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Changing P-Bass pickups

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by yawnsie, Jun 13, 2001.

  1. yawnsie


    Apr 11, 2000
    Recently, I've had the good fortune of coming into a bit of money, that is now sitting in my bank, begging to be spent on something bass related. I haven't got quite enough to get a new addition to my "family", but I have been wondering about getting new pickups for my MIA P-Bass.

    I was just wondering if anyone else has done this, whether they recommend it, what sort of difference it makes to the tone, and what sort of pickups they've used.
  2. bassmonkeee


    Sep 13, 2000
    Decatur, GA
    If you are looking for a new pickup, check out www.fralinpickups.com

    I have never heard a Fralin that sounded bad, and you can call him and tell him what kind of sound you are looking for, and he'll make it to your specs.
    Not only THAT, but if you aren't happy with the way it sounds, he will re-wind the pickup until you are happy for the cost of shipping.

    That is what I call service. If I am not happy with the New old stock Schecter pickups in my Jazz when I get it back from Curbow, I am going to be giving Mr. Fralin a call, myself.

    Good luck!
  3. gweimer


    Apr 6, 2000
    Columbus, OH
    I'm a repeat user of the Bartolini 8S passive replacement. Retails around $125, but you should be able to buy it for around $90.
  4. eric atkinson

    eric atkinson "Is our children learning "Is our teachers teachin

    Feb 4, 2001
    I did this once to my mia p-bass i used basslines pickups! Sorry cant tell you what the numbers were! But yea id agree with both above as well! I like the barts! But the basslines were very nice as well!
  5. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Yawnsie and his GAS. :rolleyes: ;)

    I have an old BP article on 4 Seymour Duncan P replacements. They popped them into a 73 Precision for testing and compared the sounds to a 59 Precis, (besides comparing them to each other).

    Their Antiquity Series Precis rated the highest in the 5 criteria they used. On a 5 point scale, it rated a 5 for warmth, string balance, and sound. Clarity was a 4 and output was a 3. They put it into their `59 P and noticed that it sounded right at home but with more output and a bit more upper end. When they stuck it into the `73 they commented, "made our `73 P-Bass sound as if it had been transported through a time warp; this hard-sounding axe suddenly churned out lots of warm, room-rumbling bottom end."

    The Bassline Hot P did well, too. It got a 5 for warmth and sound, and received 4's for clarity, output, and string balance. They commented, "...slapping styles cut...nice, fat-sounding...more output, more spunk, more impact than we got from the Basslines Vintage...isn't as super loud as the name might imply...falls between mellow-vintage and scorching."

    For scorching, they referred to the Basslines Quarter-Pound P. It was the only SD that got a 5 for output. String balance and warmth were 4's, and clarity and sound were 3's. They commented,
    "even if you play with a light touch, this pickup can make you sound like a brute...Stand back!"

    I guess the Basslines would be what they reco for old school P sound. It received 4's for warmth, string balance and sound, while clarity and output were 3's. Comments included, "...made our ash-body P, (the `73), sound a lot like the lighter, alder-body `59-its reduced output and mellowness warmed up the sound nicely...very close to that smooth, delicate, pre-CBS tone...."
  6. Flatwound

    Flatwound Supporting Member

    Sep 9, 2000
    San Diego
    I have a MIJ P that came with the standard yucky MIJ pickup. I tried an Antiquity, a Quarter Pound (SPB-3), Hot (SPB-2), and finally, a pup from an American Standard (based on a recommendation from Andy Daventry). The Antiquity is kind of noisy because of no wax potting, and I didn't like that, so I took it back. I used the Quarter-Pound for a while, but I felt that the highs were kind of harsh, so I sold it and got the SPB-2. I like the SPB-2 a lot - the highs are clear without harshness, the lows are deep, and it has a nice, clean sound. However, the A. S. pickup now resides in my P, and I like it. Clean, loud, and quiet. I put the SPB-2 in another bass that needed some mellowing, and it sounds great there.

    So that's my $.02 (or so).
  7. Old Blue

    Old Blue

    Mar 18, 2000
    The best P pickup I've ever come across is the Bartolini 8S. Good output, powerful lows (which is what a P is all about, after all), and very quiet.
  8. Go with the bartolinis; I have them in my bass, and adding them improved the sound greatly.
  9. yawnsie


    Apr 11, 2000
    Thanks for the replies, everyone. I've heard a lot about the Barts anyway, so I'll consider them. But if BP says that the Seymour Duncans give the vintage P-Bass tone, then they might be worth a try.
  10. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Yawns - I apologize. That last paragraph of mine should have said, "I guess the Basslines P would be what they recommend....." From what the article says there are two ways to go with the Basslines for down-home vintage Precis sound and the distinction is;

    The Basslines P is "VERY CLOSE" (to use Scott Malandrone's words, the author).

    The distinction of the SD Antiquity Precision is that it isn't "very close," it is dead-on vintage P, not only in cosmetics, but also in sound, except for a bit more output and high end. Evidently, Duncan considers these his masterpiece and even personally signs the bottom of each one. These are "scatter wound" by hand like the original Precis, where the pups are inconsistent because no two windings are exactly alike. Duncan artificially softens the magnetic pull to simulate 1,000's of hours of playing time on the pup. Even the screws are "pre-rusted.".

    The cheaper Vintage P rates one grade less than the Antiquity in warmth, clarity, string balance and sound.

    Just wanted to clear up any misunderstanding the omission of "P" after "Basslines may have caused.
    If you know the sound of an old Precis, it would be interesting to see a thread where you give your judgement of whichever one you get.
  11. I still stand by my suggestion to Flatwound..the American Standard pup is a damned good one.

    I can understand people not liking the modern MIA passive P bass sound (though I am a fan of the modern P bass myself)....but these are, IMHO, to do with the graphite reinforcement and the lack of a bridge pickup. The P pickup is excellent.

    If I had some money, I wouldn't fritter it away on gilding the P bass, I would put it towards another bass that gives a different sound.

    One tip on P basses...I think you get a better quality of sound if you lower the pickups...get the pup away from the strings, and the over-bassiness you sometimes find on the E and A strings markedly reduces.

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