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Wiring Issue and Pickup Suggestions for Mustang P/J Bass

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by natrontheape, Mar 22, 2017.

  1. I just got one of these cool little short scales. I really did not like the strings that came with it, but I put on a set of La Bella short scale flats and all the goofy resonance issues were solved. I also put on a spare American vintage series threaded steel saddle bridge I had laying around to give it more mobility to center the strings under the poles. I now really LOVE playing this bass. It feels just great and the tone is really nice with the flats.

    The two things that keep it from being perfect to me are electrical issues that (I think) should be easily solvable. One is the relatively weak P-bass pickup. It doesn't have anywhere near the tonal range of my other basses, which have the 62 and 57 Re-Issue p-bass pickups installed. So, I want to replace that pickup ASAP. I was thinking about the Lindy Fralin P/J set or the EMG GZR. What do you guys think? Are the Lindy's worth it? I feel like they sound awesome. I'd be interested to know if you guys have other suggestions that sound similar, but are more affordable :).

    The second issue is that I think the wiring is a bit funky. Basically, when you turn down the tone all the way, it sort of acts like a second volume knob and cuts out a ton of range on the master volume knob. I am thinking i will have to have it re-wired to fix this issue. However, I have NO IDEA what the issue could be. Has anyone else with this bass had the same issue? Any pointers on how to fix it?

    As always, no pic, no bass... Here is mine.

  2. NoiseNinja

    NoiseNinja Experimental-psychedelic-ambient-noise-drone Banned

    Feb 23, 2011
    As for pickups suggestions I can warmly recommend the quite popular choice around here: A set of EMG Geezer Butler P/J pickups.

    According to EMG and Mister Butler himself they are based on the the old Fender pickups, but with slightly more output and without the issues they had.

    For instance the J pickup is dead quiet.

    I installed these in my Ibanez Mikro recently, and they are just amazing.

    I gained so much more clarity and definition and in addition some welcome extra punch and growlyness.

    Also the pickups are very well balanced, both in the sense that they seem to have a fairly even frequency response, and that there are no major differences between the output of the P and the J pickup.

    Also as mentioned they are dead quiet, even without a properly shielded bass like my Mikro, I don't get any what so ever hum that normally comes with single coiled J's and general electromagnetic interference from surrounding electrical installations.

    I guess this is because of the way that the ground wires run along all the cords in like a woven net pattern, sort of like they are internally shielded already.

    Finally they are dead easy to install and needs no soldering.

    Note that you might need to pinch off the solderless connectors and solder, since the Mustang has only one master volume and a pickup selector switch instead, whereas the Geezer Butler pickups are wired for basses with one tone and two volume controls and no pickup selector.

    This shouldn't be a major problem to get around though, and absolutely shouldn't qualify as a deal breaker.
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2017
    natrontheape likes this.
  3. Thanks so much for that awesome recommendation. I wonder, do you think the supplied wires with the GZR set are long enough for me to use two volumes on the plate and put the tone pot in the spot where the selector switch is currently located? I thought this would be a super cool way to fix all the issues I have been having and even allow more tonal variation than the switch does.
    NoiseNinja likes this.
  4. NoiseNinja

    NoiseNinja Experimental-psychedelic-ambient-noise-drone Banned

    Feb 23, 2011
    That would be a cool solution I guess, but although I am not entirely sure, I am afraid that as far as I can see and remember I don't think it is.

    I realize there is not much space to do so, but maybe it would be possible to drill an extra hole in the control plate and cram the tone control in between the two volumes, maybe a bit off position and use a smaller knob, and then just leave the pickup selector switch there for the looks to avoid a hole in the bass?
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2017
  5. CapnSev


    Aug 19, 2006
    Coeur d'Alene
    If you are going to go with EMGs, they make a switch you can drop in place of your old switch that is compatible with the no-solder system.
    Kikegg and natrontheape like this.
  6. Hey man. Thanks for that heads up.

    I actually emailed EMG and they got back to me right away. You can purchase the 3-position toggle for $28 but you will need the bus they use for their humbucker sets to use it with the EMG GZR P/J set. An EMG sales rep actually threw in the bus for free when i placed my order through their site, and she also offered to send me the diagram for using the bus as well. I look forward to trying these pickups out in my bass. Should hopefully address the wiring issue too.

    Just putting this all here in case anyone else investigates this upgrade for this particular bass. EMG seems great to work with, and this site rules. Thanks guys!
  7. Qlanq


    Jul 9, 2007
    I have GZR's in two basses and they don't dissapoint.
  8. marh415


    Nov 30, 2013
    I'm glad I saw this, I was curious about the selector switch also with the GZR set. How was the install, and how do you like the pups?
  9. codiak


    Mar 16, 2017
    Madison, Wisconsin
    I did this exact thing with my GZR set. The problem I ran into was getting the bus to fit inside. There’s not enough room. I got it to fit in between the two pots, but it was extremely tight.

    Ultimately I ended up putting the original wiring and pickups back in. That’s when I noticed the volume/tone problem and thought I messed something up. I would like to know how to rewire it to fix it.
  10. honeyiscool

    honeyiscool Supporting Member

    Jan 28, 2011
    San Diego, CA
    The volume/tone thing is by design. Basically, there are two ways to wire a volume/passive tone control. One is to put the passive tone parallel to the output of the pot (middle lug), or the other way is to put the passive tone parallel to the input of the pot (outside lug). The former way is called 50s wiring and is favored by players who like the volume pot to stay bright as you roll it off, but it has the side effect that the tone knob also cuts volume. The latter way is the more common wiring configuration, where the tone knob doesn't affect the volume, but the side effect is that the tone gets darker as you roll the volume pot down. I guess a lot of bassists aren't familiar with 50s wiring and want to rip it out yesterday, but a lot of guitarists swear by it.

    It's one of the easiest things to change, regardless. All you need to do is change the lug where the tone knob is connected from the middle to the outside lug.
  11. codiak


    Mar 16, 2017
    Madison, Wisconsin
    My hero
  12. Possibly silly question: The Amazon description of the Geezer PJ set indicates that it comes with everything you need to completely rewire your bass (pickups, three pots, input jack, wires, etc.). Do those pots fit in the Mikro? Are the shaft length and diameter compatible (and does the Mikro allow enough room for the pots? I haven't looked inside my Mikro yet, but I would guess it has those little mini-pots)? Thanks.
  13. codiak


    Mar 16, 2017
    Madison, Wisconsin
    I don’t own a Mikro but I know the GZR set comes with the pickups, wiring kit, output jack and three pots (v/v/t). Everything should fit but if the knobs are push on you might have to get some with a set screw instead.

    In my experience, the shaft on the pots is a little larger than normal. I had to get new knobs with set screws to replace the old ones.
  14. EitherOr


    Jul 14, 2017
    For those that have updated their P/J mustangs, do you know a part number for which pickup selector switch you used? Would a switch plus a precision bass wiring kit be sufficient to replace the wiring in this bass?

    Still deciding whether to upgrade to the EMG Geezer Butlers or the Aguilar-would appreciate any thoughts on these options as well!
  15. I also want to use EMG GZRs on my mustang... not a big fan of the selector switch, so I was wondering if EMG sells a solderless pot that is VV stacked. This way I will disconnect the switch and have VVT that I am very familiar with. Another option I thought of was to drill through the side for the jack and then I would have enough holes for the stock knobs.

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