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Is the Duncan SPB-1 still considered the closest PUP for a stock 60's P tone?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Jim C, Nov 5, 2017.

  1. Jim C

    Jim C Spector#496:More curves than Sophia + better sound Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2008
    I have a 1960 P bass.
    I realize that changing pup's in one of my 70's P basses is not going to make it sound exactly like the old one.
    Which pup will get me closest?
    For ages it was the SPB-1.
    Is this still the case?
  2. RoadRanger

    RoadRanger Supporting Member

    Feb 18, 2004
    NE CT
    Geezer EMG
  3. Luckydog

    Luckydog Supporting Member

    Dec 25, 1999
    Closest? Idk, but spb-1 sounds a whole lot like my 66
  4. Zoobiedood

    Zoobiedood Commercial User

    Sep 1, 2015
    Writer/Ambassador/Artist/Resident Bass Expert for Seymour Duncan
    For a generally vintage 60's sound, the SPB-1 is it. For something a little more dialed in to the early 60's and the look and sound of an almost 60 year old pickup, the Antiquity II.
  5. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    wait, what?

    why would you ever do that? duncan is good stuff but i'd take the vintage real deal any day.
  6. Jim C

    Jim C Spector#496:More curves than Sophia + better sound Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2008
    I have 2 70's J basses and 3 70's P's; all between 72' - 74'.
    Just because they are old doesn't make them great...
    DC resistance is not always that close from unit to unit either.

    I had a real 58' burst that was bought to resell and it wasn't that great a player.
    Thankfully it was untouched and in great condition as some players / collectors don't care how they play or sound.

    It's really just an experiment and I can usually re-solder without any signs of tampering.
    I also have a Seiwa P bass that I traded a neck for.
    Other than the goofy head stock, it plays beautifully.
    Thought that the Duncans would probably wind up on this one.
    birminghambass and Frenchy-Lefty like this.
  7. Yahboy


    May 21, 2008
    60's P vibe is not just bring out from pickups. The bass neck , broke in tone flatwound string, mute foam , plucking skill and Tube amp are the key of the 60 sound.

  8. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    SPB-1 is a classic. I'd also add the Geezer to that list. They sound similar but the Geezer is basically a clone of the stock pickup in Bobby Vega's 60 P, and it's got a tad more mid response. Either way you go, however, you'll get a great pickup. If the Geezer didn't exist, I'd be using the SPB-1.
    Zoobiedood, Inara and 4StringTheorist like this.
  9. Yes SPB1 is a safe bet.
  10. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Supporting Member

    If you are on a budget, the SPB-1 is great. If you got some bread, the Antiquity II's will probably make you happier.
    Zoobiedood likes this.
  11. Laurent

    Laurent Supporting Member

    May 21, 2008
    Napa, California
    I hate to disagree here but the SPB-1 is designed to sound like a 50's pickup.
    Even Seymour Duncan's site mentions that: "Vintage correct split-coil Precision Bass pickup made to look and sound like the late 50s originals."

    So it all depends on how you define 60's tone but as Diabolousinmusic mentioned the Antiquity II is more in the ballpark. Early 60's pick ups were wound by hand so there is no standard for a 60's tone. All that being said, I would list a few great pickups other than the Antiquity II that are going to sound great and depict the manufacturer's perception of a 60's tone: Arcane Experience 65, Lollar P regular Wound, Aguilar AG-4P60.
    Currently my fav is the the Arcane but that's just me and that's now!
  12. Jim C

    Jim C Spector#496:More curves than Sophia + better sound Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2008
    Thanks for all the advice!
    Just trying to get close to the tone of my 1960 P and understand that it is a lot more than just the pups.
    After a little more research I find conflicting info.

    Duncan says the SPB-1 is close the to the late 50's and the Antiquity is like the 57' which is still not accurate since the 57' had the raised "A" pole piece (Antiquity is Alnico 2 and pretty sure Leo used Alnico 5 in the 60's)

    Aguilar gives you Alnico V but no DC resistance measurement

    Arcane is blocked by my Malware filter for their tech download

    Lollar says the treble, mid range, and bass are equal which is not what Duncan says (he shows lower mids on both)

    Have heard great things about the Geezer pup although the ad copy states that it sounds like his great tone from the 70's He only used a P until 72' and then used different instruments until at least 83' so not so sure this is anything but hype.
    Geezer Butler: The Wizard Returns

    What about Lindy Fralin?
    He uses Alnico 5 but also shows treble, mid, and bass to be equal.
  13. Laurent

    Laurent Supporting Member

    May 21, 2008
    Napa, California
    By Antiquity, it was implied the Antiquity II as mentioned above and they are definitely 60's sounding.

    Here is a link to the Arcane 65: Arcane 65 Experience P Bass Hand wound pickups [65 Experience P Bass] - $129.99 : GuitarBassPro!, Bass Guitars Amplifiers Pro Audio and accessories
    You also have a set listed in the classified BTW.

    I don't like the Fralin P or Geezers but there are plenty of people who love them. The only way to really know is to try them all.
    That's what I've done over the year.
    Yahboy and depalm like this.
  14. sikamikanico


    Mar 17, 2004
    I don't know, at some point you hit really marginal differences and other factors of each specific bass (and strings!) contribute more to the differences than differences in pickups. Maybe all along you just needed different strings?
  15. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Geezer owns many pre-CBS Precisions and was always searching for a tone from new pickups that his pre-CBS basses had but his Lakland sigs didn't. Before the EMG's he had tried pretty much everything and wasn't happy with any of them. So EMG took the stock pickup from Bobby Vega's 1960 P and cloned it and gave it quick connectors. Geezer was happy.
    BillMason and Jim C like this.
  16. Jim C

    Jim C Spector#496:More curves than Sophia + better sound Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2008
    I did read he collected old basses but it didn't sound like he toured with them at all.
    Interesting story; thanks.
    Was the goal to clone the Vega PU or use it as a base for a hot rod pup?
    JimmyM likes this.
  17. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Cloning the Vega pickup. It's not hot rodded. It's very much in the vein of a typical Fender pickup. Just has a little mid kick in it.
  18. Vinnie Boombatz

    Vinnie Boombatz

    May 26, 2010
    No love for the Fender "Original" '62? I prefer that over the GZR, but not saying the GZR was bad, just liked the '62 better.
  19. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I had the 62 Original for a while, and while I didn't hate it, I didn't love it, either. Not enough mids, too bright for my tastes. But I do get why some folks enjoy it.
  20. Vinnie Boombatz

    Vinnie Boombatz

    May 26, 2010
    We're pretty much the opposite. I tried the GZR and thought it was too muddy/wooly sounding, even with the pick-up height adjusted really low. I play with flats mostly and just felt like that combo with the GZR was just mud city. I like a little bit of clarity and fell like Chromes > Original '62 > P Bass just works for me. Might not work for others.
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2017

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