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New P/U's or New Onboard Pre-Amp?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Big Cadillac, May 18, 2005.

  1. I have a Fender Precision Lyte Bass MIJ equipped with stock, active P-type and soapbar style P/U's (Not a J as you might first suspect). Mahogany body and great neck. The stock preamp has 3-band eq with volume and blend. While the bass sounds smooth it dosen't seem to cut through a blues or rock mix as much as I would like it to. I'm looking for something with more balls soundwise which would blend better with the type of music my band is playing (Blues, Classic Rock and Hard Rock).

    Does it make more sense to first look at a new preamp or new P/U's to get the sound I want? What brand name and type would work best? Keep in mind that the end of road may have me changing out both preamp and P/U's! What is the most logical path to follow? Any recommendations. The neck on this bass is too sweet for me to let it go and buy something different.
  2. luknfur


    Jan 14, 2004

    I'm experiencing something similar with a single DM model J pup I'm in the process of running. Except either it cuts and sounds great or the D & G don't cut and it sucks. Not even through one session with it so I have some ideas left to try.

    First I assume you've ruled out eq'ing/acoustic/placement/redundant guitar frequencies with lead and-or rhythm players at 200 dB issues. And obviously strings if you're playing rounds.

    I'm guessing that bass is set up like many Fenders with pcb's on the pots ala EMG as opposed to seperate pot Bart/Aggie style. If the pots are seperate (or you have other pots you can drop in), diagram the preamp wiring, pull it, and see what the bass sounds like without the preamp. If they are pcb style than you can just skip the pre and run the pups straight to the jack - but that's less than desireable cause you have no independent adjustment for each pup. However, if you run both maxed anyway (like may Fender J guys do), it's the same thing. Regardless, you can run off the amp for tone and get some idea if there's any difference.

    Personally, in my experience, onboard preamps have no affect on the capacity of the pups to cut. That's primarily in the pups and how they're set - as far as the bass itself. At any rate, I serioulsy doubt a preamp swap would make any difference regarding cut and I've had well over a dozen of them.

    The most appealing Fender J's I've run across to date are out of a Marcus Miller, which I've been told are Vintage Fenders. I'd recommend the model J's actually but not till I resolve my own cut issue. However, in lots of reviews I've read on them - nobody has mentioned any cut issues. But so far great fat old school tone when they cut all around. Duncan classic stacks put out dead quiet quality vintage Fender single J tone but the Model J's are the ones with the balls.

    Also, model J's and classic stacks are 4 lead pups so you could wire each series/parallel and mix them. That alone would give you more tonal variation than any onboard preamp I've ever heard and if you throw caps into the mix, you can multiply that exponentially.
  3. Thanks for the input. I will go either with a passive quarter pounder or try an active SD for this application. I'm also glad to hear the good review of the Model J's as I am looking to upgrade my 75 RI Jazz MIJ and was thinking about these. I may order all this stuff tonight.
  4. luknfur


    Jan 14, 2004

    Model J issue was that I simply wasn't using enough treble. The pup has a much braoder useable range of bass and treble than any pup I can recall. Literally will go from jug bass to slap. I had played the model J enough at the time to discover the problem with cutting but not to resolve it. It's resolved.
  5. I know what you mean by not using enough treble! I discovered it by accident three weeks ago and it has made a big difference. Wish I found it sooner.

    Ordered all my goodies tonight; Dimarzio Model J's for my 75' RI Jazz and Seymour Duncan Qtr. P's (SPB-2) for the Precision. Decided to go from active to passive P/U's on the P-Bass. Can't wait to experiment....

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