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fitting jazz pickup to P Bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by bassplayer48, May 11, 2006.


  1. Hi guys,
    so much good advice on this site, i am thinking about adding a j pick up to my 1980 MIA active p bass i love the sound of a jazz, but i really dont think i need 2 basses, and also its great to get that fat p bass sound too. And be able to mix the sounds.I was wondering if anyone has done this and how successfull it is?

    Also will the addition of a jazz pick up give a better slap tone i find the pbass tone for slap is but muddy.
     
  2. Turock

    Turock Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2000
    Melnibone
    That sounds like something you'll be kicking yourself in the ass for later on. A mod like that will cost you twice; once when you do it, and again when you try to sell it.
     
  3. phillys

    phillys

    Feb 4, 2006
    Malaysia
    DON'T DO IT!
     
  4. some of us dont sell are basses if we <3 them.

    go for it, as long as you do it cleanly, it works out great.
     
  5. Turock

    Turock Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2000
    Melnibone
    That is terrible advice.
     
  6. thanks for the comments, so the consensus seems to be no, ok so maybe a jzz bass then or can you modify the sound of the P bass with a sansamp or bass bone or similar?
     
  7. why is that terrible advise?

    Because you dont feel comfortable doing it?

    If i have a bass that it feels right, but i want to add that little bit to it, why the hell not.

    Maybe you should get your head out of that resale crap.
     
  8. phillys

    phillys

    Feb 4, 2006
    Malaysia
    It's not just the resale crap we're talking about.

    Keep in mind that we humans could change our mind in a split second. Something that seems to be the right thing to do now may be the wrong thing to do in the long run. I'm sure there are plenty of people around here who learned these kind of things the hard way and they're passing advice to him to NOT DO IT because they have probably been there and know the consequences.
     
  9. pickles

    pickles Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2000
    Ventura, CA
    An 80P is worth $800-1000 now, and will likely appreciate over time if you don't modify it.

    If you add the J-pickup, that values goes way down since the bass is no longer "original". The decision is straitforward, if the loss of current an future value is OK with you, then go for it. If you're not OK with that then don't.

    The PJ is a proven pickup config. Just make sure you get the pickup installed in the correct location (and actually there is a choice there between 60s and 70s locations) and use a hum cancelling pickup to avoid buzz.

    The alternative to that on-paper loss is to spend an equivalent amount of money on a J-bass. If you can find a well maintained used Hamer USA Cruise, then $500 will buy you as nice of a J-bass as can be found.
     
  10. zachbass02

    zachbass02 One Hairy....squatch.

    Jan 3, 2005
    Nashville, TN
    one problem you'll run into, is rewiring everything. Since your P is the active P bass special from the early 80s,correct me if I am misreading your original post, you might have a little trouble wiring the J pup in. I personally wouldn't do it. But it is your bass and if you really want it done, go for it. Just get it done by a professional and compitant wood worker/luthier.
     
  11. Turock

    Turock Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2000
    Melnibone
    How many people who took an early 60s Fender and routed it out for another pickup, do you think are now saying "I'm really glad I did that to my bass". I'll tell you genius, the answer is NONE.
    He has a 26 year old Fender, and whether he sells it or not, he will seriuosly devalue his instrument. In the furture he would be able to buy several Jazz basses for the value he will have lost by following your "advice".
     
  12. pickles

    pickles Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2000
    Ventura, CA
    People make bigger financial mistakes every single day. You can make a $1000 mistake in stocks, real estate, or personal spending so easily its hilarious. So I think its important to have some perspective here.

    There is also no guarentee the 80s basses will go up in value the way the 60s basses have. Its not like heavy ash and northern maple are going to become rare the way brazillian did.

    And there is a lot to be said about playing one and only one bass! I miss those days, and am thinking of adding a J pickup to my '96 american fender. Would you say the same to me?
     
  13. Turock

    Turock Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2000
    Melnibone
    Yeah, if you're going to make one mistake, you might as well screw it all up. That seems to be what you're saying.

    If history is any indication, then I would say that if it is not guarenteed, then it is at least a pretty damn safe bet that the value will go up, and the value is guarenteed to go down if it is modded.

    Yes, I would; however you didn't come on here seeking advice as bassplayer48 has, and my best advice is to not do it. May seem like a great idea today, but I'll be willing to bet that 20 years from now he'll regret it, and if you do that to your's then I'll bet you will too.
     
  14. pickles

    pickles Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2000
    Ventura, CA
    Tools not Jewels. I don't consider basses investments, they are instruments, and if modifying a bass makes you like it better, there is no reason not to do it.

    Do you also advocate that I stop gigging with my '96 Fender? I might ding the finish and reduce its value.
     
  15. considering 80s fenders are known as the worse years, and when they were really being cranked out, i dont see an 80s becoming a collectors item.

    and if you look at it that way, why should you ever modify any bass ever

    you never know, maybe that epiphone P clone might be worth millions someday!
     
  16. guy n. cognito

    guy n. cognito Secret Agent Member Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2005
    Nashville, TN
    Geez, everyone take a chill pill......

    Based on the originals posters comments, it doesn't sound like you've ever heard a PJ bass before. I suggest, before you mutilate your bass, that you go play a few Fender PJs and see if you like them first. Then you need to consider the following:

    A 1980 American P is approaching "vintage" status. Based on the prices for even the late 70's Fenders nowadays, value may be an issue. Making a dramatic, irreversible modification will kill the resale value. A fellow bassist here in town modified his early 70's P with a J pickup. He told me he has been trying to sell it for a year, and the best offer he got was $600.

    If you are planning to do this yourself, how confident are you in your woodworking and wiring skills? Do you have the proper tools? Have you ever done anything like this before? If you mess up, you may end up with a worthless bass.

    If you are considering hiring someone to do it for you, consider the cost. I have no clue what a luthier would charge for this, but I would guess it would be several hundred at least, including electronics. Compare that cost to the cost of buying a second bass with the desired setup.

    Personally, I wouldn't do it. Besides, the only thing more fun than owning one bass is owning two basses!
     
  17. g00eY

    g00eY

    Sep 17, 2005
    Chicago, IL
    buy an SX PJ for the price it'd cost to modify.
     
  18. Turock

    Turock Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2000
    Melnibone
    No, but I do advocate not dinging it deliberately.
     
  19. marwady

    marwady Supporting Member

    Jul 9, 2005
    Northern Michigan
    Lots of Fender P/Js available at many price points. I would highly recommend one of those instead of doing surgery on yours.

    I picked up a really nice MIM one for $300.00. Sounds and plays great.

    Just be sure to play what you intend to buy, a lot of variations out there.
     
  20. morebass!

    morebass! I'm all ears Supporting Member

    May 31, 2002
    Madison WI
    If it's a special bass to you i.e. looks and feels right, then go for it. A P/J is much more versatile instrument. A 1980 P bass special might be devalued a little by a mod but it really doesn't matter until you sell it which may be never. I agree with the "if it feels good, do it" crowd. And I've done that exact modification to a 70's P-basses that I ended up selling and really don't regret it. I lost a few hundred bucks but got to try something new and enjoyed it for years. It's not like it's a Rembrandt or something.
     

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