PJ Pickup Combo

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Spiritus
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PJ Pickup Combo

Postby Spiritus » Mon Jul 02, 2018 5:30 pm

I'm relatively new to bass and am considering an AB4 or AB5, but don't know what pickups to go with. I've always like the sounds of Fender Precision and Jazz basses and note that a number of manufacturers offer models with "P" and "J" pickup combos.

The only bass guitars I've spent considerable time with thus far are the Ibanez GSR200 and GSR200B (same guitar; different body and fingerboard woods). Despite the GSR200[B] being a cheap bass (only $200 brand new), its passive P and J pickups are quite decent considering. When playing bass at our church where the sound of the house tends to be rather heavy, sound engineers and worship leaders alike prefer a fair amount of low end from the bass (except for say, times when only pads and bass are being played and it's conducive for the bassist to do some melodic stuff in the upper register). Thus, when playing either of the used GSR models, I've generally been setting the P pickup to full with some amount of the J dialed in, and with the tone dialed way back to achieve as full of low end as possible while retaining some definition--and keeping to a mininum any buzz resulting from unshielded electronics. Low end nature of the GSRs aside, I've found the PJ combo to be rather well-suited for what I do whenever called on to fill in for the regular bassist who has his own guitars.

I've also tried out an Ibanez SR500 (5-string bass) and found the tonal range via its PowerSpan Dual Coil pickups to be rather remarkable, to say nothing of its low, fast action and lightweight body, all of which make for an impressive instrument at an attractive price point (only $350 brand new). In fact, the only things I didn't like about that bass were its unsmoothed fret ends and rounded off cutaway horns. I nonetheless subsequently got to thinking that despite the substantial low end the pickups could deliver, the SR500 body seemed to lack girth for producing a true P-like 'thump'.

I thus began considering Kiesel, particularly since I knew what I would be getting build-wise (to say nothing of available options), having purchased four Carvin guitars in the past. From what few demos I've heard thus far, I like the sound of the JB. But I prefer the looks of the AB. First and foremost, I would want a bass that could deliver a classic P bass 'thump' while not limiting myself to low end stuff, being inclined to do more jazz than say, rock or blues. I guess you could say I'm looking for a jazz/rock/blues bass.

When it comes to strong amplification, I've never liked a bass that pounds the chest, but one that is felt like an undertow (if you know what I mean).

I've discussed this at length with a Kiesel rep who says that regardless which pickups I decide to go with to make sure I opt for active electronics.

Any thoughts, comments, suggestions?

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gumbynotpokey
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Re: PJ Pickup Combo

Postby gumbynotpokey » Mon Jul 02, 2018 7:04 pm

My input differs.

In your case, you want tone, not a particular instrument. Select your pickup(s), then the instrument - not the other way around.

IME their split pickup is a true tone monster, and it has gigantic headroom. I have it solo'd on a passive bass, and with the tone knob I get everything I want.

Their single coils for bass are stellar. I kid you not. I have two J99A's on an active/passive LB and I never play it active. It's that good.

Their track record of blend and of volume differences between their split, and their bridge single coils has been problematic, with less problems reported over the last couple of years.

Frankly, I would get the split at the neck and a bridge humbucker. OR a split pickup solo. OR two single coils.

Never thought I'd say this, but active/passive doesn't matter for me. We play in-ears and shape through the FOH.

:)
Wife: C350, Claro top SH550, Vintage 16
Oldest: DC400M greenburst, C980TMW
Youngest: C750, GK1, CT624M Deep Black Cherry on flame, V3MC Celestion,
SH550 white/white, black binding, gold hardware
Me: LB70P jet black, LB70PF Claro BEM HAN, MB 10

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Praiser
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Re: PJ Pickup Combo

Postby Praiser » Tue Jul 03, 2018 12:57 pm

Check my signature and you'll see I've got a range of Carvin and Kiesel basses. Lots of various pups and electronics.
On my X54 from last year, I went for the Split pup and standard Radius HB and it has the active pre.

As Gumby said, the passive tone is really good. Really good!
The active pre, though takes it to a whole nother level.
Virtually any adjustment you could want is in there.
Well worth the upgrade if you choose a model that doesn't have it as standard.
John

LB75AP, LB70P, X54F, BK50, BK50F, BK40, C780
PB100, PB200 (With BX500 head and 1x15 ext Cab)
XP1000L, LM153s, LS1801A
Rogue Fretless, Ibanez ABG, Dobro Bass
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amispy
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Re: PJ Pickup Combo

Postby amispy » Tue Jul 03, 2018 1:39 pm

Yes, go with a P/J combo. I have that combo in my PB5, A5, VK5. Kiesel's P pickup sounds unbelievable. I dial-in that pickup mostly. Sometimes I'll use the J when I want that Jaco-like sound. It's just that the P just sounds so amazing- thick tone but not muddy.

Make sure you get a bolt-on neck and swamp ash body. It'll sound closer to what you're looking for. The Aries bass is bolt-on, so you're good there. I have an Aries 5, Vanquish 5 and a PB5. The PB5 is my favorite. They're all nice, but the PB5 just has a certain richness to the tone. I think it might be because of the routing under the pickguard. Who knows. That's just my theory. :)

Here's my guys..
03 PB5- Full Front 01b.jpg

AB5.jpg

Kiesel Vanquish Run Color Stabilized Resin 2.jpg
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'86 DC200, '87 V220T, '90 LB75, '96 AE185, '05 C750T, '07 V220M, '14 V59K, '14 DC7X x2, '15 PB5, '17 A6H, '17 AB5, '17 V59K, '17 KV6X, '18 JH6, '18 A6H

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gumbynotpokey
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Re: PJ Pickup Combo

Postby gumbynotpokey » Tue Jul 03, 2018 4:45 pm

Praiser wrote:Check my signature and you'll see I've got a range of Carvin and Kiesel basses. Lots of various pups and electronics.
On my X54 from last year, I went for the Split pup and standard Radius HB and it has the active pre.

As Gumby said, the passive tone is really good. Really good!
The active pre, though takes it to a whole nother level.
Virtually any adjustment you could want is in there.
Well worth the upgrade if you choose a model that doesn't have it as standard.


Always good to see you in here, my friend.
Wife: C350, Claro top SH550, Vintage 16
Oldest: DC400M greenburst, C980TMW
Youngest: C750, GK1, CT624M Deep Black Cherry on flame, V3MC Celestion,
SH550 white/white, black binding, gold hardware
Me: LB70P jet black, LB70PF Claro BEM HAN, MB 10

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gumbynotpokey
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Re: PJ Pickup Combo

Postby gumbynotpokey » Tue Jul 03, 2018 4:47 pm

amispy wrote:Yes, go with a P/J combo. I have that combo in my PB5, A5, VK5. Kiesel's P pickup sounds unbelievable. I dial-in that pickup mostly. Sometimes I'll use the J when I want that Jaco-like sound. It's just that the P just sounds so amazing- thick tone but not muddy.

Make sure you get a bolt-on neck and swamp ash body. It'll sound closer to what you're looking for. The Aries bass is bolt-on, so you're good there. I have an Aries 5, Vanquish 5 and a PB5. The PB5 is my favorite. They're all nice, but the PB5 just has a certain richness to the tone. I think it might be because of the routing under the pickguard. Who knows. That's just my theory. :)

Here's my guys..
03 PB5- Full Front 01b.jpg
AB5.jpg
Kiesel Vanquish Run Color Stabilized Resin 2.jpg


OP: amispy is no newb to this, and frankly neither is John (Praiser). These two alone would flip me to a bucker in the bridge rather than split pu only. The logic for it would be if you have it you CAN pan, and if you don't then you can't. But the option would be there.
Wife: C350, Claro top SH550, Vintage 16
Oldest: DC400M greenburst, C980TMW
Youngest: C750, GK1, CT624M Deep Black Cherry on flame, V3MC Celestion,
SH550 white/white, black binding, gold hardware
Me: LB70P jet black, LB70PF Claro BEM HAN, MB 10

Spiritus
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Re: PJ Pickup Combo

Postby Spiritus » Tue Jul 03, 2018 6:34 pm

gumbynotpokey wrote: ... Frankly, I would get the split at the neck and a bridge humbucker. OR a split pickup solo. OR two single coils.

Based on all that I told the rep I would like to do with the guitar, he thought a split at the neck and radiused-top Alnico humbucker at the bridge would accommodate. You just verified his recommendation. Thanks.

Spiritus
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Re: PJ Pickup Combo

Postby Spiritus » Tue Jul 03, 2018 7:06 pm

amispy wrote:... Make sure you get a bolt-on neck and swamp ash body. ...

Why ash? I don't want too heavy of a guitar and from what I understand the weight of swamp ash can vary from relatively light to ridiculously heavy depending on the piece of wood. I suppose I could specify in the order that I want a light piece of ash.

What's your thought on chambering the body if going with ash?

If money wasn't an issue, I would likely opt for my original intent of a walnut body; probably chambered with a walnut top. I realize walnut is heavy, but from my limited experience makes for some really nice jazz tones. I'm thinking I would definitely go that route for a fretless 4-string, if as a second bass guitar.

Anyway, there's concensus on going with the split pup at the neck and humbucker at the bridge, the latter for more tonal variation over a single coil, all the more so if opting for active/passive electronics, which I've decided to do if simply to maximize protection against any potential hum/buzz through the PA. I don't know electronics; I simply know what sounds good.

Thanks much for the input. It means a lot to me that guys would take the time to give sound advice based on knowledge and experience.

Spiritus
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Re: PJ Pickup Combo

Postby Spiritus » Tue Jul 03, 2018 7:07 pm

...

Spiritus
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Re: PJ Pickup Combo

Postby Spiritus » Sat Jul 28, 2018 11:32 pm

...


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