The most P sounding soapbars

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Drop1, Jun 11, 2019.

  1. Drop1


    Mar 28, 2019
    I'm building a couple of bodies so I have control over where the pickups are placed.

    Trying to chose pickups that give the classic p tone but in soapbar format.

    Is there a go to pickup for this? Cost is not an issue.
    Nashrakh likes this.
  2. sikamikanico


    Mar 17, 2004
    Short answer: Nordstrand BigSplit is pretty close, IMO, IME...

    Longer answer: No soapbar pickup can replicate the design (architecture) of short and squat (wide aperture) P pickups. It’s a compromise either way. Some kind of split coil design gets the closest, and BigSplits have about as wide an aperture as I’ve seen on soapbar splitcoils...

    Longest answer: If you have unrouted bodies, why not just rout for P pickups? Are you trying to nail the P sound, or do you envision trying other soapbar pickups too? Also, how many pickups are you routing for? IMO, if you’re planning two pickups, I’d recommend J spacing. If you're planning just one pickup, I’d place it a little more towards the bridge.
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2019
    buldog5151bass likes this.
  3. Drop1


    Mar 28, 2019
    With this particular body I was envisioning the neck pup in the classic p placement with the bridge pup close to the MM pickup position. Maybe even closer to the neck pup. I played a schecter with a similar armament and it was neat though it used a p style pup and an mm style pup. I know its unconventional but soloing either should yield some decent results and using both could be interesting. If its crap I can always scrap the $20 in wood and build another. What I am looking for is having the p sound and being able to stray away from it a good deal on the same instrument.

    The reason for soap bars is because so many basses. Ideally I'd like to be able to swap pups between instruments ar will and not have any single set tied to any single body.
    Once I get to experimenting, it will likely go on for years so I'm trying to be forward thinking about cost effectiveness and easily swapping parts.
    I know I will have to use caution on the string spacing moving things around.
    sikamikanico likes this.
  4. And I

    And I

    Feb 19, 2009
    Witchtown, MA
    P+MM pickups might be a good compromise. With volume/volume or even with a blend knob you can be all P, all MM, or anywhere in between.
  5. basadam


    Nov 29, 2005
  6. sprag


    Sep 15, 2011
    Melb Australia
    Or make rectangular wooden covers and stick p pickups in them. I've done that with my current build but with single coil p pickups instead of split coil, I've made p2 soapbar sized wooden covers for them.

    Of course a split P will need to be in a much wider shell than P2. Also MM and P positions are pretty much butt up against one another so your pickups will be right next to each other.
    Not that there's anything wrong with that.
  7. sikamikanico


    Mar 17, 2004
    For that pickup arrangement, I’d try one in the 51/SCPB position and one where P and MM pickups meet (which is about where the bridge pickup is on a Rick). I imagine two BigSplits in those positions would kill!
  8. AdamR

    AdamR Inactive

    Sep 24, 2007
    Bethel CT
    EMG make P pick ups in soap bar cases. 35P for 4 strings and 40P5 for 5 strings
    Element Zero likes this.
  9. 5StringPocket

    5StringPocket Supporting Member

    Jan 11, 2006
    Nordstrand Big Splits are close but BigRigs are closer. The source of their inspiration was the 51P.
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2019
    31HZ likes this.
  10. Drop1


    Mar 28, 2019
    Thank yall.
  11. Element Zero

    Element Zero Supporting Member

    Dec 14, 2016
    This. Got a set of EMG PJ 5s in soap bar cases on one of my basses. Active pickups but pretty convincing natural P tone.
  12. micguy


    May 17, 2011
    Nordstrand makes Zen Blades, which, while they look quite a bit different, have a nice wide aperture - they have two coils in a sidewinder configuration. One of my basses uses one - it's located in the 51P pickup location (long story), but sounds much more like a split P, albeit with all the strings sensed at the same distance from the bridge:

  13. Drop1


    Mar 28, 2019
    That's about where the neck pickup location on my Ibanez is. Wonder how that would sound.
  14. micguy


    May 17, 2011
    To my ears, wonderful - big, full, rich. Your mileage may vary.