Need Help with Upgrading Squire Affinity PJ

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Pfautz, Jan 7, 2014.

  1. Pfautz


    Dec 28, 2013
    Hi all,

    I am a fairly new bassist and my Squire Affinity PJ is my first bass. I really like it a lot, but I am looking to improve the sound some without dropping the money just yet on a higher end bass. I really like the sound of the Fender American Precision Deluxe so I am thinking of upgrading to the exact pickups that are on that bass. I have found both of the links listed below to purchase these. All opinions/pointers are welcome, I am new at this. My questions are: I can only find the Fender N3 neck pickup sold separately without buying the two pack of bridge/neck, will this work? If not, where can I get the N3 Bridge Pickup sold separately? Also, I am looking at upgrading pots, any suggestions on pots that won't require much extra modification to the guitar itself? Finally, with doing this upgrade are there any other things I should upgrade at this point that will compliment what I am upgrading already? Thank you all very much for your time and input.

    The pickups I am looking at purchasing:

    P Bass Pups

    Jazz (Neck)
  2. therhodeo


    Feb 28, 2011
    Owasso OK
    Personally I would save the money up for another bass. If you just got up slightly to the $500 price range you can get some really nice instruments. Especially if you go used. I've got an MTD Kingston Artist, a quirky looking Schecter Stargazer 5, a Fender Deluxe Active Jazz and had an Ibanez BTB675 and they all came used for $350 or less.
  3. Curious to know if there are specific problems/deficiencies with the sound of your bass? If you tell us what you feel is broken/lacking, then we can give you fantastic and targeted advice. :)

    On the other hand, sometimes it is just nice to give a favorite instrument a "day at the spa" and trick it out with some bling. If that is your goal, then go for it! Experiment with different combinations of pickups/strings/electronics/etc. following your ideal sound. Good luck! :)

    Personally (and this is just my 2 cents) unless there was something specifically nagging at me that needs immediate fixing, I would do 2 things before modding an instrument. (And this advice goes especially for a beginner player.) First, I would have my instrument professionally set up by an experienced/reputable technician. Second, I would have a long, serious converation with my teacher about how to work toward my tone goals, both in terms of my playing technique and my future equipment purchases. (A third suggestion, optional based on your budget/resources, but I find very helpful: Book some time at your local recording studio to hear what your bass sounds like through pro equipment with an experienced engineer, then get this engineer's advice on your tone questions.)
  4. Pfautz


    Dec 28, 2013
    Well my main goal is that it is my first bass and I will want to keep it, so I do want to have fun and trick it out. However, my main complaint is I feel like the sustain is definitely lacking.
  5. selowitch


    Aug 6, 2005
    Rockville MD
    A Fat Finger bass accessory is a cheap way to add some sustain.
  6. Swapping pickups, electronics and pots will probably not affect the sustain of your bass. Sustain is an acoustical property of the instrument itself. (You can test this by practicing without turning the amp on.) Fender-style basses tend to have a "punchy" sound (percussive attack and quick decay) as opposed to the longer "ringing" sustain of a high-tech instrument like, say, a graphite neck-through Modulus.

    There are digital effects that will artificially increase sustain, ranging from subtle application of a compressor unit, to over-the-top infinite sustain (think eBow).

    Have you asked your teacher if there are recommended techniques/exercises you can practice to increase sustain?
  7. Pfautz


    Dec 28, 2013
    Sustain isn't maybe the actual issue, maybe it's not hot enough? I notice it a lot with mainly hammer ons but also some with pull-offs and slides, it seems I have issues getting the notes to ring out enough to have a decent presence in what I'm playing. I apologize for using the wrong terminology.
  8. soulman969


    Oct 6, 2011
    If you really like that bass, plan to keep it, and want to upgrade it tonally then use these pickups. They are the best P/J set you're likely to find anywhere and they won't cost you more than your bass did like many others will.

    These are the pickups I play in my basses and in 40 years of playing I haven't ever used better in any Fender style bass I've owned. The P/J set is just one P46 paired with a J45 bridge. Do a search on them here and you'll see how well they're respected by many others as well. They were designed by Bill Lawrence who is the Godfather of replacement pickups and are made to order by his company. Bill passed away recently but his legend lives on through his bass and guitar pickups.

    You'll love 'em and you can thank me later. ;)

    EDIT: Made this even easier. Here's the TB thread on these pickups. Read away. Man I wish this place existed when I started playing. It would have saved me a lot of headaches and a lot of money.
  9. selowitch


    Aug 6, 2005
    Rockville MD
    Gotta agree. For passive pickups, you simply can't do better than Bill Lawrence, and they don't require a home equity loan to purchase.
  10. zenman


    Jan 30, 2008
    St. Paul, MN
    New strings and more practice will fix your problems, not new pickups.
  11. selowitch


    Aug 6, 2005
    Rockville MD
    That's good advice, too. It's easy to get wrapped up in upgrading your equipment when the focus should be on your playing. Good players can make the crappiest bass with cheap tuners, a crummy bridge, and lousy pickups sound pretty dang good. Fundamentally, it's all about your growth as a musician.

    Now go practice! :bassist:
  12. Do you have a teacher who can help you improve your hammer-on/pull-off technique? It seems unlikely to me that swapping the pots/wiring/pickups on your bass will correct this flaw in your technique.

    Best advice I can give, without actually working with you in person, is to spend a portion of each practice session working on familiar material using only your left hand. You aren't allowed to pluck/pick at all with your right hand; everything must be played using hammer-ons, pull-offs, slides, tapping, etc.

    Go give it a try! :)
  13. Pfautz


    Dec 28, 2013
    Thank you very much! Appreciate all of the advice!
  14. Also keep in mind one of the reasons hammer-ons/pull-offs sound so good when lead guitarists play them, is that they are usually using some kind of distortion/overdrive/sustain effect. If it is appropriate to the genre of music you play, then experimenting with these effects on bass, too, can be fun.

    Even a little bit of tasteful limiting/compression can smooth the rough edges of those techniques. (But IMHO, while compression is essential for live/recording, it should not be used as a crutch when practicing if you want to really master the concept of "dynamics" in your playing.)
  15. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Supporting Member

    OP, it is your money so do what you want, but I personally wouldn't be upgrading that bass.

    You will spend $300 upgrading a <$100 bass only to be left with a <$100 bass. Not a good investment and you would probably end up with a much nicer bass for $500, especially on the used market.
  16. adagiogray


    Jan 11, 2014
    Columbus, OH
    First, don't let folks trash talk your Squier. The foreign modelings of Fender have come a long way, and the Squiers continue to impress a lot of veteran players. It's got an alder P-bass body, nice jazz style neck, rosewood board, and a lot of bass with tonal variety for under 200 bucks. It is very solid and gig-worthy. If you want to take it to the next level without investing a ton of money or buying a new bass, you can get some really nice EMG active pickups specific to the PJ bass for both pup slots for a total kit price of only $150ish. It's a solderless kit, pretty easy to install. Everything you need is included, pots too(solid shaft, no knobs): As others have mentioned, Bill Lawrence is a great choice for passive replacements, both cost and sound-wise.
    sissy kathy likes this.