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Help with P-bass pick ups

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by eno50, Apr 14, 2009.

  1. eno50


    Jan 31, 2009
    North of Memphis
    Hello fellow bassist, I need some help on replacement Pups for my p-bass, I have an new MIM p-bass and to me the pick up seem to hot, Ive got them down almost even with the pick guard( about the thickness of a penny above the pick guard)
    I have played around with the hight for weeks and just can't
    get the sound I like ,they are just to brittle. So I have decided to replace them with some after market set.
    If I can find some that are more mellow sounding more fat low and mids and not overly bright. I have been reading alot of post here,and the more I read the harder it gets,and I think it is because everyones discribes there tone alittle different. So I have a few questions to ask that may help me .
    When they say vintage ,are the pick ups weaker or are vintage alittle hotter? I have been looking at fender 62 reissue pups and the duncan vintage set. from what I have been reading the EMG,s are alittle on the bright side and so are the Barts ,The Quarter pounders are to hot.
    What sould I be looking for in the specs of pick-ups when looking at there web sight spec's?
    I have chrome flats on the bass ,Plenty of amp power.
    Any advise would be great, also would i need to change out the pots and caps or is the standard one are ok? I have read some guys when they change out the pups they put a new wiring harness and change the cap on the tone control . What kind of tonal change would that make,Because I have been looking at the Bayou p-bass harness too .
    Thanks Eno
  2. SanDiegoHarry

    SanDiegoHarry Banned Supporting Member

    Aug 11, 2008
    San Diego, CA
    Most players like "hot" p'ups - particularly for a P-bass. I guess it depends on what tone you're looking for. If *I* had a P-bass needing new p'ups and didn't have a fortune to spend, I'd get a set of SD Quarter pounders - mostly because I like the big tone they provide. I've had EMGs, and while I think they are under-rated, I can really see the value in keeping a P-bass passive (given what a hassle changing batteries would be!)

    good luck
  3. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    I convert 4 string Rickenbackers to 5 string basses.
    I second the 1/4 pounder comment ... also the sd vintage or hot p pickups are good.
  4. GlennW


    Sep 6, 2006
    Your MIM pickups aren't "hot" by any stretch of the imagination. I had one and the pickups measured 4.75K for both coils, which is less than one coil on most P bass pickups. "Normal" P pickups are in the 10.5-11K range for reference.

    Your pickup is too bright sounding because it has very little coil wire and ceramic magnets, not to mention the little ceramic cap on the tone pot.

    If you want a bassier tone and don't want to spend a lot of time and money trying pickups a .1uF Orange Drop polyester (not polypropylene) film cap will help a lot. You'll still have the low output from your pickup, but the tone will be much less bright. It should cost less than $2 + s/h. I'd try that before buying another pickup.

    Even if you do want another pickup, that stock cap should be high on your got-to-go list.
  5. Relic

    Relic Cow are you?

    Sep 12, 2006
    Robbinsville, NJ
    SD quarter pounders are excellent and inexpensive pick ups. Full sounding + hot.
    If you can afford a little more, Fralins are even better. I have 5% overwounds in one of my p's and it's mind-blowing :)
  6. eno50


    Jan 31, 2009
    North of Memphis
    Ok how do you measure the pick up? can you do it with an ohm meter and how. I would like to see what my output is on those stock pups are...instructions please..
  7. GlennW


    Sep 6, 2006
    Set your meter to the 20Kohm scale and put the prongs on the ends of the pickup leads. You'll get a more accurate measurement if your pickup isn't soldered to anything, but measuring it at the pots will be good enough. If you measure at the pots turn the knob fully both ways and take a reading and compare...it'll be close enough.

    Or you can carefully put the prongs on the solder blobs on the bottoms of the pickups where the long leads are soldered (with the leads still connected to the pots). You'll probably have to scratch around to get a reading because of the potting residue. If you do that make sure you don't cut the hair sized coil wire with the prongs.
  8. I recently got a MIM FSR natrual ash P-bass from a fellow TB'er that came with the Fender 62 RI PUP installed. I then installed a vintage P-bass wiring kit from BassPartsResource.com. The kit came with 250k CTS pots and a .047 Orange drop cap.

    Based on what you are looking for I think this might be a good option for you, although as some above suggested, you could do the wiring kit first and see how that comes out. I did notice a reduction top end when I put mine in.

    I liked the way that bass came out so well, and it plays great too, that when another one like it came up for sale on TB, I grabbed it too. That one is stock and it is getting the same wiring kit plus a Bill Lawrence P-46 pup, and will be strung with flats. There is recent thread in here about the P-46. I suggest you give it a read.

    Bottom line, for what it sounds like you want, either the Fender 62 RI pup or the Bill Lawrence, along with electronics upgrade, should do the trick. Hope this helps.

  9. troyus


    Apr 9, 2008
    San Diego, CA.
    For the money the Fender 62 can't be beat. Boutique sound for 30-40 bucks under anything else.
  10. eno50


    Jan 31, 2009
    North of Memphis
    I have been looking at the fender pups, I found one that says FENDER ORIGINAL PRECISION. Then I seen some on ebay that say FENDER 62 PRECISION and I have seen
    some that say FENDER VINTAGE .... are they all the same?
  11. GlennW


    Sep 6, 2006
    Not all the same; the one you want is the Original, it used to be called the '62 RI. It has beveled magnets, cloth covered leads, baseplate, enamel coated wire and reads about 10.56K. That was my fav out of about 10 I tried, but someone posted here with specs of the best he ever heard, 12.24K, and I rewound one close to that and sold the Original. You should be able to get an Original on ebay for about $65 + s/h; a lot of guys sell them for more so it's worth running a search and shopping around a few minutes.

    I was surprised to find most of the P pickups were so bright sounding, but David enlightened me that that's the way most of them are.

    Edit: Take a peek at this.
  12. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    Moving them farther from the strings will make them thin sounding.

    Have you tried turning down the tone knob a bit? That works for me when I want a warmer tone. How is your amp's EQ set?

    Maybe you need darker sounding strings?

    People have gotten fat tones from those pickups for years. Don't expect the pickup to automatically get that tone. Pickups that are less "hot" will be brighter.
  13. eno50


    Jan 31, 2009
    North of Memphis
    Ok I will try raising them up tonight,What Is a good rule of thumb for pickup hight, I was allways told to hold the strings down at the last fret and adjust the pups about the thickness of a nickel from the strings to start with. My thoughs was to get the old p-bass sound was to move the pups away from the strings to get a more mellow sound and adjust them a little lower on the treble side. But I will try your idea before I go and buy a new set, I open for any other Ideas just throw them at me.....
    Thanks for you advise Eno
  14. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    That's a good height.

    The "old" P bass tone is the same tone you have there. Except they had the foam mute on the bridge cover, or some foam under the strings, and they didn't use much high end on the amp.

    I can play you a bunch of old recordings with very bright P basses with flats. You have to EQ the amp and if needed turn down the tone knob half way.
  15. nemo


    Mar 19, 2004
    I have tried several various sets of flats on my P-basses and found the Chromes to be the clankiest.
    Before switching the pickup, I would recommend getting the Sadowsky regular gauge flats, IMO they have the best combination of thump and definition. The tension is just ok, not too stiff, not too soft. Great flats.
    As for pickups, I can recommend the Fender Original pups too.
  16. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    I used flats for a number of years. I didn't like the Chromes too much. For that old school tone the original Fender flats were great. Or the LaBella flats.

    For the less thumpy tone I love the LaBella Deep Talkin' Bass stainless steel flats.

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