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Would you replace a pickup in El-Cheapo bass?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by rbd, Apr 22, 2010.

  1. rbd


    Feb 26, 2007
    Hello, not many posts here since I play guitar :bag:, but I'm trying to save an old bass guitar and maybe you can help me out.

    I'm trying to have some tips in a local forum since I wanted to know too where to get what I need, but I'm not getting much help about the pickup.

    The bass is a cheap Marina 4 string P-bass, bought in the early 90's. I was thinking in restoring it as good as I can, altough I have limited tools and skills, and use it tunned to BEAD and play something along this style:

    You can see pictures from the bass in the link below, where you can see the "before" pictures and what I've done so far, which is not much yet.


    From my limited knowledge of bass gear, I assume that for my style, an humbucker pickup would be more suitable. So I was very surprised to find out that there's a P-shaped humbucker by Dimarzio, the DP127, or split-P, which seems to be a good option. Question is, is it really? And is it really in this bass?

    Or should I use it just for decoration?
  2. joeyjoejoe


    Apr 12, 2010
    i think i would start by throwing a nicer bridge on it.
    i put a badass II bridge on my mim jazz bass and it made a huge difference in sound/feel.
    next will be pickups but the stock pickups really aren't that bad.
  3. Musiclogic

    Musiclogic Commercial User

    Aug 6, 2005
    Southwest Michigan
    Owner/Builder: HJC Customs USA, The Cool Lute, C G O
    Yes the DiMarzio is better, you may want to look at the Seymour Duncan quarter pound or the.Kent Armstrong hot vintage P. Any of these will be a great upgrade.
  4. darkstorm


    Oct 13, 2009
    Id only reccomend baddass II bridge if your needing more treble bite. Otherwise someone elses himass bridge is better choice imo. People putting baddass II on fenders with their stock thin bent metal bridge dont notice the treble zing of baddass so much as peeps replaceing Himass bridges with one.

    For pups Dimarzio P for hotter vintage type sound. Seymours for more crunch and more modern sound. Of course seymour makes a variety of P's. But to my ears main diff from dimarzio is more treble content. EMG's newest HZ (not the 1st generation selects, theyre poor choice imo) is also good choice imo esp for crunchy voice pups rather then smooth.
  5. Worldeeeter

    Worldeeeter Banned

    Mar 29, 2010
    Asheville, NC
    +1 on the EMGs and a new bridge. Doesn't have to be a Badass II; however, the stock bridge on that bass is probably a cheapie, so anything will make a difference.
    First, though...price out the new goodies. If they amount to more than $200 - $250, and you're not into doubling the value of the bass with those two items, it may not be such a good decision. If the body is made of good wood, it may be a good idea, though.
    If you get into a situation where you want to sell the bass, the bass itself will lower the value of the new accessories more than they will increase the value of the guitar.
    Pretty unique body shape, though. If you're going to keep it around as a novelty and play it, I'd go for it.
  6. mongo2


    Feb 17, 2008
    Da Shaw
    That's tres cool.

    Love the bridge, I'd keep that puppy on there.

    I'd also slap whatever pickups I felt it needed and keep trying until it was right. I'd definitely start with a set of Bartolini 8S P bass pickups I have.

    I'd be very tempted to replace the tuners with some Gotoh Res-O-Lites I have.
  7. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009

    that bridge is actually a good heavy hunk o' brass, and it's string-through-body, so extra cool. keep it. (that very bridge was the only good thing about a line of cheapie epiphone p-bass copies i used to see lots of back in the '90s.)

    pickups are the one thing on the bass that changing will make a night-and-day difference in the sound, so go for it.
  8. MaddAnthony_59

    MaddAnthony_59 Supporting Member

    Dec 16, 2006
    Columbus, IN
    I Channel Surf During Commercials. (Drives my Wife CRAZY!!!)
    Well, Yeah! That's one of my Hobbies of late.

    I pick up a stripped body, like this '86 Aria Pro II "The Cat" model, and add "Goodies".


    This beauty has a set of Active EMG PJ's, and Gotoh Chrome/Brass Bridge, Dunlop StrapLocks, Warwick Gold Knobs, and a Gold set of Aria Pro II Tuners.



    I probably have $150 tied up in this C-Burton Wanna-Bee. And other than a little Soldering, it was just a Bolt-On upgrade. The battery fits easily in the Control Cavity, and I used a piece of Double Sided Carpet Tape to stick it to the Wall.

    But even more Expensive Basses appreciate a good Upgrade. I took the Guts out of a Fullerton era Elite I, and added an Active EMG P Pup. HUGE Improvement!:bassist:
  9. Brado


    Oct 19, 2005
    Buda, TX.
    All of the above replacement pickups are good options (depending on what you're needing..). You might also check out what Delano Pickups has to offer. I use Delanos in my basses. I used to be a die-hard Bartolini guy. I tried Delanos & it was all over. Wide open/ punchy/ lots of natural low end that hits hard but never un-clear. Very defined mids & crystal clear high end that's never harsh. Like any well made pickup, these really capture what's going on with the bass & reproduce it like a champ.
  10. rbd


    Feb 26, 2007
    Hey, new question: I've pretty much decided I'll finish the body and neck with tru-oil, but I have no clue on how much I should buy.

    Since I must order it from UK to Portugal, I want to minimize shipping costs but don't to buy more than I need. I've seen people applying up to 20 coats, don't know if I'll do than much.

    How much should I buy of it?
  11. rbd


    Feb 26, 2007
    I just realized my last post was OT!! I had other threads about that subject and messed up. Sorry about that.

    So, back on topic, I narrowed my pickup choice (based only on things I red, no actual testing) to the SD Quarter Pound, Dimarzio Split-P, and more recently the Wizard Thumper.

    I would really appreciate some final opinions, remembering that I'm not much educated to bass tones or gear (I play mainly guitar), and that the purpose is heavy music like what you'll find here.

    I've been assuming that this kind of music "needs" an humbucker which in this case would be the Dimarzio, and the heaviest band I know that uses the Quarter Pound is Iron Maiden, which being a band I admire, is pretty far away tone wise from what I'm looking for.

    I plan on using some overdrive, something like the BDDI, although I'll actually use the bass simulations in my Line6 X3. Not over the top distortion.

    What do you think? Or if you know any references I could look for, like songs or clips that show off these pickups, I'll appreciate that too.

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