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How does a mid 70s P pickup compare

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by tbplayer59, Oct 16, 2016.

  1. tbplayer59


    Jan 20, 2013
    In terms of output, warmth, clarity, etc., how does a mid 70s Fender P pickup compared to a current Am Standard, Custom Shop 60s, and SPB-1? Looking for opinions. Thanks.
  2. Isotonic

    Isotonic Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 19, 2011
    Round Rock TX
    I have only had one 70's P. It was from a 77 P with a very heavy ash body and rosewood fretboard. It has been a while, but I did a lot of gigs with this instrument. Frankly, it was a really cool bass, and someone had put a green metallic finish that had aged and looked very cool, but it was one of my worst sounding basses at the time. The sound was pretty dull and lifeless with little harmonic texture. Dynamics were pretty flat too. My best basses at the time had the Original 62 ReIssue pickup and another had the Aero type 1 Jazz pickups.

    I still have both of those basses and they are among my best still. But the replacement pickup industry has expanded vastly since the 90s. A lot of my basses sound fantastic thanks to that.

    Since there is a lot of variability in vintage basses, there are probably some really good sounding 70's Ps. There are plenty of recordings to prove it. But I think it will be hit or miss. I have a lot of faith in modern retrofit pickups by companies like Nordstrand, EMG, Aero, Lollar, Wilde, Fralin, and many of the Duncan and Dimarzio models.
  3. tbplayer59


    Jan 20, 2013
    I ask because I have a 76 P with original pickup that I love. It sounds great, it's punchy and notes just feel like they're jumping off the instrument. The tone is very "grindy." I hope I'm using that term correctly. I'm familiar with SPB-1 and Custom Shop 60's, so I'm curious if the original 76 pickup is hotter than a "vintage" P. Did they start overwinding in the 70's or make some other change?
  4. I think I can answer this one from experience. I have 7 P-basses. One is a total stock '78 P white/maple. Others are later MIM's and Squier Classic Vibe. They all sound very very good. None are aggressive sounding, as this is the first thing to irritate me. 2 of the latter group have Fender Original '62 pups. 3 have Seymour Duncan SPB-1's. I really dig the sound of the '62's and the SPB-1's pups, but they are different. I find I need to use a good deal of tone knob on the SPB-1's to get to my sweet spot. Less so with the Fender '62s. I have compared all of the above a number of times, and same strings, similar setup blah blah blah. The undisputed winner is the stock Fender 78 Precision. Sounds like woody warmth heaven. Great articulation. Great response and dynamics. I wouldn't describe it as "hot". Little or no attenuation of tone control necessary. The '78 is a beautiful sounding bass which sounds a rung or 2 above the others. Why? I don't know. Like I said, I like the others, which come sort of close, but in one to one comparison the ,78 wins for tone! It is heavy, and a chunky neck and maple FB too. Ironically, the '78 stays home and the others get out and get gigged. In my early years, I had 2, (yes 2) mid 60's Precision stolen out of my car and a studio respectively. Will not allow that to happen again.
    Massan likes this.
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