Value for money P Bass pickups

crunchmancrunchman Frets: 3626
I'm planning to mod my Jazz bass to a PJ configuration so I'm in need of a precision pickup.  It's Fender Mexico so I don't want to spend a fortune.

One option is to keep an eye out for an equivalent  Fender pickup from a Mexican P Bass but they don't seem to come up very often.

If I spend a bit more then some of the Seymour Duncans look good.  I was probably thinking SPB1 or SPB2 for a more vintage type of output rather than SPB3. 

The other option is other brands like Kent Armstrong or Tone Rider.

The Tone Rider TRP1 looks like it would fit the bill, but I can't find many reviews of it.

Does anyone have any experience of these, or any other suggestions?
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  • guitarfishbayguitarfishbay Frets: 6907
    The Fender CS 60s pickup on the 2012 spec US Std is really nice.

    Sounds like a good P, not much else to say really. You might be able to find a used one for a decent price as some people compulsively remove stock pickups.

    I've got a black Dimarzio Model P I'd sell for £40 delivered but to be honest I don't think it'd work for you as it's considerably hotter than a standard P pickup with more of an aggressive mid to it. You'd need a hot Jazz pickup to get a suitable pairing (such as a model J).
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  • steamabacussteamabacus Frets: 913
    edited May 2017
    I was looking for a Duncan to put in my Squier for ages but couldn't find one at the right price secondhand (I only use the bass for occasional recording so didn't want to spend a lot). In the end I took a punt on a brand new Tonerider TRP1 and I've not been disappointed. Sounds great and looks 'authentic' in its construction. My mate has a Mexican Jazz Bass and the pickups in that (from what I can see) don't look as 'right' as the Tonerider (though I don't know if they share the 'plastic' construction of my original Squier pickups).

    The Tonerider Precision pickup was good enough to later convince me to get a Tele set for another guitar - and they were good too.

    [edit] By the way, my Squier Precision is the old 'P/J' model with a Jazz neck and extra pickup. The Tonerider is in there alongside a seconhand Duncan Quaterpounder Jazz pickup and it more than holds its own.
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  • crunchmancrunchman Frets: 3626

    I was looking for a Duncan to put in my Squier for ages but couldn't find one at the right price secondhand (I only use the bass for occasional recording so didn't want to spend a lot). In the end I took a punt on a brand new Tonerider TRP1 and I've not been disappointed. Sounds great and looks 'authentic' in its construction. My mate has a Mexican Jazz Bass and the pickups in that (from what I can see) don't look as 'right' as the Tonerider (though I don't know if they share the 'plastic' construction of my original Squier pickups).

    The Tonerider Precision pickup was good enough to later convince me to get a Tele set for another guitar - and they were good too.

    [edit] By the way, my Squier Precision is the old 'P/J' model with a Jazz neck and extra pickup. The Tonerider is in there alongside a seconhand Duncan Quaterpounder Jazz pickup and it more than holds its own.
    I've got a borrowed one of those Squiers about 5 feet away from me at the moment.  The fact that I prefer the sound (although not the feel) to my Fender is why I'm looking to mod mine.  I've got very short fingers so I definitely want the 1.5" Jazz neck rather than sell and get a P bass.

    I am leaning towards that Tonerider.

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  • steamabacussteamabacus Frets: 913
    I find the precision pickup in mine does 90% of the work - I generally start off with just the P pickup and maybe blend in a little of the J pickup to 'sweeten' the tone a little. Often just the P though.
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  • prowlaprowla Frets: 904
    Rather than cutting into your existing body, perhaps you could think of buying a PJ body, so no surgery is required.

    If I were buying P-bass pickups, I'd be looking at the Geezer ones, but they're not cheap; I've got Shadow (German) pickups on my partsblaster P-bass which I built on a budget; they were old stock in a local guitar shop and sound quite good.

    An alternative is to get a John East J-Retro active board; it's a straight swap for a standard J-bass control panel and just takes the sound to another level.

    If you are tricking up your bass, you could also look at a Hipshot D-tuner/Xtender; I've got two basses with them.
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  • FunkfingersFunkfingers Frets: 3148
    I have performed this modification on a Signature Custom J bass guitar. (A suspiciously close cousin of the Squier Vintage Modified series.)

    The mid pickup cavity was already fairly generous. I elected to enlarge it whilst removing as little additional wood as possible. This obliged me to purchase a blank J Bass scratchplate and cut out the pickup opening myself. Given the chance to begin again, I would have purchased a commercially available pickguard first and used that to determine the position of the pickup cavity. 
    "It's no wonder the Pacific Ocean is blue."
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  • crunchmancrunchman Frets: 3626
    I have performed this modification on a Signature Custom J bass guitar. (A suspiciously close cousin of the Squier Vintage Modified series.)

    The mid pickup cavity was already fairly generous. I elected to enlarge it whilst removing as little additional wood as possible. This obliged me to purchase a blank J Bass scratchplate and cut out the pickup opening myself. Given the chance to begin again, I would have purchased a commercially available pickguard first and used that to determine the position of the pickup cavity. 
    I've ordered a Reggie Hamilton scratchplate from WD.  It has the P pickup a bit closer to bridge than most of the other scratchplates available.  It's not quite in the same position as it would be on a P bass, but it's closer than the position of the J pickup.  It will mean taking a bit more wood out.
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  • FunkfingersFunkfingers Frets: 3148
    In this discussion, does value for money mean:
    1) decent pickups for not too much money?
    2) pickups that will repay your investment time and time again by sounding utterly professional under stage and studio conditions?

    The EMG-GZR pair is extremely good. The fully screened Solderless cables save you the trouble and expense of shielding. The modular controls format makes it easy to add active EQ - should you wish. (The pickups themselves are passive.)


    "It's no wonder the Pacific Ocean is blue."
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  • SporkySporky Frets: 13250
    Given that Oil City do a P pickup I would go for that. £77.50 inc post.
    Be your own evil twin. 
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  • thermionicthermionic Frets: 4717
    edited June 2017
    crunchman said:
    I'm planning to mod my Jazz bass to a PJ configuration so I'm in need of a precision pickup.  It's Fender Mexico so I don't want to spend a fortune.

    One option is to keep an eye out for an equivalent  Fender pickup from a Mexican P Bass but they don't seem to come up very often.


    I wouldn't bother. I bought a pair of MIM Standard Jazz Bass pickups a few years ago and they were distinctly lacklustre. And one broke - poorly made, with ceramic bar magnets. I replaced them with some AlNiCo Wilkinson pickups which were much better made (for about £20 iirc) and sounded a lot punchier. Depending on how much you want to spend, Tonerider upwards I'd say.
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  • crunchmancrunchman Frets: 3626
    Rightly or wrongly I've gone for the Tonerider
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  • FunkfingersFunkfingers Frets: 3148
    Decent pickups at a fair price. Certainly, an improvement on the stock ceramic bar magnet items.
    "It's no wonder the Pacific Ocean is blue."
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