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Geezer Butler signature pick ups

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by HeebHammer70, Jan 16, 2014.

  1. 58kites

    58kites Save a life....adopt a Pitbull Supporting Member

    Oct 21, 2014
    Austin Texas
    I'm not sure I understand this post.
    It's not the Fender bass, its the GZR pickup/controls and the TI strings that make ninety plus percent of the sound.
    Maybe different strings on the P copy ..and that's the big change.
    It is surely not tone wood or the Fender decal.
    A Precision is most often an Alder body and is a very middle of the road wood choice.
    Poplar, Basswood, Ash and even Plywood would make very small changes in sound.
    Thisguy likes this.
  2. Begin tonewood non-winnable argument.

    Popcorn optional.
    bumperbass likes this.
  3. joebar


    Jan 10, 2010
    The PU is about a half inch towards the bridge on the P copy; not exactly in the fender location which must be the main factor.
    MrMoonlight likes this.
  4. 58kites

    58kites Save a life....adopt a Pitbull Supporting Member

    Oct 21, 2014
    Austin Texas
    Changing (or not copying correctly) pickup location would definitely make a difference.
    I have a few (non Fender) P basses with Geezers in them and they sound like Fender Precision basses with Geezers in them (with eyes closed). :)
  5. silky smoove

    silky smoove Supporting Member

    May 19, 2004
    Seattle, WA
    Update on my dual reverse GZR to PX conversion for anyone curious about a comparison between the two sets of pickups that hopefully someone will find useful, or at least interesting. The PX pickups arrived from EMG yesterday and I had a free evening so I installed them in the destination bass that had previously been loaded with GZRs.

    The most notable difference is that one is active (PX) and one is passive (GZR). The PXs have a bit more content in the higher frequency ranges as you might expect being active and having blade magnets rather than offset individual pole pieces. Everything else was down to individual pickup volume controls. Here are some comparisons. When going from one setting to the next I found that the PX stayed at a more uniform level of output than the GZRs. Everything below is with the tone control wide open:

    Neck 100% / Bridge 0%
    The GZR is definitely fatter in this position, most notably in the upper bass. I think the PX extends a little lower, but certainly has less meat in the upper bass and into the lower midrange. The GZR has less going on in the upper midrange and treble than the PX. This all equates to the GZR sounding decidedly more old school and the PX sounding more modern, which is not at all shocking. The PX sounds more polite than the GZR under light attack, but those roles reverse under heavy attack with the PX sounding more aggressive and snarly due to the increased upper midrange content. I think the GZR is more forgiving to varying degrees of right-hand/pick attack, but perhaps less dynamic. That comparison really only held true in this position. In every other position the PX was more forgiving to changes in playing dynamic, but also offered less tonal variation as a result of it. More on that to come...

    Neck 100% / Bridge 50%
    This is a VERY usable setting for both pickups. Like a typical P, but with a little added brightness and upper midrange snap. Most of what applied to the neck-solo configuration applies here, but with the PX not sounding as dramatically different when dialing in a little bridge pickup as the GZR. The PX seems to have a smaller range of tones than the GZR, which I found surprising initially, but I suspect the X-Series preamp built into the PX neutralizes a lot of variables found in the GZR.

    Neck 100% / Bridge 100%
    This setting revealed a shocking difference between the pickups. With both pickups on full I found the GZRs to be VERY scooped in the midrange. The PXs by comparison also scooped out a bit as you would expect with having any set of pickups both on full, but the amount of that midrange scoop was way less than with the GZRs. Both were very usable in this position, but for very different things. The GZRs, to my ears, got pretty drastically scooped and sounded very polite as a result. Killer bedroom tone, but I never found myself liking this setting in a live context. The PXs scoop out in a way that reminded me of an old Yamaha TRBX505 that I had a couple years ago. Definitely scooped with both on full, but with excellent retention of some very usable midrange in the 600-800hz range (not scoped, just going by my ears). Neither pickup could do the other's sound with these settings.

    Neck 50% / Bridge 100%
    This is where I tend to set things on most two pickup basses. I want the detail and clarity of the bridge pickup, and then I bring in the neck pickup until it fattens up to the point that the band has a nice and warm supportive pillow underneath it, but no muddy garbage. Both pickups worked really well in this position, but sounded drastically different. The GZR sounded noticeably more barky and aggressive through the middle-mids than the PX. It was a bit like hearing Thunderbird pickups that happened to be P shaped. The PX, as has been the theme, stayed remarkably even. Nothing too surprising there. A little thinner, but with more clarity and detail.

    Neck 0% / Bridge 100%
    This setting yielded another pretty drastic comparison. The GZR solo in the bridge position was snarly, aggressive, thin, biting and oddly reminiscent of a Jaco'esque tone, but perhaps a little fatter. The PX was more of the same relatively even tone just gravitating from fat and detailed to less fat and highly detailed as I moved from neck dominance to bridge dominance. The PX stayed fatter and clearer in the bridge position than the GZR, but didn't have the snarly attitude of the GZR. Very polarizing difference between the two. Probably the most drastic comparison of positions out of the bunch.

    Ultimately, to my ears, neither pickup does what the other does terribly well, so there's plenty of room for both on the market. I think the GZR is capable of a wider array of tones and changes more drastically under different playing dynamics, whereas the PX delivers a more narrow range of tones and is more forgiving to changes in playing dynamics. If you want a jack-of-all trades bass I would pick the GZR most of the time, although to be fair to the PX, the limited range of tricks it has on tap are very musical and would fit a lot of band settings. If, however, you want a bass that has that classic EMG vibe, the PX is the clear winner.

    For this particular bass I'll be sticking with the PXs as they're more in line with what I want out of this build. If I were building a Precision bass I'd have a hard time deciding, but would ultimately likely go with a GZR and omit the bridge pickup entirely.

    21768399_10156744740399408_6651224093994018138_n. 22050069_10156745045079408_6505736672873959187_n.
  6. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Sounds about right.
    Pbassmanca likes this.
  7. Locrian


    Jun 6, 2002
    thanks for the write-up
    Pbassmanca likes this.
  8. cazclocker

    cazclocker My social skills are rapidly dwindling.

    Oct 24, 2014
    Newton, Kansas
    Nice useable comparison review - thank you for posting.
    Pbassmanca likes this.
  9. Thebrownarrow

    Thebrownarrow Supporting Member

    Jul 23, 2011
    I have a question. I just transplanted a set of Geezer P pickups from one P bass to my MiM P bass. Somehow it sounds kind of weak in its new home. It sounds like it lost some volume and the wide open tone doesn't sound like it is wide open.
    cazclocker likes this.
  10. cazclocker

    cazclocker My social skills are rapidly dwindling.

    Oct 24, 2014
    Newton, Kansas
    Sounds as though you set the pickup height a little further away from the strings in the MIM bass, compared to the original bass. If they’re the same, I can’t imagine what the problem might be. Hopefully someone smarter than I am will offer an insight.
  11. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Won't be me. I'm at a loss other than that. Are the body woods the same?
  12. cazclocker

    cazclocker My social skills are rapidly dwindling.

    Oct 24, 2014
    Newton, Kansas
    Are the strings on the two basses the same brand and gauges? If they’re different, that could have something to do with it. If they’re the same, and the pickups are set at the same height, then there shouldn’t be any difference. You’ll have to examine your two basses to identify the variables.
  13. adube810


    Mar 6, 2008
    Brooklyn, NY
    would I be able to use the PJ set with an onboard preamp? I want to buy a set of these for my fender but id have to somehow bypass the quick connect system. Is this possible?
  14. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Yes. You can strip the wires where the connectors go and solder them just like regular pickups.
  15. Yahboy


    May 21, 2008
    I am not GZR pup lover, my fren have one in his Mim pbass and the tone is never shine my mind. He try lot different string from round to half to pressure to flat.
    Until few weeks ago, when I bought a new Cort bass, I get a special price offer of GHS Flea SIG bommer string and I sell it to him.
    Supricingly this string have change my mind with the tone from GZR pup.
    Pbassmanca likes this.
  16. sonofshel


    Mar 9, 2005
    Memphis, TN
    IMG_0185.JPG IMG_0186.JPG Just wanted to show you guys and gals my new baby. She's less than a month old and sporting double EMGs of the Geezer variety. Everything I wanted it to be! Very proud of her. Bought the body 8 months ago on the day that my twin sons were born...the mirror P's are a nod to them
  17. PeaveyPlayer

    PeaveyPlayer Supporting Member

    Jul 15, 2014
    Winnipeg, Manitoba
    What these like compared to the stock tony franklin p pickup?
  18. PeaveyPlayer

    PeaveyPlayer Supporting Member

    Jul 15, 2014
    Winnipeg, Manitoba
    Would love to hear it!!
    Pbassmanca and sonofshel like this.
  19. JIO

    JIO Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 30, 2010
    Oceana (Pacifica) CA
    musician/artist/owner - Gildaxe
    :thumbsup: Cool bass - glad to see a number of recent builds using the Hipshot KA bridge. I have a couple myself - they are the best version of the BA bridge clones. (better than the original IMO)
  20. etherealme

    etherealme Supporting Member

    Jun 26, 2007
    I haven't read through the whole thread because it is now far too long but what is the jazz style bridge pickup called that EMG has been pairing the GZR with in a package deal? How does everyone feel about that pairing as well as the j bridge pickup itself soloed? What's the tonal quality like on this j or is it just matched for equal output of that of the GZR P?

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