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SX P/J Pickup Balance Q

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by McGryff, Feb 23, 2006.

  1. I hope this hasn't been covered... I did a search but didn't see any posts which address my observations.

    I have an SX SPJ-62 (a P/J Fender clone, for those who don't know) and the volume decreases when I have both pickups on full. When I solo the P pickup, it's noticably louder, and somewhat more articulate. I like the fundamental concept of a P/J configuration, but the array on the SX seems a little cloudy... the tone lacks a little definition as compared to the P soloed and the output dips. Is this standard for all or most P/J combos, or should I think about upgrading one or both pickups?

    I look forward to those of you with more electronics savvy enlightening me on this matter!
  2. eqvolvorama

    eqvolvorama Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 2000
    Arlington, Virginia

    I own a few PJ basses, and I think that the phenomenon you're dealing with is acoustical, and not necessarily electronic.

    On most PJ basses, the overall volume level will dip a little when both pickups are full on. This is a function of certain harmonics cancelling themselves between the two pickup outputs. You will notice that as you alternate the pickup volumes, certain parts of the sound will swell or dip.

    With my PJ basses, I usually play them with both pickups full on. This creates kind of a 'scooped' sound with some lows and highs but not a lot of stuff in the middle. If I want more 'roundness' I'll gently roll off the bridge pickup. If I want more 'nasal' I'll gently roll off the neck pickup.

    You CAN replace the pickups, but that won't change the harmonic effects described above. I'm in the camp that thinks that the SX pickups are pretty darn acceptable for anything I can think of.

    Congrats on owning the axe that I almost bought just yesterday.

  3. adept_inept


    Jan 9, 2006
    i agree. don't change the pickups. i tried it with my P/J ibanez. and its the SAME sound, and you just wasted money.

    the individual pickups in that config just don't do those pickups justice. if you want a p sound, get a pbass. likewise, if you want a j, get a jbass. its just how that configuration adds up. i swear, the only knob i use out of the 5 on mine (volume, bass, med ,treble, and blend) is the volume. because the eq sounds pretty bad, and is unneccessary, and the blend, as i said, just hurts the sound.
  4. DavePlaysBass


    Mar 31, 2004
    wire the pups in series. Use a push pull pot to toggle back to stock wiring.

  5. I could do that, since i'm thinking of putting better pots in there anyway, the taper on the stock ones suck. I don't know that much about series parallel wiring, so I'll have to read up on it. And I'm still tempted to replace the J with a stacked humbucker (like a DiMarzio UJ or SD Classic Stack) to ditch the hum. I guess I can just keep playing it for awhile & decide whether or not I want the scooped tone of the PJ setup.

    THanks for the several great replies so far!
  6. dave120


    Jun 27, 2005
    Central Florida
    My SX P/J does the same exact thing. I really didn't notice the sound balance difference with the stock pups as much as I do with my SD pups that I put in.

    Personally I like the configuration. My T24 is a standard JJ setup and it seems to be a little too thin of a sound for my liking. My other Washburn is a standard P setup and it's a little too thick of a sound that has trouble cutting through sometimes. The P/J seems perfect for me as it has the thick sound and presence of the P but with more growl because of the bridge pup so it has no troubles cutting through. It also comes in handy if I need a volume boost mid-song I can roll off the bridge pup a bit and it gets louder. It is a pretty unique sound though some love it and some hate it. So far I've gotten nothing but compliments on my tone though, so i'm happy with it for now.