Ultra boutique P bass pickups

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Laurent, Jan 8, 2015.

  1. Laurent

    Laurent Supporting Member

    May 21, 2008
    Napa, California
    Curtis Novak, David Allen Pickups, Van Zandt, Klein Pickups, Bullock Guitar Pickups, Bare Knuckle, Arcane Inc.

    Anyone with experience with these boutique pickup makers? They are obviously less well known than Fralin, Lollar, Nordstrand but that does not mean their products are less interesting.

    Curtis Novak seem to be the most popular on Talkbass currently. Any experience with and description of their P bass pickups would be appreciated.

    As an aside note, it drives me crazy that large and small pickup producers are for the most part not posting demos or audio tracks of their pickups. In this day and age it's kind of ridiculous to rely on consumers to do this on your behalf (and that's in the best case scenario). Very often there are no recording of pickups. Some of these pickups are in the $120 to $140 range and consumers should not have to buy them blind.
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2015
  2. mpdd

    mpdd neoconceptualist

    Mar 24, 2010
    you could add alleva coppolos to your list too
    Bassist30 likes this.
  3. Laurent

    Laurent Supporting Member

    May 21, 2008
    Napa, California
    I think of them as a high end instrument maker more than a company specializing in pickups but why not. Any feedback is always welcome!
  4. sound clips may or not be helpful. ive heard pickup makers post clips of their stuff installed in total piece of poopie basses and its made me not want to try their stuff.
    wraub, JZQuantum, bdgotoh and 3 others like this.
  5. Laurent

    Laurent Supporting Member

    May 21, 2008
    Napa, California
    True, but having at least a couple points of reference is better than none, IMHO.
    sideFX and dolomick like this.
  6. bassvirtuoso

    bassvirtuoso My God, it's full of chrome!

    Feb 28, 2006
    I have owned two sets of Novak P's now, one set gone in a bass I sold, another set (PB-90) I've kept because I love them so much.

    Curtis is a great guy to work with and will wind pickups to any "tone" you're looking for, just suggest a sound you're going for when you order them.
  7. gadgetgirl


    Dec 1, 2005
    I just installed a set of JBE (Barden) pickups in my Matt Freeman P Bass. Amazing sound. You can buy direct from their website or from Musiciansfriend.com. Frank (JBE president) is very responsive if you email him.
    TN WOODMAN and Honch like this.
  8. I would really like to hear a Charlie Cristian P-pup. On the site, there are options to click to hear the pickups, but it goes to a YouTube page with a bunch of guitar samples and no bass samples, at least for me.
    ICM, pudgychef and Teacher like this.
  9. Laurent

    Laurent Supporting Member

    May 21, 2008
    Napa, California
    Very nice. What do they sound like? Can you compare them with other pickups as a point of reference please.
  10. Laurent

    Laurent Supporting Member

    May 21, 2008
    Napa, California
    My Talkbass pal SirMjac28 has a set and really loves them. They are indeed interesting pickups.
    SirMjac28 and petrus61 like this.
  11. gadgetgirl


    Dec 1, 2005
    They are higher output and more modern/hifi sounding; however I can also get good P bass thump. I currently am using Fender nickel strings and a .033 capacitor.
    My MIJ fretless P has Fender pickups and sounds more like how you'd imagine a traditional P bass would sound.
    I have JBEs on my bass vi, Ric and jazzmaster and Nordstrands on my jazz basses and Sterling. So that gives you some context of the sound I like.
    Here's a link to a demo video that JBE posted to YouTube.
    andruca and Laurent like this.
  12. SirMjac28

    SirMjac28 Patiently Waiting For The Next British Invasion

    Aug 25, 2010
    The Great Midwest
    Yes sir I won't use any other pup than that one in my P's it has the thump I love along with some edge to it so you can cover a wide range of sounds from Punk to Motown and everything Curtis does is top notch so there is zero worry about receiving your pups on time.
    pudgychef, bassvirtuoso and Laurent like this.
  13. Laurent

    Laurent Supporting Member

    May 21, 2008
    Napa, California
    Thank you for that. That video gives a pretty good idea of what their tone is. The .033 cap is a good call, it gives you a bit more high end than the .047 without going all the way to a guitar cap or no cap at all.
    gadgetgirl likes this.
  14. Posting soundclips would be tacky. They aren't of much use, anyway. You won't know what a pickup sounds like until you have it in your rig and play it with your fingers.
  15. Laurent

    Laurent Supporting Member

    May 21, 2008
    Napa, California
    I disagree with your first statement. It's not tacky at least to me and to many bass players here. Some information is better than none. Is it perfect? Absolutely not but it gives most people a baseline (pun intended).
    I agree however with your second statement, strings, amp and touch make a huge difference and one never knows what a pickup sounds like until tried at home with one's rig.
  16. PaperbackRyder

    PaperbackRyder Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2007
    Maynard, MA
    The link is lame. I had to search but eventually found the clip of a James McMurtry gig live in europe with Ian McClagen (?) on keys.
    Bass sound is buttah. Big deep tone, even and clear. No mud. No idea of the signal chain involved but according to Curtis the pickup was the PBCC- Charlie Christian.
  17. Snaxster


    Nov 29, 2008
    Laurent, voici mon commentaire d'un pickup « 1959 Precision » de Klein Pickups:-

    Soon I will post a review of a P/J pair of Flying Mojo pickups, which are even more "ultra boutique" than Klein. ;)
    MattZilla and Pbassmanca like this.
  18. SamJ

    SamJ Founder - Fender MIA Club

    Apr 22, 2006
    SFO / HNL
    Joe Barden's
    Honch likes this.
  19. Snaxster


    Nov 29, 2008
    Oh, and I missed your interest in Bullock pickups. Of the several Bullock pickups I acquired recently, one is a P pickup: custom "1962 reissue" alnico 5 Precision Bass pickup, underwound, no potting.

    I have not installed it yet, but when I do and review it, I will let you know.
  20. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    and this is my beef with clips and such; a pro payer on a pro gig through a pro system like you're gonna see a national act like mcmurtry use, you could shove a stock squier P into the guy's hands and i bet he would make it sound just as good.