DiMarzio Model P Bass Pickups with Pre-Wired Pickguard Install

To me, my first real bass was my MIJ Squire® P-Bass.  Sure I had two basses before her, but they were really just cheap knock off basses that were only good for learning how to play.  Once I got my Squire®, I knew I was a bass player. Over the years I have done everything to this bass; Sanded the laquer off the back of the neck for smoother playability, replaced the bridge with an original Badassâ„¢ bridge, changed the pickups and electronics multiple times, including putting in an active set of Alembic’sâ„¢ and routing space out of the body for the battery.  At some point I settled on a set of Seymour Duncan® Basslines and called it a day.  I bought this bass brand new in 1985, and after 26 years of abuse decided it was time to give her pickups and electronics a refresh.

I found what I was looking for in one complete package, the DiMarzio® Model P Bass Pickups with Pre-Wired Pickguard.  While this certainly is not the cheapest route to go, it is by far the easiest. Everything you need is included in one package, pickups, volume & tone pots, wiring, pickguard, knobs, and even a screwdriver to help you connect the wires to the included wiring terminal, no soldering necessary.  To be honest this was a big selling point for me, I’ve rewired this bass before and really didn’t feel like doing it again.  The fact that they were DiMarzio® pickups didn’t hurt either.  I hadn’t tried the DiMarzio’s® before but recognize them as a quality brand.  My MIA P-Bass has Fender Original ’62 pickups in it, this bass had the Basslines, so I was looking to try something new.

To get started I removed the strings and then the screws from the pickguard.  Once the pickguard was free, I carefully pulled it from the bass and clipped the wires to the ground and pickups to free it from the bass.  Next I unscrewed to pickups and pulled them out.  I then put the new DiMarzio® pickups in, feeding the wires through to the control cavity.  Finally I attached the pickup wires and ground to the wiring terminal and tightened down the screws in the terminal block.  Once this was done, I put the pickguard on, being careful to tuck in all the wiring, plugged it in and tapped the pickups with the screw driver to ensure they were working.  There is a small label affixed to the new pickguard with instructions on how to do all this, as well as this great video from the DiMarzio® website.  After putting all the screws back into the pickguard and restringing it, I was good to go.  As you can see, this is a very straight forward, easy process.

For the real test I plugged it into my GK MB200 head and cab and put it through the paces.  These are nice full sounding pickups, with that classic P-Bass tone. Clean, clear lows, with a nice mid bite, yet not too bright or trebly.  A decent range of tones can be found using the tone knob, something that was definitely lacking from my previous set up.  Running through the GK these pickups are hot, I found myself using the     -10dB pad I normally use for my active basses.  Personally I couldn’t be happier with the outcome of this little project.  The DiMarzio® Model P’s have revitalized my old Squire’s sound and the electronics are crisp, clean and quiet.  Installation was a breeze, taking no more than 30 minutes from start to finish.  If you are in the market for a new set of pickups for your P-Bass these might be the ones for you, and if you need to replace the electronics while your at it you certainly can’t go wrong with this package.

DiMarzio.com Pre-Wired Model P

Review: Nordstrand NM4 Mustang Bass Pickups

Nordstrand NM4 Mustang Bass Pickup

About a year ago I pickup up a Fender Mustang Bass and for the most part have been very happy with it.  It has a great vintage sound, but can be a bit limiting.  I recently saw that Nordstrand has made a replacement pickup for the Mustang so I decided to get a set and give it a try in hopes of making my Mustang a bit more versatile.  Installation is fairly easy, if you know how to use a soldering iron.  You do need to use the stock pickup covers and screws as Nordstrand does not provide these.  Before I installed the pickups I made a couple of recordings of the stock pickups with my new iPhone iRig that my wife got me for Christmas.  I recorded a “Clean” version with the iRig set to bypass mode and an “Amped” version with the iRig set to Bass Amp with all of the controls set flat, gain set at 4, and a 1×15 cab simulator mic’d with a simulated SM57.  It was super simple to record the tracks with the iRig’s built in recorder and then transfer them to my computer.  Once I had installed the Nordstrand pickups I recorded again, creating both “Clean” and “Amped” versions.  Here’s how they sound:

Mustang.Stock.Clean

Mustang.Nordstrand.Clean

Mustang.Stock.Amped

Mustang.Nordstrand.Amped

Unfortunately, from these recordings the pickups sound only slightly different.  Overall I feel the Nordstrand pickups have a fatter more articulate tone, while the stock pickups can sound a bit muddy at times.  When plugged the into my GK MB200/Avatar 210 rig it has a nice clean tone with plenty of punch, much more than I feel it did with the stock pickups.  The tone knob seems to have a wider range of usable setting now as well, which certainly adds to the versatility.  Some folks have said that the Mustang bass almost sounds like a P-Bass, which I agree with, and these Nordstrand pickups get you a little closer to that sound.

For more info on the Nordstrand MN 4 Pickups visit www.nordstrandpickups.com