Tone help! Thinking of adding bridge J pickup into a P-body

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by soaf, Mar 23, 2014.

  1. soaf


    Jul 27, 2013
    I have a bass I have assembled using various parts. I am getting a nice clean piano sound but would love to add some mid snarl. Will routing in a bridge EMG to my existing setup make much of a difference? I would think that adding a jazz pickup closer to the bridge may help. The bass currently consists of...

    -vintage Phil Kubicki jazz neck (maple/maple)
    -vintage trans red maple P-body
    -EMG P active pickup with vol/tone (Alpha 250k pots)
    -Fender 60s bridge

    Any advice is appreciated.

    Attached Files:

  2. Steve


    Aug 10, 2001
    If you're going to commit to rout work and a new pick guard, it may be worth considering reversing the P.

    Personally I find the Bright > Piano > Mid Snarl thing more effected by string choice than any other single item.
  3. soaf


    Jul 27, 2013
    Do you mean physically turning the pickups 180 degrees, or adding a phase switch?

    I have a 4-hole pickguard on standby and am thinking of going vol/blend/tone or vol/blend/EMG parametric mid stack, and doing away with the tone circuit since I always run it wide open anyway. This would keep me to three holes in the pickguard and I would add a "more stable" side jack.
  4. soaf


    Jul 27, 2013
    not sure why i would have to swap the pickguard since a P and a PJ use the same one...
  5. Steve


    Aug 10, 2001
  6. lowendblues

    lowendblues Supporting Member

    Oct 8, 2004
    vintage Phil Kubicki jazz neck (maple/maple)

    Nice neck, had one, shoulda kept it.:meh:
  7. mrbell321


    Mar 26, 2012
    N. Colorado
    If you can do a good clean job of routing and filling in chips and edges in the route(which will be difficult), you won't need a new pickguard.

    I'm considering the same thing and I believe a bridge pickup would make quite a difference.
  8. uOpt


    Jul 21, 2008
    Boston, MA, USA
    Your EMG needs 25kOhm or 50kOhm pots. That might be a source of your sound problems.

    A Jazz bridge pickup doesn't add mid snarl. I think what you are saying is that your EMG P pickup is too transparent, but with your incorrect pots you run it completely open.

    Alternatively since you have pots for passive pickups anyway why not try a SPB-1 or so before routing the thing?
  9. Dogghouse


    Jan 25, 2011
    Santa Barbara
    Bass Guy @ Seymour Duncan
    The cheapest way to start is change the pots to 50k for added mids. If that doesn't do it, maybe try a hotter passive P so you can more dynamics than actives provide. Something like the Duncan SPB-4's or SPB-3's. Try with 250K pots.
  10. SanDiegoHarry

    SanDiegoHarry Inactive Supporting Member

    Aug 11, 2008
    San Diego, CA
    I've tried the P-pickup flip and was underwhelmed. In the end, the traditional PJ sound is a fine sound for recording or gigging, and slaps *very* well.

    Make sure you have the p'up placed in the right spot and that the pickup you choose matches what's in the P position (that is to say, has a bit more output than the standard J pickup, since the P can often have more output due to it's position and size).

    good luck
  11. OldDirtyBassist


    Mar 13, 2014
    I'd replace the EMG with a passive alnico P pickup of some make, before you route for a J pickup. All the EMG's I've owned has super fat lows and crispy highs, but the mids were nothing to write home about. You might find the mids you want with a different pickup.

    EMG's damage the speakers over time, anyway.
  12. JustForSport


    Nov 17, 2011
  13. soaf


    Jul 27, 2013
    Good advice! I will check to see if the value of my pots is correct and will consider a passive pickup with a stronger midrange rating before any routing. I figured, upon comparison to my jazz basses, I tend to prefer the sound of a pickup that lives closer to the bridge. Hence the desire to route, but I will route as a last resort.
  14. faulknersj

    faulknersj Inactive

    Apr 4, 2008
    Scottsdale Az
    Hey for thought....been there done this. P bass is a P bass....gotta play it like one...the PJ configuration doesn't get you there...and by 'there' i mean with the same type of cut a J Bass gives you...You are at a cross roads here...either learn how to work a P Bass...or just play J Basses. They are different and each is not for everyone. A J is what is....a P is what it can't get J from P or P from J. Spend enough time to get to know and master both and you will be rewarded. Cheers!
  15. uOpt


    Jul 21, 2008
    Boston, MA, USA
    The OP runs the EMGs with pots for passive pickups.

    That's broken. It needs to be repaired to see where the bass stands with the EMG in working order.

    Routing it based on the results so far is borderline insane.
  16. Doug Parent

    Doug Parent Supporting Member

    May 31, 2004
    San Diego, Ca.
    Dealer Nordstrand Pickups.
    Good take I agree. In a PJ setup, with the J in the 60's location, I *personally* don't get much benefit from it. The bridge pickup needs to be as far from the P pickup as possible. I had an old P bass with a hum bucker decades ago and that was mounted smack dab right next to the bridge and THAt worked. Otherwise it's waaaay too honky sounding and your fundamental gets all convoluted.
  17. acebase62


    Jun 29, 2010
    If you plan to solo or emphasize the J bridge pickup much, the 60's location will have a little more punch (further from bridge).

    If you plan to emphasize the P pickup and use the J bridge pickup to add sound variety, the 70's location would work as well.

    Also, a good hum cancelling J pickup will avoid some degree of hum/buzz you get with a single coil J pickup in a PJ bass.
  18. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    Where the heck did you get that little bit of misinformation? Complete and total poopycaca.
  19. soaf


    Jul 27, 2013
    This is one of the absolute best pieces of advice I have ever received. It's five years later, and I never ended up doing any mods. I have P-basses and Jazz basses and give both designs the respect they deserve. In fact, I now hate the idea of mixing both P and J pickups in the same bass and try to deter others from doing so. Thanks for saving me before I did something I'd regret.
    faulknersj likes this.
  20. faulknersj

    faulknersj Inactive

    Apr 4, 2008
    Scottsdale Az
    Wow! That was a trip back in time!! So...I finally found one PJ that can pretty much do it all after all these's the only one I've ever found that gives you actual shades of P or J on demand...

    I made a video review of this bass PJ...