MM and J or P?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by eleonn, Nov 11, 2013.

  1. eleonn


    Aug 24, 2006
    Lima - Perú
    So after a while I'm giving a really hard thinking about building me a new bass and I'm at the pickups\electronic part of the process. Id like something to suit mostly rock.

    For the preamp its almost for sure that Ill go with a Aguilar OBP-3. At pickups department I want 2 which the one at the bridge will be a Nordstrand MM5.4. Now for the one at the neck I cannot decide if going for a J or a P. I havent played or listen directly a MM pickup but Ive being doing my homework on youtube and basstasters.

    My thoughts: the P gives more range than the J but the MM kind of covers that already at its position. Another point is that I'm going with a blend knob at the preamp so maybe (not sure about this) if I want a P sound I might get it from the 5.4 with a switch ("turning on" just one of the coils from each side of the PU) so it would be no need for the P pickup at the neck and in that case I would go for the J. If the P from the MM PU can not be done I might go for the P.

    So what are you guys think? :bag:
  2. Jared Lash

    Jared Lash Born under punches

    Aug 21, 2006
    Denver, CO
    If placed in their standard positions on a 34" scale bass P & MM pickups will overlap slightly.

    That said, I like J/MM and P/MM basses witb maybe a slight edge to the P/MM combo. I had a bass with the MM pickup in its standard spot and the P pickup such that the E&A string coil was in its standard spot but with the D&G coil swung around to the other side to make a reverse P setup. I liked that bass quite a bit.

    Johnk_10 built a jazzmaster style bass with a Nordstrand MM4.2 basically in the P position and with some EQ (70's Stingray style preamp) it got a definite P bass vibe. But I don't think a MM pickup in the standard position will get you Pbass tones.
  3. Lesfunk

    Lesfunk Bootlegger guitars : S.I.T. Strings Supporting Member

    Apr 5, 2007
    Florida USA
    I prefer a reverse P in the neck position. I feel that it evens the strings out a little and makes a tighter sound than the traditional split P configuration
    In fact, Both basses in my avatar have this very set up.
  4. Crystalman85


    Nov 30, 2008
    Chicago, Il.
    I've seen basses that has a jazz pick-up and a musicman pick-up, but I've never seen a bass that has a precision pick-up and a musicman pick-up. I'm guessing basses with that pick-up combination are modified bass guitars. this guy has a modified SX P bass clone that has that pick-up combination.

  5. ex-tension


    Jun 11, 2009
  6. Crystalman85


    Nov 30, 2008
    Chicago, Il.
  7. I would go with the P, because then you would have humcancellation at all volumes. With a single coil J, you will only have humcancellation when the MM pickup is soloed. Then again, there is the option of a humcancelling J pickup.

    The main thing to pay attention to is signal impedance. With both P and J pickups, there will be a mismatch with the MM, so it's best to forget about any pickup blending options, and stick with switching. If the MM pickup is wired with parallel coils, the impedance of a J pickup (single coil) would mate best with it. If the pickup is wired in series, then either a P or a J could work.

    Note also that there is an output level difference between most J and MM pickups, so the higher output of a P pickup would be a better choice, if you want a balance.
  8. kjpollo


    Mar 17, 2008
    Here's my Tom Clement custom build:


    I think Tom moved each pickup a bit away from its traditional sweet spot but I dont know for sure ( and honestly, I dont care either!)
    This is a very versatile bass- the ONLY thing I wish I thought about at the build stage would've been a series/parallel switch for the MM but its still a sweet bass. The pickups are Duncans- a Quarter Pounder P and and SMB-4A MM.

    It was my #1 player for several years until I joined my current band and my 5ers took over. It also has a Bart preamp- a slightly older model that does NOT have the bypass on it. Awesome pre- setting the mids to the low-mids just adds tons of presence without sacrificing anything.
  9. eleonn


    Aug 24, 2006
    Lima - Perú
    I thought that sticking to one brand for all the pickups options I wouldnt have to worry about impedances/outputs plus Nordstrand have a hum calcelling J pu.
  10. The brand has nothing to do with anything.

    Every pickup that Nordstrand makes is different.
  11. Teacher


    May 3, 2012
    But there's an active preamp, it's a nonissue...right?
  12. The preamp has a single input, so all behaviors associated with mixing pickups passively still apply.
  13. Teacher


    May 3, 2012
    But I thought active preamps had buffers.
  14. Buffering is done after the pickups are summed together in whatever way is chosen. Buffering simply provides a lowered output impedance and constant input impedance. This means that the pickups are not affected by changes in amp input impedance, or instrument cable capacitance; and there is less "tone suck" from the cable. This, however, has nothing to do with the way in which the pickups are wound.

    As a side note, ALL preamps, by definition, must be active.
  15. eleonn


    Aug 24, 2006
    Lima - Perú
    So basicly I should go for a MM wired in series and a P in reverse config for pickups. Great! Now for the preamp I might go for a master vol with a switch for MM/both/P or for a vol-vol with no switch.