Pickup advice for new project -- P-bass on steroids

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by JES, Dec 22, 2014.

  1. JES

    JES Supporting Member

    Hi Folks,

    I'm getting a new body for a Modulus Bassstar (the neck is a 24 fret version of a J-bass neck from the 1980s).

    I was thinking I'd go with passive pickups for a more classic tone, and so it would play better with my envelope-based effects. Basically, I'm looking for P-bass on steroids but with the ability to back off to a mellower tone, up to and including dub.

    Questions: when it's not in use, does a 2nd pickup in the bridge position really have much of an effect on the tone of a P-bass pickup? I've read some people saying this but it sounds a little voodoo-ish to me. Ideally, I'd like the option of a bridge MFD humbucker.

    My ideas:

    Alnico P-bass and G&L MFD bridge (would this be too much of a conflict between the tones of the two pickups?)
    G&L MFD P-bass and G&L MFD bridge
    11-position tone-styler either way

    I was going to go with an Alder body for light weight and versatility, and on account of the fact that the neck should already be pretty aggressive sounding since it's graphite and phenolic.

    Any suggestions would be appreciated.

    Thank you!
  2. DavidEdenAria


    Dec 13, 2013
    On a Hill
    I've considered doing something similar to your build.

    However, I would want something proven in regards to pickup combinations.

    I've done considerable pickup swapping in the 6 string guitar world but the bass world is so much different with way too many sizes & configurations of pickups.

    I suspect many wont work as well together, so you need to be careful how you plan this once you carve out the pickup routes!

    In my case I settled on an Ibanez SR800 for now with the P style (though active) on the middle/neck position and a J bridge.

    I've always wanted a basic P pickup and a MM style bridge pickup but I would really research it before I routed a body.

    Of course if you use a full pickguard, it opens more possibilities being able to cover pickup routes.
  3. JustForSport


    Nov 17, 2011
    If you use a 3-way switch for a pickup selector, and a tone pot for each, wired between the pickup and the vol,
    when only one pickup is selected, the other will not be in the circuit to affect it.
    But if you want the P to sound like a P, it needs to be in the P position, not in a jazz neck position.
    DavidEdenAria likes this.
  4. DavidEdenAria


    Dec 13, 2013
    On a Hill
  5. JES

    JES Supporting Member

    Thanks for the replies. Please excuse any cluelessness. The P will be in P position. If I use a switch, why would there need to be separate tone controls for each pickup? And what would happen to the sound if I did a blend instead and had a single tone (as per standard wiring practice)?

    Also, if anyone has experience mixing an alnico P with a ceramic soapbar in bridge position, I'd love to know.
  6. JustForSport


    Nov 17, 2011
    Multiple pots in a system combine their values- 2 500k pots= 250k.
    Lower numbers = less tone avail.
    A 'P' only has 2 pots- if you want it to be able to sound like a 'P' then you need to be able isolate the rest of the system at will.
  7. JES

    JES Supporting Member

    Perfect, thanks!