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Thinking of modifying my old P-bass with a Jazz bridge pickup

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by ChadDMatthews, Apr 1, 2009.

  1. Hey all, I've got a 70's P-bass that I absolutely love, it's pretty much perfect. The only thing I'm finding I'm missing is the jazz bridge pickup, and I don't have a jazz anymore. It would be nice to get a little of that definition when I want it, but pretty much everyone tells me not to modify a vintage instrument, because of devaluing the bass. Which isn't all that important to me. It's just an old Pbass, pretty beat up (which I like). Any thoughts?
  2. wilsonn


    Sep 26, 2005
    New York
    I would never do this. I'd buy an inexpensive jazz before I routed a 70s P-bass. You'd take a bass that might be worth $1000-$1500, install a $100 pickup, and turn it into a $600 bass. Rather than burning that $400-$900, I'd sooner put the money into a Jazz and have two basses.
  3. ^^^^ what he said + 100000000
  4. wilsonn


    Sep 26, 2005
    New York
    WAIT, WAIT.....

    I see now. Yes, this makes perfect sense. I would install a pickup from an old Hondo Jazz copy. Go for it. I just looked at the calender and now understand that this is an April Fool's joke. D'oh. You got me. :D
  5. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol Supporting Member

    I fully disagree. Instruments are meant to please musicians, not traders.
    It's time to put a stop to collector hypes. It's a couple planks screwed together, not a piece of art or history.
    If you love the instrument but miss an additional pickup, add it. For you it's added value.
    Just make sure you install a humbucking J pickup. This way it will deliver a powerful enough signal to compete with the P and you won't get into hum issues.
  6. thanks Jazz Ad, I'll keep that in mind if I go ahead with it ;)
  7. depalm


    Apr 22, 2004
    São Paulo
    I did something like that with a 77Pbass on the early 80s.
    I was younger and stupid to route the body and install a couple of MM pickups… couldn't regret more now!

    Still have the routed body:

    Few years ago I was in Argentina and founded a 78P that was just like my old one! I had to buy it.


    I wouldn't mess with an old bass. For very low $ you can get a nice PJ.
  8. I did exactly that to my 1973 P in 1978 - in those days anything made after the CBS take over (63) was never going to be worth anything. Do I regret it now? - no it's still my number one bass, I'll never sell it. But in your case I'd leave well alone. Besides, Fender make P with a J bridge pickup already installed, or get a squier and change that. Or =- how about getting a Jazz Bass?
  9. Stealth


    Feb 5, 2008
    Zagreb, Croatia
    Awesome... I can definitely see potential in the pickup layout. Did you ever actually wire up a trio of pickups into it?
  10. jaywa


    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    I did the exact same thing you are considering to my 78 P, years and years ago. Took out the stock pickups and put in an EMG P-J set. I'm sure that has reduced its value to next to nothing to a collector/purist... but it has been my one and only player for 25+ years and I get a lot of compliments on its sound. The one thing I do regret -- in my manic quest for more high-end I put the J pickup a little too far back (only an inch or so from the bridge), so now I can't put the original "ashtray" bridge cover back on cause the pickup is in the way. Also it doesn't fall under my fingering "sweet spot", it is actually a little behind where my fingers hit.

    If I had known back in the 80s how much an unaltered 78 P would be worth today I probably would not have done all that. It worked out for me, but in your case I would go with others' advice here and keep your P as-is and buy something with the J pickup already installed.
  11. basscheez


    Nov 6, 2008
    Cleveland, Oh
    Funny, I was considering doing exactly the same thing to my 76 Precision. Only difference in that mine's been refinished, so it'll never be 'original'.
  12. jaywa


    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    With my hot-rodded P-bass, when I have both pickups turned up full it sounds a lot like a StingRay, only a little mellower and not quite as "clanky". With the neck pickup full up and just a touch of bridge it sounds pretty much like a vintage P only with a little more attack. I did give up the "pure" vintage passive P-Bass tone when I made my mods, but the versatility I gained from adding the J pickup (and going active) has been a good tradeoff given the many styles of music I've been called to play over the years and the fact I've never seemed to be able to find (or afford) a good 2nd bass.
  13. Spinal Tapper

    Spinal Tapper

    Nov 15, 2007
    You're joking right? That'd be a really silly thing to do. Just buy a CIJ P/J Fender for a few hundred bucks and call it a day.
  14. LISTEN TO YOURSELF, all of these people are just telling you not to do it because THEY WOULDN'T DO IT, but its YOUR bass, so what it comes down to its YOUR choice, personally if it was my bass I would do it, I just installed a $200 PJ set of EMG's on a 120$ bass so I kind of did the opposite of what youre doing, but seriously its YOUR instrument so do what YOU want to it.
  15. depalm


    Apr 22, 2004
    São Paulo
    Yes I did.

    I had two MM pickups and a Quarter Pound on it.

    Sounded pretty good actually.

    It was: Bridge > Bridge/P > P > P/Neck > Neck.

    Later a friend managed to get Bridge/Neck and all three at the same time.

    I should have done it on a parts body and left the original intact.:(

    I Recently decided to refinish it and turn it back to the original P but I really don't know.

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