Fender 77 Precision Bass sounds like dog

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by JSandbloom, Dec 23, 2014.

  1. JSandbloom

    JSandbloom Supporting Member

    Feb 2, 2004
    Redding, Ca
    Lakland Basses
    So, I have restored a 77 Fender Precision Bass last month and over all it went well. I started to take the dog for a walk and notice that it doesn't really punch thru the mix. It sounds OK when by itself but as soon as it's in the mix it sounds like mud on a good day. It has Barrolini's which were installed in the 80's. In order to be heard I have the bass and mids cranked on the amp. Which it still sounds like dog. The D and G seem to be fine, just the E and A are weak.

    The amp I'm using is a V4b and 810av cab. Which when I plug my Sadowsky MV-5 in, it sings like a bird. Do I maybe have too high expectations from playing the Sadowsky or what?

    I have the pickups as close to the strings as I can get without getting interference. Ideas?
  2. Bent77


    Mar 6, 2013
    Desert, Colorado
    Maybe time for a new pickup if you are confident the remainder of the electronics are good.

    You could have lost gauss on that side of the pickup or have a bad solder joint as well
  3. 20db pad

    20db pad

    Feb 11, 2003
    I been everywhere, man...
    None. At all.
    I played a Sadowsky exclusively for over a decade. I still play one now and then but the people that write checks and do the musical hiring in my area want to hear a Precision, so I'm happy to play along.

    The ear certainly does get used to a certain response and sound if you play the same instrument all the time, especially if it has unique tonal characteristics like a Sadowsky does. When you go to play an instrument that has tonal differences from what you are used to, it will seem odd if you are acclimated to another tone. A P bass sounds lo-fi compared to a Sadowsky because it essentially is - the P doesn't have the high and low boosts and occupies a narrower piece of real estate in the audio spectrum. This is what makes a P more popular for recording, but that's another topic.

    For me, I was used to a certain tonality and response that wasn't there from the Sadowsky when playing a P, but I learned to love it over time. I really think you have to get used to it - a Sadowsky holds a more demanding place in most musical conversations than most passive instruments. They sound good, but significantly different.

    I'd look into replacing the Bart pickup with something more current, which might be voiced with more aggressive flair, like Aguilar, Bill Lawrence, or the EMG Geezer pickup.

    All told, if you want to sell that P, keep me in mind! ;p
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2014
    SanDiegoHarry likes this.
  4. I'd install a sadowsky pre with active passive switch. Active for gigs, and passive for recording. Let's face it, bass always sounds awful thru cans in the studio so it doesn't matter that it's passive. And this is the sound that so many producers are after these days.
  5. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    Never was a fan of Barts for that reason. I'd gut it and put in a Geezer P.
  6. Basshappi


    Feb 12, 2007
    Agreed. That was my experience with them on a passive bass.
    Also, a passive Precision is never going to sound like a modern EQ'd active bass like your Sadowsky no matter what pickup you put in it.
    dannster likes this.
  7. SanDiegoHarry

    SanDiegoHarry Inactive Supporting Member

    Aug 11, 2008
    San Diego, CA
    I love Bart soapbars; I do not love Bart P's.

    So heck - there are a ton of options for a replacement P pickup.
  8. JSandbloom

    JSandbloom Supporting Member

    Feb 2, 2004
    Redding, Ca
    Lakland Basses
    Thanks for the feedback folks! I'm looking at the Aguilar P pickups. The "Hot" ones seem closer to what I'm looking for! Opinions on that pickup?
  9. punchdrunk

    punchdrunk Inactive

    Jun 22, 2013
    I installed Delano's passively into my 77 P... They sound fanfriggintastic.
    dannster likes this.
  10. throwdown


    Dec 26, 2002
    The Sadowskys have very high output. When you are used to play such a bass, a P-bass can sound a little weak. Try a Sadowsky outboard preamp with your P-bass. I use it with a passive Squier jazz Bass and the tone is amazing
  11. I really like the Fender original vintage P's. I believe that's what JimmyM had in his before he went to the Geezers, and he likes the Geezers even better, so I'd be inclined to try out some Geezers.
    devnulljp likes this.
  12. Stranger Danger

    Stranger Danger Feel Like A Stranger Supporting Member

    Jan 3, 2010
    Denver, CO
    I hate it when I lose gauss.
    mrb327 likes this.
  13. DavC


    May 17, 2005
    Tallmadge , Ohio
    sounds like it's time for a new pup for sure ..! a few have adjustable pole pieces ..!

    I played full time thru the 80's ( and most of the 70's & 90's ) and I think I've misplaced my gauss ..!!
  14. Mik75


    Sep 21, 2013
    Frankfurt, Germany
    Do the Geezers fit into the stock PU plastic covers?
  15. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    Nope. They're sealed in epoxy just like all EMG's, so you can't interchange covers.
  16. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    I have a Fralin in my Lull P4, and love it.
  17. Mik75


    Sep 21, 2013
    Frankfurt, Germany
    Thanks for the fast answer! Okay, I see. I'd like to keep the original look. How do you like them anyway, and how do they compare to the stock vintage PU's?
  18. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    I've always felt that mid-to-late 70's P pickups were lacking bottom end but sound decent everywhere else. I once did a blind shootout on here between a stock 79 Precision and an SX P copy. Most people favored the SX, and so did I, and the reason given every time was lack of lows. But the Geezer is a copy of the stock pickup in Bobby Vega's 1960 Precision, and that pre-CBS era of Fender P pickups reigns supreme for a reason IMHO. The lows go lower, the mids are prominent but very even up the spectrum so you don't have to deal with reducing overhyped upper or lower mids, and the highs are the perfect amount of brightness without being shrill like the 62 Original I used to have in my 09 Precision. The Geezer is such a good pickup that even though I no longer have my EMG endorsement deal, I will not be changing them out unless another company builds clones and gives them to me ;)
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2014
  19. I'm a big fan of the older DiMarzio P (J pups, too) pups from back in the day. I have 'em in a few of my basses. I like 'em better than the newer DiMarzios that I've tried.

    No disrespect to your bass, but, have you ever considered that you may have the short end of the stick and hit-or-miss tone, when it comes to the typical (or so they say) 70's Fender that many players claimed to have experienced? Or, did it sound great prior to tearing it down for the restoration?
  20. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    Really? I've thought they were pretty consistent all these years but never took the time or money to compare old vs new. Interested in your thoughts why older ones sound better to you.

    Unplugged, I really can't complain about any 70's Fenders I've played tonally, and I've played dozens over the years. At one time I used to believe it was all about the unplugged tone and pickups were immaterial, but I don't anymore, especially since putting Geezers in two Precisions that couldn't be more different in every way and having them sound identical on tape.