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My New P-Bass! Pickup Suggestions?

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

  1. In 2008 I had an American Standard 5 string pbass, and I thought the stock pickups were just fine. Now I have a MIM pbass that has been through a few pickups. I hated the Quarter Pound and now it has a Delano that sounds pretty good.
    faulknersj likes this.
  2. natbers78

    natbers78 Supporting Member

    Jun 3, 2006
    Toledo, OH
    I have the 2017 version of this bass that I bought used, and the previous owner installed Fender Custom Shop '62 pickups. I have not compared them with the stock V-Mod pickups, but they sound good to me...it's a P bass.
    faulknersj likes this.
  3. Keyser Soze

    Keyser Soze Supporting Member

    I'm a Fender "parts bass" guy and I've had great luck w/ Lollars, both stock and overwound, Fralins and SPB-1s. I'm looking for the best version of "that Fender sound," and all the above pickups have hit it. But so do some of the Fender p'ups. Your bass sounds great in the demo. Congrats!
    faulknersj likes this.
  4. BurtMacklinFBI

    BurtMacklinFBI Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2018
    Like others I kinda think you should stick with the stock pickup for now. When/if you decide to replace it, I’ve gotten really nice results from an EMG GZR. I also like the Dimarzio Will Power in my Attitude 3, but I’m not sure how well that would work out as a single pickup without the humbucker to go along with it.
    faulknersj likes this.
  5. if you really want to try something that will be significantly different than the stock pickup then I suggest the David Allen P. More balls, more grunt, deep lows, more everything really without any added mud or unusable clank. I've tried probably close to 20 P pickups over the years. The differences between different models are not very drastic, it's really splitting hairs between them. The DA though stands out and I can actually hear the difference in a full band mix. all the rest basically sounded the same with the exception of active EMGs and the SD Quarter Pounders, which is basically an active sounding passive pup.
    faulknersj likes this.
  6. Fenwick


    Dec 9, 2012
    Will Power (DP146 I believe) is like a Model P on steroids - very muscular in the mids and lows, bitey in the highs. Excellent rock pick-up, mean and growly, but far from anything that could be described as warm.
    faulknersj likes this.
  7. Mess with the pickup height before considering a swap, a little tweak closer or further from the strings makes a big difference in the sound.
  8. fretno

    fretno Supporting Member

    May 10, 2009
    Los Angeles
    Duncan SPB4 Up the Irons .. It really is perfect for me and consistent . I have several and all have it going on .
    Zoobiedood likes this.
  9. I would not change the pickup based on that clip, really. I think it sounds pretty good. I might investigate different strings if anything, instead.
    faulknersj likes this.
  10. very good post
    faulknersj and BassmanM like this.
  11. Its "all in the hands" sounds great as is!
    faulknersj likes this.
  12. bherman

    bherman Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2009
    Grand Junction, CO
    As a long time p bass guy I am of the opinion that unless your pickups suck (yours don’t) you can effect more control over your sound through string choice, and amp eq(not to mention pedals).
    FunkyEel, faulknersj and Kubicki Fan like this.
  13. MattZilla


    Jun 26, 2013
    Saw the title and thought "hmm... 'Silverado longbox with a manual and a lid' I'm so hilarious.

    Read the op, and, seriously- Silverado longbox with a manual. The stock coils in that bass are specifically engineered for your exact purposes. You will not gain anything but a lighter wallet and fond memories of modifying your instrument from swapping pickups.

    The only useful mod for a P bass being used to play SBMR music is flatwound strings and a compression + overdrive pedal(s).
    faulknersj and Kubicki Fan like this.
  14. somebrains

    somebrains Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2017
    Given the range of genres I'd go Fralin 5% underwound P.
    If you want to play around with options Antiquity 2 is good also.
    You can try SPB4 or GZR with flats if you like mixing Iron Maiden with Aretha Franklin.
    faulknersj and MattZilla like this.
  15. T-boneParish

    T-boneParish Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2016
    Austin, TX
    It's funny - I was just playing that Donny Hathaway clip for a friend of mine YESTERDAY. I love Willie Weeks' playing on that track.

    I too love playing P-bass in Motown, R&B, etc. Although I think the American P-bass pickups coming off the assembly line currently are fantastic, my favorite replacement is Bill Lawrence's P-46...
    Bass Pickups

    I currently have one in my P-bass, and I keep an extra one on the shelf for the future. Bill passed away a few years ago, but his wife Becky keeps the manufacturing going. Not sure how long that will last.
    How To Order
  16. fermata


    Nov 10, 2015
    Mountain West
    You're using the knobs on the amp exactly as they were designed to be used! There's no inherent virtue in a flat EQ (not to mention that many EQs are not flat at 12 o'clock--depending on your amp, you may actually be flattening the EQ with your tweaks).

    Overwound pickups are going to take you further from the classic P-bass sounds you're pursuing (which your bass already delivers). (Listen to a Duncan SPB-3 for a cautionary tale--all scooped and muddy. Ick.)

    And as many have pointed out: changing strings makes a bigger difference than changing pickups (and technique trumps both of those, to boot).

    In short: keep the nice new pickups in your nice new bass and play! Sorry, gotta run--I need to check in on my thread on TalkCar where I'm asking for engine replacement suggestions for my brand new car.
  17. BillMason

    BillMason Supporting Member

    Mar 6, 2007
    I can’t imagine having the money to buy a brand new Fender American Professional just to turn around and change the pickups.
    FunkyEel and faulknersj like this.
  18. Eilif

    Eilif Supporting Member

    Oct 1, 2001
    I'm with those who say, rock it for a year and see if it actually has any shortcomings.

    Modding something before you even find a fault is a fool's errand.
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2019
  19. ugly_bassplayer

    ugly_bassplayer Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2009
    Buy a pile of records and woodshed instead
  20. alaskaleftybass

    alaskaleftybass Will Hanbury, Jr. Supporting Member

    Mar 21, 2012
    Sitka, Alaska
    This and let the strings break in and lose their sparkle before you consider other options.
    faulknersj and Mr_O'B like this.

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