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Differences b/w high end and moderately priced j and p pickups - any thoughts/recs for alternatives

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Tom0Blam0, Feb 13, 2016.

  1. Tom0Blam0

    Tom0Blam0 Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2014
    I am in the process of modding by MIM fender urge bass from an active JJ bass to a passive JPJ bass. I have some thoughts about what pickups I would ideally like to use (lindy fralin for the jazz pups, emg-gzr for the p pup); however, getting these will take some time unless i get used, which would be fine, but they don't necessarily come along too often.

    I have thought about using model p and model j pickups, but I don't know if they'll get the sound I want (I'm thinking I want my p-pup to capture that 60s p-bass tone, which the geezers apparently nail. The J pups I want something versatile and i love the way the fralins sound and I also love Geddy's tone, so something punchy would be great as well).

    Anyway, long question short - should I hold out for high price pups, or would I be able to get what I'm looking for at a lower price point? I think the gzr pups are reasonably price, but the fralins are definitely not. Any suggestions for alternative pups that would do the job without breaking the bank?
  2. sunbeast

    sunbeast Supporting Member

    Jul 19, 2006
    Los Angeles, CA
    It's all subjective when it comes to how people hear things. I've tried a ton of J pickups over the years, and for clear grind like Geddy I would take Duncan SJB-1s over Fralins anyday (and they are much cheaper and easy to find). They are lower output than the Fralins, but far clearer in my experience.

    I've also tried a ton of P pickups, and personally prefer the Fralin or especially the Lollar over the Geezer, though I don't believe the difference would be worth the added cost if you are on a budget (and some folks do seem to prefer the Geddy to the Fralin).
  3. Tom0Blam0

    Tom0Blam0 Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2014
    Thanks for the input! Are the duncan sbj1s still able to get a vintage jazz bass sound as well, or just good for that Geddy growl?
  4. Nev375


    Nov 2, 2010
    You don't need any fancy rare or expensive materials to build a pickup.

    It's just a coil of wire and magnets.

    Some sound good, some don't.
    It all depends on who you ask.

    Also theres a lot more to tone than pickups. The same pickups will sound entirely different on two different basses.

    So it's a crapshoot no matter what you choose. Good luck.
    shawshank72 likes this.
  5. sunbeast

    sunbeast Supporting Member

    Jul 19, 2006
    Los Angeles, CA
    The SJBs are perfect for vintage Jazz tone, and Geddy's tone IS vintage Jazz tone- as far as I'm aware he just uses a stock 70s Jazz bass, and the stock Fender pickups were generally fairly lightly-wound by today's standards (creating a very clear tone that grinds nicely with the right strings and attack. Dimarzios are very much high-output and overwound by comparison, and lack that clear grind that Geddy has in spades!)
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2016
  6. ctmullins

    ctmullins fueled by beer and coconut Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 18, 2008
    MS Gulf Coast
    I'm highly opinionated and extremely self-assured
    Wilde makes high-end pickups that carry a moderate price tag. I love my L-90s, and will soon be doing a double-reverse-P with a pair of P-46s. :bassist:
  7. You shouldn't think that you need an expensive pickup to sound good. Great pickups can be found at any price point.
    wcriley and Nev375 like this.
  8. Tom0Blam0

    Tom0Blam0 Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2014
    I like the sound of that. Any suggestions? I'm certainly not interested in getting something just because it's expensive. I've heard good things about the bill lawrence p-pickup.

    I think I need 2 long jazz pups, but I'll need to measure to be sure. Not sure if the suggestions listed so far fit the bill.
  9. Tom0Blam0

    Tom0Blam0 Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2014
    Thanks again for the info! I'm relatively new to the pickup swapping game. I put some model js in my MIM jazz. They sounded good, but definitely different than the tone i was looking for.

    I'll have to measure to make sure the sjb pups will fit my bass - if so, I think I may check them out.
  10. sunbeast

    sunbeast Supporting Member

    Jul 19, 2006
    Los Angeles, CA
    They should- they are just the standard J-bass size (short neck/ long bridge). Ha- just noticed the crazy auto-correct in my last post- looks like Chinese translations! They also make an SJB-2 set that is slightly over-wound (more in line with many of the aftermarket pickups around these days), but honestly I think the SJB-1 is the best vintage-esque Jazz pickup around when you take price into account (and maybe even if you don't). The main downside of them vs the Model Js is that the Dimarzios are humbuckers, so will be quieter with either pickup soloed.

    It should be noted that Geddy's bass has 70s pickup locations, which means the bridge pickup is located closer to the bridge than the more common 60s- Jazz spacing that you find on most Jazzes these days. I've never been able to cop his tone on a Jazz with 60s spacing.

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