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My New P-Bass! Pickup Suggestions?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by faulknersj, Jan 10, 2019.


  1. faulknersj

    faulknersj Supporting Member

    Apr 4, 2008
    Scottsdale Az
    I just got this bad boy...it’s an American Pro P-Bass and I did a quick demo with it. Based on the tone of this P, do you all have any pickup swap suggestions that I should entertain? I play mostly soul, blues, Motown, R&B type stuff these days and use a different bass for my rock band.

    Thank you!




    I put some flats on based on all of your feedback...what are your thoughts on this sound?

     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2019 at 1:00 PM
    Mr_O'B, Oatis, Jimmy4string and 20 others like this.
  2. BassmanM

    BassmanM

    Feb 17, 2011
    Hamburg, Germany
    I don't see any reason you wouldn't be able to play the music you mention with the bass as is. Why are you thinking of a swap? I'd rather buy a bass which sounds good to my ears in the first place than buy one, especially new, and then change the pickup immediately.
     
    bozric, SteveCS, zon5string and 52 others like this.
  3. FrenchBassQC

    FrenchBassQC Supporting Member

    Jul 13, 2011
    Gatineau QC CA
    I do not hear anything off or wrong with the way the bass sounds, I wouldn't touch it if I were you.... Good playing by the way.
     
    bozric, Eric66, Matt R and 15 others like this.
  4. king_biscuit

    king_biscuit Supporting Member

    May 21, 2006
    US
    What is wrong with the stock pickup? It sounds like a P bass.
     
  5. faulknersj

    faulknersj Supporting Member

    Apr 4, 2008
    Scottsdale Az
    I'm just curious if anyone thinks there is a pup that would be an upgrade over the stock pup. I dig the way it sounds but I am pretty new to P Basses so i'm open to suggestions!
     
    Owen Bacon and Mr_O'B like this.
  6. BassmanM

    BassmanM

    Feb 17, 2011
    Hamburg, Germany
    What does "upgrade" stand for in this context? "Better" sound? How can other people judge that for you?
     
    gebass6 likes this.
  7. ThudThudThud

    ThudThudThud

    Jun 4, 2010
    The only pickup that would sound better is the Fender V-Mod pickup.






    Which is what's likely already in there...
     
    gebass6, BillMason and faulknersj like this.
  8. faulknersj

    faulknersj Supporting Member

    Apr 4, 2008
    Scottsdale Az
    That is a good point. The answer is, I am seeking your (the TB communities) judgement. For example, I am curious if someone who has experience with Lindy Fralin 5% or 10% overwound pickups might think they would be worth a try?

    Some of the best sounding basses on earth (Jaco, Bobby Vega) had guys wind pickups based on the tone of that instrument to compliment its natural acoustic qualities. Probably a little too nerdy, but that is my thought process...

    The cool thing about pickup swaps is that they are easy to do...and you can always go back to the original!

    I'm curious what YOU think!
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2019
    31HZ, lazycat93 and Owen Bacon like this.
  9. FrenchBassQC

    FrenchBassQC Supporting Member

    Jul 13, 2011
    Gatineau QC CA
    This bass sounds just like a P-Bass should, you can enjoy reading all the suggestions that might come in but do nothing about them... You have a really good sounding P-Bass just has it is meant to be. Voilà :thumbsup:
     
    Eric66, danielnorris, REMBO and 6 others like this.
  10. micguy

    micguy

    May 17, 2011
    Changing the pickup will likely change the sound. But in what way? Most P pickups are in a very small "design space" - they all tend to use the same materials for magnets, and the wire is almost always the same gauge, albeit with some variation in number of turns. Buying pickups and hoping they'll be an "upgrade" is a complete crapshoot, unless you have a lot of experience in that realm.

    Experience in this case, like in a lot of things in life, means you've made a lot of mistakes (THAT didn't work!) and learned from them. I'm pretty experienced - at what I like in pickups, which means I have a bunch of pickups on a shelf that I don't use, because they're not quite what I want. I also, from time to time, go and purge ones that I really didn't like. I don't know (and kinda don't want to know) how many pickups I've tried. I do have Spice models of almost everything though, so part of my experience base is I can tell you something that's a little brighter or darker than what I currently have on a bass. Anyway, the point is I can tell you what I like, but to you, that's almost meaningless.

    If you're going to ask about changing your pickup, live with what you have at least until you can tell us what you don't like about it. "I'd like something brighter than xyz" is much more likely to get you useful responses than "what pickup is an upgrade for xyz?". The answers you'll get from that second question are, quite simply, people's favorite pickups, which...while somewhat interesting, that data doesn't relate to the thing you're trying to change.
     
  11. BassmanM

    BassmanM

    Feb 17, 2011
    Hamburg, Germany
    I already got your point. What I think is: The bass in your demo sounds great and can be used to play ANY type of music, unless you want to copy the specific sound of a player who does not use a p bass. As I doubt that this is your intention, keep the bass as it is. For anyone looking for an American made Fender p bass, this will be as good as it gets. Amen.

    If you enjoy experimenting with pickups, I recommend getting a "beater" bass for this purpose rather than starting to mess around with this nice bass.
     
    gebass6, TH63, danielnorris and 5 others like this.
  12. faulknersj

    faulknersj Supporting Member

    Apr 4, 2008
    Scottsdale Az
    That is excellent feedback! I like when a P has that nice low end and low mid hump without being 'muddy'. I dig the pickups I have now, but think I'll dig the tone more once these strings die a little...they are too zingy for my taste.

    Here are good examples of how i like the frequencies to sit in the mix:



     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2019
    rknea, bassliner50 and Clark Dark like this.
  13. bassdog

    bassdog

    May 23, 2005
    Atlanta, Ga
    Don't change a thing! Sounds great. Play the sh__ out of it. Bd
     
    gebass6, Eric66, smogg and 5 others like this.
  14. micguy

    micguy

    May 17, 2011
    See - that's helpful. When I listen to your playing, if that were the sound I got from a bass when I played it, I'd have the opposite response. I'd want it to snarl and clank a bunch more - my preference in sound is a bit less smooth, a bit more raw - at least most of the time. But, if I played that bass, it probably would sound more raw - I just play differently, as that gets me where I want to go.

    If you're thinking there's just a bit too much zing, I'd say hold off. I want my basses to have a bit too much zing with new strings. If that happens, it means the usable life of my strings is pretty long - I just have to play them in a bit before their first gig. So long as you have more than one bass (so you can grab one with played in strings if the new ones aren't quite there), that works great. I never change strings less than a week (preferably 2) before I intend to play a gig on that bass.
     
    Kyuuga, bholder, rknea and 1 other person like this.
  15. I'd leave it stock, sounds great.
     
    Eric66, djaxup, REMBO and 6 others like this.
  16. Linnin

    Linnin

    Jul 19, 2012
    Linningrad, Earth
    The very best part of my Fender American Professional Precision is the Michael Bump designed VMOD pickup set. Removing them is beyond comprehension.
     
    gepettus, MCF, lowdownthump and 4 others like this.
  17. redstrand

    redstrand

    May 18, 2007
    Saint Louis, MO
    Fool For Four Strings
    Curtis Novak Vintage P will get you closest to a later 50's P bass sound, I love mine
     
  18. Slater

    Slater Leave that thing alone. Supporting Member

    Apr 17, 2000
    The Great Lakes State
    My first move for these genres would be to switch to flatwound strings. I think the stock pickup will do the job just fine, but if I had to choose a different pickup, I would start with a Fender Pure Vintage ‘63 for the music you’re playing.
     
  19. micguy

    micguy

    May 17, 2011
    To avoid the possible horror of homeless pickups, if the OP decides they just aren't his cup of tea, I'll gladly offer a foster home for them.

    But yeah, I think string experiments are what's in order, if the ones on there don't settle in right.
     
    MattZilla, Jeff Elkins, DavC and 2 others like this.
  20. king_biscuit

    king_biscuit Supporting Member

    May 21, 2006
    US
    Deacon and Weeks sound the way they do because of their individual playing style/techniques -- no one else is going to sound like them. Also, Weeks is almost certainly using flats on that track. You can change the tone a tremendous amount with your right hand technique. You have a very light touch, work on digging in a bit more and trying different hand placement across the strings. That will change your tone much more than any pickup swap -- assuming you are staying with a passive alnico P bass pickups.
     
    MCF, StrangerDanger, retslock and 3 others like this.

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