1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

Looking for a new p pickup with a bit more bump in the low mids

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by hags2k, Nov 26, 2012.

  1. hags2k


    Jan 27, 2010
    So I recently purchased a 2012 Am Std. P. Good instrument, nice feel, and an okay sound. The 2012 models supposedly come with "custom shop" pickups. I've been told that the custom shop pickups are made in the same factory as fender "original vintage" pickups, so I thought that it might include the lauded fender original 62 pickup. Well, the pickup does sound okay, and it has the metal base plate and cloth wires suggesting a family resemblance to the 62, but it has one rather annoying feature that the 62 pickup lacks - raised pole pieces! Not to be nitpicky, but raised pole pieces have turned out to be a deal-breaker. I play over the pickup far too much, and unlike my Jazz, I can't seem to avoid moving my fingers over the poles, and it's wearing on my fingers. So, i figure this is an opportunity to try something new.

    I had an old frankenbass I haven't played in ages that I'd slapped some SPB-3 quarter pounders in a while back, so I yanked them out and threw them in the new bass. Well, the pole pieces aren't raised, but I'm not sure they're quite what I'm after.

    As I said, the stock pickup sounded okay, but I'm hoping I can get a sound a bit more to my taste with this exercise. The mids seem to be in the same sonic territory as the guitars, for instance, and though I can certainly FEEL the bass, I can't hear it as well as I would like. I don't mind EQ, but I like to get a tone as close to what I'm after before EQ, and then do the fine-tuning with the amp. My rig is all Genz Benz, and it has a pretty transparent character - what you put in is what you get out, only louder :)

    Anyway, the quarter pounders seem to benefit from a bit of low cut - they are a bit boomy normally, and a bit of low cut helps tame it. Still, though, I want another reference point before settling. They sound almost perfect pickstyle, I admit, but I rarely play pickstyle.

    First on my short list to try is the duncan SPB-2 - I've heard it has a fairly solid P tone but with the resonance shifted down a bit, which sounds perfect. I'm more than willing to sacrifice a bit of high-end response to get a little more meat in the low mids.

    I might also give the dimarzio Model P a try - I have Model Js in my Jazz and I've been quite impressed with them in that bass. The neck pickup, soloed, actually has a reasonably P-like tone that I dig, so perhaps that's a good indicator.

    Of course, there's also the fender 62 - a similar pickup without the raised pole pieces :)

    So, that's about it - I'd like to get a bit more low mid presence, rolled off treble is fine, and hopefully a bit tighter sound with less boomy-ness than the quarter pounders would be ideal. Am I on the right track? Any other suggestions are welcome as well.
  2. glenson


    Oct 22, 2010
    Heads up. I just installed the 62 original in my am std. The pole pices are raised and not flush with the plastic cover. It might be possible to get it flush if you thin the foam but im not sure

    That said, they sound great
  3. topcat2069


    Dec 2, 2007
    Palm Springs
  4. hags2k


    Jan 27, 2010
    For real? Dang.

    It does have beveled edges on the magnets, though - that might be enough. The edges of the magnets on the pickup that came with the bass are pretty sharp, which is a big source of the discomfort when playing.
  5. hags2k


    Jan 27, 2010
    Also certainly worth considering. I have to order way in advance, though, right? Isn't there a pretty big lead time on orders? I bought some Wilde cable 5 or 6 years ago, and I seem to recall it taking forever to get it. I'm an Amazon Prime member, so I'm used to next day delivery on orders :)

    Still, that's worth considering. I might order one now and just keep trying other pickups until it arrives. If I don't like it, I'm sure I could probably find a buyer without losing too much money on it.
  6. bassdude51

    bassdude51 Supporting Member

    Nov 1, 2008
    Central Ohio
    Man!.........if you are fairly happy with the stock pickup but your only problem with it is the raised poles that stick up and bother your plucking fingers...............easy fix!

    Get some thick paper or business cards or thin card board and some scissors and a paper punch (for the magnet poles) and simply make some spacers to get the pickup magnets level with the plastic covers. "Taaah daaaah!"

    That's what I did to a set of Fender Custom Shop Jazz Bass pickups with poles that stuck up above the plastic covers.

    In addition to fixing the fingers vs the raised magnet poles..................it looks better too.

    Simple fix. No need to buy another pickup. Save your cash.

    You're welcome!
  7. hags2k


    Jan 27, 2010
    Well... that's simple and effective. Okay then. I'll give it a shot. (thanks, btw!)

    I'd be lying if I said I wasn't prone to experimentation anyway, though, so fixing the problem DIRECTLY wasn't even a blip on my radar. I jumped straight to new pickups!

    So, here's what I'm going to do - try new pickups AND fix the old ones with the method you suggested. There's always a good chance I'll come back to the stock ones when all is said and done anyway :D
  8. dvlmusic


    Jul 24, 2010
    Alameda, CA
    I just bought a P46 and couldn't agree more with TopCat - it sounds fantastic! And it took a week to get to me and that's only because they took a few days to ship it after I placed the order. I dunno where you are, but they currently have some stock right now so get one while you can. I posted some sound samples in the other thread as well.
  9. my top three favourite p bass pickups have been ... in order... drum roll please... delano's P, stan hinesley's P and lawrence's P. :bassist:
  10. soulman969


    Oct 6, 2011
    I'll add my opinion as well and it agrees with the others. It's a phenomenal sounding pickup and mine arrived within a week. There's not much if any delay in getting one and you would have no problem selling it if you didn't like it but I can't imagine that happening once you hear it.
  11. CnB77


    Jan 7, 2011
    Are you sure it's the pickup causing the lack of low mids? What strings/amp are you using? How do you EQ?
  12. hags2k


    Jan 27, 2010
    I am going to try some different strings, that's an excellent suggestion. My beloved SS low riders simply might not be a good match for my p bass. I'm going to try a set of nickel low riders and also some of those Ernie ball cobalt strings I've been wanting to try for a while. I also have a set of flats somewhere, and though I dig the tone of some flats on a p (The demo Ed Friedland did of the Steve Harris bass sounded great, and he was running a rig nearly identical to my own), but I don't really like the FEEL of flats - I know, I'm picky :D

    My rig is all genz Benz, an uber 212 and shuttle 6. I set the eq flat to start and usually set the parametric mid at 150 and boost a bit at that frequency. I rarely boost the bass, sometimes I even cut it a tad (for instance, when playing my jazz with model Js). The cab is bright, so I don't touch the highs, either.
  13. SirMjac28

    SirMjac28 Patiently Waiting For The Next British Invasion

    Aug 25, 2010
    The Great Midwest
  14. pickles

    pickles Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2000
    Ventura, CA
    Great call on the Duncan Hot.
  15. hags2k


    Jan 27, 2010
    Quick update:

    I ordered a SPB-2 (should be here Tuesday) and am going to grab the P46 as well to try them both out. While I'm waiting for them, though, I've continued to play around with the SPB-3, and I'm finding that there are some things it's really good at. Lowering the bass a touch, bumping the mids around 150 hz, and leaving the treble flat renders a pretty cool tone - still a bit more on the "modern" side of things. It seems to fit well in a lot of pop-punk type tunes, as well as some newer rock stuff. We'll see just how different some of these pickups sound once I get them installed. I'm going to try and record a few clips with the same riff and compare them blind, see what happens, or if I can even tell the difference :)
  16. MagicMan_841


    May 29, 2005
    Ithaca, NY
    Nordstrand NP4

  17. hags2k


    Jan 27, 2010
    I've heard it a few times. Not quite my cup of tea. Great range of tones, and a good P sound, just not quite the sound that I'm looking for. For instance, in the demo Ed Friedland did of the Model P (where he compared it to the NP4), I preferred the tone of the Model P. I thought the high mids were a bit harsher on the NP4.

    Anyway, I also recorded myself on the stock pickup from my own instrument a few times, and based on what I heard, I probably wouldn't be able to spot the difference between the NP4 and the stock pickup without looking. The pickup that came with the bass is actually quite good and a great P tone - I'm looking for something a little different. That said, after all of this tinkering, there's a very real chance that I'll end up throwing the stock pickup back in the thing :D
  18. joelb79


    Mar 22, 2006
    Lansing, Michigan
    Why is the SPB-1 not in the running? I have mine with 500k pots and its everything I've every dreamed a P-bass should sound like. This after trying NP4, SPB-3, EMG's, Aero PE-4 Type 2's, Model P, and another one I cant remember the name of handmade in NYC. It's like a refined cross between an NP4 and a Original 62' with the 500k pot. It sounded equally good with 250k pots but I really like the 500k pots on this dark sounding bass. Everything I liked about the 1/4# the SPB-1/500k does and then some without needing the cut of lows.
  19. hags2k


    Jan 27, 2010
    Well, perhaps it should be! I've been proceeding under the (somewhat educated, but not certain) assumption that I wouldn't personally be able to tell much of a difference between a lot of "vintage spec" pickups. I have absolutely nothing against vintage sounds, but in my limited experience, while a p-bass with "vintagey" pickups sounds good out front and recorded, I have trouble getting enough audible information personally to hear what notes I'm actually playing. Maybe it's due to a quirk of my own hearing, but whether using in-ear monitors or just my amp, it's those low-mid frequencies (between 120 and 400 hz, approximately) that really allow me to hear what I'm doing when playing, and I'm always looking for instrument/pickup combinations that have a lot of presence there just so I can hear myself. I prefer not to have to rely on EQ too much, either active onboard or on my amp - I'd rather leave the EQ available for room correction rather than tone-shaping for personal taste.

    I know that it can be done, at least in principle. My Jazz bass has Dimarzio Model Js in it, and it "punches" through in great way live, and I can hear each and every note I play distinctly. It's a dark sound, but it has definition where I need it.

    I don't expect my P to sound like a J - the hallmark of Jazz basses, to me, is the more "focused" sound, which lends itself to those sonic situation well. I don't mind a wider, less focused sound from my P (in fact, that's why I bought it - for situations where i want a bigger, heaver sound than my Jazz).

    Honestly, though, I'm still getting a feel for this sonic territory. I've spent most of the last decade with J-style instruments, so I know the landscape pretty well. Ps are relatively new territory for me, and once I get my bearings, I think I'll be a lot more certain about what I want and need.

    Anyway, thanks for the input, I really appreciate it! Eleven years later and I still feel like I'm just scratching the surface of the world of electric basses.
  20. hags2k


    Jan 27, 2010
    Another update - The SPB-2 arrived first.

    I'm going to let this one marinate in the bass for a little while, I think. So far, I'm digging it.

    I was recording myself with the stock, SPB-3, and SPB-2, and the differences are much more subtle than I would have first imagined, but right now the SPB-2 is the pack leader. It has the same character as the stock pickup (in my opinion), but I can hear it in the mix a bit more clearly. There might be a high end roll-off, but it's more subtle than I expected it to be, and my playing style doesn't seem to draw much attention to it. It definitely sounds more like the stock pickup than the quarter pounder, in a good way.

    The pole pieces had a grounding issue that was worse than the other pickups, though - LOTS of buzz when touching the pole above the E string. I ended up putting some clear tape under the pickup cover. I could have done a proper grounding of the pole pieces, but I'll hold off until the next time I open it up for that.