Fender Precision pickup question

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by lowendblues, Jun 6, 2020.

  1. lowendblues

    lowendblues Supporting Member

    Oct 8, 2004
    Is there a replacement pickup that will give me both an aggressive tone, think Dave Hope of Kansas, and a nice funk tone, a tone like "forget me nots" by Patrice Rushen ?

    I have a nice Fender Precision, Ocean Turquoise, Maple neck, sets up and plays really well, but it seems like the tone is very bland and lifeless.. I'm currently using Dunlop Superbrights, .45 - .105

    I have other individual basses that will do the job, but I'd really like to get more out of this Precision.
  2. What P is it? Is it a Player series, a Pro/Am Std, Squier... And what year?

    That's not to frame the instrument itself, it's to determine what version of Fender split it came with stock.

    However, to sort of answer your question in my humble opinion and based on my experience, I can say that a pickup like the Duncan SPB1 (which I have and I know, so I'm not guessing) can be a good choice: it's a very versatile voice which can bite or give a fat thump based on EQ. The frequencies around 300hz play a key role, IME. And being it not a pickup verging more on a dark/fat character (hot/SPB2) or a grinding one (Model P), or scooped (SPB3) and so on, it can cope well with different scenarios. A pedal like a VT bass, for example, can do wonders for that, and it seems to relate very well with a "traditional P" design of the pickup. I read the Emg Geezer is a great choice too, but I've never had it.

    To be true, your choice of strings and instrument setup will play the most dramatic role for that, and unfortunately you can't avoid it beyond a certain extent, if you really want to be picky.

    Correct me from wrong, but I think Freddie Washington did the Forget Me Nots part on flatwounds. I'm not 100% sure. You can get good results playing that song with the SPB1, rounds and a sensible approach to the EQ anyway, at least I can.
  3. bassdude51

    bassdude51 "You never even called me by my name." Supporting Member

    Nov 1, 2008
    Central Ohio
    Perhaps the EMG Geezer set. Very popular here on TalkBass and the Google reviews are excellent.

    Keep in mind that back in the day of Kansas (although I don't know what kind of bass was used) stock pickups were most likely used so "that sound" you are looking for most likely was from the amp, amp settings, strings, picking and play style and studio eq on the console board.

    I really think just about any pickup from Fender, Duncan, EMG, Fralin, Nordstrand (70s P) and many others should get you there. The rest is up to strings, amp, eq settings, plucking method and the alignment of the planets.
  4. I don't know if @bassdude51 read my reply first, since we almost posted at the same time, but if he didn't, I guess this confirms that we both have some valid points here, lol

    And, yes, all the options we came up with are quintessentially based on Fender's vintage pickups, regardless of the actual brand...
    Funky Phantom and bassdude51 like this.
  5. bassdude51

    bassdude51 "You never even called me by my name." Supporting Member

    Nov 1, 2008
    Central Ohio
    EmaTheMirror..........please forgive me. I didn't read your post before hand. My bad! My ancestors were from England. Probably is a mental link somewhere. Cheers!
    EmaTheMirror likes this.
  6. Lol, I was actually born Italian, although I've been living here for a long while, so I'm probably not the best case in point... Sorry to debunk your theory, lmao :roflmao:
    Winton and bassdude51 like this.
  7. bassdude51

    bassdude51 "You never even called me by my name." Supporting Member

    Nov 1, 2008
    Central Ohio
    Well, I do like pizza!

    Back to the thread..........try finding a 70s-ish P pickup for that sound that you are wanting. And yes, the S. Duncan SPB-1 is one of the best sounding P pickups and it won't break the bank.
    Winton and EmaTheMirror like this.
  8. Killed_by_Death

    Killed_by_Death Snaggletooth Inactive

    maple neck is quite common with Precision basses
    Dunlop doesn't make a 0.45" string :smug:

    I'd suggest Dimarzio or Nordstrand!
    onamission and Vinny_G like this.
  9. lowendblues

    lowendblues Supporting Member

    Oct 8, 2004
  10. jallenbass

    jallenbass Commercial User

    May 17, 2005
    Bend, Oregon
    Spend a little money and try a few of the pickups recommended. It's a good education and you can sell what doesn't make the cut in the TalkBass classifieds.
  11. lowendblues

    lowendblues Supporting Member

    Oct 8, 2004
    I think I'll give the dimarzio model P a try. I think the contrast cream color will give the bass a real '70's vibe. And I'm sure the tone will be an improvement.

    Here's the actual bass with added black pearloid guard:

    Precision bass.jpg
  12. P Cheen

    P Cheen Alembics and parametric mid knobs scare me.

    Apr 4, 2015
    Southern Oregon
    Try the ‘basics’: Duncan SPB-1, Fender Original P pickups, any stock P pickup from an MIA Fender. Those can be had for relatively cheap.

    A little more on the expensive side are the EMG GZR, Duncan SPB-4, Duncan Antiquity I or II, Fender Custom Shop ‘62, and even Fralin.

    The DiMarzio Model P (DP122) tends to be higher output.

    But i’d start with the ‘basics’ but not to say they’re vanilla, they’re just excellent starting points. I’m actually in the process of replacing the SPB-4 on my PJ with either an SPB-1 or a CS’62 (still undecided).

  13. As mentioned just above.

    BTW, this post is exactly for you, so you can get an idea of a swap between a Model P and a stock Player P pickup:

    Pickup Swap(w/ samples) Fender Player P -> DiMarzio DP 122 Model P

    The Model P is a ceramic P style which is a variation on the original design and verges more on the aggressive side. I don't want to generalise on the ceramic vs. alnico debate, there are great examples in both camps and the Model P doesn't fall in the "£5 Lego brick with a magnetic bar underneath" league, but I think it's objectively a bit growlier and edgier on the upper mids - and that's the goal too.

    Now, since you mention that you favour your other basses' drive compared to it, I'd probably ask you what your other instruments are, then... If they are, say, modern basses with ceramic soapbars, it might be that the traditional P tone isn't 100% for you AS PER IMMEDIATE FEEDBACK WHILE PLAYING. In that case, you might find an improvement with the Model P and enjoy it more. On the other hand, you may find out that it further strays from the versatility you mention and you need to invest in different strings or studying how that very instrument interacts with your gear - which I guess also happens to have a gain/drive knob. Either way, I guess that thread is something to have a look at.

    Re. the cream covers, hopefully that's the lowest priority. Besides the sealed EMG, all other models mentioned are not glued to their plastic covers, and their cost is usually cheap.
  14. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2020
    Austin, TX
    Lindy Fralin or Jason Lollar P pickup will kick your Fender in the family jewels.
  15. leonard


    Jul 31, 2001
    The EMG Geezer has strong upper mids but is vintage sounding in other respects. It might be what you’re looking for.
  16. Jeff Hughes

    Jeff Hughes

    May 3, 2020
    The Dimarzio DP122 has always cut it for me. Sounds good and is not too expensive.
  17. sikamikanico


    Mar 17, 2004
    You have to find the right combo of pickups and strings for your bass. It may just take different strings, or you may also need a different pickup...

    another pickup recommendation: Wilde P46. It does for me what I thought DiMarzio Model P would (which I personally found dark sounding in the mix). With technique and other tricks, I can make many different sounds with it...

    One trick for bringing out an aggressive sound is a small loading cap... in the range of 680-6800pF, depending on pickup and other factors... that shifts the resonant peak down and at the right frequency, it can sound mean...

    Thumpy vintage sounds are easier to achieve, with technique and perhaps foam mutes. Nothing quite nails the sound of good flats, but you can get real close even with stainless steel rounds...
    TN WOODMAN likes this.
  18. REV

    REV Supporting Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    My personal experience has been that some P basses are brighter than others when played unamplified. Some are dull and thuddy and some are bright and spanky sounding. You aren't going to get that bright spanky sound out of a dull thuddy P bass no matter what pickups you use.
    Freddy T, leonard and sonojono like this.
  19. lowendblues

    lowendblues Supporting Member

    Oct 8, 2004
    I've been playing since the mid '70's and have had many nice P basses over the years, but I've never really experimented with swapping out pickups. I like the reviews I've read on the EMG Geezer, might give it a try.
    leonard likes this.
  20. Madhouse27


    Sep 19, 2016
    That’s a pretty sweet bass. I think it deserves some Lindy Fralin pickups.
    TN WOODMAN likes this.