Single Coil P Bass Early Fifties Sound out of Fender Musicmaster

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Joe Ty, Jul 19, 2017.

  1. Hi All

    I've had this thought about buying a 1978 Musicmaster and replacing the factory pickup with a Fralin Single Coil P. I really love the sound of the early fifties P basses and the articulation of that single coil that to me sounds a bit smoothed over when they went to the split pickup design. I have 34, 32, and 31 scale basses and prefer the medium/short scale with my shorter arms and stubby fingers. The Musicmaster's look a lot like the original P basses but I have no idea how they compare otherwise and whether I would get anywhere near what I'm looking for. I realize the lower string tension on a shorter scale bass will also make a difference in the "snappiness" of the sound and muddy it a bit.

    Any thoughts? Has anyone else modded a Musicmaster with good results? It's a USA bass so I would think the quality of the parts is pretty good.

  2. The Great Genius

    The Great Genius

    Jul 15, 2014
    Unfortunately not. I have yet to hear a short-scale single coil that sounds like it's full-scale counterpart.
  3. doodahwarrior

    doodahwarrior Inactive

    Dec 16, 2015
    It's NOT the pickup. It's the SHORT SCALE.
  4. rllefebv


    Oct 17, 2000
    Newberg, Oregon
    The pole spacing on the Fralin will be wrong... Musicmaster spacing is much narrower... Better to go with a four-pole pickup wound for the Musicmaster. Aero makes one that is highly regarded. Sentell also does a number of different Musicmaster pickups, most of which are direct drop-ins... I ordered the stacked humbucker which required a deeper route, so be forewarned. The Sentell is a fantastic pickup and made a world of difference with my '78.

    Additionally, IME, you'll want to replace the wiring harness. The original wiring has two caps, one in an "always on" mode to attempt to deepen the tone. Blech!!! I went simple with 250K pots and an Orange Drop cap and it sounds nice.

    Does it cop that SCPB tone?? Depends... For 80% of the stuff I'm playing, bass is bass is bass. I'm not asking for it to snarl too much. It's those really "digging in" tones where the difference lies, and in that regard, much as I love the little bass, I have to agree with @doodahwarrior ... it's the scale.

  5. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    Jun 19, 2021

Share This Page