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pickups and their tone

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by linebacker51, Nov 1, 2002.

  1. i have a few questions on certain types of pickups and what type of tone they put out. The pup's in question are musicman, and p & j configuration. also how does tilting the j pickups change the sound?


    p.s. i have already done a search and it turned up very little
  2. could some one please help me with this. it will factor greatly into my next bass purchase.

  3. Trevorus


    Oct 18, 2002
    Urbana, IL
    j's have a more focussed sound. more mids. p's have more lows, and low-mids. placement of pickups will greatly affect tone. Musicman p/u's are humbuckers. They pickup a little wider renge on the string. They have a lot of midrange punch and growl. Now, when you move a pickup, nearer the bridge will enhance treble, but near the neck will enhance bass. This is due to the vibration of the string. It covers more distance nearer the neck, so it gives out a little more power. So, i think most of this is correct. What sound are you looking for, we can probably reccomend something.
  4. thanks for your help. one more question what kind of sound would a P & J config. give off?

    im looking for a bass that has a sound that will be compatable for many things as i play many styles of music including: metal, punk, rock, and jazz

  5. I'm finding, that in my search for the one bass that does everything...it doesn't really exist. All of the above mentioned pickups are really different, and for a reason. That's why I've convinced my wife that I have to have at least one of everything. ;)

    That being said, I think, IMHO, that a P/J setup in a passive bass might be the closest to a jack of all trades (if there is such a thing). As far as active basses go, P/J or soapbars might be the way to go if you're going to have just one bass try to do all tones.

    Remember, however, that almost all of those styles have been convincingly played by all types of basses. James Jamerson, Steve Harris, Monk Montgomery, Dee Dee Ramone, and Sting all play (or have played often) Fender Precisions....I'm sure we could all come up with similar lists for Jazz basses, Stingrays, etc...

  6. Trevorus


    Oct 18, 2002
    Urbana, IL
    I would reccommend something with some passive soapbars, such as Barts, (I'm a fan), and a 2-band EQ. I find that it is much less cumbersome than a 3-band. I have yet to find a properly designed 3-band in configuration or setup of the knobs. A p/j is also very versatile, and I reccomend if you can find a discontinued hot rodded american fender p bass, get it. Fender discontinued them, so you might be able to find somebody blowing them out.
  7. rumblethump

    rumblethump Supporting Member

    Mar 25, 2000
    Pioneer CA. 95666
    Andy, the variables that you have presented can be mind boggling. Each of these have their own characteristics. Generally 2 pu basses have more variety of tones than one pu basses. The ever so small difference of pu placement such as a P bass or a stingray makes each of these basses have a very distinctive tone of their own. Then there is single coil or humbucker? Active or Passive?? Bolt on or neck through? Bartolini, EMG, Basslines, Lindy Fralin, Lane Poor, Fender, DiMarzio, each of these pu brands have their own sound. You really need to try all of these options and make a decision on your needs and preferences. My arsenal includes a passive bolt on P style bass with an SD SPB2 , a gibson EB3 shortscale, a neck through steinberger type with Barts PBJ and an active passive Carvin with J style. I will say that the Lakland Skyline is getting very good reviews for its versatile tones. So many basses to try and so little time and money. FOTFL Good luck in your quest for the perfect tone.
  8. 1964


    Mar 26, 2002
    Too Close To Hell
    MM Sterling offers a lot of flexibility.
  9. The PJ config is very versatile. Since you can solo each pickup, you can get the P sound, and you can get the jazz bridge growl. having them both on, and experimenting with volumes for each pickup, I've managed to hit something VERY close to the dual jazz setup sound. I've also found that with both pups on full, I can get very close to the MM sound. It's not exact in either case, but close enough to fool anyone who isn't a well rounded bass player.
  10. IMO, a p-bass should be a pure type, not a P/J configuration *unless* the pickups are isolated with a preamp such as a U or J retro. Owners of P/J note they cannot quite get a true P tone because of the passive interaction between the two pickups. Another solution is the 3-way switch type used on Strats and the Fender RB5. Then you could isolate each pickup completely.

    There is a lot to be said for owning multiple basses. For me, a P should have flats for thump and thud. My G&L L1500 (music man position) has rounds for aggressive grind. The J fretless has rounds for maximum mwah and fingerboard damage, to get that Jaco bridge sound or the classic J growl.

    Each of these three basses has the pickups in different locations, and each sounds different from the other.
  11. I don't know that this question can be effectively answered. Not only are there numerous different types of J, P, and MM pickups, each with its own sound, but there are myriad different combinations of bass woods and construction methods, which affect tone and response too. There are so many variables that I wonder how much one can really say all that much about how a PU inherently "sounds".

    For instance, a Dimarzio Ultra Jazz in a Smith made mostly of maple probably won't sound much like, say, an EMG J in an all-mahogany short-scale Gibson EBO, or a Bartolini J in a swamp ash bolt-on Carvin B4. You can definitely find situations, quite easily, where a given J PU in a given bass sounds bigger and bassier than a given P PU in another bass.

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