P/J pickups for Breaking Through the mix!!

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Jazzman23, Dec 28, 2007.

  1. Jazzman23


    Dec 23, 2005
    hey guys,

    so, I've got this Godin Freeway 4 bass (which is just great for its mid-range price) running into a Hartke3500 and Ampeg svt 2x10.

    My stock P and J pickups are beginning to get on my nerves. They just cant handle how hard I want to play. I want to dig into those strings and get some real punch and growl (im fingerstyle), but often when I do that I will get a lot of amp "farts" and pops - very unattrative. I have placed electrical tape over my pickups which does help some, but not enough. My band features a lot of driving basslines, and I feel like these stock pickups arent enough. I need something that gives my tone some balls!

    Any recommendations? Im looking pickups that dont have the metal 'poles' that standard pickups do. Thanks for you help everyone.

    PS - please no one reply saying Im playing my bass wrong, or too hard, or something. This is how I want to play.

  2. Rodent

    Rodent A Killer Pickup Lineā„¢ Commercial User

    Dec 20, 2004
    Upper Left Corner (Seattle)
    Player-Builder-Founder: Honey Badger Pickups & Regenerate Guitar Works
    OK - I won't reply that way ... exactly

    but your money would be better spent on lessons and your time better spent on practicing proper technique.

    sorry if the truth hurts, but living in denial will only get you so far in this world and then someone with proper technique will be playing bass at all of the gigs you used to have. after a few times of this you'll get the message .... or you can hear it today and do something about it before you go thru all of that headache and establish a less than stellar reputation of poor technique

    all the best,

  3. Steve


    Aug 10, 2001
    Did you check out his myspace?

    If he cut those bass tracks, he can play. Nobody is taking his gig.

    I really can't offer any advice beyond maybe the bass needs to set up more friendly to hard playing.
  4. winston

    winston Supporting Member

    May 2, 2000
    East Bay, CA
    Bass sounds good on the Myspace page, and I can see how a heavy touch works with that music.

    Are you sure your current pickups aren't overdriving some part of your amp/cabinet? I had a Godin SD-4 (single-cutaway precursor to the Freeway) and I considered the pickups (especially the P) to be really high-output with a cutting tone.

    Do you get the same noises if you just plug into a DI box into a mixer or recorder?

    Most of the time amp farting is a sign that something's being overloaded, whether the preamp, power amp, or speakers. If that's the case getting ballsier pickups won't help unless you turn down somewhere in the chain. Of course, that will reduce your overall volume. I think the 3500 puts about 200 watts into the 8 ohm load of the SVT210. You might get better results by hooking up another 8-ohm cab.
  5. Nedmundo

    Nedmundo Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2005
    If the issue is your speakers "farting," I seriously doubt the pickup type is the issue. I'd say your input gain might be too high. Either turn that down, or get a good compressor to tame those transients. For really aggressive playing, a compressor really helps. (Maybe you know that.)

    However, since you say tape over the pickup improved things slightly, I bet your pickup is too close to the strings. When that happens, you can get nasty popping and clipping, which might be the "farting" you describe. I've experienced this with hot pickups like the DiMarzio Model P and G&L MFD humbuckers. So try lowering it into the body. This can change the tone for the better generally. You'll lose some high end, but you can maintain that with the bridge J pickup.

    If you want to avoid polepieces altogether, you might try the DiMarzio Split P. Each segment is a dual rails humbucker. Lace Sensors and EMG's don't have polepieces either.
  6. treebranch13


    Oct 31, 2007
    it could also be the head and/or cabinet. if you can, borrow your friends and try theirs out
  7. Jazzman23


    Dec 23, 2005

    Thanks for the input --- I really think the pole-pieces are a major contributor to this problem...its not like im getting these pops all the time, just sometimes if I thumb-strike too hard while slapping on the E, and maybe if im really digging into the A or E causing the string to hit the pole-piece. I have lowered my pickups before, i dont think they can go any lower lol. So new pickups would be nice. Besides, I really just want to upgrade my bass to make my tone smooth, deep, growly, and all around amazing.

    However, that being said, I went to a music shop today and this old wise bass guy (he was a bit of a dick actually :meh:) said that the godins actually have really good pickups and buying 3rd party pickups would just make my tone worse unless I want to spend a bunch of money on getting active electronics..which I dont. Im not sure if I believe this. Surely there are passive pickups out there which would be an improvement. He especially warned me about EMG "selects" that are apparently made in China.

    I keep my compressor pretty low on my amp, because when I turn it up, the little green indicator light slowly turns from green to red. I dont know what this means but I always figured red was bad. But I should definetly try turning it up.

    As for not playing right...thats wrong. My technique is fine..sometimes i just want to beat the crap out of my bass you know? I want equipment that can handle this.
  8. dman_113

    dman_113 Beware the Jabberwock, my son!

    Nov 4, 2007
    You might also try a string with a little stiffer response, this helped me out with my jazz.
  9. Steve


    Aug 10, 2001
    I think...it may very well be an issue of the string hitting the pickup.

    If that's the case even changing to something completely covered like a Bartolini won't completly cure the problem as you'll still get some clack.

    If you're dead set on being able to beat the string like a $5 hooker without action noise you may be forced to start looking at a good noise gate that can be set to clip off that first millisecond of signal.

    Apology to any $5 hookers I may have offended.
  10. dreadheadbass


    Dec 17, 2007
    ok number 1 your technique is your sound if your happy with it keep it i love digging in too and i love the clank of strings off frets its good to learn to play soft though (just to add another string to your bow)

    number 2 i can only recommend what i've tried and the best i've tried is the seymour duncan bassline quater pounders they punch harder than ali its like strapping a nuke to your bass but i havent tried too many pickups so i cant say if there the best around or not

    number 3 ignore the old fart i have a set of emg selects on an old peavey and there fantastic especially for the price, so there made in china? big deal so are micro chips everyone gives it the gob that "made in china" means poor quality but to be honest china gear is just as good as anywhere else a mate of mine had a gibson sg that was "made in the usa" and it was garbage
  11. Nedmundo

    Nedmundo Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2005
    Well, if you whack the strings hard right over the pickup on a P-bass, maybe you'd be better off with a pickup closer to the bridge, away from your smackin', and where the string excursion is less. I'm thinkin' StingRay, G&L L-1500, Fender Big Block "Precision," etc. Not that anyone on TB needs an excuse for a new bass or anything, but I think you have one! If you play aggressively, go for an L-1500, and run it through an Aphex Bass Xciter or Sansamp.
  12. FunkyFrosty


    May 28, 2006
    You need a Bartolini PJ set my friend, no pole pieces, grinding midrange that's gonna cut right through the mix, especially if you combine it with a bart preamp.


    By the way if you do change them - I'll buy the Godin PJ set from you if you want - I'm just outside Oshawa!

    PM me if you want to sell.......

  13. Phantasm

    Phantasm I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For.

    Sep 16, 2002
    New Orleans, LA
    I've had this same problem in the past. It really annoyed me for a long time until I figured something out: the E and A strings were louder in output than the D and G strings on the bass.

    So, I'd turn up the gain structure until the D and G strings were right where I wanted them - slightly saturated and overdriving a little bit. Then it all went to hell in a handbasket when I would have to play the low strings, especially the E. I'd get the sound you are describing.

    I tried a compressor... my sound would just be squeezed on the low strings. It was really frustrating.

    So, I had this idea one day - why not check the output of each string? I had read that in a book somewhere, I think. So I plug it in to my mixer and PFL the channel. The E and A strings were trimmed to hit 0. When I got to the D and G strings, it was between -6 and -9.

    So I busted out the ol' screwdriver and lowered each pickup. A very important thing to remember here is I had to SOLO each pickup when doing this. I lowered the bass side a little until it was the same volume as the D and G side of the bass. I checked to make sure all of them were the same volume. In reverse, you could raise the treble side also, if you want to try a hotter signal first... but I'd say lower is probably what you want in your case.

    Now readjust your gain structure and voila. You no longer want to sell your bass and buy a set of golf clubs.... for now.
  14. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    The Godin probably already has great pickups. How are you running the pickups? Have you tried running the "P" pickup soloed without the "J" in the mix? May be worth a try.
  15. FunkyFrosty


    May 28, 2006
    Shhhh. Just Kidding.:ninja:

    Thats why I offered to buy them, they are really good pickups - but he's obviusly looking for some different options.

    I sent him a PM.
  16. DanGouge


    May 25, 2000
    I put a Bartolini PJ set into a Fender that I used to own - definitely worth it.