful
  9. RyanOh

    RyanOh Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Jun 10, 2016
    Rhode Island
    New strings will have an effect on bright tone too. What strings do you use? Bright nickel or stainless steel?

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