Sometimes you are looking for a different sound on a vintage bass, and changing the pickup can truly affect the tone of any instrument. Installing a 1962P-Bass pickup is a matter of accessing the controls, dropping in a replacement pickup and resoldering the various wires. Although the 1962P-Bass sound is highly coveted, many people like the feel of that model, but want a more modern sound which can be achieved through pickup replacement.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- P Bass pickup
- Soldering gun
Remove the ashtray from above the existing pickup. The ashtray is a metal covering for the pickup and was seen on early P-Bass models. There are four screws to remove, but be careful to set them aside so that they do not get lost. Vintage Fender's must have all its original parts including its screws to retain its collector value.
Remove the strings from the bass. Unwind the strings using the tuners located on the headstock. Twist them clockwise to loosen them and pull the strings from the tuner posts and feed through the holes on the bridge. You can also leave them hanging in the bridge as well, but they may be in the way.
Remove the pickguard on the bass. There are 12 screws to remove. This will give you access to the pickup and the controls. You will need to access the controls in order to unsolder the old pickup and solder the wires for the new one. Separate and set the pickup screws aside. You do not want to accidentally use the wrong screws for the pickguard as you may damage the plastic.
Unsolder the wires going from the pickup to the controls. There will be one ground wire and one hot lead wire. Unsolder them from the back of the pots they are connected to and note which wire went where so that you wire your new pickup in the same manner. If the old pickup is original, keep it as it is very valuable and will need to be included to get the full value for this vintage 1962P-Bass.
Unscrew the two pickup halves from the pickguard and install the new pickup in its place. Many companies, including EMG, Dimarzio and Seymour Duncan make 1962P-Bass replacement pickups that have vintage or modern tones.
Solder the ground wires from the pickup to the volume pot. This will help reduce the overall noise from the pickup. This is essential as you will get a loud hum when not touching the bass if you do this incorrectly.
Solder the lead pickup wire to the open tab on the volume pot. This will send the signal from the pickup to the volume control, through the tone control and ultimately, to the output jack.
Screw the pickguard back into place, replace the strings and ashtray and plug your P-Bass into an amp to see if the pickup is worming properly.
Tips and warnings
- Plug the bass in before you reassemble and tap on the pickup to see if the tapping comes through the amp. This will let you know that the pickup is working.
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