How do I figure out what Fender pickups I have?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by fraidykat, May 9, 2018.

  1. fraidykat


    Apr 14, 2009
    Upstate NY
    Hi, all,

    I have 3 Fender MIM basses;
    • an Active PJ special,
    • An Okoume PJ, and a
    • Classic? PJ (has a vintage golden pickguard).
    I’ve looked all over and cannot find a model # for the various pickups, just a name.

    Here’s 2 of the descriptions below:
    • Model Name: FSR Active P Bass® Special
    • Model Number: 014-0038-(549)
    Pickup: 1 Standard Alnico Split Single-Coil Precision Bass (Mid),
    1 Dual-Coil Ceramic NoiselessTM Jazz Bass Pickup with Nickel Plated Pole Pieces (Bridge)
    Pickup: Vintage-Style Alnico Split Single-Coil Precision (Mid)
    Pickup: Dual-Coil Ceramic Noiseless™ (Bridge)

    I’m trying to figure out if these are stock, inexpensive pickups and where they fit on the food chain of Fender (and other) pickups. These could use a bit more definition, more thump.

    I’d like each of the 3 to sound a bit different for different gigs. I do, however, usually play flatwounds, but I’m ordering some pressure wounds to try. I play in a Celtic, Americana, classic rock band.

    Also, should I try to find a J pickup closer in power to the P?
    Or just keep the J, and replace the P?

    So, if you were me, where would you start?
    Thanks for any opinions!
  2. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    closeup pics would be useful.

    "alnico" P pickups indicate you have what would have been the american standard P pickup from like ten years ago; decent, better than the regular mexi P pickups which are cheap ceramics.

    the "noiseless" J bridge pickups are likewise sort of OK, kinda low output (being vertical stacks)
    that simply won't happen unless you find a P so weak and a J so overwound that each one doesn't sound like it should. in P/J setups the J pickup is really only there to "flavor" the P pickup by scooping out mids and adding treble as you bring it in.

    that said, a setup like a proper vintage P from duncan or even "custom shop" fender, along with a "split coil" bridge like the dimarzio area J will be brighter and clearer, and the J pickup will be louder.
    petrus61 likes this.
  3. fraidykat


    Apr 14, 2009
    Upstate NY
    Hi, Walter,

    Here’s pics of 2 of the basses:
    The green bass is the active PJ special, while the other is a regular MIM PJ.

    None of the P pickups have markings on them.
    The J pickups say “noiseless”, no other indication.

    Attached Files:

  4. bigtone23


    Dec 10, 2014
    Denver, CO
    The bottom side of the P pickups will have a part number. There will be a part number on each coil. You can google that part number to get the exact model, but I'm with WalterW that these are the same P pickups used in American Standards during the earlier part of this millennium. It's nothing super special, but a workhorse of a pickup. If you like it's sound, stick with it.
    You can easily experiment, there are so many P/J sets out there.
  5. Have you tried calling Fender? They have the specs on all their guitars if you can provide the serial numbers. It is possible that they won't know based on the way that they spec them on paper, but I think it's worth a quick phone call. Their customer service people get on the line quickly and are fairly responsive.
  6. bigtone23


    Dec 10, 2014
    Denver, CO
    A google search of the model of the bass should pull up the service diagram. Using that, you can often get the part number for the pickup.
  7. Just looking at the pole pieces of the P pickup, I can tell it’s the better AlNiCo V type and not the ceramic MIM Std type that is just steel poles with a magnet glued to the bottom. These are similar to or can be the same as the pre 2012 AmStd pickups and those found on the Classic and Roadworn series.