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Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by faulknersj, Dec 18, 2018.
What pickup swaps have had the most dramatic effect on your Basses tone?
Bartolini to Lane Poor
I haven’t experienced a dramatic tone shift with a pickup swap on a bass. Guitars a little. Never on bass.
I had some active EMG 6 string guitar pickups in my Spector there for a while.
Swapped the stock pickups in a Squier VM Jazz for Dimarzio Ultra Jazz pickups. It was like night and day to my ears.
MEC MMs to Nordstrand Bigmans, Big Blademan, and SD Alnico MM.
Spector whatever junk they put in the NS-2A to EMG PJs and EMG GZRs....I hate GZRs but the stock Spector branded whatevers were unuseable.
Mim P to Dimarzio Model P.
Stock Fender to Fralins in a Road Worn P bass...
Custom Shop 60's in a Jazz...
Replaced a mudbucker type thing with a P pickup.
I upgraded from Fender split P pickups to Barts in about 1988. Wow. . . huge improvement.
Then, about 4 years ago, I upgraded from rounds to flats on my Mike Lull P5 and opened up another level of tone. Moving to TI flats was also a big leap forwards.
Not sure if I'd necessarily say dramatic effect, but definitely got what I wanted and expected. My favorite swaps:
EMG GZR on my Highway One P bass - exactly what I wanted a P bass to sound like. Extra points for getting rid of the useless (to me) Greasebucket wiring along with the pup upgrade. My favorite P bass pickup, works wonders with La Bella flats that I have on it. I've had a few P basses and P bass pickups, this one has the best mids and sounds wonderfully vintage.
Norstrand MM4.2 on my Stingray - had this baby in 2 different Stingrays. First time I paired it with a John East MMSR preamp (switched out the original 3 band preamp) and it delivered the vintage Stingray tone fantastically - instant Sade tone. I now have it paired with the original Stingray 2 band preamp and it works just as well, but I'm favoring this one more because 2 band ray preamp is my favorite bass preamp. I wouldn't say the tonal difference is drastic (I didn't want it to be!), but it definitely has less clank, nicer low mids and lows and sounds a bit smoother - sounds like a 70s Stingray to me. One important thing is the stagger design on it - pole pieces have less of a stagger that fits both my setup better, and the modern Stingray 11" radius, and is just more comfortable to play over.
Probably a little bit specialist for the thread: I replaced the RI Horseshoe on a 4001 V63 with a Lollar Horseshoe. Less mud, much more clarity and definition at the expense of volume.
Replaced the Fideli-Tron in my Squier VM Cabronita with a TV Jones Thunderblade. Cured the uneven level problems between strings and gave it a nice, fat, smokey, meaty sound.
PS - the pickup cost me more than the bass...
Swapped out a Seymour Duncan MusicMan replacement set-up fora Delano MM pick-up & Glockenklang 3 band pre in what is now my main instrument, a Warmoth J bass body & P bass neck. Ranks way high among the choices that have made me happy.
I replaced a Squier Affinity Carrot P-pickup with the Classic Vibe pickup (by Tonerider). Unfortunately I broke a string in the process and I didn't know what the old flats were, but the new sound with GHS precision flats is pretty d*rn good.
Bartolini J/MM swapped out to handwound Kent Armstrong J/MM with a special “SS” (sidewinder) J pup. The MM has one alnico coil (closer to the neck for single coil mode) and one ceramic (near the bridge for higher output in series and parallel).
Seymour Duncan SCPB2 in a 51P reissue - swapped to Fralin split 51P and was beautiful. Night and day.
The Duncan was a great pickup - MASSIVE bass - but didn't suit the lighter SC vibe.
EMG GZR’s in ANYTHING.
Stock Fender PU’s to SD SPB-1. Oh and I also replaced the Greasebucket circuit tone control with a regular one...
Putting Duncan antiquity P pups in an old E series Squier....pure sex.
Biggest difference? EMG J split coil (Alnico) vs Kent Armstrong MM dual coil (ceramic). They could hardly be any more different in design, and sound way different. Each has its own strengths, and neither is the “better” pickup.
When I switch within the same form/shape (like a P for a P), the differences are less dramatic, but a DiMarzio Model P sounds quite different from a Fralin P.
So if you want different sounds, you want a dramatically different design, IMO.