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Replacing SPB-3QP, want a vintage tone/more mid (Jamerson/Cut Chemist/Herbie Hancock)

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by shiftyshuffle, Sep 25, 2008.

  1. shiftyshuffle


    Mar 15, 2008
    Hi all, i'm currently using a Seymour Duncan SPB-3 Quarter-Pounder in a 99' Squier P, with a MarkBass SA-450 & Hartke 4.5XL.

    What I always find is that the SPB-3 sounds:
    a) E-string too boomy/lacks definition
    b) Hardly any mid growl (as a result of scooped mids - when I try to dial in more mid it sounds almost artificial)
    c) Upper register too harsh/nasal
    d) Overall sound is too smooth/modern and lacks P-bass character

    So I try rolling off the treble to reduce that harsh crack which results in the E-string becoming even more boomy/smooth.. It's great for punk though..

    What I want (and need for the work I do as a student) is a more vintage, woody tone with lots of mid growl not dissimilar to Jamerson or Chameleon by Herbie Hancock. Also the tone of a lot of old funk 45's (check out 'Rare Equations' by Cut Chemist). Also any of bauschilein's clips on YouTube - I love that sound. I want a sound that responds well to how the bass is played.

    After searching through this site I found some alternatives; SD Vintage SPB-1, Fender Original P (62' Re-issue), DiMarzio DP122, NP4.. Does anyone reading this have experiences/comparisons of these pickups? Are there others I might want to try?

    I've heard the Original P is slightly brighter than the SPB-1 with less mid, so i'm thinking SPB-1 at present.

    Any comments/info much appreciated..

    Thanks in advance, Rob
  2. 4Mal

    4Mal Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    What you're hearing is typical of overwound, over magneted pickups. You actually want less low mids. There is a big low mid's bump that masks the true low end and also the upper mids.

    The Duncan SPB-1 is good as is the Fender CS 60's,
    Lollar's standard wind is very, very good. The Aero Type 1 is incredible. Punchy and raw.
    Vintage Vibe with Alnico Magnets and I prefer a slight over wind to knock the hi's back a little - very punchy, very articulate, very quiet - that one is my current fav.
    Fralin with a slight overwind, again to knock the hi's back a little
    Lawrence P46 - this one is really interesting. Very quiet, more transparent than any other P pickup I've used. Sensitive to the cap you use on the tone pot. That one dials in really well. Change the cap and you can really hear the differnce ... He provides some advice on some cap values to try. The P46 is a real sleeper and a steal for the dough. Of course you have to wait for it to be built but that is the nature of custom.

    If I were't so stuck on the VintageVibeGuitars stuff (I am...) I would probably go back to Lawrence for a split P. The reason I don't is that I can call Pete at VVG, tell him what I'm looking for and that's what he builds me. Fully custom for the price of off the shelf in most outfits... I'm hooked ...

    The other thing of course is flats. GHS Brite flats, TIJFs', Chromes, LaBella's, Roto Monels (light's only - those buggers are stiff beyond their guage) You wnt motown, stax, daptones ... you gotta have flats. Big thud, quick decay get's you into the finger stutter, ghost note thing quick.

    And if you're into that stuff - go download a copy of Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings 100days, 100nights - sounds like a Aretha - but recorded last week... the Dap Tone's bass guy just channels the vibe ...
  3. markdavid


    Jun 29, 2007
    I think you will be happy with either the SD Vintage SPB-1 or the Original 62 , however personally I would go for the Original 62 (jamerson used a 62 p bass). I would avoid the Dimarzio DP122 if I was after a vintage tone , its a very highly regarded pickup and although it has a good mid bump its not exactly vintage , its more in your face and grindy
  4. ibnzneksrul


    Feb 2, 2007
    So Cal
    I had the exact same complaints about the SPB-3, swapped it out for an SPB-2 (Hot P-Bass) and the difference is like night and day. Overall much warmer, boominess is gone, but still there is plenty of fat low end. Lots of mid character and definition, the highs are smoothly rolled off and much easier to manage via amp EQ.

    Also +1 on the flatwounds, the LaBellas are a great match with the SPB-2 pickup.
  5. deepdown

    deepdown Guest

    Aug 9, 2008
    shiftyshuffle: I would recommend Peter Biltoff at Vintage Vibe Guitars. He will build precisely what you want.:bassist:
  6. SD SPB-1's and a .1 cap...

    Flats (TI jazz flats have nice mid growl, also LaBella 760FL's) or "very worn in" nickel rounds (Fender 7150's)

    you could also try rolling in a little VLE on your MB amp

    and of course, method of attack and hand position...

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