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funkle

Dual P Pickup Bass - Modding a Mexi Fender

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Wow, cool pickguard. I could dig on that, especially the grey translucent. 

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I saw a bass or guitar with one a while back, thought it looked pretty different. I think there was even a custom bass with a flake/glitter trans guard with a tint - kinda like this but with a lot less glitter and see through:

jwjezdhuufltub4tlbet.jpg

I might be mistaken, could have just been a paint effect and a clear guard. Cool way to paint a guitar, let you cover the 2 tone with the 'guard if you fancy it!

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Great thread @funkle

Enjoyed reading your updates and what effects minor changes and tweaks have on what appears to be a simple addition. Goes to show there’s a lot more than meets the eye even on a simple passive p bass. A reminder that custom instruments really are a bit of a shot in the dark! 

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They really are. The Precision Bass is, in its existing form, well designed and well researched. That has become clear to me as I have experimented.

It is really easy to actually take away from its excellent design and sound with additional pickups!

 

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I agree - the P comes in for a lot of "yawn" but people return to it and it's sound for a reason and that reason isn't just it's original status. Experimenting with minute changes in the pickup position, type and loading makes it clear how well designed the original is - that growl and presence!

I've followed this thread with a lot of interest as  I find the idea of a double P absolutely fascinating, but I'd want to keep a standard P on the basis that you don't want to be left with "jam but no bread/ a sheet but no bed" (as Tom Waits would say).

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Just scored a Seymour Duncan Quarter Pounder (SPB3) which I will test out for the bridge. Now that I have the new loom with 500k pots, I will also go back and test out the DiMarzio P again at the bridge position too.

(After I had lived with the DiMarzios for a while, I felt that they had a lot of high mids but lost treble up top. I wonder if the 4x 250k pot loading bled off too much high end, looking back. Ah well, nothing to do but try it out again with the new setup!)

I might try spray painting the black pickup surround as well, found some Halfords paint which is the same colour as the bass (I think) and I have some primer kicking about as well. All good fun...

 

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500k pots will definitely let more top end through, I put them on all of my basses and it’s lovely and bright!

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Posted (edited)

Ok, an update. 

Here’s how it looks now:

BB0179A6-39BC-4037-A816-0F80D4247F70.thumb.jpeg.c503fcbd825f389b719a2ffba7e480e2.jpeg
 

First thing to say, after experimenting more with bridge pickups, the Seymour Duncan SPB3 (Quarter Pounder) is a great match for the SPB1 at the neck. The thread about dual P pickup basses on Talkbass has this as a common combination, and with good reason. It sounds good. 

 

After a lot of work, I think what I have found is that the bridge pickup position best suits a pickup with big bass and big treble. Too much mid in this position just gets a bit too nasally for my taste. The DiMarzio Model P, for instance, works less well here IMO, because it is basically a ‘more of everything’ pickup frequency wise. It sounds fab at the front position though! 

 

I used car paint and clear car lacquer on the rear pickup cover to get the colour closer to the body. I now know quite closely the term ‘overspray’ and I can tell you if there are mistakes to be made whilst spray painting, I probably made them. The job is ok but could probably do with me sanding it all back and redoing it completely, but I’m not going to do that, lol. But it looks decent.

 

Once I finished doing the pickup testing, I put a white pickguard back on. Slightly ‘mint’ shade. The chrome electronics cover was convenient for ease of access to electronics, but I think I do like the pickguard aesthetic, and once I finished the testing, I didn’t need easy access anymore, so...

 

I very nearly tried reversing the neck pickup orientation. I think it probably would let the pickups blend better, from reports I read on Talkbass. However, the two ways of doing this (either keeping position same and reversing the orientation of each half, or moving the DG coil closer to the neck by moving it to the other side of the EA coil) both change the ‘Precision’ nature of the sound of the neck pickup considerably, at least IMO. I can’t bring myself to do it, a Precision’s fundamental sound is just too cool.

 

As it is, it sounds like a gnarlier PJ bass. I think of it as being a Precision (so front pickup mostly being run at 100% and blending in different amounts of rear pickup) as opposed to being like a Jazz, where both pickups together is probably my favourite sound. Both pickups fully on together here sounds good, but I’m not sure if it was really worth the effort over many PJ setups. (Assuming the J pickup is a humbucker in those setups, never understood why people introduced single coil hum in that setup). 

 

The rear pickup on its own is like a beefier, angrier Jazz pickup. You can definitely 'Jaco out' there now and it is not nasally or clavinet-ish now. It’s fun.

 

If I had my time again, I’d move the rear pickup DG coil right up against the back of the Precision pickguard, and of course start with it being reversed. It just works better.

 

I think I will shell out for a maple Jazz neck on this. I prefer the nut width and the high end spank of maple. But it’s a personal project, very much my bass now, lol.

 

On the whole, for economic effectiveness, I think I would simply say to most people they should just buy a PJ bass, and get most of the same sound without the effort. A split coil Jazz pickup at the rear will get much of the sound without the hassle. Or a Nordstrand Big Split, I bet. 

 

 

Edited by funkle
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Cracking job Gromit 👍

I think you've colour matched the pickup surround really well, I had to look twice to see the pickup was even there.

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Posted (edited)

So, I took the plunge for a Fender roasted maple Jazz neck. 

 

5C104A18-56FC-4DD1-9FD9-A078ABA9A2B2.thumb.jpeg.de4d0596809d836a33a3836fc612d4b9.jpeg11F95056-1D5B-4815-84B5-2BF175E1F304.thumb.jpeg.a0ab2348fe120711aa13f97980a95743.jpegDAE43E3C-8013-4967-98BC-F345853A2823.thumb.jpeg.4dc08326ec132d39a6098774a2382d84.jpeg
 

This was exactly what I was looking for. I really do not get on with rosewood boards that well, and the snap of maple is exactly what I wanted. It sounds no different to other non roasted maple necks, but it looks nice and was a direct fit to the body with no footering about there needed.

 

Very light neck indeed, and it appears to all be a single piece of maple. I cannot see a separate piece of maple for the fretboard. Cool.
 

Had to fit the tuners (Hipshot Licensed Ultralites), string tree, and file down the nut. Classic mistake overfilling the G string slot, rescued with superglue. I chipped it a bit too; still needs further filing down for overall height, but it works. Key learning here for roasted maple: this wood is very hard, drill pilot holes for all screws and use a little candle wax to screw them in. 

 

I might fit an EQ to it sometime. Still toying with the idea of reversing the neck pickup...best to live with it as it is for a while though, I think. 

Edited by funkle
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Posted (edited)

I have a p bass here with a reverse neck pick up so if you want to use that as a demo for some of your pick ups to hear them in context I'll happily drop it over. It's a solder less harness too so hassle free.

 

CF08654F-8A26-420A-A035-8CB29493E6F5.jpeg

Edited by krispn
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Sweet. I would love to compare. I’ll message you. 

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Quick cross post to the 'P vs reverse P' thread with my observations after borrowing @krispn's bass. Thanks Gav!

 

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Posted (edited)

A little note of interest. 

I noticed that the Seymour Duncan SBP1 at the front position sounded a little less bright than once I had the SBP3 in the rear position installed. This seemed to be the case even if I turned the SBP3 all the way down. 

I have alluded before to how pickups load each other in a passive circuit, but decided to test my ears again. I removed the SBP3 out of the circuit by unscrewing its wires out of the solderless circuit, and lo and behold, my high end improved to what I remembered the stock SBP1 sounding like. Same in reverse when I unscrewed the SBP1 for the SBP3. Clearly the pickups still 'see' each other in the circuit even when turned fully down. I knew this already, but it was useful to hear what it sounded like. 

John East did a great post on this many years ago - https://www.talkbass.com/threads/isolated-buffered-pickup-blending.82099/#post-935299

I think this effect accounts for some of what people call 'the passive sound', as I'm used to hearing it in e.g. passive Jazz basses. 

So....I am contemplating another change. I think I might try out a John East preamp with active pickup buffering, at least at some point. The Uni Pre does this, as does the J Retro. Not sure if the J Tone does as well, though it might. (Can't tell from the literature...) 

Edited by funkle
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From https://www.east-uk.com/product/j-tone/ "In passive mode, the original jazz style bass is fully maintained since the signal path is a replica of those in the original Jazz."

If it has the original signal path then it shouldn't buffer anything in passive mode, allowing for the normal VVT pickup loading if you choose that option. I'd send him an email if you're curious.

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10 minutes ago, PlungerModerno said:

From https://www.east-uk.com/product/j-tone/ "In passive mode, the original jazz style bass is fully maintained since the signal path is a replica of those in the original Jazz."

If it has the original signal path then it shouldn't buffer anything in passive mode, allowing for the normal VVT pickup loading if you choose that option. I'd send him an email if you're curious.

Yes, I think I will. Funnily enough a J Tone would probably be perfect for this bass - simple, passive roll off, bass/treble boost if needed, and full passive if needed. If it actively buffered the pickups in active mode, it would be ideal. 

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Good response back from John. The J Tone does no active buffering of pickups, but the J Retro and Uni-Pre do (in active mode). Guess I'll maybe have to think about a version of the Uni Pre. 

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