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 Commercial User

    Apr 4, 2005
    Kansas City area
    Black Dog Bass Works
    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 Gold 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

    jwymore Guest

    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

    mahrous Guest

    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