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Ricky Rioli

The tone of the Reverse P: when is it a Good Thing? when is it not?

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It'd be more accurate if it were aligned with a fret (look at the 12th fret on each bass there) but it's pretty much what I was thinking was the setup.

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Sometimes I think about routing my Fender P to put the bass coil towards the bridge. I often tune to C standard but with a precision and a dirty tone it just doesn't work. Too much gronkiness going on and a lack of clarity on the low notes. I reckon having the bass coil further back would improve things no end.

 

But I've got other basses in C so then I can't be bothered!

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39 minutes ago, Doctor J said:

It'd be more accurate if it were aligned with a fret (look at the 12th fret on each bass there) but it's pretty much what I was thinking was the setup.

If the body size is the same then each bass photo is taken with a different 'zoom' ratio anyway, accounting pretty much for the 12th fret misalignment. Actual measurements from the bridge would have been more useful although less 'pictorial' methinks.

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One's a P, one's a J, they're not the same size. The location of the bridge can be somewhate inconsistent too (think why they needed long G screws). The only accurate measurement is from a fixed point in relation to the scale of the instrument and they are the frets and the nut. The other witness point, the bridge saddle, is an adjustable, movable part.

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If it helps, here are measurements from my HB MP-4 Enhanced, which I suspect they cribbed from a Sandberg VM. 34” scale, from the 12th fret to the centre of the pole piece:

  • EA coil: 314 mm
  • DG coil: 286 mm

 

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The E-A half of the Hoppus pickup def a little further towards the neck than the standard P's E-A half.

(Incidentally, when Leo Fender made an MFD split pickup for the revamped G&L SB-1, he found it necessary to nudge the pickup a similar distance in the opposite direction)

 

 

Screenshot_20210223-134612_Gallery.jpg

Edited by Ricky Rioli
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2 hours ago, Ricky Rioli said:

The E-A half of the Hoppus pickup def a little further towards the neck than the standard P's E-A half.

(Incidentally, when Leo Fender made an MFD split pickup for the revamped G&L SB-1, he found it necessary to nudge the pickup a similar distance in the opposite direction)

 

 

Screenshot_20210223-134612_Gallery.jpg

But with those MFD pick ups he rotated the magnet, steel poles, made them more powerful and the whole sound is more shrill as well as moore chutzpah because he was compensating for hearing loss and especially high end hearing loss

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27 minutes ago, Cuzzie said:

But with those MFD pick ups he rotated the magnet, steel poles, made them more powerful and the whole sound is more shrill as well as moore chutzpah because he was compensating for hearing loss and especially high end hearing loss

When my SB-1 finally reaches me, I'll have a good think about whether I've paid for a useful musical instrument, or just some misguided nonsense built to compensate for an old man's knackered ears. Fingers crossed!

Edited by Ricky Rioli
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On 20/02/2021 at 07:40, Ricky Rioli said:

I was reading about a recent Jackson Dave Ellefson signature model. Mr E said this

"I went back in time with the P/J setup. The very first Jackson basses that I got back in the day had that configuration, because I noticed that if you flipped the P pickup to the reverse position it got rid of an annoying low-mid frequency that just doesn’t work in a metal setting, because it gets the bass right down inside the kick drum."

Which sounds very much like a good thing; when, then, would a reverse P not be wanted?...

Good thread Mr Rioli! 

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1 hour ago, Ricky Rioli said:

When my SB-1 finally reaches me, I'll have a good think about whether I've paid for a useful musical instrument, or just some misguided nonsense built to compensate for an old man's knackered ears. Fingers crossed!

It’s a great instrument with fantastic build quality and I actually like the G&L headstock that some don’t - The SB-1 is slightly less in your face compared to the ‘M’ style pick ups they do - it just genuinely takes a different tinker and EQ to your ‘usual’ non MFD pick up

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I think all basses sound the same especially when they have strings and a pickup on them, preferably made of plywood.

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16 hours ago, Ricky Rioli said:

When my SB-1 finally reaches me, I'll have a good think about whether I've paid for a useful musical instrument, or just some misguided nonsense built to compensate for an old man's knackered ears. Fingers crossed!

One of the totally obvious things I've learnt recently is "you cannot add what isn't there, but you can roll off the treble". By which I mean if your bass has no zing no EQ on earth be able to will add it, but reaching down to the treble knob will always roll off anything you don't want.

A lot of people say to approach the MFD differently and start with the tone controls down and bring them up rather than start with them up and bring them down.

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I did the mod on a DIY P-bass and even tho' it wasn't radical by any stretch of the imagination I had the chance to try one and the other (recorded) and it was still noticeable. I ended up preferring the reverse option, IN THAT PARTICULAR BASS.

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2 hours ago, bloke_zero said:

One of the totally obvious things I've learnt recently is "you cannot add what isn't there, but you can roll off the treble". By which I mean if your bass has no zing no EQ on earth be able to will add it, but reaching down to the treble knob will always roll off anything you don't want.

A lot of people say to approach the MFD differently and start with the tone controls down and bring them up rather than start with them up and bring them down.

I endorse that and generally run the volume on about 80% as your max.

On the L1500 you had to mod the capacitors to make it useable, on pretty much every setting before this it’s like fingernails on a blackboard

Edited by Cuzzie
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On 20/02/2021 at 10:36, warwickhunt said:

pw03nV3p6f4_A-e0AvuKFb6JQIW4SeHXilpyr50mdrn_IdzZVK8YZCVYwm4y1ygdmq40avh_h5wYFVsY6JRhtrEavWRk8BSNyxVIWBT3OlKiZq-LllCVxvD_ProyU8mxzctF-W2Q8nZ5GBC2MO2UcX2723a43mgdwP-ENvff4N_IATrpWxZzfk-9vfRZ6o32G9McGKCSH1qJUrPd94m_Y4DUYlw9IKPYNvPuaOy1KN32QmEePdM_HQD5-ufUMkCDS-cr7UhWKFS6_YBzTGTNmIf4lTpug16o6hMJgBXVtaTIGUofEQAWBTqT4nL4Mlwpslx7K5nyLleDNHc7XLVOY4Ef2IigOpBYHAem1ZMT5Q52V2rxy26tag9714QOcSw3Nmz0VsC4-VzmubNJhDasPmR5AZTQ8eB-VUneEoZSNd0rpziFNqLrrpe5kueXWKoDr-tpl7U_VEm0vPQjzKMrD1-MXjiqxNcYhROEoHfJZzW24QaTNYkWbMXcLND-gkDINxHU0kPyK-JRscjctVKLAFb2KmDZZDpNkmzk7XwSENN2OSaaABZPio2d2OiFvvJMC8QCILnSgy7uVvBpIELYqTiYNbaNPk5KjCdVsTkKy38EcOlpsRRd2fvgZF7zc-yg8DcHpAynLXPXc0sxrC7dE44vyWe8za0N49JRRq1OeUwddMRifid8M4k-ZCjeuQ=w493-h657-no?authuser=0

lovely colour on that one!

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1 hour ago, Cuzzie said:

On the L1500 you had to mod the capacitors to make it useable, on pretty much every setting before this it’s like fingernails on a blackboard

Yeah - I had an L2000 and found it a bit intense for my tastes on most settings. I think part of my problem was listening at home with a pre-amp or DI rather than smashing it into a '72 Ampeg with no horn - schoolboy error! In the end I could dial in sounds I liked but I think my sloppy technique was highlighted by the unforgiving clarity at the top end.

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I wonder if Ellefson was talking about the tone when running both the P and J pickups on full? The spacing between two pickups affects which frequencies are scooped and which are reinforced when both are run together, hence the fuss over 60s vs 70s spacing on Jazz basses. So I guess reversing the P pickup might make a more pronounced difference in a PJ bass with everything on full than on a solo P pickup.

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4 hours ago, Beer of the Bass said:

I wonder if Ellefson was talking about the tone when running both the P and J pickups on full? The spacing between two pickups affects which frequencies are scooped and which are reinforced when both are run together, hence the fuss over 60s vs 70s spacing on Jazz basses. So I guess reversing the P pickup might make a more pronounced difference in a PJ bass with everything on full than on a solo P pickup.

You may be correct. Sandberg very deliberately reverse their P when in a bass with a J or MM pickup at the bridge, but they leave it in “traditional” configuration when on a single P pup bass. They’ve gone on record as saying the bridge pickup blends better with a reversed P than a traditionally oriented one.

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A lot of the Soap Bars are Reverse P inside... Like the Mk1 Barts used on Ibanez and a lot of others..

Edited by PaulThePlug

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4 hours ago, PaulThePlug said:

A lot of the Soap Bars are Reverse P inside... Like the Mk1 Barts used on Ibanez and a lot of others..

Truth. Dingwall soap bar pickups are also reverse P’s on the inside!

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Dingwall is fan fret. Makes sense in that respect.

Sorry for the smarmy comment earlier. 

Also, in respect to tone control roll-off. I have a Villex pickups housing with bridge/neck pu's, 4-position "contour" control. It sounds great w/ PODX & headphones, and near-field monitors. But put it thru powered loudspeakers and there's just too much top end. I'm gonna add outboard tone circut (roll-off) that plug into the housing - simple solution for my problem.

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I have had the pleasure of borrowing @krispn's (Gav's) Precision with flats, and comparing to my own. A very instructive evening last night and morning. Played through my amp setup (The Basschat FRFR 12" design) and headphones.  

Gav's is on the left, and is alder body, rosewood board, and strung with TI flats. His has a P pickup in the usual spot, but with the coils reversed. He also has a Precision neck, with more mass and larger nut width. Mine is on the right, and is alder body, Brazilian rosewood neck, and strung with D'Addario Chromes flats. It sports the usual pickup orientation and position. Jazz neck and Jazz nut width. 

 

IMG_2550a.thumb.jpg.c5c69a817bc133e7513eb7bf4c1aef94.jpg

 

Recognising that the two basses are not 100% alike, and trying to allow as best as I can for that, I do notice what I have done with other basses I have tried with a reversed P, which is that the reverse P makes the string balance a lot more even from top to bottom. It still sounds like a Precision - mostly - but it does get rid of the typical bark. By comparison, I find my bass to have a little more low end and a bit more thinness to the D and G strings, with the expected 'bark'. 

I very much doubt anyone apart from a bass player would notice, but since we're all very focused on the bass around here, I will say the reversed P does not sound quite like a typical Precision. It sounds great though! Just different.

The project bass I'm working on (see https://www.basschat.co.uk/topic/440973-dual-p-pickup-bass-modding-a-mexi-fender/) may yet end up with a reversed front P, I'm not sure. I have had for that brief that I maintain the typical Precision sound, but I am now wondering if the reversed front P is worthwhile.

Thanks to @krispn for letting me borrow his bass!

 

  

 

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1 hour ago, funkle said:

I have had the pleasure of borrowing @krispn's (Gav's) Precision with flats, and comparing to my own. A very instructive evening last night and morning. Played through my amp setup (The Basschat FRFR 12" design) and headphones.  

Gav's is on the left, and is alder body, rosewood board, and strung with TI flats. His has a P pickup in the usual spot, but with the coils reversed. He also has a Precision neck, with more mass and larger nut width. Mine is on the right, and is alder body, Brazilian rosewood neck, and strung with D'Addario Chromes flats. It sports the usual pickup orientation and position. Jazz neck and Jazz nut width. 

 

IMG_2550a.thumb.jpg.c5c69a817bc133e7513eb7bf4c1aef94.jpg

 

Recognising that the two basses are not 100% alike, and trying to allow as best as I can for that, I do notice what I have done with other basses I have tried with a reversed P, which is that the reverse P makes the string balance a lot more even from top to bottom. It still sounds like a Precision - mostly - but it does get rid of the typical bark. By comparison, I find my bass to have a little more low end and a bit more thinness to the D and G strings, with the expected 'bark'. 

I very much doubt anyone apart from a bass player would notice, but since we're all very focused on the bass around here, I will say the reversed P does not sound quite like a typical Precision. It sounds great though! Just different.

The project bass I'm working on (see https://www.basschat.co.uk/topic/440973-dual-p-pickup-bass-modding-a-mexi-fender/) may yet end up with a reversed front P, I'm not sure. I have had for that brief that I maintain the typical Precision sound, but I am now wondering if the reversed front P is worthwhile.

Thanks to @krispn for letting me borrow his bass!

 

  

 

No problem!

 I’ll probably put this back to a regular p eventually...  I like that pick up and don’t actually think I’ve had it installed ’the right way round’ yet so it’ll be good to hear it as Leo intended. 

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I really like that pickup @krispn, I can see no reason to change it for another as an experiment. I considered it with the number of them I have around, but there’s no need. 

By the way I found some relevant threads on Talkbass in relation to this discussion. 

https://www.talkbass.com/threads/p-vs-reverse-p-what’s-better.1341181/

https://www.talkbass.com/threads/poll-standard-p-or-reverse-p.748372/

https://www.talkbass.com/threads/reverse-p-pickups-in-p-j-basses.741507/

 

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