P-bass pup comparison - '62 vs. '75 vs. current Am Std

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by meatwad, Mar 21, 2011.

  1. meatwad


    Apr 9, 2008
    Smallville, USA
    I have a 2011 Am Std Precision, bought basically to fill the shoes of a 74-75 Precision that I borrowed for a lengthy studio gig with a songwriter team. The old Precision is back with it's owner, and I'd like to get my new P closer to the bass on the album, tonewise. Not that it's terribly far off now, the flats got me in the same ballpark pretty quickly. What I'm wondering is -

    Would the '62 Original pickup be closer to one in a 74/75 Precision? Or is my current pickup already pretty similar?

    The main difference I hear between the two is that my bass has more of an upper-midrange "bark" to the mids, where the older P seemed a bit darker and had more of a low-mid hump that was more interchangeable with my StingRay.

  2. Sub'd too.

    I need to know if the old-school sound can be had with the Quarter-Pounders or something else.

    I don't want a 'modern' glassy-high freq'd Precision bass.

    At the moment I am gathering parts for a home-brewed P-bass in Natural/Gold/Maple/Tort.
  3. Nedmundo

    Nedmundo Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2005
    If you want darker with a low mid hump, try Seymour Duncan's SPB-2 Hot for P-bass. That's exactly what it provides. I don't know how close it would be to that mid 70's P, but it's pretty close to some Fenders from the 1990's that used slightly hot, overwound pickups.
  4. What's the tonal quality of 'overwound' coils? I surely don't want a lot of upper freqs unless just adding a .1uF cap would control that situation well enough.

    If an overrwound is making a lot of upper tone, then would it not have the lows boosted too - EG: more powerful full-spectrum sounds?
  5. Double Agent

    Double Agent Supporting Member

    Mar 10, 2006
    Lakeland, FL
    IMO/IME....you can't. The QP is good for a super-aggressive P-bass with lots of grind, but I don't think it will do old-school well at all. I mean, it probably CAN do old-school ok enough, but there are many other choices out there that would do a much better job. The QP is really geared towards aggressive rock and punk IMO.

    I have a Fender Vintage Original pickup (which is the same as used in '57 and '62 RIs, or so I have read) in my MIM P-bass and it does the old-school thing very well. Other good choices are the Duncan SPB-1 or a Lindy Fralin. I have used the Lindy Fralin and found it was too clean and articulate for me. I prefer a little bit of grit and the Fender '62 pickup does this great. I have heard good things about the Nordstrand NP4, but have never used it personally.

    The current American Std pickup can do old-school respectfully, but its overwound compared to the '62, so it is a bit more aggressive. Still, it would be be reasonably close and probably more versatile for modern, aggressive playing styles compared to the '62. It isn't as hot as Duncan's SPB-2 (Hot for P-bass) or the QP IMO.
  6. Nedmundo

    Nedmundo Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2005
    Interesting. I love the Fralin largely because of what I perceive as a raw, gritty texture. I hear some crunch with the thump, especially with SS rounds. I found Duncan's SPB-2 Hot way too smooth, but I love the Fralin -- almost as much as the mighty MFD split-coil in my G&L SB-2.
  7. Thanks - I just got back from GC with a few of the parts for my next Precision Bass -

    ......and I'm going to have to ask what the general consensus is for the definition: 'raw, gritty texture' and what it means.
  8. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    well, if you want authentic old-school P-bass, you won't get it from "hot" or "quarter pound" pickups, which by definition are different from "the real thing".

    duncan's "vintage", a stock-wind fralin, or fender's '62 ("original") will all do nicely. they could be considered different flavors of "the real thing".

    (the american standard is not so bad, but since it is made with a plastic molded bobbin that separates the windings from the magnets, it by definition is not quite the "real deal" either.)
  9. DTF


    Feb 14, 2010
    the original 62's are my favorite and cost so much less than aftermarket pickups
  10. Blues Cat

    Blues Cat Payson Fanned Bass Strings Owner Commercial User

    May 28, 2005
    Katy, Tx
    Payson Fanned Bass Strings Owner
    It's sounds like you want a Nordstrand NP4.

  11. Double Agent

    Double Agent Supporting Member

    Mar 10, 2006
    Lakeland, FL
    The Lindy Fralin that I tried was in a Lakland Duck Dunn. (I know these now have Lakland pickups in them, but this was a while ago when they still had Lindys) It was a beautiful bass that I wanted to like very much. I compared it side-by-side with a Fender MIM Classic 50s P and a Fender American Std. P. Of the 3, the MIM Classic 50s P sounded best to me...raw, vintage grit. I was really surprised that I preferred it over the American Std and the Lakland as much as I did, but it was not even close. The Lakland was the cleanest and most articulate of the 3, but it had NO balls. Perhaps this is more due to the bass itself, or other factors, than the pickup, but my interpretation was that the pickup was the primary reason for this tone. It wasn't a BAD tone, just not what I prefer in a P-bass. I would, and did, still choose the Fender '62 if vintage tone was what I was after. YMMV.
  12. johnboy65


    May 22, 2009
    I'd also suggest that you look into Lollars. From my experience you can talk to him and really get what you're looking for (mostly via email).
    The Duncan Antiquities are really good too.

    Last (and I don't want to start a vintage OR tonewood debate) I have found very few basses that sound perfectly alligned; just keep in mind that they are different basses. Maybe look to change the P/U to be more of what you want, but also embrace the new sound.
    I got my Bill Nash J (Lollars) to take some of the load off of my beloved '65 P but now the Nash is my main bass.... I'll say it... the Nash sounds better live (but the P might take it in the studio).

    Good luck on the Quest for Tone!
  13. Sorry for another HJ - but I think I am looking for a 'Surf-Sound' that requires lots of clean, powerful fundamentals in the LOWS, tapering off somewhere in the MIDs, and not being very prominent in the HIGHs at all.

    'CLEAN' is the byword here and 'POWERFUL' is the operative modifier.

    Any final recommendations for the p'ups to use for this situation? I'm leaning toward the '60s style pickups, as that is the actual era of the Surf Sound which I want to find.

    Oh - fer sure, it's going into a custom (by ME) Precision bass, not a Jazz.
  14. Nedmundo

    Nedmundo Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2005
    Again, I'd recommend Duncan's SPB-2 Hot. It's a heavily overwound version of the vintage-voiced SPB-1, which boosts the lows and low mids, and reduces treble. It's smooth and fat, but IMO not muddy unless you want to EQ it that way. I thought it had more clarity in the lows than a stock Fender pickup, but YMMV, etc. You might also like the Quarter Pounder, which isn't vintage-voiced at all, but has clear, strong lows. It has lots of treble too, but you can always dial that out with EQ or the tone control.

    That's surprising to me as well. I think Fralins are hand wound, so they won't all sound identical, but this could be strings or other factors as you say. Maybe the pickup was mounted too far away from the strings or something. I'm still surprised, because I've never heard another vintage type split-coil with the balls of the Fralin. Even though it isn't overwound, it's really hot, and kicks almost as hard as the DiMarzio Model P, for example. It's just as good for hard rock IMO. The fact that I compare it to the G&L MFD says a lot. The newer Lakland pickups are, to my ears, voiced similarly to the Fralin, and I've liked those I've heard in recent Duck Dunn models.

    That said, the MIM Classic 50's is a sweet bass, so I'd expect just about anyone to perceive its general awesomeness.
  15. Information taken, copied and I shall check them out on my next trip down 'the hill'.