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Single Coil P-bass types...tone?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by notduane, Feb 18, 2001.

  1. notduane


    Nov 24, 2000
    I'm thinkin' of puttin' together a "Warmoth Special". The pup'll be a `51 P-bass type.
    AFAIK there are 5 on the market - 2 from RioGrande and 3 from Seymour Duncan.
    TB'r The_Sound_of_The_Police mentioned that he put a RioGrande in his project.
    I'm wonderin', is there any drastic difference in tone? Goin' by the S/D
    description, I'm leanin' towards the ¼ Pounder given the sound I'm goin' for,
    i.e., "sensitivity" and "lots of midrange".

    I sent Bass Player mag an email suggestin' a "shootout" given the resurgence
    of the popularity (Sting, J/P Jones, etc.). Next issue fer' sure! :rolleyes: .

    Here's what catalog info I could find...


    ( Tone Chart: http://www.seymourduncan.com/tonechart.html#bass )

    "Vintage for Single Coil P-Bass®
    SCPB-1 -- When Leo Fender brought out the Precision Bass® in the early '50s,
    the pickup looked much like the Telecaster® guitar pickup, with black
    fiberboard flatwork and black string wrapped around the coil. The SCPB-1
    looks just like the original vintage pickup, down to the smallest detail
    and gives you the same bright sound. Pickup cover included."

    "Hot for Single Coil P-Bass®
    SCPB-2 -- Stronger magnets with more coil windings give you higher output
    with more punch and a thicker bottom-end than the vintage model. Like nearly
    all our pickups, this direct replacement can be installed with no modification
    to the instrument."

    "Quarter-Pound™ for Single Coil P-Bass®
    SCPB-3 -- Quarter-inch wide magnetic pole pieces give you more sensitivity than
    the Hot (SCPB-2) model. The full tonal response covers a very strong
    bottom end for a solid responsive sound with lots of midrange."



    "In Spanish Muy Grande means “Very Big”. Enough said!"


    "The old basses were very cool but limited in tone. The expanded body
    and volume of this Tallboy replacement pickup brings the sound up to par
    with it’s six string counterparts. "
  2. Flatwound

    Flatwound Supporting Member

    Sep 9, 2000
    San Diego
    OK, notd, I'm going to give this a shot, and most likely display my ignorance of pickup engineering for all to see. My understanding is that the punchiness of the single-coil P is due to the fact that there are only four pole pieces rather than two for each string like the Jazz and '57 and later P pickups. This is said to give a very strong attack because the string is moving through a narrower magnetic field. Therefore, I would probably choose the SD "Hot" due to greater output and more bottom than the Vintage model. I didn't like the SPB-3 in my mid-80's Precision, though (admittedly a different animal), so I may be prejudiced. I might point out that, IME, the Basslines "Tone Chart" gives a reasonably accurate picture of what you can expect.

    I have no experience with Rio Grande, and reviews of their bass pups are hard to find. The reviews I've read have been positive, but limited.
  3. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Here's some lowdown from an old issue of BP on the Basslines;

    Vintage P- "made our ash body P sound a lot like the lighter, alder-body `59- its reduced output and mellowness warmed up the sound nicely. The Vintage gets very close to that smooth, delicate, warm pre-CBS tone. without the 390 plus years of aging and abuse."

    Hot P- "more output, more spunk, more impact than we got from the Vintage. This pickup's dynamic presence brings a bass up front-notes project better and slapping styles cut. All in all, a nice, fat-sounding pickup with the right amount of bite."

    Quarter Pounder- "looks loud and well, it is. (Subltety isn't its forte shall we say.) This pickup's powerful, highly aggressive sound made our `73 sound as it it had heavier strings. Finger plucking was enhanced-even if you play with a light touch, this pickup can make you sound like a brute. The Quarter-Pound's thick bottom and stout punch provide a tone that's a lot like a PJ setup combined into one pickup; it's great for perking up a dead-soundig instrument or tearing it up in a loud rock & roll setting. Stand Back!"

    Something I want and you may too, (if it can be done with Basslines), in the custom I'm spec'ing out; 27-volt onboards.
    Why? Transient response. More power = more headroom. The signal doesn't peak out as easily. Not everyone can hear the difference. but there is more clean gain before distortion.

    What kind of wood is that baby going to be?
  4. notduane


    Nov 24, 2000
    Thanx Flatwound and Rickb~1 :D

    Actually, I ain't sure yet. Somethin' "heavy" (northern ash or
    rock maple) or "resonant" (alder or mahogany). The neck? (shhhh - secret).
    I can tell ya', but then I'd have ta' kill ya' :p .
  5. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Batteries, if you go with active onboards. I've heard some passive pups with active preamps and 3 band onboard EQ that sound really good; the "pure" sound of passives with the poop afforded by the active electronics.

    I know what you mean about the body, the thud of heavy wood vs. the responsiveness of lighter woods. I'm thinkin' a triple decker- purpleheart on the bottom, a slice of alder in the middle, and a quilted maple top. Then again, maybe they'd just cancel each other out if they weren't in the right proportions.

    I saw that big-bucks bass reviewed in the latest BP with the aluminum fingerboard. A wonder what that sounds like? (Kramer back from the dead?) How about that with some of those adhesive abalone "inlays" from fretware.com cut out to spell "notduane? :D
  6. notduane


    Nov 24, 2000
    "he don't know me vewy well, do he?" :p

    What am I always preachin' ? The K.I.S.S. rule - Keep It
    Simple and Stupid. I'll try to keep THIS brief before we get
    bumped over to "Setup". Duh, I know what batteries are
    dude :D . I wuz goofin' because I have a preference for
    passive pups, like my preference for all tube amps, AND `cause
    I was 15+ years in Engineering. (juh? batteries :p ). That said,
    you'd think I'd go nerd ballistic and have a midi-controller under
    every fret, and the whole thing would be powered by a micro-
    miniature cold fusion reactor. NOPE. Like that one TB'rs sig,
    "simple ain't easy". Look at the Rob Allen. Even though it has
    a battery (cause of the piezo) the whole design is "clean".
    There is nothing extra. Everything on it serves a purpose.
    THAT'S what I'm goin' for. I sure as hell ain't gonna' try
    talkin' anybody outta' their "dream" rig...`ees not mye job :D.
    I'm just sayin' what appeals to me.

    The neck? Other direction (much simpler)...think fretless Louisville Slugger :p .
  7. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Wow notduane! The KISS axiom for a $oftware developer? Now you're sure against the grain. More power to you.

    I not attempting to make any converts. Any path we take is cool with me as long as our quest to reach "THE TONE" of our perception is someday ended.
  8. notduane


    Nov 24, 2000
    Donkey-shines! :D (danke schoen). It ain't been easy.
    Probably why these days I can't get rid of this sh*t-eatin' grin...
    I got my current job (with in$ane pay) BECAUSE of my bullet-proof coding style :D .
    After all these years of gettin' in trouble with clueless, expedience-
    minded management types for tryin' to do the right thing...sniff, sniff :( .
    Indeedidly-doodily. Me neither. Though, just outta' curiosity I wouldn't mind
    seein' a schematic or block diagram of that 27 Volt system of your'n :D .
  9. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Refreshing to see that all developers aren't droids. I used to do "soft skills" (i.e. "human/business skills") training and performance development for MetLife I.S. and some of those poor people were exactly like the automatons in the old Apple ad where the woman throws the sledge hammer through the screen behind "big brother." Everything was a process, the more complex, conventional, and arcane, the better. Guess you're an excellent developer and bassist because you're not like that.

    I don't have a schematic. I'll pay the luthier for that. Hell, the Institute for Public Safety won't even let me keep a soldering gun in the house. But the execution isn't hard.

    You just connect an extrra battery harness in series with the existing one in the system. You find the battery harness's black negative wire and unsolder it from the jack.. Then you connect it to the red/white positive wire of the new harness back on to the proper output jack lug. That steps a 9-volt up to 18V and you repeat to step up to 27V.
    It can also be rigged to A/B between operating voltages.

    That's it in a nutshell. I'll leave it up to someone who really knows what they're doing.
  10. notduane


    Nov 24, 2000
    HEY! Mind that unsolicited ego-boostin'! You're dealin' with
    a Leo / egoist hyar. My sense of self-importance already has it's
    own zipcode...or was that my ass? :p .

    Droids? :rolleyes: Don't get me started. I just ran into a couple
    a' mo-rons who can't live without their IDE's. They asked me in a
    surprised tone what I use to write code...suddenly feeling like an old
    fart, I sheepishly answered "vi". Both their responses were along
    the lines of "get with the times". Silly me. God forbid you'd actually
    have to know syntax to write code :D .
  11. As you said before, I used one on a Warmoth bass. I used a Rio Grande vintage '51 P-Bass as well as a Fender '61 reissue normal P-Bass pickup. The Rio Grande '51 has far less output and a much more trebbly sound. It sounds great with fuzz distortion. I like them both, but I think I like the Fender better.

    Kenan Sugar O'Brien
    The Sound of the Police
  12. Notduane, did you ever take pics/audio samples of your finished work?
    ... I hereby declare this thread: Back from the grave :bag:
  13. sammyp


    Aug 20, 2010
    NB, Canada
    i just bought a 1/4 pound duncan for hotrodding a cheap p bass copy .....sounds great although i have nothing to compare it to cause i'm primarily a guitar player.... i can opine on guitar pickups for days but i haven't owned enough basses to have a strong opinion ...i just needed something good and that was all the store had.....i guess i would say the 1/4 pound is a fairly hefty sounding pup....it's hot and ballsy!

    with the basses i have owned i must say i get alot more satisfaction from passive pups ....the active battery stuff just doesn't float my boat!
  14. Stealth


    Feb 5, 2008
    Zagreb, Croatia
    I'm just trying to figure out which preamp can be boosted to 27V operation. Most I know shouldn't go past 20V or so. Unless you're homebrewin'?

    Also, unless it's considered a blasphemy, what about Tele-type pickups with blades, like a DiMarzio FastTrack T? Or if you need to keep it "true", a Lindy Fralin 51?
  15. Why? You don't get more output from more voltage. Gain is a function of the circuit design and doesn't change with more volts on an opamp design and only very slightly on an FET design. You dint beef this kind of headroom either.

    Overkill supreme

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