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Thread: A Noob Question about PJ Bass Pickups

  1. #1
    Member Hobastard's Avatar
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    A Noob Question about PJ Bass Pickups

    Hi Guys,
    Recently I acquired a Squier P Bass to "keep my hand in" (although it is more like starting all over again) and find myself wanting to fit a Bridge Pickup. Has anyone here had any experience with this? I have been reading that the J Bridge Pickups have a much lower output and it is difficult to get them to match the output of the PB Pickup.
    My first plan was to try the Entwhistle Neo Bridge Pickup with the Ceramic Neck one.... All the Factory Matched sets such as EMG and Seymour Duncan are cost prohibitive...... Any Thoughts??? or better still, has anyone tried it????
    Last edited by Hobastard; 08-01-2017 at 04:16 AM.

  2. #2
    Mentor dave.king1's Avatar
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    You could have a look at GFS pickups, they are significantly cheaper than EMG or SD alternatives and my have something to suit your needs and taste.

    I used GFS pups in my PB-H4 kit, no idea how they compare to the kit pups because they went in at the build stage but they do sound rather nice
    Regards
    Dave King

  3. #3
    Mentor Simon Barden's Avatar
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    The Entwhistle Neo should provide a much hotter output than a ceramic pickup, maybe by up to 6dB (double the output). The bridge position is generally quieter anyway because the strings physically vibrate with a smaller amplitude at that position, so the bridge pickup has to be made hotter (stronger magnets or more turns of wire - or both). Neodymium magnets are stronger than ceramics. The Entwhistle Neo has the same DC resistance as the ceramic version (strangely enough I only looked at the details earlier today), so is the same basic pickup/same number of turns of wire, just with a stronger magnet.

    I'm not saying that it will match the precision pickup in output, but it will certainly have a stronger output than most other offerings. The basic Squier pickups aren't the same as the better fender ones, and normally have a ceramic magnet on the bottom of steel slugs, rather than Alnico magnet pole pieces. Ceramic magnets are generally stronger than Alnico ones, which can make the output mismatch problem worse.

    One thing to consider is that P bass pickups are hum cancelling and standard JB pickups aren't. So it might be worth looking for a used hum-cancelling J bass pickup if you can find one you can afford.
    Build #1 ES-3 under construction http://www.buildyourownguitar.com.au...ead.php?t=6489
    Build #2 EX-1 (with alder body) Yet to start. http://www.buildyourownguitar.com.au...093#post123093

  4. #4
    Mentor dave.king1's Avatar
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    Totally agree with Simon's comments, it's a pity the sound on YT wasn't more true when searching sound demos and also all too often the demos have a fair number of stomp boxes in the chain to add to the confusion.

    The very few ceramic pups I have used sounded bright and brittle ( Harry Chapin song quote ) compared to alnicos, that was a while back so maybe things have changed but I have never been inspired to look again.

    It's all a matter of taste and what "your" sound is.
    Regards
    Dave King

  5. #5
    Mentor Simon Barden's Avatar
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    Not quite sure it's simply the ceramic magnets that make things sound bright and brittle. The original pickups on my Les Paul were the Gibson ceramics, which are certainly hot, but were very middley and lacked clarity. Certainly not bright and brittle. Maybe they cut down on the number of wire turns in your pickup, Dave, as the pickup magnets were stronger? Only guessing here. But unless I was looking for a powerful output, I'd generally avoid ceramics if possible, as they generally don't sound as nice to my ears as ones with Alnico magnets.
    Build #1 ES-3 under construction http://www.buildyourownguitar.com.au...ead.php?t=6489
    Build #2 EX-1 (with alder body) Yet to start. http://www.buildyourownguitar.com.au...093#post123093

  6. #6
    Mentor dave.king1's Avatar
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    I guess it's in the making but it just wasn't what I was looking for.

    I'm a traditional single coil guy at heart but rather bizarrely as I look at my herd I have 2 x HB basses, 3 x HB guitars and 1 x SC guitar but all with alnico magnets.

    The Thinline with the 52 Blackguard pups is my go to though love the feel the dynamics and the sound of them, the rest are for specific sounds which of course is why we can never have enough

    Not sure what this says about my previous comments.
    Regards
    Dave King

  7. #7
    Member Hobastard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Simon Barden View Post
    One thing to consider is that P bass pickups are hum cancelling and standard JB pickups aren't. So it might be worth looking for a used hum-cancelling J bass pickup if you can find one you can afford.
    I have taken this into consideration and it is my hope to insert a phase reverse switch into the PB Pickup so, when used in conjunction with the Bridge Pickup it can be switched to parallel, and will be out of phase. That being said, when using Jazz Basses, I usually had the Neck Pickup backed off a touch which introduced an element of noise. I just had to make sure my system was working well..... (and quietly)

    Alternately...

    Anyone selling Noise Cancelling J Bass Bridge Pickups????

  8. #8
    Overlord of Music wazkelly's Avatar
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    Hi Buddy, plenty of PJ combinations around, just have a look at Ibanez & Yamaha and they work fine. Plenty on this PBG site too.

    I owned a couple of Ibanez P Bass copies that came with a J PUP installed from the factory. Rather than having J controls it had a Gibson style 3 way PUP selector switch and kept the master volume & master tone controls. There was no sound level difference when switching between each PUP and if the split P's were louder you would simply screw them lower into the body to balance things out.

    On my J Bass build I used the Entwistle JBXN Neodium PUP's and they sound fine even though they are supposed to have ceramic magnets and cannot pick the difference between them and Alnicos. Mainly chose these for more output as J's can be a bit whimpish.

    For the controls I tend to prefer a switch to the 2 volume & 1 tone as when you roll off one of the volumes there is stuff all left coming from that PUP hence one of the reasons why I made that mod on my EX-5 which came with standard J wiring.

    Wiring diagrams can be found on the home page of the PBG site and here is a link to the YB4 diagram that is closest match to what you are contemplating if doing 2 vol & 1 tone http://www.pitbullguitars.com/wp-con...f/PBG-YB-4.pdf

    To stick with 1 vol & 1 tone I reckon you would just add the J PUP to the existing volume pot.

    Weirdbits (aka Scott) may see this thread at some stage and offer his thoughts as he is dead set the brains when it comes to all things wiring related.
    # 1 - EX-5 https://goo.gl/fQJMqh
    # 2 - EX-1 https://goo.gl/KSY9W9
    # 3 - Non PBG Tele - unfinished https://goo.gl/W14G5g
    # 4 - Non PBG J Bass https://goo.gl/FbBaFy
    # 5 - TL-1AR - under construction https://goo.gl/sUh14s
    # 6 - MMB-4 coming soon https://goo.gl/gvrPkp

  9. #9
    Member Hobastard's Avatar
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    I never back off the Tone, preferring maximum brightness at all times, so I intend to use the Tone Pot hole for the BP Volume Pot and have no tone Pot at all.
    The Ibanez Fretless I own is a PJ style using Ibanez's Own PUs so Unsure of their equivalents.... and they are not the Standard sizes so I can't swap them out to try the sound.

    I am certain I can do this, I just want to make sure I buy the right Pickups First time as I am very limited in the budget Dept.
    Leaning very much towards getting an Entwhistle Neodymium Bridge Pickup along with Stock Squier PB Pickup as a starting point.

    Ideally I would be using Seymour Duncans but one of those is worth almost twice what the Bass cost to start with......

  10. #10
    Overlord of Music wazkelly's Avatar
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    Sounds like a good idea going for the Entwistle as SD's are way over priced and Tonerider would be better value if you really feel the need to spend more money. Never heard Tonerider J Bass PUP's so cannot comment on how they compare to the Entwistles which are better than the stock Chinese units they replaced.

    With your Ibanez you could copy their wiring perhaps? Ditching the tone pot is a good idea, particularly if you never use it.
    # 1 - EX-5 https://goo.gl/fQJMqh
    # 2 - EX-1 https://goo.gl/KSY9W9
    # 3 - Non PBG Tele - unfinished https://goo.gl/W14G5g
    # 4 - Non PBG J Bass https://goo.gl/FbBaFy
    # 5 - TL-1AR - under construction https://goo.gl/sUh14s
    # 6 - MMB-4 coming soon https://goo.gl/gvrPkp

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