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BassManGraham

What's the best P bass pickup upgrade?

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Hi All, I have recently acquired an old SX Precision style bass for a song that needs some serious TLC. Looking for a decent probably noiseless split coil retrofit pickup.  The on board pickup is not bad, but seems a bit too honky for my taste.  I like a fairly tight, punchy sound with a bit of thump. Welcome advice please.  

 

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A simple fix if your stock pickup is sounding honky is to replace the capacitor from the standard 0.047 to a 0.1, will cost pennies, and will take out most of the highs, to leave a deeper, richer and fuller bass sound. I suggest doing this before changing pickups. If it doesn't help then a budget, modern or vintage sounding are factors we need to know in order to give the best advice?

The best P pickup imho is the Fender 62 custom shop (also known as Fender "Original" pickups) which does all what you have asked for. Also, DiMarzio Model P or Aguilar AG4P are great pickups and more than meet your brief.

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I always recommend the Fender Custom Shop 62, however a slightly cheaper option is the Seymour Duncan Steve Harris which sounds very similar, only slightly hotter so breaks up quicker. And the amount of love the EMG GZR (Geezer Butler) gets would indicate it`s a serious contender.

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2 hours ago, hooky_lowdown said:

The best P pickup imho is the Fender 62 custom shop (also known as Fender "Original" pickups) which does all what you have asked for. 

Agree with this, although the 'Original' and the 'Custom Shop 62s' are two different pickups with two different price points.....

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8 minutes ago, Muppet said:

Agree with this, although the 'Original' and the 'Custom Shop 62s' are two different pickups with two different price points.....

That's marketing for you. They are essentially the same pickup.

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+1 for the Custom Shop '62 pickup. Just the right amount of growl to my ears.

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Posted (edited)

I bought a Fender about 5 years ago, I haven't played one since the mid 90's, and I was surprised how good it sounded. There are a lot of fantastic sounding basses out there but this one sounded just like I remember a Fender sounds! That sound raised a smile.

I'd definitely chose a Fender pickup. Don't know which one, but check out some of the reviews and opinions here and on Talkbass.

https://shop.fender.com/en-GB/parts/electric-bass-parts/pickups/

Edited by chris_b

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The split coils are all noise cancelling if wired correctly.

I have a Nordstrand NP4A, Bareknuckle 58, Fender Custom Shop 62, and I have an Aguilar AG4P somewhere waiting to go into something. I probably like the Nordstrand the best of those, but it is also in my 64 so that may be a factor. They are all fantastic pickups.

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I have had all sorts in a P bass but the best ones were the custom shop one fitted standard in a Mike Dirnt Mexican P and my current favourite is in my Nate Mendel, a Tonerider with one of John`s wiring looms. Not expensive either.

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Best P pickups I've ever used were  Lollars in both single coil '51 and split varieties and if I ever got myself another precision then It'd be the only choice for me to get another one

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I used to rate the Seymour Duncan Antiquity range but more recently I have actually just been liking stock pickups. I think my playing and understanding of amp tones must have improved :)

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That Dirnt Custom shop ‘59 is a cracking pick up but you can’t buy it from fender!!!! Outrageous! It’s one if my fav’s along with the DiMarzio Model P. 

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27 minutes ago, krispn said:

That Dirnt Custom shop ‘59 is a cracking pick up but you can’t buy it from fender!!!! Outrageous! It’s one if my fav’s along with the DiMarzio Model P. 

Given how many people rate that pickup I’ve always thought that Fender really messed up in not selling it separately, a real shot in the foot imo.

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I agree. It’s not like the Dirnt is an exclusive custom shop instrument. 

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6 minutes ago, krispn said:

I agree. It’s not like the Dirnt is an exclusive custom shop instrument. 

After foolishly selling my Dirnt bass, I managed to get that 59 CS pickup from the US on Reverb (and payed through the nose for import..). I wonder if the reason Fender didn't sell it separately was to encourage folks to buy the Dirnt bass and not do the sound 'on the cheap' with just the pickup.

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Possible but it really should be available after 15yrs of production? You’d think they’d sell more of the pick up based on the online chatter rather than folks buying a signature bass just to plunder. I think the  Dirnt bass is a great bass and owned one. If I were in the market for a new bass the RW Dirnt would defo be on the radar. I believe the new RW series are lighter too!

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Of the ones that I have tried I would say my fav is the Nordy NP4.

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I’m using a EMG Geezer Butler in my Fender P at the moment. Not the best ive had, but not the most experience and its based on a vintage P bass tone that Bobby Vega has  (dont let the Geezer endorsement put you off). 

My vote would go to the Fender 62RI though. Cheaper as well. 

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This isn't going to help things for you... but I wired a Lindy Fralin P pickup into my old JV P bass, and it sounded really good. Broke up beautifully, creamy, fat growly, recommend looking into those if you're doing some research.

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if you don't like honk avoid the Seymour duncan hot pickup, its pretty much pure mids, the SD Vintage is like the complete opposite, scooped in the extreme, as you can probably tell i'm not a massive SD fan

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Tone is very subjective, it's hard to say what you'd like without an idea of what you want to sound like. Seymour duncan pick ups are my go to usually though as they do a few different specs so you can usually find something you'll like

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, aitkenaudio said:

Tone is very subjective, it's hard to say what you'd like without an idea of what you want to sound like. Seymour duncan pick ups are my go to usually though as they do a few different specs so you can usually find something you'll like

Yes, and price is not an indication of how good a pup will found. I had a Fralin (two over the years) but never kept them longer than a few months. Each time i went back to a much cheaper pup like the 62RI.

I am quite partial to the DiMarzio DP122, which i have in my Squier CV P, but its a bit too aggressive to use all the time.

Edited by dave_bass5

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1 hour ago, dave_bass5 said:

Yes, and price is not an indication of how good a pup will found. I had a Fralin (two over the years) but never kept them longer than a few months. Each time i went back to a much cheaper pup like the 62RI.

I am quite partial to the SD DP122, which i have in my Squier CV P, but its a bit too aggressive to use all the time.

Indeed, theres only so many ways you can wind a pick up really.

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