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What makes you pick a new pickup?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by ebick, Oct 2, 2013.

  1. JTE

    JTE Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2008
    Central Illinois, USA
    Eventually I figured it was because I was too lazy to spend time finding a good sounding bass. It starts with how does the bass sound. And you have to be very careful to ascertain exactly what you don't like. Then, figure out if the aspects you don't like are inherent in the wood. If the instrument is naturally dark and muted- it sounds like that unamplified, then buy another bass. PUPs only translate what the wood is doing to the strings, so don't expect miracles.

    If the basic inherent sound of the bass is good, but just not translating quite right to the amp, and you've tried strings, setup, and technique, then research PUPs which address the specific sonic issues you identified.

    I replaced the factory Duncan's on my Lakland 4-94 with Bart's because the Bass lines were a bit too aggressive for what the bass sounded like. But it didn't change the fundamental character.

    And that's the point the "wood doesn't matter" folks miss. I managed a guitar store in the '80s, and put hundreds of pickups in instruments. They never changed the character. Bright twang ones were still twangy, just muffled. Those that were all attack and sustain never became warm and blossoming.

    So, listen to your instrument closely, carefully consider exactly what you want, and move cautiously.

  2. MegaSwing

    MegaSwing Your Obedient Bassist® Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 26, 2002
    Baltimore, MD USA
    Everybody has his/her sweet spot as far as tone. Different pickups have different sweet spots. Every bass is different, too. Sometimes you get a strong combination right away; sometimes you never find it. It totally is alchemy. Usually, good enough is good enough, though. You still have amps, preamps, and pedals that transmogrify the signal.
  3. M.R. Ogle

    M.R. Ogle Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 5, 2004
    Mount Vernon, Illinois
    Backstage Guitar Lab owner
    This is my experience, too. The pickups are one of the LAST things I'm inclined to change out.
  4. huckleberry1


    Jul 1, 2013
    Mesquite, Texas
    I'm modding an MIM Fender Jazz Deluxe V, I decided on the Nordstrand nj5fs set based on the guy whose name escapes me that did multiple comparisons- name of thread ( if a tree falls in the forrest, would the sound of your pickups matter?) also your style of playing & genre that you gravitate to. Dimarzio's were my original choice but there was a certain amount of castration going from 4 to 5 in the ultra jazz according to my research. Ultimately I decided on the split coil as a compromise over the preference of single. I wanted heavy lows & clean highs & Fralins were too dirty for my personal taste.
  5. I changed mine because I wanted a hotter signal out of my bass to drive my tube's more. To a very pleasing effect I might add.

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