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P J Pickups question. Long Winded.

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Red Planet, Apr 9, 2009.

  1. Red Planet

    Red Planet Inactive

    May 29, 2005
    I'm cranky in my old age.
    I recently Purchased a Fender American Hot Rodded Precision.

    It came with a set of Duncan Bass Lines Installed plus the original PUPS.

    Here is my Delima.

    I had read here that the factory PUPS were a bit of a compramise, that the P was way less Hot to accomodate the weaker J thus these Basses tend to sound Pretty good with both up full but not paticularly good using either the P or J alone.

    I have not heard it with the Factory PUPS yet.

    Now to the Duncans.

    The Bass Lines are STK-J2 Hot Stack (bridge) and the SPB-3 Quarter Pound for P Bass.

    Here is what I am hearing and what I'd like to be hearing.

    Neither Pup seems very Hot at all especially with either alone. Together it sounds much better and has a slight Twang from the Bridge PUP that I like but do not want all the time. The P pickup alone is not at all what I would call classic P Tone which is what I am looking for and then be able to add the J bridge for some different tones.

    My CIJ 53 reissue with it's vintage style Japan made single coil is much more interesting sounding/ fuller/even and way hotter than the Duncan P in the P J Bass. I'm not looking for the exact same tone but just want that classic Vintage P Bass Tone and be able to add the J to taste.

    Do I just change the P and keep the J or do I change both? Neither do anything special for me but both together sound good.

    Any suggestions on some other Pickups?

    Both of my Basses have Ash Bodies, the CIJ has a Maple Board and the American H R has a Rosewood Board.

    Please help!

    Thank you sincerely in advance. :)
  2. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    a nice vintage P from duncan, fender, or especially fralin, coupled with a dimarzio ultra jazz bridge, will give you what you need. the ultra jazz is strong enough to hang with a good P pickup, while still sounding "jazz-like" and canceling hum.

    it's odd that your duncan quarter pound P is not so strong, as that's one of the hottest P pickups out there. is it real far from the strings?
  3. KeithPas

    KeithPas Supporting Member

    May 16, 2000
    The 1/4 pounder is a hot pickup. I love a good passive PJ set up but the pickups have a tendency to load each other down in certain settings. Try different setting on the separate volumes; there is typically a sweet spot where the pickups will sound very full but it is not the same with every bass.
  4. Jesse DeCarlo

    Jesse DeCarlo

    Apr 23, 2008
    This may or may not be helpful, but I'm throwing it out there anyway.
    I have a Bartolini P-J set that I'm totally in love with. Every setting sounds good in a different way, and the two pickups are pretty well balanced and both hot.
  5. impactwrench


    Feb 22, 2009
    where did you find that bass? talk about hens teeth. i have one too. All ive heard is that they dont sound fully P without somehow installing a switch that eliminates the J pup from the circuit.
  6. Red Planet

    Red Planet Inactive

    May 29, 2005
    I'm cranky in my old age.
    I purchased the Bass off Flebay.

    It definately is a keeper.

    The P is a hot pickup but it is not near as hot as the Single Coil in my CIJ reissue Bass.

    I did some adjusting on it and got things a little better.

    I had an old American P that I had dropped a PJ setup in a number of years ago. It sounded nothing like this Bass. The pickups I used back then were Bartolinis.

    Funny thing if I turn the Volume all the way up on the J I get this Mid Scopped Tone. If I back off it just a little the Mid Scoop goes away.

    I really do not think I'm getting an out of phase Tone but I may need to double check.

    I'm really not satisfied with the Tone of either Pickup so I may need to try some.

    It's a great Bass though. Plays great and is very solid. The Tone is livable but not quite where I'd like it.
  7. KeithPas

    KeithPas Supporting Member

    May 16, 2000
    What I have heard about the Basslines pickups you are using is that the tone is more mid-scooped than midrangey. It more than likely sounds the way it is meant to sound.
  8. jwymore


    Jul 26, 2001
    Portland, OR
    I too am suprised that you feel the QP is low on output. There must be something about the wiring that causes this because in most P+J basses I have used the P pickups usually blows the jazz pickup away output wise and I end up setting the P pickup really low to help match the outputs.

    Also, as mentioned above the QP is a scooped EQ pickup and not a classic P-Bass tone. I have built a few P+J's and I prefer using the SD Hot and the Hot Stack as a set.

    The best sounding passive P+J pickups I have found though are the Nordstrand NP-4 paired with a NJ4SE.

    Lastly, on my P+J's I have used a stack knob setup ILO the VVT setup and liked the results better.

  9. Mr. Ray

    Mr. Ray

    Feb 20, 2009
    If you want that vintage sound....all you need is a regular stock Fender US P and a standard Duncan stacked J in the bridge. Use 250 concentric pots and you can mix the tone separately. I have used this combo and it works great.
  10. Red Planet

    Red Planet Inactive

    May 29, 2005
    I'm cranky in my old age.
  11. mongo2


    Feb 17, 2008
    Da Shaw
    Since it gives you what you say you want, why not just use the CIJ RI?
  12. Red Planet

    Red Planet Inactive

    May 29, 2005
    I'm cranky in my old age.

    I love the CIJ. It will definately be my main Axe. I just wanted a second Bass and one that was just a little different.
  13. impactwrench


    Feb 22, 2009
    Did you snag that orange one that went for less than $700 recently? I almost bit on that one but I really want a sunburst. Mine is white.
  14. Red Planet

    Red Planet Inactive

    May 29, 2005
    I'm cranky in my old age.
    Here is the one I got.


    And here she is with her sister.

  15. Red Planet

    Red Planet Inactive

    May 29, 2005
    I'm cranky in my old age.

    BTW this one is verrrrryyyy sweet looking. Love to have that one.:)
  16. htharp


    Feb 4, 2007
    Dallas, Tx
    I have owned a Sting bass in the past and had both the stock pickup and the SD SCPB pickup in it. I also have a regular P with a Quarter pounder in it. The output of my QP is every bit as high as either of the SCPB's was. Because it is easy, the first thing I would do is disconnect the J pickup from the circuit by desoldering or clipping the lead and see what the P sounds like. If there is a huge change check the wiring.

    I also own a Hot Rod P - first year white/tort - and I really like the stock pickup setup. My understanding was that the P pickup was pretty standard and the J was hotter to accomodate the balancing rather than weakening the P. My P pickup seems like a standard wound one to me. I get a much more traditional P sound from that than the QP loaded regular P bass, and i can dial in a little J for "bite". I have also owned several of the MIM passive P/J basses, which came from the factory with MIA standard pickups according to the Fender parts list, and have modded them with various pickups. I tried the QP set like yours and, frankly, it was my least favorite.

    There is considerable interaction between the 2 pickups, regardless of which set, when changing volumes. That might be part of your issue. I eventually went back to stock pickups on both of mine that I kept.

    BTW - The woodgrain pickguard is a nice touch on the natural body.
  17. wildhorse


    Mar 15, 2009
    I read you right but there still must be something wrong with your Duncan QP...as well as the Hot for Jazz. Either is one HOT pickup, agressively overwound. Must be much more so than a MIJ Single Coil. I'd check the wiring.
  18. Red Planet

    Red Planet Inactive

    May 29, 2005
    I'm cranky in my old age.
    Hmmm lots of stuff to think about. I may try the stocks since I havent heard them. I thought some guys said the P is not as hot as a traditional to allow for the J.

    There arent any wiring problems. The PUP in my 53 is haot as a firecracker on the 4th of July.

    The one thing Id rather have is no big huge swings in level or EQ. Huge swings in Tone is OK as long as it's manageable.

    The PUP in my 53 must be Mid Heavy for some reason. It really cuts. I did find an easy quick way to cope with things for now by turning off the Aural Enhancer on my Pre which brings a bunch of Mids forward from where I usually set it ( about half way ).

    Definately interested in either a nice set of Barts or thos matched Fralins I listed.

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