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P-Bass pups, but with more punch...

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Sundogue, Mar 21, 2006.

  1. Sundogue


    Apr 26, 2001
    Wausau, WI
    I've searched and searched, but I haven't really come up with any definitive answers.

    I've read about the different ones available, but they all seem to alter the tone too much away from the stock P-Bass tone.

    I want to replace my P-Bass pickups. I like tone I'm getting out of my stock pups, yet I want something passive, but with more output than the stock ones (something "hotter"). Something with more "punch" but without altering the tone too much.

    Any ideas? Fralin, SD, etc. I'm open to anything.
  2. orlfl


    Jul 22, 2005
  3. Planet Boulder

    Planet Boulder Hey, this is a private residence...man

    Nov 10, 2001
    6,482 feet above sea level
    I once had impure thoughts. Oh, and I pluck my ear hair.
    Not sure what year your P-Bass is, but I'll give you my .02.

    A few years ago, I went searching for the exact same thing for my '82 Precision. I wanted more "punch" than what I thought (at the time) the stock ones could give me. Tried a few different brands, including Kent Armstrong, S-D Basslines, etc.

    In the end, I found that the stock ones were still the best, so I replaced the replacements with my old stock ones and never looked back.

    If you have an older P-Bass, you may find that the stock pickups are better than many of the replacements that may be hyped as giving you a more ideal tone.
  4. The higher output pickups seem to wind up boosting the mids, which is a change of tone.

    I've not experimented with Nordstrand, but they certainly have a good reputation. I currently play a DiMarzio Will Power Middle. It does not have the P attack and rapid decay, but it is very full sounding, and much louder. This may or may not appeal to you.

    I have a Duncan Vintage P that I have never installed, but suspect it is just the thing for a player wanting the vintage P vibe, but a step up in quality, such as needed by the MIM basses.
  5. Nedmundo

    Nedmundo Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2005
    I wanted largely the same thing, and settled on Seymour Duncan's SPB-2 Hot for P-bass. It's a heavily overwound version of the vintage pickup, so it boosts the low mids and rolls of the highs a bit. The feel is similar to the stock Fender, but thicker, fatter, and louder, with more clarity in the lows and less of a vintage pickup's "ringing" highs. I've been very happy with it so far.
  6. Tritonus


    Nov 29, 2001
    Installing a "hotter" pickup will always lead to a change in sound. If you are after that vintage tone, you'll better stick with the pickup you've got or replace it with a new "vintage" pickup specially wound for you by one of the PU gurus out there. Most of them manage to provide you with a PU with way better string to string definition than you would get with an average stock model.
  7. dougjwray


    Jul 20, 2005
    I can give you a quick, very subjective comparison of several Seymour Duncan P-bass pickups.
    I love the Antiquity pickups. I put them into a 1970s Univox P-bass copy, and they do exactly what you're looking for, I think. The only thing is, Seymour Duncan is so serious about being faithful to the originals that they're even intentionally inconsistent in the number of windings from pickup to pickup, because Fenders were! So a subsequent Antiquity that I bought wasn't as loud and punchy.
    The Vintage and Hot P-Bass pickups are pretty subtle in their difference from stock Fender pickups. I was surprised that I couldn't hear a more drastic difference. The first Antiquity that I bought (the good one) was actually a more pronounced upgrade than either the Vintage or Hot pickups, though still firmly in the "organic, warm and natural" ballpark.
    The Quarter Pounder, on the other hand, is markedly different, and gets into the modern, "P-Bass on steroids" area. If I were you, I'd stay away from it because it does change the tone.
    Hope this helps...
  8. Sundogue


    Apr 26, 2001
    Wausau, WI
    Thanks for all the replies guys.

    My P-Bass is an MIM, but I've refinished it (some of you may have seen pics of that), and I'm getting a Warmoth neck in a couple of weeks.

    Though I do like the tone, The highs really aren't very crisp, and it just doesn't sound as "punchy" as I"d like. I've tried out a few basses that have much hotter pickups and while they certainly didn't have that P-Bass tone, I liked the output of those pickups, so I thought I'd drop in some replacements in my P-Bass.

    The Rumblefish ones look interesting...and at $18 for a set, it might be worth trying.

    I"m not real sure which ones they offer would suit me. They have the 7.3k, 8.7k and the 10k. Anyone have any idea which ones would give me a nice punchy sound, with that full P-Bass low end, yet offer crisper highs? I don't want it thin sounding.

    I play in a classic rock cover band...typical 70's, 80's rock. I go between a bit of heavy "thud" type sound (think Roger Waters) and also that bright "clanky" sound (think Chris Squire). I can get both now by either rolling off the tone control and fingerpicking, or max the tone control and play with a pick. But it seems the bright sound lacks just a bit of punch, and the thud sound isn't as tight as I'd like.

    So I'm looking for something that can be bright when needed, yet when I want that solid bass (ala Waters), it doesn't get muddy. I like the versatility I get with my P-Bass...just looking for a little more from it.
  9. bino


    Jun 27, 2002
    Orange County
    I'd say I'm looking for something similar. Hot, punchy, but with a good trad P tone. I like a midrange emphasis, but hope to simply clean up the low-end a bit. All the vintage pickups out there are close, but a little smoother than I'm after. Actually, I really like the single coil P pickup in a lot of ways.

    I decided to pick up one of those 8.7K Reverends. I also have a NOS Schaller sitting around that came with 80's Kramers and I may even grab a DiMarzio Model P just to see. From experience, I can tell you that the super hot pickups like an SD-QP or Rio Grande Muy Grande are not it. They have more of that modern rock boom and give up those grindy mids that I like.
  10. Sundogue


    Apr 26, 2001
    Wausau, WI
    Yeah, I'd prefer "hot and punchy" because I can always cut back with the tone control, or my amp...but I can't get more out of my bass than what it has to give.

    I like the tone...I just want little more out of it.
  11. Nedmundo

    Nedmundo Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2005
    If you're willing to spend the $$$, an overwound Lindy Fralin might work. The standard overwind is 5%, which adds punch and low mids, but rolls of the highs a little. Someone on TB swears by a 10% overwind. And if you don't like it, Lindy will rewind for free, which is an amazing deal. No question you'll get good vintage tone there.

    I still think the Duncan Hot for P-bass might work well. My only concern is that you do lose some highs. I leave the treble on full sometimes with this pickup, which would be rare with a vintage model. But it really does preserve the vintage warmth with high output, which was key for me.

    I tried the DiMarzio Model P first, and thought it was too grindy, and not warm enough for all-around use. IMO, it's more of a punk/hard rock pickup, which is fine, but I was after something else. It might not have been a good match for my P-bass, because on other (always older) basses I've loved its tone. So it might be worth a try. It's certainly closer to a vintage tone than, say, a Quarter Pounder.
  12. Nedmundo

    Nedmundo Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2005
    I should add another aspect of my experience with the Duncan Hot for P-bass. I always liked it, but at first thought it was a little too smooth. I wanted more texture and growl, and decided I could probably get there with a string change. I saw some Dean Markley Blue Steels (.45-.100) on sale, so bought them. They are excellent with this pickup, because they add growl. The stainless steel also keeps the highs a little crisp, and less muted than they are with mellower strings.

    So, if you try a new pickup and aren't satisfied initially, think about exactly what you would like to change, and see if you can find strings that might achieve your goal. I knew I wanted more growl, and used Bass Player's string test as a general (very general) guide, which led me to Dean Markleys. (I had wanted the Nickel Steels, but figured the Blue Steels might be close enough.) I got the growl, and the additional high end was a bonus.
  13. Sundogue


    Apr 26, 2001
    Wausau, WI
    Yeah, I've tried a variety of strings, amps, cabs, settings, etc.

    I've come to the conclusion that though I like what I have, a pickup change would be a good, and simple, upgrade.

    If I do swap out the pickups, does anyone have any recommendations for upgrading the volume and tone pots? Any specific brand and where to get them?

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