#1
Oh my lord! If you are thinking of putting on decent PUP's onto a cheap bass do it now. I've just received my Hot Trad Kent Armstrongs and 30 mins later they are fitted and I can't believe what it has done to my bass. Just night and day.

To cut a long story short I've a Cort Action Bass IV that was my starter bass, I've also a Gibson Thunderbird and a MIA Jazz which i use for gigs. I hate playing the T'bird though it sounds great and I always practice with the Cort because the neck is lovely, it plays the best of the three, and has the best finish and fittings.

I was still not getting the sound I liked, and have a lot of money tied up in a bass I avoid playing if I can. Would a new PUP make my cheap but well made bass come to life? There was only one way to find out so I ordered the KA pup, whilst I was dithering someone gave me a Wilkinson to try. That, in itself was a huge improvement on the standard pups, all the uneveness between strings went and also the uncertain sound I hated, suddenly the bass had a bit of character to add to the nice neck. Started to wonder if I had wasted the extra money on the Kents, not a bit of it, there's just a bit more of everything now, punch, definition, clarity. My cheap Cort now just sounds like a very good Precision. For £150 including the new PUP which was just £50! It sounds every bit as good as my MIA Jazz. Why didn't I know this before? I've spent more on strings than this pup cost in trying to find something to bring the sound this bass alive.

I'd recommend the KA's to anyone, but most of all I'd recommend looking to upgrade your pups if you've a playable but otherwise cheap bass.

Other pickups are available.

I'm off to the shed. Anyone want a T'bird, I've got a new rock bass.
Last edited by Phil Starr at May 16, 2013,
#2
I took the same route several years ago with my Accubass and replaced the pups with Seymour Duncans. I now have a bright punchy all maple Precision knock off that's great for punk and old school R & B.
#3
My old squier p-bass played so nice I had to upgrade it. Put a Gotoh bridge on it and a Seymour Duncan quarter pounder and it sounds awesome now. Going to add a jazz pickup in the bridge at some point this summer.
#4
Cort make brilliant bass's. Loved everyone ive played so far. Ill have to look into those Kent armstrong pickups.
Yamaha TRB1006
Fender MIA jazz bass
Hora Hybrid double bass
Hartke lh 500
Ev 606L
Epiphone les paul
#5
Nothing beats the DiMarzio Split P/Ultra Jazz combo for the modern clean tones that I like.
Damn it! Disable can't use disable to disable Disable's disable because disable's disable has already been disabled by Disable's disable!
#6
Quote by dark Mass
Nothing beats the DiMarzio Split P/Ultra Jazz combo for the modern clean tones that I like.


I have been looking at these recently for my jazz bass. Thoughts? im going for a very modern slightly scooped sound.
Yamaha TRB1006
Fender MIA jazz bass
Hora Hybrid double bass
Hartke lh 500
Ev 606L
Epiphone les paul
#7
Hi Sam, it's been a while. Hope everything is good with you.

Here's a link to the kent Armstrong pickups, http://www.wdmusic.co.uk/hot-vintage-jazz-pickup-front-318-p.asp

I looked at Wizards, Bartolini,SD, DiMarzios and Bareknuckle, I'm sure they are all good and I couldn't decide, they aren't really something you can try. My local guitar tech recommended the Kent Armstrong and I've never read anything bad about them, you have to take a leap into the dark in the end. They turned out great and for £50 you can't go wrong really. I'm vaguely wondering if they would be an upgrade over the Fender originals for my Jazz too.
#8
Quote by fatgoogle
I have been looking at these recently for my jazz bass. Thoughts? im going for a very modern slightly scooped sound.

These pickups have a Marcus Miller-esque tone to them though with more high end. Also they don't match up to the fretboard radius of the Fender/Squier necks. You'll end up with A and D strings that considerably weaker than the E/G strings.
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#9
does great pups turn ur dud guitar into a killer? i know the tone enhances, but somehow i feel that we justify it in our own minds a lot more coz we took that route & we gotto justify it..... but there's so much more to the tone of a guitar than just pups...... all those plywood shitwood crap coming out of china today is having a toll on budding young musicians' minds & skills & very few can see how its all degrading the overall quality & experience...... sure u r saving grands..... thats all there is to it...... but a great tone is never cheaply gotten.....
#10
In my case it wasn't a dud guitar, it is a pleasure to play but just sounded dull through an amp. Upgrading the PUPs means it now sounds fab through an amp. It's now great to play and sounds good. what's not to like?

I'm perfectly prepared to believe there are better basses out there but this isn't bad by a long way. The biggest limitation to a great tone is probably now my lack of skill rather than the bass. I'm sure my sub £200 bass would sound wonderful in the hands of a James Jamerson or Jaco. better than anything in my hands.

Not all of us can afford high end bespoke basses, and there is a lot of myth and magic spouted by manufacturers. All I can say is my experience which is that my new toy beats my Gibson and matches my MIA Jazz for tone and playing pleasure and I recommend anyone to try it, but start with something well made and playable of course.
#11
My precision bass is a Fender/Squier/SX monstrosity made godlike by a Seymour Duncan Vintage pickup with improved pots and wiring. It is the perfect bass.
#12
Hi Phil, im keeping well, you? One of the best sounds around Dublin is a friend who plays a squier VM jazz which is stock. Literally one of the best jazz bass sounds ive heard. I defiantly believe its the player and a hell of a lot of the fingers that really shape the sound.
Yamaha TRB1006
Fender MIA jazz bass
Hora Hybrid double bass
Hartke lh 500
Ev 606L
Epiphone les paul
#13
Hi Sam, I'm really enjoying life at the moment thanks. I'm playing in two bands, neither brilliant but neither am I, It's good to be gigging and I'm trying to play a lot of open mic/jamming sessions.

VM's are getting a good reputation, as are the Road Worns which I tried the other day. That's what decided me on the Trad Pup rather than a hotter one.

A mate of mine who plays professionally has a Vintage brand bass with decent PUPs in which he was playing in preference to his Rickenbacker. Nice tone on that too.
#14
I have a Schecter 4-string Devil that I picked up for peanuts when they were discontinuing them, and I have been planning ever since I got it to rip out that God-awful EMG-HZ Music Man-style pickup and put in a good one. The bass is truly a lot of fun to play, but that crappy pickup makes it a royal pain to try to find a good tone.

Of course, I have neither bought a replacement pickup nor bothered even to open the sucker up to scope out the wiring scheme. For some reason, I am just freakishly lazy about this one. I imagine a Duncan SMB-4d would do the trick. Hell; that might turn it into one of my go-to basses!
"Maybe this world is another planet's hell?" - Aldous Huxley
#15
If it any help it took longer for the soldering iron to heat up than it did to change the pups. It took about 30mins in total to put in the Wilkinsons and then 20 mins to swap for the KA's because I knew what I was doing. If you can solder it is no more difficult than changing a set of strings.
#16
Quote by Phil Starr
If it any help it took longer for the soldering iron to heat up than it did to change the pups. It took about 30mins in total to put in the Wilkinsons and then 20 mins to swap for the KA's because I knew what I was doing. If you can solder it is no more difficult than changing a set of strings.


I have the soldering iron kit and I've read the instruction manual. It has been a long time since I actually soldered anything, but I don't imagine anything has changed over the years. I just have to buy the pickup. Unfortunately, none of the shops around here carry much of a selection of bass pickups, so I will have to order it through the mail. But I hate that EMG-HZ pickup with a passion, so it must go.
"Maybe this world is another planet's hell?" - Aldous Huxley
#17
as long as its a midline moddable guitar/bass with standard wood i don't mind..... i lot of people mod their squiers, epis, etc.... i do not really believe that a seymour duncan or any other pup is gonna work like harry potter's wand.... its all in ur own individual perspective..... personally i feel that a GOOD amp at the end will make most so-so instruments sound good......

the more mind u put in ur instrument, the more 'subtle' u r gonna go.... in the beginning its all about shape, colour & strings...... then it comes to tone, wood, finish, electronics, etc..... but thats not the end of the line either....

happy rocking................
Last edited by bluewaters999 at May 22, 2013,
#18
^people also mod their sadowskys, roscoes, zons, shukers and any other bass. The right instrument and the best sounding instrument is going to be different for everyone. I think its more a case of quite often being "oh look, this bass costs ten grand, it's defiantly the best"
Yamaha TRB1006
Fender MIA jazz bass
Hora Hybrid double bass
Hartke lh 500
Ev 606L
Epiphone les paul
#19
Quote by fatgoogle
^people also mod their sadowskys, roscoes, zons, shukers and any other bass. The right instrument and the best sounding instrument is going to be different for everyone. I think its more a case of quite often being "oh look, this bass costs ten grand, it's defiantly the best"


how many people on this earth plays a $10,000 instrument, man?? they are noobs who think like that...... i don't think threadstarter falls into that category........
#20
It was an exaggeration to make a point. Fodera and Ritter are still in business though.

And i know Phil doesn't fall in to this category. He has a lot of extremely useful knowledge and designed a bass cab for me.
Yamaha TRB1006
Fender MIA jazz bass
Hora Hybrid double bass
Hartke lh 500
Ev 606L
Epiphone les paul