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How do you test pickups?


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I'm in the process of deciding on a set of J replacement pick ups. How do you test them out? You can't really go into a shop and have them stick pick ups in your bass all day...the shop wouldn't do it.


If they would, I doubt that they have demo models, as they would with amps and basses.


How do you make a decision if you have no opportunity to test the alternatives?


I'm moving towards the DiMarzio model J's as they got a great review in Bass Player..."the Marshall killer". Maybe I'm sick and twisted but I love the idea of stomping all over the guitar player with big J-bass boots.

Free your mind and your ass will follow.
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When Bass Player did a shootout, they took a bass and modified it to make it easier (relatively) to swap out the pickups. I can't imagine any way to test them. If you have a bass that's popular (Fender P or J for example), you may be able to find someone else that has made the switch and listen to theirs.


Sorry I don't know any other way...the electronics make a difference to how the PUP will sound, so it's hard to compare.




Acoustic Color


Be practical as well as generous in your ideals. Keep your eyes on the stars and keep your feet on the ground. - Theodore Roosevelt

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I don't really know. I think Tom's onto the right track, though, about trying to play the same bass or similar basses that have the p'ups you're considering. That said, it's really a bit of a crap-shoot.


I know that at least DiMarzio and Seymour Duncan give little graphs that give you a sense of how their different models of pickups compare in terms of lows, mids, and highs. That might be a place to start.


For example, DiMarzio charts the Ultra Jazz p'ups as having more high-end than the Model J p'ups. If you want more sizzle, you'd go with the Ultra Jazz, but if you want more mellow smoothness, you'd go with the Model J.


Good luck.



Fanboy? Why, yes! Nordstrand Pickups and Guitars.

Messiaen knew how to parlay the funk.

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As you have surmised, testing pickups isn't very practical for the average bass owner.


Fortunately, there's a lot of info out there to help you get it right the first time. That BP review is about as close as anyone will ever get to a comprehensive objective comparison. You could also consult a manufacturer and tell them what you're looking for, and they should be able to suggest their most appropriate model.


Also check out this location:




If you find you're not 100% blown away with your purchase, you can always use it for awhile, sell it (for a loss or maybe even a profit!) then move on to something else. That's what I've done with 90% of the bass gear I've ever owned.

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