The Fender Precision Bass is an outstanding bass model that has shaped the sound of rock and pop music around the world. One of the key features of this bass is the unique P-Style pickup.
That’s why many basses today use this types of pickups and we’re going to take a look at the best P-bass pickups in the market!
As already mentioned, the Fender P-Bass is a very standardized and popular model that has changed popular, blues, jazz and rock music since its introduction in the 1950s. Different Precision Bass Models are made by Fender and its subsidiary Squier.
Because of that, P-basses come with many different configurations, colors, and they come both as four string and a five string models.
Most often, P-Bass pickups are passive, two-piece split-coil humbuckers, and there is usually only one P-Style pickup in a bass, but there are some active models which have a hotter, brighter tone. They are also popular with people playing bass with a pick.
Fender isn’t the only company utilizing a P-Style pickup. Many companies have utilized, copied or been inspired by the P-Bass and created their own variations.
Among others, those manufacturers include the hard rock oriented Schecter, heavy metal company ESP LTD and the entry-level instruments manufacturer Stagg.
Table of Contents
If you are in a hurry this are our TOP 3 Picks:
Best Original P-Bass Pickups
Best Precision Bass Pickups
BEST P-BASS PICKUPS BUYING GUIDE
The Seymour Dunan Quarter Pound P-Bass Pickup has a lot of low-end and high- end and a good mid-range, which offers a very modern tone. The pickups are very hot, almost soundling like active ones. These pickups can cover a lot of genres and cut through the mix in both studio and live settings.
These pups are also known as the SPB-3 models. Even without the volume knob on then, these pickups will get a lot of sound out of your bass so that volume swells and slight dynamic differences become easier to access without an overdrive pedal.
The SPB-3s are considered by many to be the best P-Bass pickups on the market. The mids are much louder than on many stock pickups, but compared to the boosted basses and highs, they do sound slightly scooped. That kind of configuration is perfect for rock, pop and metal.
Don’t get confused if your Quarter Pound for P-Bass and other Seymour Duncan pickups says “Basslines” on the pickup – it is just the old name for the same pickups made and designed by Seymour Duncan in the USA.
All your favorites were and will still be built in the exact same factory in Santa Barbara, California, the same way they’ve always been built, by the same hands.
If you are looking for a more vintage sound, these might not be perfect because of the slightly scooped mids. If you are a modern player, these are the way to go!
- Sound 95%
- Quality 98%
- Performance 96%
The DiMarzio DP122BK is an outstanding, mid-range oriented pickup meant to cut through the mix, especially in vintage blues, punk and rock’n’roll settings.
The Ceramic magnet pickups offer a slightly different tone than the typical Alnico-5s, corrosion and demagnetization resistance, which is why they are a great alternative to most other pickups.
These pickups are loud, offer an in-your-face type of tone, but aren’t as aggressive as more modern models. For old-school stuff, they are incredible.
If you don’t want any hum, these pickups can offer that, assuming they are installed properly with the right wiring.
The Seymour Duncan DP122s are amazing for the P/J combo. If you want a Jazz Bass pickup in the bridge position, then a DiMarzio P and J pickups combo is an incredible choice.
If you need to punch through the mix and don’t need an extremely mellow or extremely aggressive sound, but something very ballanced out, then we think that the DP122BK will make you more than happy. And they look amazing!
- Sound 92%
- Quality 94%
- Performance 95%
Twangy, low and traditional – these are the characteristics of the EMG Geezer Butler Signature P Bass Pickups. These pickups will make you think that you’ve traveled back through time. For vintage rockers, the EMG Geezer Butlers are a real treat.
Butler is best known as the bassist and primary lyricist of the heavy metal band Black Sabbath. He has also recorded with Heaven & Hell, GZR, and Ozzy Osbourne.
But even if you aren’t into doom and stoner-rock, these pickups have all the qualities a bassist needs – great low-end response even with dropped tunings and has a nice response for faster playing. They are great for 70s funk!
For beginners technicians these are an incredible set because they are so easy to install with the original EMG connectors technology of installing pickups. Upgrading a Squier was never easier.
If you want to try out a new set without much hassle and be sure that you are getting the signature P-Bass tone, you may want to consider these pickups!
- Sound 96%
- Quality 90%
- Performance 94%
Elite pickups for elite players – the Bartolini 8 S P-Bass Pups are an amazing addition for any precision bass guitar. These Epoxy-Sealed Ceramic Magnet Pickups are made in the USA and offer a lot of punch.
Growling tone and amazing response is what the Bartolini 8S pickup set offers. These passive pickups are very hot, modern and sound nearly as good as an expensive active set.
They are a little bit on the quieter side, though, which makes them perfect for jazz, blues and other laid-back environments.
They have a nice neutral, smooth and balanced sound with a lot of low end even in dropped tunings and if you prefer pickups that have covered poles, then you will appreciate the Bartolini models.
The only downside is the somewhat high price compared to other P-Style pickups.
- Sound 93%
- Quality 92%
- Performance 88%
If you want to pair up your P-Bass with original Fender pickups, then the Original Vintage design might be of interest to you. These pickups definitely emulate the distinctive sound of older rock bands. If you want the kind of sound you hear on the radio, you must try the Fender P-Bass Vintage Design series!
Amazing for blues, jazz, disco and funk, but pretty solid with other genres. That’s the Original Vintage Design pickups by Fender. They fall into the rather affordable category of Fender pickups and because of that they are a great way to improve your Squiers, although that’s where the bigger advantages end.
Basically, these pickups are similar to those you find on Fender guitars in general. They are a great replacement set if your original Fender pickups get wrecked, but if you want a new sound, you would have to get something else.
Have an old Squier Affinity bass?
Then give it some Original Fender pickups and hear the result fo yourself. Already have an expensive MAM Fender? Then you may want to look for something else.
- Sound 92%
- Quality 93%
- Performance 94%
THINGS TO CONSIDER:
When buying a new set of pickups, think first about what kind of sound you want. On one hand, getting a signature pickup off your favorite artist might be a good starting point towards your dream tone, but keep in mind that their unique sound is created not just by the pickup, but by the amp, guitar model, certain pedals and technique.
Passive pickups are slightly easier to use as they can work without a battery. Active pickups are especially popular in metal and rock, but depending on your amp and pedalboard you might not really need them.
There is an eternal debate on whether it pays out to upgrade a cheap instrument or just get an expensive one. The opinions are divided, but we think that an important aspect is whether an instrument is comfortable or not. A cheaply-built instrument will still feel cheap compared to a high-end instrument.
But if your instrument feels good in your hands, is comfortable and has good hardware, and the only thing you want to change is the tone, simply upgrading your pickups can be a very affordable and long-lasting solution. And for even better results, adding a preamp pedal can give you even more tonal possibilities, especially for traditionally passive basses such as a P-Bass.
A great way to improve versatility and the tone of your bass is to change the pickup. On a P-Bass, that is sadly the only thing you could do without investing too much work.
If you really want more than the one pickup in your bass, then going for a second set of P-style pickups in the bridge position might not be bad, but putting in a J- Style pickup might be the better choice. A stock bass with such a configuration is the Fender Aerodyne Bass.
If you have a Precision bass, then getting a new P-Pup and a Jazz Pickup could bring out a lot of new tones. Adding a P-Pickup in the neck position in a Jazz bass is also a great way to improve versatility.
Good luck finding the right pickup configuration for your rig! If you liked this article, you may want to take a look at our Jazz Bass Pickups Article for more ideas.