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Upgrading P-Bass, but got a tiny problem....

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Bassline1414, Oct 22, 2000.

  1. I have an American P-Bass that I would like to turn into my "dream bass" but I have one problem. Since the P-Bass has no cavity in the back, it would be a major pain to take off the entire pickguard to change the battery. So I was wondering what the best passive pickup on the market is, since It would be a major hassle to get actives, any ideas?
  2. Seymour Duncan Quarter Pounder is a Good Choice. Also the Bartolini Passives.
  3. Babs


    May 5, 2000
    Sandy Utah
    Antiquity IIs
  4. dmaki


    Apr 29, 2000
    Considering you only have to change the battery once or twice a year, it shouldn't be too much of a problem. If you really don't want to go through removing the pickguard you could install a battery box on the back of the body by routing a small hole, but it would seem more logical just to take off the pickguard. If you REALLY don't want active pickups and want to go with passives, there are a lot of choices out there. I can't really recommend a specific pickup because I don't know what "sound" you're trying to get, but check out what Seymour Duncan, Bartolini, and Lane Poor have to offer... If you go with actives, EMG's are pretty good...

    - David
  5. I play everything, classic rock, jazz, blues, funk, ANYTHING....i need something versatile, and I have Seymour Duncan 1/4 lbers in my fretless and I like the sound okay, but I want something more versatile. Thanks
  6. I think the pickup that comes standard with MIA Fender P basses IS one of the best available in the market....the pup Fender produce for the '62 RI P basses is even better.

    I have a '96 MIA P bass and am very very happy indeed with the stock pickup.

  7. rllefebv


    Oct 17, 2000
    Newberg, Oregon
    I agree with Andy. I totally dig the sound of the pickup in my '97 American Standard P-Bass. The only mods that I have made is to replace the white pickguard with a hip tortise-shell from Stew-Mac. I also wired the volume pot to act as an all control bypass sending the signal directly to the output jack. I used to use this all the time, (I have wired all my basses with this type of control), but now I use it only for recording, or when I need a little extra zing. This pickup is almost certainly the best passive P that I have heard...

  8. I DO like the sound, I just wish I could get an active pickup without taking off the pickguard. rllefebv, I too want a tortouise shell pickguard, but I like the Fender p/guards the best.
  9. Babs


    May 5, 2000
    Sandy Utah
    Another thing to do that will improve your tone is to get a BAD ASS Bass bridge II they rock, I don't know why Fender insist on putting their peice o crap bridges on them, they should upgrade to something a little bigger. If you want to get creative you can cut a hole in the back for the batery and get a plastic case for it and drill a hole for the wireing. If you don't want to do anything to your bass you will have just go get passive pick ups. Semor duncans rock, Aeroinstuments makes killer pickups, there are a ton of them out there. But why do you want the Active picups anyway, maybe ask that question first, and then if thats what you want, have fun drill some holes in your bass and be proud of your bass.
  10. rllefebv


    Oct 17, 2000
    Newberg, Oregon
    StewMac sells a pickguard that is a direct replacement for the Fender pickguard...Has extra holes for the thumbrest, but went right on with all of the existing holes. Improved the looks quite a bit...
  11. If you're looking for lots of versatility and variation in sounds, then ask yourself if a P bass is the right instrument, e.g a J bass is far more versatile than a P, IMHO. Especially an active one (factory), or one retro-fitted with a Moon or J-retro preamp.
  12. JohnL


    Sep 20, 2000
    Grayson, GA
    It's not for me personally, but I have seen a local session player with a mid 60's P-bass who wanted to go active but couldn't stand to cut on his baby. What he did was drill a small hole in the (aftermarket) pickguard and ran the battery cables out and has the battery taped to the back of the guitar! Doesn't look like much, but what's ugly to look at sounds sweet on tape!
  13. The bent metal bridge only sustains less than a more solid metal bridge. Some custom makers use bent metal bridges. A heavy bridge gives your bass a longer sustain and a more compressed sound. All the fender bridges I have seen in my lifetime have as much sustain as I need a lot more than even the best upright basses. So this hardly stacks up to crappy. If you leave your Bass alone it will have more value in the future upgrading might be also called downgrading. I upgraded my 1951 fender "P" bass lowering its value by about $10,000.
  14. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    Just one question: What's wrong with the stock pickup sound? What sound are you looking for?

    Will C.:cool:
  15. I like the P tone, I just wish it had a rounder tone and a little less punch. The other bassist at school has an active bass (Fender American Deluxe) and it sounds really good, kind of the tone I'm looking for.
  16. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    Maybe you could change your amp settings, I don't know. It's the first time I hear someone say they want less punch... Maybe working the tone a little?
  17. It's not that I don't want some punch, but I need a rounder, warmer tone for jazz band. The P does have very good bass and a good rock/blues tone too. Aw hell, I'll just ask the other bass player in jazz band to bring his J...
  18. Bassline,

    Now that you have focussed onto precisely what you want, it is all beginning to make sense. I would really recommend the Bartolini standard P replacement for the sound you have described. Bartolini make a very wide variety of pups, and I can never remember the various numbers. I think it is the 8SU...warm, smooth and less punch than the classic P bass, in my experience.

    Or you might consider investigating a Piezo bridge.

    And I agree with bassdude about the bridges. Fender use the Fender bridge so that their basses sound like Fenders!

  19. mark


    Apr 7, 2000
    Gentlemen Gentlemen Gentlemen. Couldn't you just put one of the little battery cavities into the back of the bass? Sure you'd have to cut a bit but shag it.
  20. Play with flatwound strings this is a good sound for straight ahead jazz with a "P" bass. If you are a more more modern player switch to a "J" bass with roundwounds.

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