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Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by luknfur, May 11, 2004.

  1. luknfur


    Jan 14, 2004
    Unless noted otherwise, all trials are fingerpick, using the bass specified with TI JF 344's run direct out (no pots) into a 2000 Polytone Mini Brute V with settings remaining flat (= setting of 5) - barring momentary exploration (update: flat settings didn't last long but hadn't noticed I hadn't altered this description). If two pups then ran direct out true stereo into seperate channels of the Poly. I've ran pups through various rigging and the charactistics of the pup follow it just as the acoustic tone inherent in a bass follows it. My standard pup setting is as high as they'll go without driving the strings into them, maximum 1/8." Pups mounted in standard Fender P mid-position with neckmost pup sensing E & A strings. Also all are played to the same tunes in the following styles: Reggae, blues, country, Rock - some Jazz, 60's R&B, and Latin, with a few Stanley Clarke riffs thrown in solo.

    The latest review is marked by ======


    ALEMBIC P (w/Alembic preamp) Pg.4

    BARTOLINI P (8S ?) Pg.1


    CELINDER (from Classic 4) Pg.1

    DIMARZIO Model P/DP 122 (from DP 126 set - pup 1) Pg.1
    DIMARZIO Model P (DP 122 ran parallel - pup 2 ) Pg.3
    DIMARZIO Model P (split strings pairs ran stereo - pup 2) Pg.3
    DIMARZIO Model P (pup 2)w/Radio Shack Piezo Pg.3
    DIMARZO Will Power Middle P (DP 146 "Billy sheehan") Pg.3

    EMG active P Pg.1

    FENDER 2001 MIA Pg.2

    IBANEZ GSR 200 (2000 model) Pg.3

    LIGHTWAVE OPTICAL (Hi-tech P - sort of) Pg.3

    REVERAND 10K SPLIT P w/Note on REVERAND 8.7K ========

    80's SEYMOUR DUNCAN 1/4 POUND P (P position reverse Fender arrangement)Pg.4
    80's SEYMOUR DUNCAN 1/4 POUND P (Bridge Position) Pg.4
    80/s SEYMOUR DUNCAN 1/4 POUNDER (Mid position) Pg. 4

    So far...


    BARTOLINI P (epoxy backing unmarked so I’m guessing 8S but they may be brighter version

    Passive single wire w/ground. Loaded into an acoustically bright bass.


    Output noticeably less than average. Minimal hum. Could get irritating finger transfer with the treble up but tones that worked had treble cut so was not a problem. The pup produced a good dark to upper mid “P” sound but has a predominant midrange focus. Some nice warm, rounded tones. Not much on the bottom end. Bass would fade noticeably on the E string from 3rd fret down and volume/tone in general fell off some on open strings. Some excessive brightness of the G string with treble up. No growl to speak of. Could get pretty punchy on all strings moving up the neck. Volume, sensitivity, tone, clarity, and cut were fairly even across the board except as already mentioned. Played at least passably to all the tunes and fairly well to the majority. Nothing killer but some good, solid, fun tones on a number of tunes. Hooked the NTMB up briefly. Noticeable volume drop and couldn’t get an acceptable adjustment so chucked it. In spite of that Bart hi-fi like tone typical of most of their pups, these pups still had some unrefined character that the preamp just sucked right out of them.

    In all, decent pup with decent tone.


    Never played just a P pup and I’m only use to using one to flavor a J in a PJ configuration. In fact this pup is out of my PJ set. To my knowledge, manufactures do not design a “P” pup only to be used in a PJ set. They are all available separately as stand alone P’s - and the J's go into a J set accordingly.

    Took a bit to figure out a combo but what worked for me was Bass, Mid, and Treble cut to 3 and adjusted fairly minimally out from there. Logically I’d thought if they’re all set at 3 then it should be the same with all of them flat but setting them flat made mush. Could have just been my positioning relative to the amp but that was the experience. With them set on 3, Bass or Mid rarely were altered more than a step and usually stayed the same while Treble was adjusted. Treble ran between 2 and 5 (flat). Probably the most pleasant tone was with Bass and Treble set @ 3 ½ and Mid a 3, but that didn’t work for a lot of tunes but was a decent solo sound. Boosting Bass or Mids could make tone muddy fairly quickly – especially if Treble wasn’t boosted to compensate. Also found I had to dig in to get decent tones. The fairly light touch I’m accustomed to produced a pathetically thin, boring tone that would have led to a pup change if transformation hadn’t occurred.

    I've since obtained a second Bart P and it sounded the same so I'm more inclined to this this was an 8S Bart.
  2. luknfur


    Jan 14, 2004
    DIMARZIO DP 126 P (4 wire passive singles/adjustable allen poles).

    Loaded into an acoustically bright bass and, since I had the PRS rotary already in place, ran parallel and in series.

    Output about 10% better than average. More than normal hum killed by touching strings. Atypical enough that I double checked to make sure I had no poor connections and everything looked good to go. Finger transfer on D & G string could be problematic at times. Pretty balanced tonal range and you could pretty much dial in or out bass, mid, and trebles without losing clarity. Trebles were bit of a trial to get the tone I was looking for without it being too bright, fading out, or finger transfer being a bit much . Volume, sensitivity, tone, clarity, and cut pretty even across the board for most useful tones. Pups worked passably or better to 90% of the tunes.

    Good range of useful tones both in series and parallel. Parallel was good for a Jazzier tone and some growl. Both modes had some nice warm tones with that distinctive Dimarzio mid sound. On the vintage side I'd say. One of the most useful tones was with bass and mid cut a couple/three steps and treble flat or cut a step. Little on the thin side but worked with most tunes with only hand position changes. You could fatten up the bottom end with a nice bulge and punch by cutting bass a step or two, cutting mid 3 or 4 steps and cutting treble to fit need (usually a step or two). For Reggae bass cut a step or two, mid cut 2 or 3 steps, and treble cut a step or two produced an almost perfect Reggae tone. Just couldn’t quite get the upper mids where I wanted.

    I experienced the same issue trying to get a number of tones just where I wanted. I later found that by hooking up the Aggie OBP-3 with the variable mid that I probably could have got those tones I was looking for with it. Interestingly enough, adjusting the preamp was not of much use. But in running through the preamp set flat and adjusting the amp itself, it got me closer to what I was looking for. There was a volume drop with the preamp hookup but no noticeable loss in quality of tone.

    Only other issue that was a problem for me was driving the A string into the pickup pole a few times while using the A string as a thumb rest and playing D & G strings – during quick movements. I’ve never experienced that with any other pups I’ve played and it’s an act that’s guaranteed to jerk the audience out of their seat and get your butt tossed in the street. These pups really have a strong pull on the strings and I guess in doing so I forced the string down enough for the pole piece to suck down what was lacking. POW! – not good.

    In all, not a bad pup and I think with more time I could probably tweak the tones to suit my taste. Would have to do something about the pole piece issue for sure but I can see why some players are into Dimarzio’s.
  3. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    interesting stuff, Dr D.

    I'm trying out some P pups myself soon: the DM Model P, DM Split P, Villex P. The Split P supposedly has more of a low end emphasis - according to the DM chart bass 8, mid 5, treble 6. The regular P is bass 7, mid 7, treble 5.

    I've tried a Villex P/J set before and loved them. Maybe I can lend you some of the P's once I'm done to have two sets of ears listening to them?
  4. luknfur


    Jan 14, 2004
    I'd be interested in hearing what you think of the Villex. Bit of an obscure pup manufacturer. Seems a pair surfaces just often enough to remind you they're out there.

    And I forgot about the Dimarzio chart. Wish all the manufacturers did that. It woud be interesting to take one of those Dimarzio pups, take 10 bass players, give them 30 minutes or so to play the pups, take they're estimates of the bass, mid, and treble ranges and see how close they get (and the group average) to the Dimarzio chart. When I latch on to one they're still manufacturing, I hope I can remember to do that myself.

    Addendum: somehow I missed you're last statement there first go round. Yeh, I'd especially love to hear ANY set of Villex pups. Seems Lane Poors surface more often than the Villex. If there's something you see of interest in my stuff hollar and maybe I can stick them aside and we could swap them for a week.
  5. luknfur


    Jan 14, 2004
    SEYMOUR DUNCAN HOT P (SPB-2, two wire hum canceling single)

    Installed in an acoustically bright bass. Output about 20% above average. Supposed to be hum canceling but these have a pronounced hum that is still minimally audible touching strings. Barely irritating finger transfer – even with the mid and treble completely cut. Good bottom end, full midrange, with not much on top but seems to fit the pup. The mids actually brightened the pup up more than the treble did. Sounded more like a dark, fat J pup than a P to me and could get a very passable upper mid J tone with a taste of growl by cutting bass and adjusting mids, and to a lessor degree treble, to suit taste.

    The pup was flexible in terms of being able to adjust useable variations of bass and mids but no variation in the sounds it put out. But it put out a good sound that worked passably or better to all the tunes so I had no problem with it. Volume, sensitivity, tone, clarity, and cut were fairly even across the board. In fact, by completely cutting mid and treble controls, the pup still produced a balanced, darker, fairly clear version across all strings of the tone it has. Treble tended to fade some on some adjustments but wasn’t a problem and bass could do the same on the E string open to about the 3rd fret. Little bulge on the E & A strings. The pup could be darkened up to approach getting muddy enough to where it was useable if I needed that. No solo sounds noticed and I forgot all about the preamps – so you know the pup was working fairly well.

    In all, nice full tones with an adequate bottom end and warm midrange. The hum sucks but isn’t supposed to be there so who knows. It's been that way ever since I've had it.

  6. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    I've got a Hot P and I've noticed the hum too. Is your bass shielded at all?
  7. luknfur


    Jan 14, 2004
    Actually I was informed it's only supposed to be hum-canceling if it's used with another pup. But I had it installed with a Hotstack and it still made racket. Shielded the cavity and even ran copper foil to the base of the poles and grounded it and it still made racket. Sounds fine otherwise.
  8. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    Did you ever find any Villex pups?
  9. luknfur


    Jan 14, 2004
    Nope, don't see them often. Although seems I did run across mention of a set lately - but they're usually on the steep side. There was a set of Lane Poor jazz on ebay that was at about $125 last check. Both of which arouse my curiosity but neither of which is something that I anticipate at the doorstep anytime soon.

    Just read your thread. I forgot about the Villex having that mid control. The abandoned bass mention was a hoot. I think the first time I'd heard about the Villex was a year or so ago when I bought some Barts from a dude that was replacing them with Villex. Sounds pretty cool.
  10. luknfur


    Jan 14, 2004

    Placed under "HB" Style EXPERIMENTS so as not to pollute this category but mentioned in case any P users have interest.
  11. luknfur


    Jan 14, 2004

    2 wire w/ground single coil

    Couple weeks ago I skimmed through this thread for some reason and realized I never ran he EMGs.* Reading another post a few nights ago reminded me once again.* So here it be.

    Installed in an acoustically midrange bass and was getting distortion and couldn't get rid of it so it dawned on me to try a preamp.* Hooked up the NTMB and apparently it buffered the signal cause no distortion.*

    Output noticeably better than average for actives.* No volume drop that I could tell running it into the active input of the amp - which is unusual.* Sensitivity struck me as average but finger transfer was a bit much with the amp set flat. Also the tone of the pups sounded compressed with the amp flat. Dead quiet, no hum.

    I played these pups through 3 sessions. I really went through some antics with the amp and preamp trying anything I could think of to get good tone. Not normally something I would bother with but it seemed like the thing to do at the time. Historically I've spent essentially no time messing with P pups so it was time to do some catching up I guess.

    I like a focused, punchy, cutting P tone and it works with about anything and the EMG does it very well. Even with the NTMB there was a bit of passive rawness about the tone. The problem I ran into was that it took a lot of adjustment to get it to different tunes. Most pups I can work out of a basic setting, but not these. It was fine with same style but when the style changed I was basically starting from scratch.

    Got a variety of P tones (Primarily midrange) and a convincing "J" tone with borderline growl. Enough so, that depending on the "J" pup, what is a P tone and what is a J tone begins to blurr to a quality that's different but splitting hairs a bit. Nice Bulge on E string and a tad on the A at times. No problem thinning the tone, making it boomy, darkening it up, and getting a fairly bright tone but brightening it was tricky to keep an irritating finger transfer at bay. With the punchy tones came a finger transfer but it was a pleasant crunch that was enhancing.

    Jumping through hoops the pup worked well to all tunes.* Volume, sensitiity, clairity, and cut even across the board for the most part except that the E was noticeably punchier and more pronounced on most settings and the G and D strings had a marked tendency to fade if no adjustment was made when switching styles.* Nothing noticed that was particularly solo stuff. In all, nice tones that were fun to play and required considerable effort.
  12. luknfur


    Jan 14, 2004
    Celinder P (from Classic P4)

    Passive Split Single Coil 2 Wire P

    Will be shipping the pup out tomorrow so crunch time for some kind of report on it. Fairly rare opportunity and of some interest since it's extracted from a specimen at the boutique level. So I pried myself away from the Marcus Millers long enough to knock something out.

    Loaded into an acoustically dark bass. I put the pup in a bright and mid acoustic bass but couldn't really get a likable tone. Fairly thin tone pup and I'm guessing underwound as it's barely more than 1/2 inch thick.

    Output noticeably less than average - about 20% less. Moderate single coil hum killed by touching strings. The pups struck me as more sensitive than average and slight changes in pup height/angle were apparent in play. Finger transfer a problem when bass tone set too low with mid up much at all (the less bass the less mid could be used) or treble too high. Noticeably thin operating range as a result - and in general actually for tone as well. Typical tone setting was bass cut 3, mid varied from about cut 2 to boost 1, and treble cut 4, volume at 3.

    Pup worked passably in general to all tunes. Some tunes a little less so, some a little more. Didn't excel on any tunes or really trash any. Some fairly warm tones on the D and G strings, less so on the A, none on the E string. Nothing unsual about the E string as the bass is a thudder. Slight growl on the D & G strings. No bulge on E & A. Clarity and cut was in accord with warm tone - good on D & G strings, less so on A, and less on E than A. Could be balanced by cutting some bass but that resulted in some loss of warmth. Solo was balanced regardless. No solo tones noted. No punch typically associated with P's or fat bottom end although ample bass was obtained by cutting mids. Could get by on some J tone stuff but marginal on a few. Also noted was a clean Fralin-like quality to it at some brighter settings.

    Hooked up an NE-1 and EMG BQC to it and didn't affect the pup adversely but gave the same results in terms of tones.

    Overall the pup is okay and may perform much better with different rigging. Since it's boutique stuff, may have been designed to work with a specific preamp. I'm not familiar with Celinder's stuff.
  13. Squidfinger

    Squidfinger I wish I could sing like Rick Danko.

    Jan 7, 2004
    Shreveport LA
    Very informative thread Luknfur. Thanks for taking the time to share with us. :bassist:
  14. chucko58


    Jan 17, 2002
    Silicon Valley, CA, USA
    I paid for all my gear myself. Well, me and MasterCard.
    Any chance of getting a Bill Lawrence P-46 to play with?
  15. luknfur


    Jan 14, 2004
    What goes around tends to come around. This is a great site and I've got a lot of information, guidance, and help from the people that make it up. So if I can contribute something that may be of use to someone, then that works for me.

    Definitely lacking in the "P" pup input but who knows what will land on doorstep next.
  16. basss

    basss Supporting Member

    Aug 27, 2001
    I have a Bill Lawrence P-46 in a 5 string p bass. It has a very tight, full bottom, extended highs and nice mids too- a balanced sound. Very bright in my bass which is ash/maple/ebony with 500k pots so I'm sure thats a big part of it. I do appreciate the extra highs when the band mix gets loud/dense. Very high output for a passive pup. Higher than the Seymore Duncan 1/4 pounder that I have in another bass. The P-46 works great for 5 string basses. I would describe them as "uncolored" when compared to the SD and Barts that I have in my other basses.
  17. Tom P

    Tom P

    Aug 19, 2004
    I have 2 Strats with Lawrence pickups and really like them. You've got me thinking about placing an order for some P bass pickups! :)
  18. Tom P

    Tom P

    Aug 19, 2004
    Great thread lukinfur! Have you have any experiences with the Fender P bass pickups that come in the American P bass and Deluxe P bass Special (same pickup in both models)? I'd be interested to hear your thoughts.
  19. AlembicPlayer

    AlembicPlayer Im not wearing shorts

    Aug 15, 2004
    Pacific Northwet, USA
    Hi, I just installed a set of Alembic Activators in my 1999 USA Ash body, maple neck/board Precision bass. 7 1/2 lbs, on the bright side of the spectrum.
    They replaced a set of active EMG's wired 18 volt.

    It took some modification to fit a 9 volt in the P bass.
    I did the mod myself and took some photos which ...can be seen here

    The Activators are the best pickups I've tried in terms of balanced response. The EMG's are very good in this department, but the Activators are profoundly better.
    The main reason I like the Alembic pickups more is the response..every note on every fret responds the same...just like with my Alembic Series bass....that with defined articulation all the way down to the lowest notes...these pups deliver!

    The output is about the same as the EMG's...but the biggest difference with the Activators is the Q filter. Maybe it's because I'm very at home with this circuit, but the Q filter is a beautiful thing on my basses. I can really dial in a workable tone better then with conventional tone pots. It has that classic Alembic top end, which I love.

    The biggest surprise is that the bass with the Activators retained the Fender Precision sound. It has a hi-fi tone, but still has that P bass authority, punch and clarity.

    In the active hi-fi realm there are a lot of good choices these days... the Activators might not be for everyone, but these are the pickups for me.
  20. Squidfinger

    Squidfinger I wish I could sing like Rick Danko.

    Jan 7, 2004
    Shreveport LA
    I was wondering if you had any thoughts on MIM P stock pu's also Luknfur.