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Replacement pickup for a '56 Precision: Most authentic sounding & "best" sounding

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by guitargarage, Jan 22, 2014.

  1. guitargarage

    guitargarage Commercial User

    Jul 6, 2008
    Boston, MA
    Owner of Guitar Garage
    Ok -kind of two questions here for the Talkbass community - I'm restoring a '56/'57 Precision Bass - one of the last of the contoured body/Tele headstock models - and I'm trying to decide on a pickup, as the original is long gone - in fact, its been routed for a Dimarzio P-bass pickup.

    Question 1)
    What would be the most authentic sounding NEW pickup out there ? I've never owned nor played an original '56 or earlier P-bass - plenty of late 60s Tele Basses - but not the original single coils from the 50s.

    I've installed a Seymour Duncan Antiquity in a '68 Tele Bass recently - and it sounds GREAT !! But no idea if thats "authentic".

    Question 2)
    And even more subjective question - what's the best sounding but cosmetically original '51/'56/Tele bass single coil out there ? Seymour Duncan ? Curtiss Novak ? Fralin ?

    I figure if theres one place where somebody has actually compared and original '56 to other options, it would be here!

    thanks in advance !

    Guitar Garage
  2. Clouz

    Clouz The Ayatollah of Jack and Cola

    Jan 26, 2013
    no idea about the tone of the older stuff but an idea about how to make it sound like a 56 but look like a j pick up would be to get someone to wind one for you. now as far as the best person to do that is concerned i will let the experts talk. good luck and maybe a few pics would be nice so we can share in your new bass project.
  3. mrb327

    mrb327 Supporting Member

    Mar 6, 2013
    Nobody Knows
    Other than web sound clips, I cant be of much help. Duncan makes a SCPB pup, the duncan designed ones actually sound pretty decent.

    Maybe check the Tele bass club on here, someone already has what you want on this site.
  4. GlennW


    Sep 6, 2006
    If you want authentic, I'd suggest contacting Duncan about the ANT or ANT II.

    The early single coil pickups had .2" magnets/poles, and the later ones (what you'd want) have the more common 3/16" (.188").

    As far as looks and sound, SD's will probably be very close to original.
  5. Arvin

    Arvin Underwound Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2008
    On the bench
    If I'm reading your post correctly, you're looking for a single-coil P-bass pickup (SCPB), not a split-coil humbucker?

    Since you're looking for "authentic" tone and appearance, you may want to look into:

    Duncan Antiquity
    Jason Lollar
    Pete Biltoft
    Curtis Novak
    Lindy Fralin

    As I understand it, the original pickups had a fair amount of variance on the winding process: some were wound hot, some not as much. Each of the winders mentioned above have their own take on the pickup, and if you contact them, and do a little research, you'll find the one that fits for what you're looking for. Keep in mind, too, that the Duncan is an "off the shelf" pickup, meaning that they make what they make, with no input from you. Some of the other winders I referenced above will work with you and custom wind you the pickup, i.e. make it hotter or cooler, substitute magnet types, etc. There are lots of options with some of them.

    Good luck, and have fun!
  6. GlennW


    Sep 6, 2006
    Fralin winds his scpb pickups backwards (cw, instead of ccw) unless he's changed his evil ways.