Versatile PJ pickup set?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by elmasodoacro, Jun 25, 2018.

  1. elmasodoacro

    elmasodoacro Guest

    Jun 25, 2018
    I'm new here, as a former guitarist but now with a Squier PJ bass lent by my sister, she can't use it because her studies, so I wanted to learn some about it.
    But as a guitarist I'm really used to upgrade everything as projects, and I want to do that to this bass.
    So, which set do you recommend me? I'm stuck with things from alternative metal (deftones, breaking benjamin, tool) to synthpop and post-punk. I don't like the sound of any active pickups, besides the price, neither ceramics.
    Thanks in advance!
  2. sikamikanico


    Mar 17, 2004
    Welcome to TB (and to the bass side of music in general)!

    For a project, but not much money, I'd recommend a Wilde PJ set, these are authentic Bill Lawence pickups. If you don't mind going used, this opens things up a bit to other classic makers, like Seymour Duncan, DiMarzio, etc... Generally more classic designs are cheaper and more ubiquitous, but sound good, and are a great value... Also EMG came out with popular passive P and PJ pickups, signature Geezer Butler set, might be worth considering. There's a used set in the classifieds right now (no affiliation with the seller).

    But frankly, whatever your budget is, I wouldn't spend a lot on pickups. For bass, strings are equally if not more important for sound. Yes, Squier pickups may seem weak, but often times they are more than adequate if you find the right strings, adjust your setup, and learn how to play it well. So if it makes you feel better to replace pickups, by all means do, but don't forget about strings, setup, and technique ;)
    4StringTheorist and elmasodoacro like this.
  3. Iofflight

    Iofflight Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2018
    I was going to suggest the Wilde PJ set as well.
    4StringTheorist and elmasodoacro like this.
  4. elmasodoacro

    elmasodoacro Guest

    Jun 25, 2018
    Thanks for the welcome!
    Ohhy, I didn't know that, so I don't have to worry about pickups that much (it is just because of my guitar experience lol). So I have to look after for, which set do you recommend me? Not that expensive but that can help me to get the tone I described. Thanks again!
  5. sikamikanico


    Mar 17, 2004
    Well, sometimes a pickup change is what is needed to get the job done, but I'd start with a few different sets of strings, and then reassess. Best imo is to start with something standard, figure out what's missing/off sounding, then read around here for pointers to what might work better. There is no universally agreed upon "better" or "best" sound, but many people can give recommendations based on what you have currently and what you're trying to achieve. The more specific you are in identifying what's off, the easier it is to give advice (or, it takes fewer trials and errors to get there). Actually, this advice applies both to strings and pickups...

    I can give you some general tips based on my experience, but I suggest you head over the the Strings subforum. I find nickel roundwounds most middle-of-the-road sounding - they have the edge and brightness of roundwounds, yet are warm and mellow because they're made of (or plated with) nickel, depending on how you play them. Popular choices include D'Addario XL and GHS Boomers. If you want brighter, edgier sounds, then you may want to look into stainless steel roundwounds. If you want fuller and warmer sounding strings, flatwounds might be in order. Then there's lots of in-between strings and specially-developed alloys to meet more specific needs.

    The two other parts to the sound are setup (chiefly action and pickup height), and technique (how you play). I like medium action, which allows me to dig in and help bring out more edgier sounds. Playing lightly towards the neck gives me more mellow sounds... But then there are guys like John Entwistle of the Who, who liked very low action so that his strings buzzed against the frets and he played very lightly, yet still had this mean "lead bass" rock sound... Different ways to achieve what you want, so it's imo best to experiment, listen carefully, and develop your own "recipe."
    elmasodoacro likes this.