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Single Coil P-basses, Who's Playing them?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by thisSNsucks, Aug 10, 2007.

  1. thisSNsucks

    thisSNsucks I build Grosbeak Guitars and Basses Commercial User

    Dec 19, 2004
    Yonkers, NY
    Grosbeak Guitars
    Well I've been trying to find out for a while what my next bass purchase is going to be, so I went out to my local GC to try out a bunch. I really wanted a nice Jazz bass. I played a few: a geddy lee, Marcus miller, MIM, MIA, MIA deluxe. All were nice. My favorite of the bunch was the Marcus Miller, even though I think it needed a new battery cause the output was rather low.

    Anyway After playing all these Jazz basses I noticed a MIJ Classic single coil P bass. It must have been in the shop for a while. It had some cracks in the finish, scratches, looked a little abused. I figured I'd plug it in and see how big of a difference it would be from my split pup P. All I have to say is WOW. That thing sounded fantastic. It played great too. I really liked it more than the P bass i have now, instant GAS.

    Who out there, either here on TB or famous, is using single coil P basses? I definately want one, but just wished there was more color options for them. If you have pics, please post em too!
  2. Rumblin' Man

    Rumblin' Man Banned

    Apr 27, 2000
    Route 66
    I've used a few, the Sting, the 'burst '51 RI, and the Flower Power versions.
  3. lpdeluxe

    lpdeluxe Still rockin'

    Nov 22, 2004
    Deep E Texas
    I have a '51 RI, and it's a punch monster. I swapped out the stock pickup for a Basslines Quarter Pound and the bridge for an American Deluxe with four saddles.

    I had been trading sets with a Tribute L2000 and the single coil P. It gets less use now, because the band insists that I play my '50s P at gigs, but I practice with it and, in a different lineup, I'd play it a lot more.:p
  4. Kenny Allyn

    Kenny Allyn

    Mar 25, 2006
    I know your talking about the old style fender single coils ... but note that there are others out there with a wide range of colors and options

    This Lakland is Shoreline metallic gold with a black block inlayed Jazz taper neck ... and has a factory installed Hammon Dark Star single coil pickup not your ordinary P-style bass!

    View attachment 65811

    :smug: ... The pickup review is here ... http://www.talkbass.com/reviews/showproduct.php/product/1035/cat/16
  5. DaveDeVille

    DaveDeVille ... you talkin' to me ?? Supporting Member

    the DarkStar is a single coil pickup , with
    adjustable pole pieces ...
    here's mine .
    here's a linc to a thread i started ...
  6. lefty007


    Jan 19, 2004
    Miami, FL
    Obviously, Sting is using one. Can't think of anybody famous right now with exposure using a SCPB.

    I love the design. If I had money to burn I would order one of these. . .


    And www.thelowend.net has some nice pics of Nash's '51 replicas that looks awesome.

    I guess the sound is very similar like using the neck pickup on a Jazz bass. Some people say the sound is too mellow and may lack bite, and mids. . . which is true somehow, but that sound works wonder in many situations.
  7. GregC

    GregC Johnny and Joe Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 19, 2007
    Dark Stars and "traditional" single-coil Ps are the things I GAS for the most.

    For traditional Fender SCPBs, you really only have a few finish options unless you go Custom Shop: The '51 RI in school-bus yellow or tobacco burst (also used on the Sting, which has a forearm countour rather than the slab body of the '51), or the pink paisley or blue flower basses, which you'd have to buy used.
  8. savit260


    Mar 6, 2006
    I use a Bacchus that is a fine Japanese handmade version of the early single coil P. Ash w/birdseye maple neck, nitro finish and top shelf attention to detail. It aslo has a factory installed, Wilkinson adjustable bridgr that allows for individual intonation of each string, while keeping the 2 saddle vibe. While not my pirmary working bass, I do gig with it occationaly, and I've been using it quite a bit in practice lately.
  9. I use my 1956 P-Bass a lot - jus tsounds fantastic. the single coil pickup seems to naturally xompress the sound when played hard - just spounds like a real man's bass! hahahaha

  10. thisSNsucks

    thisSNsucks I build Grosbeak Guitars and Basses Commercial User

    Dec 19, 2004
    Yonkers, NY
    Grosbeak Guitars
    I noticed that bit about the compression too. Really an awesome tone
  11. acleex38


    Jul 28, 2006
    Not playing with a Pbass, but I have a Birdsong with a the single coil neck pickup (a Lace Gold Sensor) and I LOVE the sound of it solo. It's piqued my interest in the "traditional" p-basses. The '51RI is pretty sweet too.
  12. Besides Kevin_lindays "natural compression" observation, are there any other ways to describe the characteristics and sound of the Single Coil P? I'm very curious now:smug:
  13. Dusty Hill also plays one.

    I’ve had mine at least 15 years now. I got it because it looked so cool, and sounded great. I also wanted to keep my vintage gear out of bars (you never know what they might pick up there). It’s become my go-to bass.
    I did change the pickup, some day I plan on installing a Wilkinson bridge and a Hipshot D-tuner. Right now my saddles are tilted at crazy angles to try for some semblance of intonation.

    At a guitar show I saw a couple of late ‘90s versions in true butterscotch blond instead of the yellow blond. So I know they are out there. They looked good but I kind of like the contrast of the yellow with black pick guard.
    I have played a couple of originals; a ’52 and a ’56 both beat to hell. I don’t know if the really sounded better than the reissues or I was being influenced by how they looked.
    The ’56 had a wide crack running through the body and a cracked headstock. It was also rerouted for a split P and the original reinstalled in a big open space. The price tag was just a little less than my last car. It would have been called junk in the ‘60s, but you have to love guitar shows.
    I defiantly prefer the modern neck contour of the reissues. It’s easier and more comfortable for me to play.

  14. savit260


    Mar 6, 2006

    Similar to a split coil P, but with more of an emphasis on the lows , and particularly the high mid. Precision-ish, without the big low mid hump split coils are know for. They are also very percussive sounding. Sharper attack than a Jazz or split coil P.
  15. lpdeluxe

    lpdeluxe Still rockin'

    Nov 22, 2004
    Deep E Texas
    For a stretch I had a set of LaBella black nylon tape wounds on my 'butterscotch' '51 RI.

    Eventually I took 'em off because I didn't like the tension.

    BUT while they were on it, it looked like a Black & Decker bass.
  16. stevetat


    Nov 11, 2005
    New England
    Fender Japan also makes a silver paisley. I don't think it's a standard catalog item but they have done special runs from time to time.


  17. lowendgenerator


    Mar 26, 2006
    I'll be rocking a 51RI as soon as I sell some stuff. I fell in love with one and I've been dreaming aboot it ever since. For the longest time I stayed away from them, foolishly thinking that little pickup was going to make it sound like I had put bass strings on my stratocaster. Doh!
  18. ElBajista


    Dec 13, 2005
    Sebring, FL
    I've always wanted to put a Single-Coil P pickup in place of the neck pickup on a Jazz bass. Anyone done this?
  19. GregC

    GregC Johnny and Joe Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 19, 2007
    My memory's a little fuzzy on this, but I think Chef has a '51 P-type bass with a J pup at the bridge in his Basses picture thread. Not quite the same thing, but worth checking out, maybe.
  20. GregC

    GregC Johnny and Joe Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 19, 2007
    Thanks, I forgot about these, but I also assumed they were discontinued as well.

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