would replacing pickups make a difference?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Albino_Ryno, Aug 22, 2001.

  1. Albino_Ryno

    Albino_Ryno Guest

    Sep 17, 2000
    Knoxville TN
    Untill I can scrap up enough money to buy my new bass I've been entertaining the thought of replacing the pickups in my current bass to tide me over and give me a better sound. But that's my question. I am currently playing a $400-$450 mid 90's model Alvarez. It looks similar to an ibanez soundgear model. It has a p and a j style pickup configuration. My question is: If I were to order some replacement p & j pickups would there be a significant difference in sound or would it sound the same? Also what brand of pickups should I buy and what kinda price range are we talking here? I've heard of basslines and emg's, etc, etc,....but which ones sound the best for the money?
  2. Suburban


    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    That is all in YOUR ears, bro!
    You can find pups that make a lot of difference, but whether the result is good or bad - only you can tell.
    A lot of people will propagate for their choice, "their brand", I just say: that's them. How about you?

    And now for the bitter part: how can you tell what is bet until you tried all on your bass?
    You can't.

    Post what kind of sound you want, then you may have a few qualified answers, along with the "endorsed", the "I prefer".
  3. Albino_Ryno

    Albino_Ryno Guest

    Sep 17, 2000
    Knoxville TN
    Thanx for the advice man. Well, I usually fade the pickups more to the j side to get more of a funky tone. I'd like to be able to get a good solid rock tone or a good solid funk tone. The pickups in my bass now do an okay job, but I've heard other basses with p j configurations that sound more like what I want. I'm not saying that the pickups in my bass are necessarily cheap but I know there are better ones out there.:rolleyes:
  4. Mark Gollihur

    Mark Gollihur Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jul 19, 2000
    Gloucester County, NJ
    Owner/President, Gollihur Music LLC
    A lot depends on the bass. Is it solid? How's it sound not plugged in? Does it resonate?

    Another thing to look into is strings. Consider trying a few new brands, and try steels over nickel if you haven't already. They have a hotter output, and can sometimes give a little more punch.

    Your Alvarez is not necessarily a "cheap" bass - but what is often skimped upon on "budget" oriented axes is the electronics/pickups. You may find that a new set of pickups makes you love this bass all over again.

    I would recommend that you take a trip to your local large music store (if you have one) and try a variety of basses - even ones you think you don't like - with a PJ config. Try to play them through an amp that is just like (or similar to) yours, with the settings you normally use.

    If you find an axe that gives the sound you're looking for, take note of the pickups it uses. Remember to take into account that other factors affect the sound, so this is largely unscientific. For instance, neck through vs. bolt on, maple vs. rosewood, flats vs. roundwounds, etc.

    I personally prefer actives for use in my band, but I have a toss-around cheapie Fender P-bass that sounds... well, like a P-Bass. None of my other (active) basses can make "that sound." There's a lot of choices out there, and no one can tell you what's best for you - you'll have to figure it out yourself!

    Good luck.
  5. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    What you have to balance, IMO, is the cost of installing new pups with the cost of a new bass.

    Let's say you put in Basslines at a ballpark cost of $90 a piece for their less expensive models through a good source like Bass Central.

    If you have them professionally installed, you could easily pay $50 for the firsrt pickup and $25 for the second.

    So, without even buying a better preamp, you're talking $255. That's quite a chunk of change toward a better bass.

    Replacing pickups is the biggest improvement you can make to your instrument's sound, (other than practice :rolleyes: ). But when when you can get a better bass, the smart thing to do is put the original pickups back into your old one if you are going to trade it in/sell it. And then you are left with a nice pair of pickups with nothing to put them in.

    Personally, I put in new pups if I knew I was going to be playing the current bass for quite a while before a new bass was possible. If a new, better, bass was in the not too distant future, I'd lump it for the time being.
  6. jwymore


    Jul 26, 2001
    Portland, OR
    What RickBass said except the cost of the PUP's does not have to be that high. Basslines (passive)can be had for about $110 to $115 for a new P-J set. There are also some good deals out there on used stuff, especially the stock Fender items. Check out eBay, but know what you want and what the going price is before you start bidding.

  7. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Maybe the sets or P/J's are cheaper? Bass Central quoted me $87 on a single Basslines ceramic MM and $160 on an alnico version. The Bartolinis I asked about were both well over $100.

    Maybe sets are the way to go.
  8. I'm gonna put a different spin on this thread...Listen carefully now.....

    Buy a Sansamp Bass Driver DI!

    It will improve your tone considerably. A good DI is a must have for any bassist and it will work for every bass you ever own. Best $180 I've spent recently. Great bang for the buck investment.

    My $0.02!
  9. Once again, this is all up to you. If you like the sound that comes out of your bass, then you are happy, and everyone else can fornicate themselves with a stick.

    Personally, I would go for the Duncan Performers. It's what I have now in my De Armond, and they sound great. Lots of range, and a very solid tone. I spent about $150 to get the P and J, and then I put them in myself. It's really not that hard, and I think there was a thread about how to install pups a while back. You might want to do a search.

    Good luck.:)

    Rock on
  10. If you do get new pickups, save some money and install them yourself. It's easy. Especially if your bass is passive.