Ever since I got the SPB-4 Steve Harris Signature Pickup in my Lakland 44/64 bass, I’ve been pretty happy. Out of all the Seymour Duncan Precision Bass pickups, this one is easily my favorite and sounded the best out of all the other SD pups that were in my bass. But, restless spirits being what they are, I wondered if I could change the sound again which, after looking at the pickups again, wandered over to the Seymour Duncan Custom Shop to see what they could whip up.
If you look through the blog site, you’ll find a large collection of happy CS customers, which made going that route a breeze. But really, what did I want? I mean, the SPB-4 Pickup is really quite versatile. This time though, I thought to go for something a little more rooted in one style. After mulling it over, my request was solidified.
We would take the magnets from the SPB-3 Quarter Pound Pickups but have the winding specs from the SPB-1 Vintage for P-Bass Pickup. The idea was to have that same vintage sound, but more of it.
The pickups came and I fired up the ol’ soldering iron and got to work (I should be in a musical pit crew; I think I can swap pickups out in record time now). From first sight, you’d swear they were standard SPB-3 pickups, but when you pull the covers off, you can see the vintage winding, complete with cloth wire. Once everything was back into place and strung back up, I grabbed my amp and plugged her in.
To say that the new tone of the P-Bass reminds me of a famous (or, infamous?) Spinal Tap song is probably on point. The tone is more robust and wider than the standard vintage pickup, with a little more growl to it. With the tone knob rolled all the way off, it skirts the edge of being rather boomy, but still retains just enough to keep it on this side. With the knob all the way open, the tone is aggressive and biting while still keeping a roundness and darkness to the tone.
All in all, my first foray into getting a Custom Shop pickup was a success. I wanted something a little more focused, and yet “more” than what was available and I got it. Currently I have a set of GHS Round Core Bass Boomers on the bass, and the combination is amazing. I may actually throw some flats on this bass and hear how wide that tone can get…