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Duncan Designed pickups gone from Squier VM

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by 6stringvince, Jan 21, 2014.

  1. It looks like none of the 2014 Squier Vintage Modified line no longer carry the Duncan designed pick ups. The new pick ups are described as Fender Designed. That's a shame they were great pickups, I have had a Precision and Jaguar both with the DD pick ups and loved them both. I have just ordered a fretless jazz, I really hope it's old stock and comes with the DD pups. Fingers crossed.
  2. MrTaff


    Jan 20, 2014
    They've been like that for a while now, the Fender designed pickups in the Jazz V sounded pretty good to me for passive pickups.
  3. IMO the Duncan Designed pick-ups were really bad. They had no detail, no color, no highs, no articulation, no nothing. They make even new strings sound dead. I changed the DD with a SPB-1 on a Squier VM Precision, and it was a completely different bass.
    Doug Parent likes this.
  4. It just goes to show how subjective all this stuff is. I recorded a simple bass groove with the Duncan Designed P and same thing with a Fralin P, and in my opinion the Duncan Designed sounded much better. Call me crazy but that's what my ears heard.
    I guess there's no such thing as THE best colour, it comes down to what you like
  5. I've got a bass with the PJ Duncan designed pups, and one with the new Fender designed PJs. There's definitely a difference, although both are good. I don't think its necessarily a downgrade, more of a different flavour.
  6. FourBanger


    Sep 2, 2012
    SE Como
    Rumor was that Fender, or their supplier, tweaked the design and was thusly able to avoid paying royalties anymore.

    'Intellectual Property' is a thing sometimes taken lightly in SE Asian manufacturing. American and European firms in many sectors have contracted designs only to find them either copied outright or used as 'inspiration' for home market or OEM or even competitor's designs who also license work to the same manufacturer.
  7. At the end of the day, there's only a few elements that make up a pickup, magnets (ceramic or alnico), amount of wire windings being the predominant, I know there's a few other possibilities, but really, design wise how much differences can there be from one to another?
  8. UK Philip

    UK Philip

    Sep 5, 2013
    having them designed by fender is still a massive selling point.
  9. Templar

    Templar Supporting Member

    Enough to make them sound different obviously.

    I would have thought Squier fans would be happy to get away from Duncan Designed pickups, really. My experience with them was the opposite of yours. To me they sound thin and one-dimensional, nothing like proper Basslines pickups.

    But that's only logical. Duncan "designed" stuff is a cost cutting measure to meet a low price point. Dunno what the internal differences are, but you can bet SD is not going to deliver the same sound quality in their "designed" stuff, as they do in their premium lines of elecs.

    Still, they sound like they sound, and if that's the sound some one likes, then more power to them.
  10. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Supporting Member

    I thought the DD pickups in my VM fretless were pretty meh, there was a lot worse things about that bass though, like the awful neck work.
  11. Handyman


    Sep 4, 2007
    Austin, TX
    "Duncan designed" copies of Fender's own designs in a FMIC instrument always seemed like a bizarre marketing decision.

    Fender knows how to design great pickups just fine - what do you think Duncan was copying in the first place?
    Doug Parent likes this.
  12. Musky


    Nov 5, 2005
    Fender do indeed know to make great pickups, as in fact very very many other people do. But I think it was a great marketing decision.

    Anyone's choice of pickup is going to be a matter of taste (assuming they've the money to fund it), but SD must be right up there as perhaps the best known manufacturer of decent pickups. Having DD on there is enough to suggest that the pickups are above and beyond anything else available at the price, even if the reality might be that a cheapo off ebay could get you a very similar tone.
  13. Matvei


    Feb 12, 2010
    plus it's supposed to be a vintage -modified- bass.
  14. I myself really like the DD pickups. My VM P has that classic Precision tone that I love.
  15. MonetBass

    MonetBass ♪ Just listen ♫ Supporting Member

    Sep 15, 2006
    Tulsa, OK
    My VM fretless Jazz is a really good bass... except for the pickups. The DD ones don't have much definition, IMO. Seriously considering replacing them.
  16. Templar

    Templar Supporting Member

    Agreed, it was a good marketing maneuver, in the sense that the Duncan's reputable good name could be displayed without actually delivering the quality that their good reputation is built on. Happens all the time with various consumer goods.

    I got duped twice by the Duncan "designed" moniker, on a couple of otherwise nice Schecter basses. Won't happen again.
  17. JIO

    JIO Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 30, 2010
    Pacifica CA
    musician/artist/owner - Gildaxe
    So true Vince - I play more than a few different brands of great sounding pu's of varying price range in my basses and the Duncan Designed P/J's in my VM Jag sound really good to me.

    Each to their own ears. :bassist:
  18. Troph


    Apr 14, 2011
    Kirkland, WA
    The key here is you're talking about the precision pups. I've never heard marvelous praises of those and don't own them, so I can't comment. But the Duncan Designed jazz pickups are really great pickups for an entry-level bass. They sound amazingly like vintage single-coils, and are far superior to any of the several MIM jazz pups I've experienced.

    And I'm not the only one with this opinion... Audere has some graphs buried in that website somewhere that shows frequency response of several varieties of jazz pickups they tested, including several boutique single coils. They also tested a vintage mid-70s US jazz pickup for reference. Of all the pickups they tested, only the Duncan Designed came close to the same frequency response.

    Not that everyone here will think that the mid-70s Fender Jazz single coil pickups are the best possible pups, mind you. But they certainly aren't junk. They're more like funk. :bassist:

    Someone should tell the $600 Fender MIM people about those pickups, then. The ceramic bar pups I've gotten in the MIM Jazz basses I've had have been completely un-Jazzy. High output, which I'm sure makes many beginners think they're better, but otherwise pretty terrible. That's what was so great about the DD pickups in the VM J bass. They brought the classic J tone to the masses for a very reasonable price!

    Granted, I haven't tried their replacements yet. Maybe they're as good, maybe not.
  19. Root 5

    Root 5

    Nov 25, 2001
    I don't think you're crazy. When Ed Friedland compared a Squier P to his, if I recall correctly, 60s P - I thought the Squier sounded superior!