Fender MIM P-Bass Gets Upgraded Pickups

A famous Houston Jazz Cat sought out the services of The Unbrokenstring Crew after hearing about us by word of mouth. This instrument was at home on the stage and in the studio, but just needed a little something more. Could The Unbrokenstring Crew supply that ‘little something more’ and get it done before this Friday’s gig?

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This instrument was a dead-stock, straight-ahead jazz bass, just a little funk added in for fun.

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We will reuse the strings, so they are just pushed back through the bridge to get them out of the way. The original bridge pickup is already loose from the body.

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A peek under the cover shows the smooth, unscrambled, automated winding used on these factory pickups.

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To access the neck pickup and get to the wiring more easily, the pick guard is removed.

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Black and white wires go to the neck pickup. So far, so good.

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And, black and white wires go to the bridge pickup. We need to keep all these wires straight. Or gently curved, as the case may be.

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The burned insulation and cold solder joint on the tone pot tells me that the factory wiring was done in a hurry. The Unbrokenstring Crew is in a hurry, but not this much of a hurry.

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The original neck pickup ohms out at 5.14k ohms.

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The original bridge pickup is not that different, measuring 5.51k ohms. The original pickups were labelled and returned to the owner.

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Our Jazz Cat chose these pickups for his instrument.

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Rio Grande pickups are built here in Houston, Texas. FYI, for the last five years, customers of The Unbrokenstring have asked to have Rio Grande pickups installed in their instruments more than any other brand.

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The Unbrokenstring Crew is curious about how these new pickups measure up. On the screen of the Fluke meter is the resistance reading of the new neck pickup. A lot of wire is used to make this pickup!

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This is the resistance of the new bridge pickup.

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Wiring for the bridge pickup is snaked through the bore in the body, along with the cavity ground wire. The pick guard does not cover this part of the instrument, so cavity wiring needs to be tunneled through the body.

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The bridge pickup settles into its new home.

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Wiring the neck pickup is a little easier as the control route extends to the neck pickup cavity route. With the wiring done and everything temporarily in place, a quick sonic check is performed with my Massive Marshall Full Stack.

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The J-Bass is reassembled and ready for re-stringing.

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If you look closely, the brand name on the pickup covers can be seen. Pickup height is approximately same value as was used to install the original pickups, but our Jazz Cat already has his #1 Phillips screw driver ready and will set the ‘just right’ height by ear.

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Thanks for reading all the way to the bottom!

CONTACT – David Latchaw EE
281-636-8626

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