Alnico PJ Set?

Seeing as how we are fortunate to count Paul Gagon as a member here, it seemed like a good time to give him a home to stretch out in and relax a little. Maybe exercise the grey matter and present a little history of the guitar and bass (amps too!) from his perspective as one of the eminent designers of our time.

Got questions? Great! Good questions might be, "What kind of windings are on the S500 pickup and why?" Or, "What was the thought process behind the MJ-4?" Troubleshooting questions should remain in the regular forums (he reads those too). Finally, please be mindful of how I feel about tech questions via PM or email.

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Alnico PJ Set?

Postby beedubyuh » Thu Mar 15, 2018 8:25 pm

Hi, I have a PJ bass (non-G&L) and was thinking of swapping out the pickups, specifically for an LB-100 split coil paired with a JB bridge single coil. Controls will probably stay VVT (tho I am intrigued by the SB-2's VV setup). I expect the typical hum issues are in play, as is the case with PJs. But other than that, any concerns? Would these G&Ls pair well? Any wiring advice? Thx!

P.S. I know the SB-2 pickups are killer, but don't want to reroute the bass to fit that MFD bridge pickup.
Parker: Fly FB4 | G&L: El Toro, SB-1 | Waterstone: TP-12 | Bergantino: IP112, HT210, HT115 | GK: MB212
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Re: Alnico PJ Set?

Postby Ken Baker » Thu Mar 15, 2018 9:03 pm

beedubyuh wrote:Hi, I have a PJ bass (non-G&L) and was thinking of swapping out the pickups, specifically for an LB-100 split coil paired with a JB bridge single coil. Controls will probably stay VVT (tho I am intrigued by the SB-2's VV setup). I expect the typical hum issues are in play, as is the case with PJs. But other than that, any concerns? Would these G&Ls pair well? Any wiring advice? Thx!


While I cannot assure you that the G&L pickups would physically drop right in, they probably will if your current pickups are the same as Fender units. Your current electronics (assuming Fender-standard values) should work as is.

The SB-2 VV setup is pretty specific to the SB-2, though you could certainly try it. A pair of 250KA pots will do the trick. In the SB-2, the split pickup does the heavy lifting and the SC bridge pickup adds flavor. Leo knew what he was doing with this one.

P.S. I know the SB-2 pickups are killer, but don't want to reroute the bass to fit that MFD bridge pickup.


The MFD split pickup might actually be close to a drop-in. The MFD single coil would definitely take some carving.

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Re: Alnico PJ Set?

Postby beedubyuh » Fri Mar 16, 2018 5:28 am

Hi Ken, yes it's a Fender Aerodyne bass, so no worries about pickup fit. I have played LB-100s and SB-1s (one of my mains, currently), I think the the MFD split coil (like in the SB-1) is going to be too powerful to pair with the JB bridge, hence my thought to go with the LB100 split coil, which is a more traditional choice, no?

The VV setup of the SB-2 always seemed so weird to me, but as I got more experienced I eventually "got it", that volumes don't have to always be dimed, that the bridge pickup is the tone control for that bass, no separate treble control needed.

For passive basses, it genuinely took me a long time (longer than I care to admit) to figure out that you often get a better tone adjustment by leaving the tone control alone (more or less dimed), and instead turning down the bass' volume (and turning up the amp's volume).

I'll probably just leave the wiring VVT on this bass, tho.
Parker: Fly FB4 | G&L: El Toro, SB-1 | Waterstone: TP-12 | Bergantino: IP112, HT210, HT115 | GK: MB212
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Re: Alnico PJ Set?

Postby Ken Baker » Fri Mar 16, 2018 3:49 pm

beedubyuh wrote:Hi Ken, yes it's a Fender Aerodyne bass, so no worries about pickup fit. I have played LB-100s and SB-1s (one of my mains, currently), I think the the MFD split coil (like in the SB-1) is going to be too powerful to pair with the JB bridge, hence my thought to go with the LB100 split coil, which is a more traditional choice, no?


Agreed. The MFD will render a regular J style pickup moot just with its sheer power.

For passive basses, it genuinely took me a long time (longer than I care to admit) to figure out that you often get a better tone adjustment by leaving the tone control alone (more or less dimed), and instead turning down the bass' volume (and turning up the amp's volume).


Yeah, that's a tough lesson for a lot of bassists. The whole idea of "Dime it!" is really ingrained in a lot of players. When they discover that a G&L (other basses too) is actually a controllable beast when dialed back a bit is like a big light bulb shining.

I'll probably just leave the wiring VVT on this bass, tho.


You might check the values of the pots. If 500KA, the bass might get a little bright. 250KA is usually a better choice.

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Re: Alnico PJ Set?

Postby beedubyuh » Sat Mar 17, 2018 9:07 am

Thanks for the input, Ken!
Parker: Fly FB4 | G&L: El Toro, SB-1 | Waterstone: TP-12 | Bergantino: IP112, HT210, HT115 | GK: MB212
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