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Pickup swap that made the biggest difference in your tone?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by faulknersj, Dec 18, 2018.

  1. faulknersj

    faulknersj Supporting Member

    Apr 4, 2008
    Scottsdale Az
    What pickup swaps have had the most dramatic effect on your Basses tone?
  2. Lesfunk

    Lesfunk Supporting Member

    Bartolini to Lane Poor
  3. saabfender

    saabfender Banned

    Jan 10, 2018
    I haven’t experienced a dramatic tone shift with a pickup swap on a bass. Guitars a little. Never on bass.
  4. Mordamir


    Oct 19, 2018
    I had some active EMG 6 string guitar pickups in my Spector there for a while.
    faulknersj likes this.
  5. Swapped the stock pickups in a Squier VM Jazz for Dimarzio Ultra Jazz pickups. It was like night and day to my ears.
  6. somebrains

    somebrains Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2017
    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.
  7. 1bassplayinfool

    1bassplayinfool -Nowhere Man- Supporting Member

    Stock Fender to Fralins in a Road Worn P bass...
    Custom Shop 60's in a Jazz...
  8. hypercarrots


    Jan 28, 2009
    los angeles
    Replaced a mudbucker type thing with a P pickup.
    faulknersj likes this.
  9. chris_b


    Jun 2, 2007
    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.
    bebi and faulknersj like this.
  10. mouthmw


    Jul 19, 2009
    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.
    gregmon79 and faulknersj like this.
  11. Dabndug

    Dabndug Supporting Member

    Sep 27, 2017
    Somewhere in Oz
    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.
    faulknersj likes this.
  12. biguglyman


    Jul 27, 2017
    Rochester, NY
    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...
  13. Merc Montclair

    Merc Montclair Supporting Member

    Jul 25, 2015
    Austin, TX
    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.
  14. vonbladet


    Nov 30, 2017
    East Belgium
    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.
  15. DaveAceofBass

    DaveAceofBass Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2004
    Charlotte, NC
    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).
    faulknersj likes this.
  16. 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.
    faulknersj likes this.
  17. dcbassist5

    dcbassist5 Supporting Member

    May 11, 2011
    Baltimore, MD
    Endorsing Artist: Ashdown, Lakland, Hardwire
    MICKUSS, REV, IngloriousOz and 3 others like this.
  18. FrenchBassQC

    FrenchBassQC Supporting Member

    Jul 13, 2011
    Gatineau QC CA
    Stock Fender PU’s to SD SPB-1. Oh and I also replaced the Greasebucket circuit tone control with a regular one...
    faulknersj and mouthmw like this.
  19. bassbully

    bassbully Endorsed by The PHALEX CORN BASS..mmm...corn!

    Sep 7, 2006
    Blimp City USA
    Putting Duncan antiquity P pups in an old E series Squier....pure sex.
    Helix, faulknersj and Zoobiedood like this.
  20. sikamikanico

    sikamikanico Supporting Member

    Mar 17, 2004
    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.
    faulknersj likes this.

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