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SD SB3-3 "Quarter Pounder" P-bass pickup vs. stock Fender P/humbucker config

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by TimBosby, Nov 9, 2005.

  1. TimBosby

    TimBosby Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 19, 2004
    Omaha, NE, USA
    I have been jonesin' for a P-bass and generally am used to loud basses with a variety of tones. I play a '97 G&L L-2000 which has two humbuckers and a very powerful preamp. I also play a '03 American Fender Jazz Deluxe with an 18v preamp. Both these basses are loud and cause headaches in the recording studio (especially the G&L) but they also cut through the mix no problem live.

    I have been wanting an American Fender Precision Bass Deluxe since I've been so happy with my Jazz. These Precisions feature a p-bass neck pickup and a humbucker at the bridge. They're also rather pricey. I was wondering if I'd be better off with a Standard precision or maybe an MIJ model that has been upgraded with a Seymour Duncan SB-3 "Quarter Pounder" p-bass pickup. A couple such basses have crossed my path on Ebay and elsewhere. I am used to basses with active electronics but let's face it, who wants to change a battery if they don't have to? I would love to have a passive bass with the same amount of "oomf" as my active basses. How would a passive bass with a single SB-3 quarter pounder compare to an active fender precision with the P/humbucker configuration I described above?

    Any and all input welcome. You guys are my first line of defense when bass related questions threaten my sanity :)
  2. mahrous


    Aug 13, 2005
    i prefer the P/humbucker combo. its a lot more versatile in my opinion. there is always a need for a bridge pickup ... especially if its a bucker, it will have some oomf that you might like. you can always change that bucker as well put in a Duncan or a Nordstrand or any of those famous brands that have sweet sounds.

    but a Single Pickup bass wont stack against your G&L and MIA Fenders. they are by far better basses than a MIJ Pbass. if you go for that MIJ bass its like buying a backup of a great backup bass.
  3. jwymore


    Jul 26, 2001
    Portland, OR
    It depends on the preamp but it's unlikely any passive pickup will sound like or have the output capability of an active setup. If you have a decent gain control on your amp though this shouldn't really be a big issue. In fact, most amps have a switch to pad the input so active units don't overdrive the input section of the amp.

    Having said that, the SPB3 is probably one of if not the highest ouput passive P-Bass pickup out there. It also has a reputation as being pretty good in a studio setting. It tends to be a more modern scooped mid type of tone though, so if you are looking old school P-Bass tone this pickup is not the ultimate choice.
  4. Slater

    Slater Leave that thing alone. Supporting Member

    Apr 17, 2000
    The Great Lakes State
    The Quarter-Pounder will be loud, but it won't keep up with most active basses (if you're boosting)...
  5. TimBosby

    TimBosby Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 19, 2004
    Omaha, NE, USA
    Well, the MIJ one is sold, so the one I am looking at is an MIA Standard Precision with a Quarter Pounder in place of a stock Fender pickup.

    It doesn't need to be as loud as my G&L or Jazz Dlx...my amp (Eden 800) has a lot of power. It just needs to be loud enough to ROCK :bassist:
  6. jwymore


    Jul 26, 2001
    Portland, OR
    Shouldn't be a problem, the WT-800 has a great input gain section and should be able to make even a low output pickup rock!!
  7. johnvice


    Sep 7, 2004
    You could always do it yourself. I love everything about my MIJ Jazz except the electronics: they hiss. I repelaced both pups with Seymour Duncan "Quarter Pounder". That are quiet and beefier.

    I sold the originals on eBay.

    I'm eying the new Fender Jazz 24 which has Seymour Duncan active electronics.
  8. Yesterday, I got my hands on a loaner 2000 MIM-P that is equipped with the SPB-3 Quarter Pounder and Rotosound rounds.

    I was expecting something very aggressive sounding and overly bright, but got neither. Through my practice amp (Peavey Minx) it sounds like a pleasant P-bass.

    This rig does not sound scooped to my ears. It is also much less "woody" sounding than my P with TI Flats and Will Power Middle pickup.

    I'm about done with my digital recording workstation, so will make an attempt to get DI samples recorded and uploaded to my web site in the near future.
  9. DavidRavenMoon

    DavidRavenMoon Banned

    Oct 20, 2004
    I've never cared for the Quarter Pounder pickups. I had one in my '72 P Bass once and felt the mids were harsh and unmusical. It's not a modern sounding pickup at all. Might be good for metal though.

    I actually quite enjoy the EMG P... it's got a very authentic Fender tone, with more output and smoother highs. Records great too. Doesn't sound like an "active" PU IMHO. Scooping your mids is a bad thing!
  10. DavidRavenMoon

    DavidRavenMoon Banned

    Oct 20, 2004
    Passive pickups hissed? Hiss is thermal noise from active electronics. Passive pickups can't hiss... but they can hum. Or did the bass have active electronics? Nothing worse than a cheap noisy preamp!

    The Duncan active Basslines pickups are great! I had built a P/J bass for someone who did a lot of recording. We chose the Duncan active P/J setup. This was the early one with the DIP switches. That bass always got a lot of compliments in the studio for it's tone.
  11. zac2944


    Dec 28, 2004
    Rochester, NY
    I love the tone of the Jazz 24 and its SD pickups and electronics. Are they 1/4# pickups? If so, I wonder if the 1/4# P pickups would sound as punchy and powerfull as the J pickups in the 24.
  12. I may have bought the MIJ P with SD's you were looking at (ended last night).

    I'm totally looking forward to it, so I'll let you know how I like it.
  13. jwymore


    Jul 26, 2001
    Portland, OR
    From the tone chart on Duncan's website for the QP:

    Lows: 7
    Mids: 3
    Highs: 6

    Obviously what you hear is dependant on your other equipment but this is what the pickup EQ's like according to the folks that make it. YMMV

    IMHO the top end is more pronounced than the lows but mids are definetly scooped. I agree, it's not overly aggressive as one might think. One thing for sure, it outsells all the other Duncan P-Bass pickups by about three to one!! I guess that say's something ;)
  14. TimBosby

    TimBosby Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 19, 2004
    Omaha, NE, USA
    Yeah, please do. I'm curious about that one. It was only $250. You got a good deal.
  15. I hope it was a good deal! It'll be a week or two before I get it I'm sure. Coming from Florida to T.O.
  16. Nedmundo

    Nedmundo Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2005
    I've never tried the new American Deluxe P-bass with the 18v preamp, but I had a '99 with the old 9v unit, and I think a Quarter Pounder would have MORE output unless you cranked the bass and mids on the 9v pre. For awhile I had a DiMarzio Model P in my Am. Ser. P, which some say is comparable to the Quarter Pounder, and it blew away that '99 Am. Dlx. P for useful high output (i.e., not boomy and muddy).

    I also didn't find the bridge humbucker particularly inspiring. I thought it was sort of thin. I'd much rather have a traditional passive P-bass with hot pickup, which is exactly what I got to replace the Am. Dlx. I didn't go all the way with the Quarter Pounder, but went one step down with the SPB-2 Hot for P-bass, which still has a vintage vibe. But I want another P-bass with a Quarter Pounder, because it provides a more extended frequency response, with firmer lows and less midrange emphasis. Very cool "modern P" sound.

    If you have a Guitar Center nearby, you might be able to make the comparison, because they frequently have the Mark Hoppus signature bass, which has the Quarter Pounder. And they might have an Am. Dlx. P
  17. TimBosby

    TimBosby Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 19, 2004
    Omaha, NE, USA
    I read the reviews of the Mark Hoppus at Harmony Central where a kid posted a link to his band in his review. The link can be found here. If you listen to the first track, you can clearly hear the bass tone, especially at the end of the song where it is just the bass and drums playing. Though I was not overly impressed by the song, I did like the bass tone... very fat and heavy. I tend to prefer more old-school fat heavy tone, but I also like some modern "punch" and "bite" to my sound and it sounds like the Quarter Pounder achieves both. I had a Carvin with EMG jazz pickups for a while and I loved the sound of those babies... fat as hell but with high end clarity. Selling that Carvin was the worst gear decision I've ever made, but hey we all make one or two of those and that's off topic anyway. :meh:
  18. Last night I started initial recording of the Quarter Pounder and DiMarzio Will Power Middle installed in separate basses.

    The WPM is using TI Flats, and is properly set up.
    The QP is using Rotosound rounds and not yet set up.

    The QP was different than my preconceived notion. It is far more civilized and even sounding. Very pleasant. The owner thinks the QP is overly bright, but I did not notice this. The playback test rig is a low fidelity Peavey Minx.

    Using a DAW with Aardvark Q10 interfaces into Sonar 4, I found something very interesting: the WPM is *much* higher output than the Quarter Pounder. This might change when I get the QP pickup adjusted closer to the strings. I had to significantly lower the channel gain when recording the WPM. Both basses went direct into the Q10 interface.

    I set up a MIDI of "Fly Me To The Moon" in the right channel, and recorded the bass in the left channel. Both basses sit very well in the mix, and I'm not hearing much difference (using cheap head phones).
  19. Tonight I finished the four sample files. Jazz, L1500, QP, and Will Power Middle.

    I record the bass panned Center, and the mix music in hard Right. This lets me pan Left or Right to accentuate or bury the bass.

    What I noticed most, is all the basses sound nearly identical in the mix. When I pan Left to favor them, the differences between basses are much more audible. The fretless J seems to have the biggest bottom of them all.

    The L1500 by FAR has the hottest pickup. I had to drop the channel gain way down for this one. The WPM is next hottest, followed by the QP and the MIM J pickups a distant last. All were direct to a Countryman 85 DI running +48v into the mic channel.

    Link to MP3 Files