Some of the Best P Bass replacement pickup(s)

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by madjazzbass, Feb 18, 2016.

  1. madjazzbass


    Jan 5, 2014
    I'm Looking for a really good P Bass replacement pickup to drop in my new Squier Affinity P Bass; I'm fairly new to P Basses as I've strictly played Jazz Basses for the last 20-25 years and I'm completely blown away buy the sound and feel of this $179.00 Squier P/J Bass; I just feel it needs a little "thicker" and punchier tone and that a nice replacement P pickup would give me just that, Thanks. IMAG0149.jpg
  2. MR PC

    MR PC Inactive

    Dec 1, 2007
    I like this one I just put in my '62 Fullerton P. It's a SME Sullivan handmade, hand wound P pickup. real nice! Made in Austin TX. I liked both the Duncan Vintage P and the Fender '60's P as well. All of these pickups are under a hundred bucks. You will notice a big improvement in performance with any of these.
    Danpirvine and Keyser Soze like this.
  3. Dbassmon


    Oct 2, 2004
    Rutherford, NJ

    Listen to this Aguilar PJ set.... I think these sound great
    madjazzbass likes this.
  4. Lindy Fralin
  5. rodlages


    Sep 4, 2013
    Love Geeze Butler EMG set
    JJR58, joebar, sjhs and 2 others like this.
  6. Bassamatic

    Bassamatic keepin' the beat since the 60's

    The Fralin was a total disappointment for me - made no significant difference in my MIM or '08 MIA P. The SD SPB 2 and 3 were also less desirable than the stock pup! Different, but surely not better.

    Maybe a set of Fender Vintage?
  7. grillman


    Dec 15, 2014
    The Seymour Duncan Quarter Pounder are a good bang for the buck. And if you are looking for 'thickness' look no further.

    Not sure it qualifies as top of the line but it's clearly an improvement compared to Squier stock pups.
    rumblefish, Gt6s, Ductapeman and 5 others like this.
  8. FrenchBassQC

    FrenchBassQC Supporting Member

    Jul 13, 2011
    Gatineau QC CA
    I have both EMG Geezer Butler and Seymour Duncan SPB-1, I prefer the EMG but the SPB-1 are not far behind. You're looking for a punchier sound, go EMG as the SPB-1 are more vintage compare to EMG.
    rodlages and madjazzbass like this.
  9. madjazzbass


    Jan 5, 2014
    Yeah, those are the ones I'm actually leaning towards, custom shops
  10. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    May 24, 2006
    I'm partial to the Aguilar AG 4P-60s. Just dropped a set into my Matt Freeman Squire PBass - and threw on a set of flats - and boy does it ever put down some serious PBass sonic mojo. It's factory original configuration was also pretty nice. But it was definitely a "modern" and slightly more aggressive PB sound - whereas I prefer a Precision that conjures up a sorta "hot chocolate and butterscotch" vibe.


    It was a toss up between using Aguilars or the Fender Custom Shop '62s.

    The Aguilars won out because I already had a set sitting around in a box.

    But either the 4P-60s or the Fender '62s should do it for you.

    (Note: I like my PBasses sounding as vintage and old-school as you can get. So YMMV if that's not the way you like to roll with yours.)
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2016
    Pbassmanca and madjazzbass like this.
  11. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    Owner/Builder @Hopkins Guitars
    Rio Grande Muy Grande pickups are in my opinion the best P pickup on the market, but I don't know about putting a $150 P pickup in a $180 bass, especially when there are truly great pickups like the Duncan SPB-1 on the market for less than half the price.
    Frogburger, tomich and Rodslinger like this.
  12. Yahboy


    May 21, 2008
    I get a Thick ,Fat , Deep sound with the combination of Fender Pure Vintage 63 pup + Labella 760FL.

    Why not give a try of swap the stock string with some deep sounding flatwound string like Labella 760 series and GHS flat.
  13. Gluvhand

    Gluvhand Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2014
    Rockland County, NY
    Duncan SPB-4, Steve Harris sig. Classic P sound and just a touch hot.
  14. CharlyG

    CharlyG ~ he not busy being born Is busy dying.

    Jun 11, 2005
    West Hills, Ca.
    The Seymour Duncan Quarter Pounders.....

    I pretty much put SDs in everything.......
    Gt6s, Aaron Houts and Membo like this.
  15. Antisyzygy


    Dec 8, 2014
    Man. There are SO MANY great P pickups for different purposes it's really hard to make recommendations.

    It depends on how bright you want it, among other factors like how much you want to spend. Some people would say putting a boutique pickup in that bass isn't worth the money, but I say you can always take the pickup with you later and a new pickup can improve the sound of a cheap bass, so it can be worth it.

    On the more expensive side :

    For a brighter, still punchy tone I'd say try out a Split MFD from G&L. They're pretty bright and hot (but not mid-heavy) pickups though. However if you pair it with an appropriate tone knob setup it becomes really versatile. G&L put a .022uf capacitor in series with a 6.8k resistor on their tone pot for the SB-1. The 6.8k resistor prevents the muddy, extreme roll-off you get on standard tone knobs usually when rolling off the last 10%. The lighter 0.022uf resistor moves the cut-off frequency the tone knob functions on up a bit to what I think is the most usable spot on that particular pickup. It seems to take the timbre right back to a nice round P tone from something bright and modern. Either way it still has the P meat.

    Otherwise, for a warmer but still-punchy tone EMG Geezers or slightly overwound pickups would be where I think you'd have the most luck. Fralin and Lollar make 5% and 10% overwound pickups I believe. Any one should be great.

    Lightly overwound P pickups tend to have some more punch, but don't get too hot and mid-heavy like a regular hot P pickup. Regular-wound P pickups tend to sound slightly brighter since the resonant peak is moved forward a bit vs. a slightly overwound one. Moving that resonant peak back by winding slightly hotter can have the effect of producing a bit more of a punchy sound, that is all else being constant.

    On the cheaper side :

    Seymour Duncan Quarter Pounders are a bright version of a P pickup that sound pretty punchy IMHO. A warmer version would be the SPB-4. The SPB-4 is going to be slightly overwound, but not overwound to the point of being super mid-heavy like a HOT P pickup. You can also order custom pickups with a 5-10% overwind for about 65 bucks from Prima Guitar on Ebay. If you go the custom route I'd shoot for between 12-13k and stick with standard AlNiCo V magnets which are about .187" diameter.

    For reference : P bass pickups have changed over the years a lot, but in general they use .187" - .197" diameter AlNiCo V magnets, and are wound to between 10-11k. I believe Fender always used 42 gauge wire. A lot of factors influence the tone of a pickup but if we're talking P pickups with everything but the resistance as constant you can kinda dial in your tone using more or less windings.
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2016
  16. audioglenn


    Jul 14, 2012
    I'll offer this suggestion. What you may like might be the sound of the stock P pickup by itself. Try turning the volume down
    on the bridge pickup. Yes, there will be a buzz/hum, but you may discover that the tone you are looking for is just a P pickup without the bridge pickup.
    It's worth a try and it won't cost you anything.
    alaskaleftybass and madjazzbass like this.
  17. madjazzbass


    Jan 5, 2014
    Yes, I have done that, I've tried many different combinations with the two volumes and tone knob, it's the most versatile Bass I've ever owned.
    alaskaleftybass likes this.
  18. Planespotter


    Oct 11, 2015
    I have a Lollar P in one of my Precisions and love it. It doesn't drastically change the sound, it's just a really good p with the perfect amount of P grit we know and love. If you're looking for a hot rod sound the venerable Dimarzio model P and Duncan vintage hot are awesome too.
    alaskaleftybass likes this.
  19. Catbuster


    Aug 25, 2010
    Louisville, KY.
    The Dimarzio Model P is the punchiest P pickup I've ever played on.
  20. isky

    isky Supporting Member

    Jul 6, 2008
    Madison, WI
    Bartolini 8S
    Best sounding passive pickup IMO. Very big, very "3D", warm and quiet (noise wise).
    Upgraded three different P basses to this model in the last 3 years and it always did the magic.

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