PJ bass with s1 switch, good or bad idea?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Max Lawrence, Jun 18, 2019.

  1. Max Lawrence

    Max Lawrence

    Apr 27, 2019
    Hey, I've got a Mexican pj bass with fender noisless pickups in it. I was thinking about putting an s1 switch in it. Can somone tell me what it would sound like and if it's a good idea. I mostly play classic rock with a bit of blues pop and funk (no slapping though) Thanks alot.
  2. CallMeAl


    Dec 2, 2016
    Ithaca Ny
    I have a PJ and looked into that (though havent actually tried it) and theres actually 2 ways it can go:

    1) wire the 2 pickups in one series. Super beef and extra output. (I tried to hardwire mine like this, sounded good but had a hum I couldn't locate... so it was quickly abandoned....) or;

    2) wire the P pickup itself for a series/parellel option. This makes the P sound like a single coil for a faux jazz bass sound.

    For heavy stuff, I'd say #1, but for pop and funk, #2 might be the way to go

    Here's a video with option #2 featured. I could not, for the life of me, find any demos of option 1...

    In the end, I put a Dimarzio model J in the bridge. And I still solo the P pickup 90% of the time....
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2019
  3. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Inactive

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    I got nutn on the switch. But WELCOME to TalkBass!!!
  4. Eilif

    Eilif Grooving under the MDW runway.

    Oct 1, 2001
    The S1 as Fender used to install on a pbass throws the P out of phase. Absolutely useless. I've not found a series/parallel on a single P pickup to be much better.

    On a 2 pickup instrument however you have the option of installing it as a series/parallel switch. That will give you the option of switching between the usual parallel arrangement and series wiring which essentially turns the two pickups into one big pickup. The resulting tone is usually louder and thicker with stronger low-mids but a bit less definition.

    Series/parallel is a fantastic option for J basses and I've put it on almost every J I've ever owned. Someone else would have to comment on its suitability for a P/J setup but there is no harm in trying it out yourself. It's a reversible mod. I suspect it will sound great. My current jazz has series/parallel switch for a pair of DiMarzio model J pickups ( hum-canceling, similar to a P in a J housing)and it sounds excellent when I switch to series.

    Whatever you decide, do yourself a favor and skip the Fender S1 and instead use a regular push/pull pot. Much cheaper and more reliable.
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2019
    coronado3, Tommy V and 40Hz like this.
  5. Max Lawrence

    Max Lawrence

    Apr 27, 2019
    Thank you so much, that was super helpful. I think I want to go with option 1. I also looked for videos of it on a PJ and couldn't find any. If anyone else could send a like to one I'd really appreciate it.
    alanloomis1980 likes this.
  6. Max Lawrence

    Max Lawrence

    Apr 27, 2019
  7. Max Lawrence

    Max Lawrence

    Apr 27, 2019
    Thanks for the help. The push/pull pot seems like a great idea.
  8. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol

    My main bass for the last 25 years is a PJ with a serial/parallel switch and I love it. It gives a full, deep and boomy tone, perfect for anything that requires filling the room.
  9. Max Lawrence

    Max Lawrence

    Apr 27, 2019
    Hey, would you be able to send a recording of what it sounds like? I cant find any on line. Thanks
  10. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol

    At about 0:25 it switches from parallel to series.
    It is a passive bass with Bartolini pickups. The P is a 8S and the J is a 9W4J.
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2019
  11. CallMeAl


    Dec 2, 2016
    Ithaca Ny
    I've been really into P bass sound since I got one. I got this PJ as a backup, because it had a jazz neck I liked. I thought I'd explore the PJ, but I hardly ever use it.

    If I played heavier rock I'd definitely want to try the all-in-series. That clip from Jazz Ad sounds pretty good! :bassist:
  12. CallMeAl


    Dec 2, 2016
    Ithaca Ny
    Nice work! Finally, an example for the record. :thumbsup:

    Not a huge difference in tone, but I can definitely hear a little treble drop and volume boost. I dig it!
  13. fermata

    fermata Guest

    Nov 10, 2015
    This guy likes it:
  14. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    May 24, 2006
    Agree. My SO has them on some of her Strats and they’ve all become problematic after awhile. Definitely go with a push-pull pot.
  15. I wish people would stop saying a P bass pickup in parallel is a single coil and in series is a humbucker. It's a humbucker either way. Wiring it series or parallel doesn't change the humbucking nature of the P-Bass pickup - the difference is higher impedance (series) or lower impedance (Parallel).
    n1as, Jazz Ad and alanloomis1980 like this.
  16. CallMeAl


    Dec 2, 2016
    Ithaca Ny
    Good catch. I've edited my post.
  17. I was mainly referring to the YouTube video a couple of posts up.

    The P bass pickup is a humbucker that has a lot of properties of a single coil because there is only one coil under any particular string (One coil catches E and A, the other coil catches D and G). But it doesn't sound like a Jazz Bass single coil neck pickup for a few reasons. One reason is that the shape of the winding (short and fat for P vs Tall and skinny for J). Another reason is the location under the strings is different from a J neck pickup. And another reason is the higher impedance.

    So I can see how switching a P pickup to Parallel might move more in the direction of a J pickup (the lower impedance should be clearer/brighter but not as hot and without the same resonant peak as a series P).
  18. Planespotter


    Oct 11, 2015
    I’ve owned a pj with a series/parallel switch and putting the P into parallel mode made some cool tones when both pickups were blended. I do not like a solo p pickup in parallel, I much prefer it in series(stock) Fwiw, I put a series/parallel switch on my Jazz Bass and love it, but that’s a whole different story haha.
  19. nnnnnn


    Oct 27, 2018
    There are multiple possible configurations that buck hum in a literal sense, but some people prefer to use the term "humbucker" to refer only to pickups that use two side-by-side coils as per traditional PAF humbuckers. Those people would call other configurations something else, e.g., "hum cancelling". The distinction can give an indication of the sort of tone to expect.

    Having said that, I agree that calling the parallel configuration "single coil" makes no sense, there are still two coils.
  20. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    I hated the S1 every time I've tried it. A completely non-useful sound to me.