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P Bass pickups for low F#

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Metal Matt, Jan 18, 2012.

  1. Looking for some advice if anyone can help. Got my MIM P-bass tuned to low F#, sounds pretty damn good as is, but the stock pickups are still missing something for tuning this low. I prefer passive. Thinking the Seymour Duncan SPB-3's may be a good choice, but I'm looking for other suggestions. I guess I want the sound to be a little bit punchier and fuller in the low end, and want to maintain my midrange, although pickups that cut the mids slightly would be okay as well, just nothing that scoops them out completely.

    Please spare me any "your rig can't do that" or "that tuning is unusable" posts.
  2. AlexanderB


    Feb 25, 2007
    My four string Squier JV Precision did not sound good at all when tuned (and properly stringed) BEAD - neither with stock pickups nor with SD SBP-2. The B string sounded, for a lack of better words, "pitched down". Too little definition, not much "girth" and generally quite harsh - and not in a good way. I can't imagine how bad it would sound tuned down another 4 notes.

    Maybe EMGs if you want full and punchy sound? My EMG loaded Fender Jazz Bass Plus V sounds almost keyboard-massive in the lower notes.
    Just my $0.02.
  3. Thanks. To put things in perspective as far as where my sound is at now in terms of clarity and usability, things sound perfectly clear to me, and people who have never heard an instrument this low before have been able to tell the lowest 5 notes apart (as opposed to it sounding like rumbling mush), so the definition and clarity is there, even when using a ton of fuzz. Just looking for fuller and punchier low end for the most part, with little change to the mids. Not too concerned with highs as I cut a lot of high end out in my effects chain and in my amps.
  4. Bump.
  5. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    How does the bass sound unplugged? Put you ear up against the body. Do you hear more low end than plugged in?

    Some pickups will extend lower in frequency, but it could also be that the bass is not reproducing the low pitches. Basses made for that kind of tuning usually have very stiff multi laminate necks with graphite rods. That helps to tighten up the low end. If a neck flexes much, it's absorbing and canceling out some of those frequencies.

    It could also be that your amp just doesn't go down that low. A low F# has its fundamental right at the edge of human hearing (low E is 41 Hz), while the F# is 23Hz. Human hearing goes down to about 20Hz. So what you are hearing are the harmonics more than the fundamental of the note.

  6. I can play it unplugged just fine, but I'd say I don't hear the lowest tones as opposed to feeling them in my hands and body. So I hear less low end, unplugged with my ear to the body.

    When amplified, I swear I can hear fundamental just a little bit but accept it's most likely psychoacoustics at work, in any case, it definitely sounds and FEELS lower than anything else.
  7. tubby.twins

    tubby.twins Amateur Pickup Reviewer Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 15, 2009
    I've heard good reports of Villex pickups being able to sense the very low fundamentals. Talkbass user "Jauqo III-X" has a bass with Villex pickups tuned down to low C#, and he raves about the strength of the fundamental.

    I haven't taken my Villex pickups any lower than low A (by tuning down the B string a whole step) but they to track the fundamentals in a way that few other pickups do, without losing the overall sense of balance.

    The Lace Alumitone pickups seem to have a similar construction, but they're much thicker and midrange-heavy - at least the soapbar shaped models are. I haven't tried their P-bass pickup yet.
  8. FunkMetalBass


    Aug 5, 2005
    Phoenix, Arizona 85029
    Endorsing Artist: J.C. Basses
    I have a set of EMG DC's in my G#-tuned Schecter. I detuned to F# once, and while floppy, I was quite impressed with the tone.

    Have you considered adding in a bridge pickup to help with the articulation?
  9. Thanks for the suggestions so far.

    FunkMetalBass: I've considered adding a huge musicman style pickup or something similar in the bridge position, but before I go doing anything like that, I want to try simply replacing the stock pickups and see if I get the sound where I want it.
  10. I'm going to give my vote to Villex. I don't currently have any, but I'm considering getting some in the future.

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