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Which Pickup is an ideal upgrade?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by glf12, Jun 18, 2007.

  1. glf12


    Jun 18, 2007
    Hey, guys. First post here.

    I have been playing a Fender MIM P Bass for a couple years now, thru an Ampeg BR100. Flatwound strings. It is probably 90% what I'm looking for in my inner ear.

    I've been thinking of upgrading the stock pickup, and hear lots of good things about the Seymour Duncun Quarter Pounder. However, I'm not clear what the sound characteristics are. I play mostly indie and acoustic rock/pop stuff, and go for a warmer sound. If you know Crowded House or some Aimee Mann recordings, or the Jayhawks, that's what I'm shooting for...warm, natural sounding bass. Am I going in the right direction with the Seymour Duncans? If these are best suited for metal or funk, please let me know. Thanks.
  2. EMG with a BTC or other EMG preamp. I had an EMG in my Westone Concord II (1 P pickup) years ago and it was awesome.
  3. It has been my experience that as soon as you start walking the path of pickup upgrades, it becomes a never ending quest. I would go for a bridge upgrade, either Badass II or Gotoh 201, before a pickup change, those MIM basses (especially the newer ones) come w/ good pickups. If you eventually come to the point where you are 100% in need of another pickup, the sound you've described can probably be achieved through the pickups alexofc69 mentioned above.
  4. gooch


    Jun 18, 2007
    I put a pair of EMG's in my 76 Jazz about 20 years ago to replace some SD's that I didn't like. The EMG's have been kicking ever since. Highly recommended!
  5. SuperSnake2012

    SuperSnake2012 floppy b strings

    Dec 12, 2006
    Bronx, NY
    The SPB-3 pickups are known to be bright and aggressive... I don't think those pickups would be the best choice for what you play. Those pickups are more suited for rock styles. I would look at the Fender Original '62 pickups, Nordstrand NP4, the Seymour Duncan SPB-1 or the DiMarzio Model P.
  6. glf12


    Jun 18, 2007
    Thanks for the advise. Since I am not very tech savy about these things (pardon me), how will the different bridge alter the sound? This route is kind of new to me.
  7. A bridge with bigger mass, more contact to the bass and made of higher quality metals will work with the body of the bass to increase sustain, clarity, punch and overall presence. On many occasions, better than a new pickup configuration can offer.
  8. JGR

    JGR The "G" is for Gustav Commercial User

    Jun 29, 2006
    President, CEO, CFO, CIO, Chief Engineer, Technician, Janitor - Reiner Amplification
    SJB-2 Hot Jazz

  9. Nordstrand NP4s are amazing.
  10. Your present pickups are probably where you want to be..you want to mellow your tone on your bass...do these three easy steps:

    1...observer where you normally pluck your strings
    2...move your plucking hand 0.5" - 1.0" toward the neck
    3...enjoy your new sound
  11. Nighttrain1127

    Nighttrain1127 Supporting Member

    Nov 27, 2004
    Near Worcester MA
    +1 for the Nordstrands. I have the NP4 in a MIM P-Bass and the improvement is amazing kind of just what you are talking about tone wise.
  12. Turock


    Apr 30, 2000
    Fender's Original '62 pickups would be my choice.
  13. Turock


    Apr 30, 2000
    Not sure how those would fit in a P bass.
  14. GlennW


    Sep 6, 2006
  15. glf12


    Jun 18, 2007
    Yes, I have a tendency to play closer to the neck for the warmer sound. I guess it's the upper two strings that aren't where I want them to be sonically; just a tad less warm.

    Thanks for all the good advise from everybody. I think I'll start with the bridge upgrade when I can and have a good tech guy give the whole thing a good look to see if maybe the action is too high. Along with installing the new bridge. Think I'll stay with the current stock pickup.
  16. One more vote for the Fender Original '62 pickups.
    That's what I have in my 78' P-bass:)
  17. Nedmundo

    Nedmundo Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2005
    I like the Quarter Pounder, but it probably isn't the best choice for you. It's designed as a full-range pickup, with increased highs and lows compared to a more traditional P pickup with a low-mids emphasis. They're versatile, but for maximum warmth I'd recommend either the Nordstrand NP4 or Duncan SPB-2 Hot for P-bass, or maybe SPB-1 if you don't want the extra phatness of the SPB-2.

    I've never tried the Nordstrand, but based on soundclips and TB posts I think it would fit the bill. I have used the Duncan SPB-2, which is the warmest, fattest P-bass sound I've heard. Its basic tonality is similar to a stock Fender American Series pickup, but with higher output, more clarity and fatness in the lows, and slightly attenuated treble. It's a very smooth, buttery tone. It produces a more vintage tone than the Quarter Pounder or the DiMarzio Model P, which I've also used and would avoid if warmth is your goal. Based on my experience with the SPB-2, I'd bet the SPB-1 would be similar to a stock Fender pickup, but with increased clarity and perhaps slightly higher output.

    The bridge recommendation is good too, and might be the better place to start. The MIM bridges aren't very good, and I got excellent results with a Gotoh 201, which dramatically increased sustain and clarity on my MIM P. Get some D'Addario Chromes, and you'll really be in business. With those changes, you might forget about a new pickup.
  18. FWIW I believe Crowded House's Nick Seymour uses Ashdown.
  19. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    Mar 5, 2021

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