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Picking out a P pickup for Reggae/Dub

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by SundanceChile, Mar 18, 2009.

  1. So it is my awesome luck that I have stumbled across a beat to hell Precision bass. Pics will ensue upon finding a camera, but trust me, it isn't a pretty sight right now. :crying:

    The electronics are COMPLETELY shot. I have no idea what the hell happened, and I really don't want to know. The control plate is constructed of duct tape if you want a mental image. :eek: So I have the pots, wiring, cap, knobs, new pickguard, and strings to bring this sucker back to life. But I am in need of a new, working, pickup.

    What I'm looking for is something with a strong low mid punch that will cut through without being too aggressive. Dub/Reggaeish, but I certainly do want to be able to know the difference between notes as opposed to just "feeling" the bass. Any suggestions at all would be appreciated; I'm going to be stringing her up with flatwounds FYI.
  2. Craig_S

    Craig_S Banned

    Oct 15, 2008
    Metro Detroit
    Duncan SPB2, Maybe. I have the SPB1 in one of my basses and it would work pretty well, I thin. But, as I understand it, the SPB2 has a bit more mid presence. I'm sure there will be mention of using a Gibson style "Mudbucker", as well. Isn't that the pickup that defined the Reggae sound? I'm not positive.
  3. I keep hearing that "Mudbuckers" are THE sound for Dub, but all the same, I want to have clarity should I use the bass for anything else. Maybe if I could scrounge up enough cash a Darkstar would be in order...;) I'll definitely keep the SPB-2 in mind though.
  4. Craig_S

    Craig_S Banned

    Oct 15, 2008
    Metro Detroit
    The SPB2 suggestion came from the assumption you would want a P style pickup.
  5. I would actually prefer a P style pickup as then I don't have to deal with routing out the body and pickguard to fit a bigger pickup in. However, if I had a sound clip of some monster-humbucker with flats that I liked, I might be inclined otherwise.
  6. GlennW


    Sep 6, 2006
    The SD SPB-2 will hang with, if not surpass, any HB (Guild and Gibson) I've heard for big, deep, boomy bass.
  7. fullrangebass


    May 7, 2005
    IME top pickups for Reggae and Dub are Villex pickups. They are huge and warm sounding. The basses from my herd that sport Villex pickups are my to-go basses for these projects

  8. Relic

    Relic Cow are you?

    Sep 12, 2006
    Robbinsville, NJ
    I personally love SD quarter pounders. Yes, they're a bit aggressive with the tone up but roll off the tone about 3/4 and you have a monster that cuts through while still hanging onto that smooth rumbling low end. I have them loaded on 2 of my P basses and I've used them for anything from rock to reggae to R&b
  9. Nedmundo

    Nedmundo Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2005
    I've used the SPB-2 Hot, and it has thick, fat, juicy low mids. It would work for dub. But I'd probably take the SPB-3 Quarter Pounder, because it has an extended low end, and I believe has more clarity. If you want it to stay clear in the deep lows, it's probably a better choice than the SPB-2.
  10. Thanks to all for your recommendations! Seems like the QP is getting a whole lot of love for this kind of thing. IIRC, the Steve Harris bass came standard with flats and a QP. Does anybody happen to have a sound clip of this bass?
  11. b_carville


    Jun 26, 2008
    This is a personal preference of mine & a lot of players won't agree with me but you may want to try a DiMarzio Model P.

    I've found the Model P to have a much bigger low end then a standard P pickup,but with good definition.Nice clarity in the highs too.It may be a nice choice if you want to use your bass for other genres.It's also priced nice. Most retailers have them for $60.

    A cheapie I've been using recently is a GFS ProPlus Overwound P pickup. These are dirt cheap(about $35)fron a site called Guitar Fetish.The clarity isn't great but this thing puts out a MASSIVE amount of low end.It's also the loudest pickup I've ever played.This might work great for Dub styles.Be forewarned it was a slight pain to install.I had to shave the pickup covers down to get it to fit(installed in a Fender 50's classic).Sometimes I love it,sometimes I hate it depending on the room.You have to roll the upper highs in for clarity. Some of the folks I play with love it. They say that it sounds like an old P bass.(That's coming from vintage gear guys).One thing though it can bottom out a room in no time. I've found most "hot"or"overwound" pickups to lack in high end clarity anyway.
  12. Quadzilla

    Quadzilla Supporting Member

    I recently bought a brand new Bill Lawrence P-46 P pickup and installed it in my 78 P. I gotta tell you, this is BY FAR the best damn P pickup I've ever owned (and I've owned or tried just about everything out there over the years including Duncan, Nordstrand, Fralin, etc.

    Nice even tone across all strings. Fat sounding pickup. NOT one of those thin sounding, whimpy, clanky P pickups that I've tried. Massive and defined low end. Most of all....under $70 BRAND NEW!!!

    Bill makes them individually by hand. In case you don't know who Bill Lawrence is, he designed MANY pickup systems for Fender, GIbson and others including the Fender Roscoe Beck electronics, the Gibby Grabber (or was it the Ripper?), etc, etc. Bill is THE MAN!

    Oh, the pickup is almost dead silent. Less hum than any other P pickup I've used also!!! And Bill provides detail schematics for the install including series/parallel switching options.

  13. b_carville


    Jun 26, 2008
    This could be a great choice!
    I have an Ibanez P bass copy with a Bill Lawrence "Keystone"brand pickup. It's probably the best sounding P I own.
  14. You know, at that price point with that kind of resume, how could I refuse? ;) But of course, if this isn't the greatest P bass pickup in the whole g-dang world, I'm going to come hunting for Quad...:ninja:

  15. I'm on the same quest... lookingn for a good P pup to ballpark that type of tone.

    Couple things to address tho.. What is the Reggae/Dub sound? I'm not a bass expert.. actually I'm a hack who picked up bass just a few months ago. <acoustic guitar convert> And, to me.. the sound is scooped mids, and very few, if any, highs.

    My current bass <mid 80s Ibanez P copy> does not hit this without serious EQing. I fault the stock Dimarzio P, and it's aggresive mids. I saw that one mentioned up the page there, and I would disagree on this pup for Dub duty.

    The other thing that I've read, is the serious need for some well used flatwounds. I don't have any on mine yet because I can't afford them right now <how sad it that!>.. but still, Reggae/Dub tone to my ears requires deep thump, hopefully on the tight side... easy on the mids.

    Based on my limited pup knowledge in general, hot pups are going to work against this from the start... prolly best to look for lower output, full spectrum stuff.. and use the volume knob.

    In any case, I'd love to try that Bill Lawrence P-46 that I've reading about.. I know BL makes good stuff <got his pups in a telecaster already>

    I'm also thinking that a 1x15 is going to help as well.

    This tone.. this is what I where I would like to see my eventual rig..

  16. Yeah, I like that tone... which is part of the issue too, Robbie plays a J. The J has a bit of an unfair advantage over the P wrt the tightness of the tone. I'm thinking about how to mimimize the boominess of a P, without it getting all 'upper-middy'.. Which is why I'll probably replace my P pup with something that has a soft middle.

    I also have a Thumb 4 here at the house, on a long-term loan <we should all be so lucky, right?!> I prefer the playability of my Ibanez, tho. And the Warwick gets much closer to the sound... It's the J thing all over again. :meh:

    I doubt I'll ever get it with my bass.. though I'll try. I'm still so new to bass... but can't really afford to throw money at the tone. Perhaps I'll just get a good EQ instead! I dunno..
  17. Nedmundo

    Nedmundo Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2005
    I used one of these before the SPB-2 Hot. I agree the DiMarzio has more low end and definition than a stock Fender pickup, and it has massive output and punch. So I liked it for hard rock, and it would work for dub and reggae. But to me, it lacked some vintage warmth, and sounded slightly sterile. I have heard it sound great in other basses though, so YMMV, etc.

    The G&L MFD split-coil from the SB-2 is similar to the DiMarzio, but adds some warm, vintage character to the hard-hitting punch. It would be outstanding for dub/reggae, but you'd have to special order one through a G&L dealer, and I think it's on the expensive side.
  18. Craig_S

    Craig_S Banned

    Oct 15, 2008
    Metro Detroit
    I'm sure the SPB2 will get really close to the 311 tone--and it doesn't cost a lot. I can get really close to that tone with the SPB1. The SPB1 delivers nice, warm, tight low end, too. It's capable of a huge sound. My ash P sounds like a rock MONSTER with that pickup and a pick. With fingers, of course, it's smoothed out. It sits great in the mix, always.
  19. Gintaras


    Dec 11, 2004
    Kent Island, Md.
    I have a G&L SB2 P-pup in my FrankenP. It was just the aggressive sound that I was looking for. The final touch to my P was experimenting with strings. I tried a set DR Jonas Hellborg's and it was just what my bass needed. Absolutely love those strings with this bass. The strings added clarity to a very hot and punchy pickup.

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