Looking to add a pickup on my P-Bass

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by kebbs, Nov 16, 2005.

  1. kebbs

    kebbs Modus vivendi

    Aug 30, 2005
    Ottawa, Canada
    Hello everyone,

    I own a 1989 American Peavey Fury, that I already customized with Seymour Duncan's Basslines (P-bass Quarter Pounders SPB-3). I love their sound!

    I am now thinking installing a Jazz pick up, close to the bridge. However, I am not sure which one to opt for. I would like to be able to get that growl, a la Jaco.

    What do you, my fellow bassists, think? I am pretty happy with my Seymour Duncans, so I was thinking about installing an SJB-1 vintage for jazz bass.

    What do you recommend?

    Thanks, kebbs
  2. Greg Clinkingbeard

    Greg Clinkingbeard

    Apr 4, 2005
    Kansas City area
    Setup and repair/KRUTZ Strings
    Over 20 years ago, I put a Duncan SJB-2 in my Ash/maple P bass. It has a lot of growl and a very pronounced burp (know what I mean?).
    It is closer to the bridge (maybe 2 1/2") than even a 70's Jazz.
    The only drawbacks are it is noisy and the poles don't quite line up under the strings. The Bart 9J bridge pup is supposedly wound for a lot of growl and would be noiseless.
  3. 4Mal

    4Mal Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    The Bart is pretty low output. I have a set installed in a J with an on board pre and I like them a lot. I do not think they would pair well with anything else though. The quarter lb'er would bury the J pickup. The biggest issue I have found with PJ's is getting a set with good balance. Often the P is simply too strong for the J.

    I like SJB-1s a lot. Very vintage sounding pickup. That is what I hear when I think of Jaco... I run a set in my fretless. That one doesn't get a lot of use but it's a great souding bass.

    A big part of Jaco's tone, especially the solo'd bridge pickup tone, is that he was running round wounds. and he had a very strong right hand. He really 'dug in' as he put it. On a fretless that isn't a real good thing unless you are into replacing fretboards every so often. So if you want the real deal...

    Noise is an issue with single coil pickups. I run an Alesis 3630 compressor in my rig. I set it just above 1:1, fast attack, fast release so it is set more as a limiter. I set the threshold on the noise gate up to the point where I'm dead silent between songs and I can use the solo'd bridge pickup with impunity!

    Other really good choices.

    Bill Lawrence J45 is very, very quiet and clear. I run a .1mfd cap on mine to drop the highs a bit more and it has a nice vintage character to it. Bill recommends trying different cap's in the tone circuit to see what works for you. I't a simple thing to do on a J, a little less so on a PJ where you have all those friggin screws (on a Fender at least). Still worth it though. I'm getting ready to add the J45 on a P-Bass that I'm building up.' It will have a Dark Star in the P-Bass position so the clarity of the BL should work well with the clarity of the DS. The DS is supposed to be extremely transparent, that's why I'm using the J 45. Balance may be a deal buster on that one. I won't know until I try though. Good to have a test body laying around for the router...

    My current favorite J pickup is the Aero Type 1. VIntage growl by the bucket full. I have their PJ setup in a Reverend Rumblefish and it's very much my 'goto' bass. Yep it's a noisey old single coil but damn it just sounds great. Great balance and man I just love the sound of those.

    Your best bet might be to add in a 1/4 lb'er to match with your P Bass pickup and maybe use a slightly large tone cap to cut a bit of high, or sllightly lower to add a bit back in... that way you get the balance of a matched set, IF that set balances well to begin with...
  4. jwymore


    Jul 26, 2001
    Portland, OR
    I would consider using a "Hot Stack". Decent output and smooth tone plus you lose the single coil hum. I have used the Duncan P-Bass "Hot" with the "Hot Stack" on a few P+J basses with great results.

    If looks are more important than a little hum then throw a QP for Jazz in there so both pickups have the 1/4" pole pieces.
  5. +1, I have a SD Vintage P-Bass and a Hot Stack (STK-J2) on my Warmoth walnut Jazz bass and they balance perfectly. Your QP is hotter than the Vintage but you can probably get a reasonable balance if you play with the pickup heights.

    The tone of the STK-J2 is awesome in the usual series connection, but I have a push/pull to switch to parallel, which gives a slightly quieter but "sparklier" tone that, combined with the P, gives a great slap tone even without touching the eq on the amp.
  6. mahrous


    Aug 13, 2005
    the Pounder is a great pup. i have it on a fretless i built. i will transfer it to the next fretted bass and use it myself while i sell the other one.

    i also coupled it with an SJB-2 and they combine nicely. not a big difference in output due to the set up. the SPB-3 is a bit too far than the usual from the strings.

    my jazz teacer has an SJB-3 in the bridge and that has a serious Jaco tone there. he plays a 70s jazz too and fretted and gets a Jaco tone out of his bass. quite fascinating. i will definetly consider an SJB-3 next or something like that