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New P pickups, need help !

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Dj Bebel, Dec 20, 2018.

  1. Dj Bebel

    Dj Bebel

    Jul 8, 2017
    Hey !

    Had my MIM PBass for months now but always been with fuzz on since.

    But now i'd like to have a cool clean sound and i'm not really happy with the sounds i get with my bass. I guess it's because of the stock pickups.

    It's the precision sound no doubt here, but i feel it sounds thin and little bit sterile.

    So i'm looking for new pickups now but i'm a real newbie when it's about pickups.

    I'd like to add more beef to my sound but still have a clear high end. I don't want a dark sound. 'Not afraid about little mud around the bass/mid tho.

  2. gfen


    Aug 21, 2014
    lehigh valley
    stayed at a holiday inn, once...
    I replaced the factory MIM pickups in my Fender BTJ with DiMarzio Model Ps in both positions. To me, it was just a thicker, heavier, beefier sound over the MIMs which were a little.. I dunno..one of those vague words people throw around that's something like "thin" or "sizzling" or equally vague.

    Other options I weighed heavily were the EMG GZRs (much love around here), the Seymour Duncan Steve Harris (what can I say, I'll buy into signature hype), and Bill Lawrence P46. The Fralin pickups get a lot of love, but as I needed two I wasn't going to spend that much.

    Ultimately, though, it depends on what you want. Unfortuantly, it's hard to really gauge this as every "review" and sound sample is mostly an island alone due to variations in equipment, playing, and recording. In the end, it comes down to faith and word of mouth.
    Bass Man Dan and PawleeP like this.
  3. Isotonic


    Oct 19, 2011
    Round Rock TX
    My favorite high quality versatile P is the 62 RIP aka the Original P.
  4. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    Don't automatically look for hardware solutions to what may be technique and knob setting problems.
    What amp, cab and strings are you using and how are all the knobs set?
    Chrisk-K and ctmullins like this.
  5. bigtone23


    Dec 10, 2014
    Denver, CO
    Have you tried just adjusting your pickup height? Tried 500K pots for the volume and tone (which adds a touch of clarity)? These go a long way for making tweaks to the tone.
    Otherwise, the EMG Geezer, Duncan SPB-1, Fender 62/Original P, Wilde P46...
    All are popular, interchangeable, vintage voiced P bass pickups that deliver a classic P tone that never goes out of style and doesn't breech the 3 digit price point.
    levis76 likes this.
  6. JDMcDorce

    JDMcDorce Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2017
    Sanford, MI
    Out of curiosity, is your MIM a Player series or one of the other MIM offerings?
    Slater likes this.
  7. Dj Bebel

    Dj Bebel

    Jul 8, 2017
    Actually going DI through my Aguilar Tone Hammer, all flat an AGS On at minimum gain for a little compression.
    For the amp i'm using a VST called Mark Studio 2 but i can tweak the knobs in every ways, no matter which amp/cab/mic i'm using there's always that "something" that is missing. It can sound easily good or fine or whatever but i can't reach the "AWWWW YEAH" tone :D

    By the way, i already managed to find really cool sounds with a fuzz pedal On so the VST plugin is fine to me.

    My luthier already made a bunch of adjustments but the before/after feeling was quite the same to my ears.

    Nop, i bought it before the Player series came out, got the MIM Standard.

    Also thank you gfen, Isotonic and bigtone23 for the suggestions. Found out the Seymour Duncan stuff is quite interesting, especially the SPB-3 and the Steve Harris Signature.
    Misfit Wookiee and gfen like this.
  8. Slater

    Slater Leave that thing alone. Supporting Member

    Apr 17, 2000
    The Great Lakes State
    IMO, the stock MIM Standard Precision pickup is a cheap, ceramic, awful sounding pickup.

    For “classic” P-Bass tone, I would go with a Seymour Duncan SPB-1.
    StevieMac likes this.
  9. Vinnie Boombatz

    Vinnie Boombatz Banned

    May 26, 2010
    Seymour Duncan SPB-1.

    It's an un-hyped, un-colored, classic, versatile P bass pickup that will do everything. Sure, it's not the most expensive, not made by a boutique maker made up the hardest to find materials and wound by an elf, but man, it's great sounding pickup.
    PawleeP, Madhouse27 and Zoobiedood like this.
  10. Dj Bebel

    Dj Bebel

    Jul 8, 2017
    Well, i'm not especially going for the "classic" tone, i like color. ^^

    But thanks for putting this one here, if i don't manage to find better i will end up with this one. Looks like a safe bet for both of you.
  11. hbabels

    hbabels Supporting Member

    Jul 26, 2015
    Phoenix, AZ
    The 2 best P pickups I’ve tried are the EMG GZRs and the Aguilar 4P60. Both make my P Basses get “that” P Bass Sound!

    I’ve tried the Seymour Duncan SPB-3 and didn’t love. It’s loud on bottom & top but seems to scoop mids a little in a way I don’t like.

    The Seymour Duncan SPB- 1 and SPB -2 hot p bass pickups sound better to me.
    Zoobiedood likes this.
  12. Kelly robinson

    Kelly robinson

    Dec 30, 2014
    Besides changing the pick-up out for say a Wilde P46 or Geezer - both of which have already been suggested - you should consider what a string change might accomplish . I have a Wilde P46 and love how it sounds and how responsive it is to plucking style and position . However , a string change though can often make as much or more difference in your tone than a pick-up change will - assuming you have a half way decent pickup to start with of course - Kelly
  13. jeff62

    jeff62 Supporting Member

    Oct 24, 2005
    Orlando, FL
    I love love love my Steve Harris pickup.... for the price it’s the best one out there IMHO. If price is no object, a 3-5% overwound Fralin is the bomb. I’ve got the former in a Lakland and the latter in an Aerodyne
  14. Bass Man Dan

    Bass Man Dan Endorsing Artist: Ned Flanders' Bass-a-Reeno Supporting Member

    Oct 20, 2017
    The best tone I have gotten since I began gigging again last year was from my American Standard with Dimarzio model Ps. When I stepped out front of house to hear what we sounded like, I was very happy!
  15. GZR
  16. sikamikanico

    sikamikanico Supporting Member

    Mar 17, 2004
    I’d suggest a couple things, just to set the baseline before getting into pickups and electronics swaps:
    (1) Set your processing equipment to the flattest setting you can find, to evaluate the sound of the bass on its own terms. I’d even skip amp simulations, just pure DI sound if possible.

    (2) Make your own setup adjustments. Chiefly, dial in your action and pickup height based on how you like it to feel and sound. Note that action (IMO) affects how you play (or can play), which affects how you sounds. And pickup height directly affects the sound. Both imo need to be tweaked together, and tailored to strings (see next point).

    (3) Try a few different sets of strings. Different types of strings can produce dramatically different sound, even more so than swapping around various P pickups (IMO, IME). For each set of strings, fine tune the setup by feel and ear. What strings are you using now?

    If you want more highs, another step before a pickup swap would be 500K or 1M pots, or wiring direct to the jack (gives the rawest pickup tone, with somewhat more output and treble). If you’re not messing with volume and tone controls, this can be a permanent thing. Then again, there are also no load pots, and you can also do a bypass switch to achieve these sounds + keeping the controls on the bass.

    Pickup swap: sounds like you may want something more “modern.” SPB-3 might actually be a good fit for what you’re looking for. Then again, you could go for a more classic, full-sounding pickup, like SPB-1 or Wilde P46, then scoop the mids in processing to your liking. It’s harder to dial in the mids that the pickup doesn’t pick up :)
    PawleeP and Yahboy like this.
  17. I just dropped in some gzr emg pu.. in my fender p.. and wow.. the tone , is exactly what I want.
    and for the price at 109 on zzounds.com and you can make payments too.. cant beat that with a stick,
    this fender is my new fav bass . im gonna get another , but not tell my wife. with more gzr pu
    porterbass likes this.
  18. porterbass

    porterbass Supporting Member

    Jul 11, 2013
    Considering you want still want the clear high end, I'd recommend looking at the GZR, Wilde P46, or my absolute favorite P pickup is the David Allen CS P 1088. In my experience many of the "vintage voiced" P pickups do a good job replicating the early P tone, but lack in the high end.
  19. soflbass


    Mar 2, 2013
    S Florida
    The EMG GZR pickup swap replacing a Fender Original P pickup in my ash bodied MIM was one of the best swaps I've ever made. Awesome sounding pickup that will do any genre. Highly recommended.
  20. groovaholic

    groovaholic The louder the better. Supporting Member

    Sep 19, 2004
    Grand Rapids, MI
    If you want a little more grit and grunt, the DiMarzio Model P is great, and not terribly expensive.

    I have the DiMarzio “Will Power” in my P-bass and love it; it’s like the Model P, but wound a little hotter so a little darker up top (hence my recommendation for the Model P)

    The EMG GZR sounds like an idealized classic P-bass; that one is great too!

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