Bass guitars seem pretty simple and not very demanding instruments, in every aspect to be honest. However, these instruments are pretty fragile and require tons of attention in my opinion. On top of that, it seems like there are just three or four models of bass guitars out there, but a trained eye will know that there is more than it meets the eye.
For example, bass guitars, like regular electric guitars are packed with electronics, require quality amps, may be accommodated with effects pedals to get different sounds, have a wide variety of models and require great care. Like I said there are millions of bass guitars out there, but there are two major categories, P or precision bass guitars and J or jazz bass guitars out there, and each of them has different electronics which is also the biggest difference between them.
Today we are going to talk about the electronics of precision bass guitars, some of the best replacement models, and what you should look out for before committing to a new p bass pickup. Whether you are looking to spice things up with new pickups or you need to replace it since it is broken there are a lot of options out there for you coming in from different manufacturers.
There are options out there nearly as much as for electric guitar pickups, all coming in from the best manufacturers rocking great quality, amazing performance and value for the price. On top of that, there are all kinds of pickups that will fit each budget range. I have written this guide and chose the best p bass pickups based on my personal experience with bass playing, expert consultation, market research, and buyer feedback. Now without further ado, let’s get into it.
Which Are The Best P Bass Pickups?
5. Lotmusic P Bass Pickup
We are going to start off this list with a super simple and inexpensive pickup coming in, the Lotmusic P Bass Pickup. These pickups are definitely super affordable you can’t go wrong with having one staying in your gigbag for just in case situations.
But don’t worry they aren’t that bad actually since they work perfectly, something that I didn’t expect since they are extremely cheap. However, you should know that you won’t get a high-end performance, but then again if you are searching for a cheap replacement for your old P Bass that is laying around, this is your best bet.
The installation process of these is a bit confusing at times, as holes don’t lineup, but for the price that they come at, they deliver a great performance, more than you would expect. Cheap, reliable and useful.
4. DiMarzio DP122
Moving on we have an excellent pickup coming in from a brand that delivers the best replacement pickups in the market, DiMarzio and its DP122. This pickup delivers plenty of power and performance at an affordable price that brings a lot of value.
These pickups besides their amazing sounds look pretty good and cool, regardless of which guitar are they fitted on. They are packed with super powerful ceramic magnets that are specially made. This hum-canceling bridge pickup by DiMarzio can get pretty comfortable with a lot of genres, but it excels in heavier ones such as metal and hard rock.
If you are seeking a pickup that will support high-gain and a larger than life bass sound that will impress everyone with its clarity and amazing mids, this is it.
3. EMG Geezer Butler Signature P
While there are a lot of options in the market that deliver a more vintage Fender focused tone of the 60s, we have a beast here with the EMG Geezer Butler Signature P Bass pickup. This pickup is still vintage, namely inspired by the tones of the Black Sabbath bassist Geezer Butler.
This is a passive pickup that is focused on delivering the signature tone of the bassist and the Black Sabbath sound. These pickups are packed with Alnico V magnets on each pole and two custom-wound split coils. Those are responsible for the warm but punchy tone that Black Sabbath was known for.
The output of these pickups is slightly hot and a bit more low-end focused with great definition and tightness, making it perfect for a wide variety of rock styles. There are tons of enhancements to the tone such as the hum-canceling features and so much more.
2. Fender Custom Shop ’62
In the runner up we have a pickup for those that want the classic and traditional sound that has started the P Bass sound, the Fender Custom Shop ’62 precision bass pickups. The quality and value for the price of these pickups are definitely the most impressive I have ever seen, wouldn’t miss these.
This pickup is made out of a flush-mounted Alnico V magnets and magnet wires that are coated with enamel. Due to all this these pickups are capable of recreating the classic tones of the most beloved bass guitar of all time, the 1962 Fender P Bass pickups.
The tones are extremely balanced overall, just like expected, then again the low end is punchy, strong but tight, the mids are powerful and the highs are exceptionally sharp and clear. It is one of the most impressive pickups in the market, on top of being also the most versatile in the market.
1. Seymour Duncan Quarter Pound
On top of the list, we have the definitely best and the highly-rated replacement precision bass pickup in the market, the Seymour Duncan Quarter Pound. This one compared to other models from the company’s lineup is definitely different, as the company has gone with a redesign delivering a modern and exceptional pickup.
This pickup has definitely delivered the highest output and the biggest frequency range as it is designed to deliver performance. It has a construction that has two magnet poles that are quarter of an inch wide, made out of Alnico 5 magnets that are a bit larger than the original Fender ones, so you will need a bit of professional help when replacing.
Then again the larger magnetic field helps deliver a thicker sound with plenty of punch and super clear high-end presence, with meaty mids. The overall sound of these pickups is amazing as it has great sustain in the low end and it is balanced for delivering exceptional performance.
A Short History About P Bass
Like I said the P bass is perhaps the most iconic bass guitar in the market, right up there with the J bass guitar. Both of these instruments were produced and manufactured by Fender. The Fender Precision Bass guitar is one of the most popular and most user-friendly guitars in the market, rocking the Stratocaster body shape this instrument has done wonders. Well, to be honest, the J bass also has a similar body to the Strat, but what makes them different from each other is the pickups that both of these instruments are packed with.
Now the Precision Bass guitar is packed with a single-coil pickup at least originally, as now it is replaced with a split-coil design which is extremely useful and it delivers those tasty bass lines. You will recognize this iconic pickup since it has a staggered shape with two polepieces that connect to make a humbucking pickup basically. The other thing that differentiates the precision bass guitars different than the others is their neck shape which is designed for precision as there is more space in the fretboard.
Things You Should Know About P Bass Pickups
What Makes a Good Precision Bass Pickup?
Like I mentioned above the Precision bass is significantly different from the Jazz bass, especially in the pickup section and it is also pretty different and unique compared to other pickups in the market. To be exact, precision bass has a single-coil pickup that is also a humbucker, which is a little confusing I know but hangs on here. These pickups are comprised of two single-coil pickups that are split to serve two strings each. These two single-coil pickups are wired in series, which is one coil reverse-wound to cancel the hum of the 60-cycles. This is all-electric wizardry that most of us don’t understand, but what you need to know is that a precision bass pickup is a modified humbucking one.
These pickups are positioned in the bridge/middle position in the precision bass guitars, which compared to jazz bass guitars is a bit higher than the bridge but a little lower than the neck, if that makes sense. As a result of all that science precision bass pickups will deliver you a tight and full tone, that has a punchy low-end, strong mids and bright highs, this helps keep the clarity even when you pump up the volume and the gain. These pickups definitely manage to keep the hum at bay and the background noise is eliminated completely.
What is the Difference in Sound with J Bass Pickups?
Before starting I have to say that different pickup models form different brands and manufacturers have different sounds, but for the sake of answering here, I will speak generally. I have to say that precision basses are considered as wild cards and jack of all trades, as they are extremely versatile and can be used with a wide variety of genres. When you compare them to Jazz Bass guitars, precision bass guitars offer a fuller and richer low to mid-tones that is a bit tighter than Jazz Bass pickups that are placed in the neck and a bit lower than those that are placed at the bridge.
These pickups are essentially humbucking pickups and due to that, they are a bit quieter and better when it comes to keeping the background noise at bay as I mentioned earlier. This makes it better for high gain and high volume songs and musical styles. But then again each manufacturer and brand has its own style and even different models from the same brand have different tonal ranges which makes them distinct and better sounding in their own right. You can check plenty of videos on YouTube for the pickup of your choice to get an idea of how they sound like so you can make a better choice and decide whether or not it will suit your style or the direction you are going to.
Why Should I Change My Pickups?
Coming into the reason as to why swap your pickups is a pretty interesting one, to be honest. There might be millions of reasons as to why and much more as to why you should not swap your bass guitar pickups. Most guitarists don’t ever swap their pickups unless they are not functioning properly. But in most of the cases, including me, have swapped the pickups of their old and budget range guitars that have good tonewoods to increase the performance of them.
Some might be in search of some more punch and heat, or better quality like I said these pickups come at different prices so there is an upgrade for everyone. An upgrade to the pickups will definitely take an old and unimpressive bass guitar to deliver better tones and more versatility to your old partner. It will most likely add a new edge more output, and depending on your choice you can even change the overall tone, focusing on more modern heavier styles or vintage styles. Before moving on I should mention that fitting a new pickup is a complicated task so if this is your first time, get help from a person that has done it frequently or let a professional do it for you to avoid any problem.
Other Pickups To Look At
- Jazz Bass Pickups
- Passive Metal Pickups
- Single Coil Pickups
- Acoustic Guitar Pickups
- Humbucker Pickups
- Telecaster Pickups
I hope that this guide will help you choose your new replacement P Bass pickups and I think that after reading this article you will be ready to pull the trigger on your new pickup. While the choice you will make will definitely depend on your style, preference, budget, and the sound you want to achieve, it is a good idea to check the top picks that I have provided to get one of the best ones in the market.
Also, don’t forget to check how the pickup sounds before buying, but also beware that the pickup might sound different after all due to the difference in tonewoods and playings styles. Until next time have fun.