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Changin P-bass pickups question...

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Gregory, Dec 20, 2003.

  1. I'm sure this has been discussed before... kinda a newbie question but these type of questions are hard to search for...

    Anyway, say I wanted to replace or upgrade the pickups on my P-bass (I don't, but lets pretend I do), what if they are of different size or shape of the traditional P-bass pickups? Do any companies make specific P-bass size and shape pickups since it's a very popular bass? Or do they just cut into the wood. I really have no idea how this works. Can someone inform me?
  2. Flatwound

    Flatwound Supporting Member

    Sep 9, 2000
    San Diego
    Yeah, about a gazillion. And yes, they will generally fit in the existing rout (unless your bass is non-standard for some reason). A short list of mfrs. would include Fender (duh), Bartolini, Seymour Duncan, DiMarzio, Bill Lawrence, Lindy Fralin, J.M. Rolph, Alembic, EMG, Kent Armstrong, and probably lots of others.
  3. I wish I had another "beater" p-bass layin around (sorry for the lingo, im a car nut). id like to swap some pickups and see how different they make the bass sound. i'd also like to mess with bridges and strings and such. but i'm not touching mine.
  4. MMiller28


    Apr 27, 2003
    the difference wont be enormous, but chances are you that you'll like it. if not, just put the stock pup back in and sell the one you bought
  5. Flatwound

    Flatwound Supporting Member

    Sep 9, 2000
    San Diego
    Gregory, I've done a lot of experimenting with P-bass pickups. If I had an American Series P-bass, I'd leave it alone - I think they sound great right out of the box. My current "main" bass is a '78 P that I got with a DiMarzio pickup in it. The DiMarzio sounded fine, but I had a Seymour Duncan "Vintage" pickup here, so I put it in. The Duncan Vintage is supposed to sound like an old P-bass pickup, and I think it does. I see no reason to try any other pickups in this bass (except maybe an Antiquity, which is supposed to be even more vintage-y).

    I've tried the Duncan/Basslines Quarter Pound and Hot for P-bass, the Bartolini 8su, and the EMG-P in addition to the DiMarzio (in other basses), and I like the sound of the American Fender pickups and the Duncan vintage-style pups the best. YMMV, obviously. The Bartolini sounds like a Bartolini, the Quarter Pound is kind of "scooped", the Hot is midrangey and the EMG can go from gritty-bright to super-deep IME.
  6. Wow you did all the work for me. Thanks. Yeah I'll just be leaving mine alone, but i was curious.
  7. http://news.harmony-central.com/Newp/2002/PBR-1.html


  8. I have a 1979 Fender Bullet Bass Deluxe. What's particularly "deluxe" about it, I haven't been able to figure out but I really like the way it feels and sounds.

    The problem I have though is that no matter what I do (strings of different gauges, moving the pickups up or down, adjusting the string heights, you name it), I can't make the 4th (E) string be the same volume as the other three! :meh:

    On a signal scale of 1 to 10, this string is most definately a 10 whereas the others are about the same as eachother at, say, 6.

    I wonder if, with slight alterations to the pickguard, or maybe, if it'll fit, replacing the pickguard with a Fender P-Bass one and then sticking some Seymours in there would sort it out?

    Any suggestions (other than "Get rid of the Bullet") would be greatly appreciated.

  9. thefact


    Aug 11, 2003
    hey. I have an american p-bass, and i really like the feel of it, but i would like to add a jazz style bridge pickup. has anyone done this, or does anyone know how good it will sound afterwards? also, can i do that sorta thing myself ( i think i have the right tools) or should i look for a luthier?
  10. To thefact

    I have tried to drill in a bass the result was ****……

    Go to a proof Luthier, drilling in a bass is very very difficult

    Remember you only got one chance, if you shrew it up.
    You are in serious trouble
  11. Bass


    Nov 10, 2003
    Can you drill the bass yourself to add a jazz pickup? Have a look at the attached picture. It had jazz-size pickups and I increased the cavity to allow soapbars.

    I used a router and found it tricky to keep it going straight. I did this cut freehand, following a line. It doesn't matter much in this case because the bass will be painted. But, next time I would use clamps and a straight edge to make a clean cut.

    Get a crummy used or cheap bass to fool around with. That way you won't be worried about wrecking anything. Install different pickups, install a pre-amp, fool with the bridge, whatever.

    P-basses are cool - mine is a '97 MIM and I love it. Plays and sounds good.
  12. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    Be aware that Basslines SPB-2 (and possibly 1 and 3) pickup cover's holes for the screws might not extend far enough out -- when I replaced the stock pickup in mine, the actual nubs on either side of the pickup were much smaller on the SPB-2 and it was ridiculous trying to angle the screws to go into the original holes. It eventually worked, but it was very, very awkward. Once they're in, you can change the pickup height as you would with any other one, you just have to be careful about not unscrewing it too much, otherwise the damn screws pop out and you've gotta reset them!
  13. Femto, you might be able to even out the volumes by raising the pickup a little bit on the treble side while keeping it low on the bass side. The idea is to get the pickups closer to the G and D and further from the E and A. It's probably simpler with Jazz pickups, but you can definitely play around with the P pickups to get balance.
  14. Yeah I tried that cos the Bullet has a two piece split type pickup.
    The thing is, the E string is sooooo much louder than all the other strings, I can't get the pickup far enough away without losing the A string and if I try it the other way by raising the half of the pickup that's under the D and G strings, it's so close that the strings buzz on it before I get a balance in volume!

    I have found that I can get away with it if I use a compressor but the E string does get squished by it a tad...

    I'm sure it must be those old stock pickups rather than the setup. I just hope that replacing them with something P-bass pickup shaped won't be as difficult as I'm thinking it might be! :S