P/J or J bass setup for Gecko 5


New member
Hey guys I am new to the forum so a big hello from New Orleans. A little bio first...I have a black korina tele (solid w/tung oil finish) that I just absolutly love. She does whatever whenever and never complains about a hard time on the road. It has an old tele neck (one piece maple), custom dimarzzio protrack neck and evoii bridge. Like I said anything from smooth jazz to heavy punk.

Now I find myself playing more and more bass and enjoying quite a bit. I have a Ibanez Sound Gear that is solid Mahgony with wenge/bubinga 5 piece neck and rosewood fretboard. It has the Bartolini mkii pu which are nice but could use a little in the top end and clarity fields. I just about purchased a Pedulla Rapture J2 for $1700 because it was such a dream to play, but realized I could build a Warmoth to much better specs and a better price, but I am a little under educated about bass pickups/electronics....

I need something that can play 'tourist' jazz all day and then be funk/blues/rock/punk at any given time all night. I initially thought about a P+J setup or a dual humbucker setup, but am now thinking maybe just a Jazz setup. The logic is that if I start with the jazz and decide to go to either P+J or hb than it is a simple re-route. If I start with the hb setup there are not many otions to go back. Is this a flawed logic. The body I am looking at is black korina and I would like a maple neck with ebony fret board (although I might stick to a maple fretboard as well).

Thanks a lot guys for your opinions. Oh, btw I play through a eden wt-550 and swr cabs if that matters.

Dale :eek:ccasion14:
Go with The maple/maple neck and stick to the BK body,

As Far as pickups go, I'd go with a Jazz setup myself.
If you're not opposed to EMG pickups, they make several in the same housing.  A P-style, J-style, and humbucking J-Style.  Warmoth does the route for it.  You can always change pickups without a re-rout.
James: yes I am from nola.....I am not familier with a BK body, can you clarify?

Super: That is a good idea. I don't have much experience with EMG other than I always play a tube amp with guitar so they are too hot for my needs in that regard. How do they stack up for bass? I am not sure that I have ever played a bass with EMGs but am intreged by this one shell fits all concept. Thanks
Oh yeah. the tele I have is solid black korina with a tung oil finish and I just love it. I was thinking the same for the bass but the body in the showcase with quilt maple top and bk back is one beautiful body so I might go with that to save myself finish time. thanks
Sweet, I'm from New Orleans as well! Go us!!!!

I like the EMG  bass pickups, hate  the guitar ones.

melodicly said:
Super: That is a good idea. I don't have much experience with EMG other than I always play a tube amp with guitar so they are too hot for my needs in that regard. How do they stack up for bass? I am not sure that I have ever played a bass with EMGs but am intreged by this one shell fits all concept. Thanks

I've played a few of the deluxe Fenders with actives and a friend's Carvin with active Barteloni's as well as few Musicman's and various other actives.  I have EMGs in my J-Bass and they are the only actives I've ever owned.  There is a draw back.  Most active systems are passive pickups with active preamps that can be turned on or off giving it a passive or active sound, but with EMG, the preamp is built into the pickup.  It can't do passive.  Here's the EMG #'s to check out on their site.  It's under their "Extended Series" for 4,5, and 6 string.

EMG 35-P4  is their P-Bass style
EMG 35-J  is their J-Bass style
EMG 35-DC  is their humbucking J-Bass style
Yeah nola rocks (and swings). I have had the misfortune of living several other places and never knew how spoiled I was. Everywhere else just thinks they have a music scene.

As to the EMGs....yeah their guitar stuff is not for me, may be great but not for me. I am intreged by their bass stuff however with the exception of the internal preamp. I just heard from a friend that said Bart has the same idea, but only in humbucker and pbass, no jbass. Or at least that is what their  :icon_scratch: website says (if you can call it that). Anyway what kind of stuff do you play with your EMGs? Thanks again
My EMG's are in a schecter five string bass and when I say it can cover just about everything I MEAN it!!!

between tweaking with the bass's settings and the amp setting, I can get just about ANY sound out there.
If it were me, from the little bit you are describing, I would go for the Nordstrand Big Split, with a John East U-Retro preamp.
They sound just like the big singles, but are hum canceling - described as "the ultimate pickup for the Jazz Bass® on steroids purist"
Combine that with the U-Retro and you have the most versatile bass on the market.
This preamp sounds great, and unlike the EMGs, has an active/passive switch so you can get either sound.
melodicly said:
Anyway what kind of stuff do you play with your EMGs? Thanks again

I'm not a fancy player at all.  I'm no slouch, but I'm more interested in being solid than flashy.  I like a moving bass line with good fills played mid-neck.  It's mainly pocket playing with the occasional slap.  I'm never too far from the roots.  The style is "Red Dirt" country and classic rock. 

Now my drummer is one of those guys that can play anything well.  He's an awesome drummer, a great bass player, and a good guitar player.  He's played around on my bass during a practice, anywho it has a great slap sound.
You've been given two really good suggestions. For versatility, the EMG 40's will give you the option of readily changing setups while you find your voice. For what you've described I would personally recommend a J at the neck and a DC at the bridge. If you add the preamp with sweepable mids then you can sound like anything (of course, you could do that with your WT550, which is a killer bass amp).

The other option is the Nordstrand big-splits. Those are great pickups and you'd probably be quite happy with them. Just be aware that you won't have as many options with that rout size; mostly soapbar duals and the Nordstrand original designs.

If you ever get a chance, try to test out that 550 with an Eden 212xlt. It'll blow your mind.
been awhile since I have been back here due to the purchase of the Pedulla. I just decided that I didn't have the time to build one due to up coming gigs, but now.....

I'm still going on the same lines with building a bass (probably sell the Ibanez) except looking at the unfinished korina slab in the showcase. I would put a tung oil finish and am still undecided about ebony or maple fretboard....

Anyway back to topic. Now that I have a J bass setup I am really thinking a P/J setup. Not to complicate things but my guitar has two coil tapped single coils and I use these taps often. Smooth jazz tone on the neck, then split it and use neck/bridge together=great meters type tone. Is this about the same idea as having a active/passive switch on bass?

Unfortunetly, I couldn't buy the Eden amp as he decided to keep it, but I do play Eden cabs now and I tell you I never knew what I was missing! So I am using a Peavey Firebass 700 (think sherman tank with little personality) and other than not fitting in my gig bag and weighing the same as a vintage tube ampeg, works pretty well.

Again back to topic :tard:, how about preamps? I like the idea of 18v for the headroom and clarity, but outside of that am grossly uninformed. Can somebody break it down for me?

Thanks a lot everybody for the help. I'll post some pics of my guitar to give reference as to if this is a good idea for bass or not....

melodicly said:
I have a black korina tele (solid w/tung oil finish) that I just absolutly love.

Sorry I must have lost the topic where you show her to us  :laughing7:  :icon_jokercolor:

No idea about 5 string Pbass, probably Nordstrand as it is high end and great reviews, but never worked with...
As far as preamp and 18v, there are two schools of thought.  I've known several great players with great tone that will never go back to passive.  There are also the guys that swear the best sound is all passive.  They both sound great, and they're both right.  Figure out which one you are.  I hope SkuttleFunk will chime in.  He has mucho experience building and playing, and can better explain the pros and cons of actives and passives.  Idealy, you would want the best of both worlds, a passive pickup with a switchable on/off preamp, which throws EMG right out.
Well here is my korina tele with protrack neck, evoII bridge :headbang: and of course the Axon Blue Chip midi  :glasses10:. It is finished with lemon oil neck and all (I thought it was tung oil until I remembered today that I didn't finish it!). I will probably do the bass with pure tung oil though.

Now back to bass pu, I like the looks of the nordsrtand (the price not so much) but have no experince with them. Any thoughts other than these are probably the what I'm looking for? I will definatly go active and would like to have the switch but having always played active don't really know if I'd use it. Of course if I did get the switch I would probably end up playing passive all the time :-\
Nordstrands are great sounding modern pickup designs. You know, it wouldn't hurt to start passive with the possibility of going active later. You may like the passive and decide that you don't need the onboard eq controls. If you do go Nordstrand and go active, you may want to consider that Nordstrand now has a preamp design out. One nice feature is that you can change the frequency at which the midrange acts by changing a cap, rather than having an extra sweep control. It's less control on the fly, but it's also fewer things in your signal path. That may not be your thing, though; I don't even like blend pots.
sorry for chiming in late on this, but I've been busy at my workbench most of the day today  :toothy10:

I would highly recommend one of a couple different Nordstrand configurations for your pickup selection, keeping in mind that Nordies can be ordered in either Bartolini or EMG sized covers:

a) P/J configuration utilizing a split-coil J in the bridge. this will give you that solid P tone when you need that workhorse sound that solidifies the bottom and yet doesn't step on any toes. the split-coil J will allow you to dial in the P/J sound when you need something a little more modern, even slappable, and running the J solo will give you a very modern sound that sits well in a Jazz mix.

if you're open to the look of a pair of soapbars, then you have several additional choices

b) a set of Fat Stacks, each with its own coil tap switch. this would give you a stacked humbucker in each position, but with the flip of a switch you'd have a true monster single-coil for that classic J-bass sound. and advantage with this set-up is that either pickup run solo can be humcancelling, providing you hum-free capabilities with when a single pickup is selected

c) same shape as 'b' but utilizing a pair of RWRP set of Big Singles for the most insane single-coil tone you're going to find anywhere. you'll get all of that classic single-coil tone, but it's going to be on steroids and HUGE

d) same shape as 'b' but utilizing a pair of Big Splits for a very modern sound that is somewhere in the middle between a P and a single-coil J. each of these are individually hum-cancelling, so running solo is no problem

for a pre-amp on a fretted bass, I find that a simple bass/treble configuration is significantly more musical than adding the complexity of a midrange control (I reserve a midrange control for fretless basses where you really need to precisely focus the mids). I like a pre-amp that is a neutral as possible when everything is set flat, and one that is as impossible as can be to tell if is in/out of the loop when set flat. the only pre-amp I've used to date that is this colorless is an Aguilar OBP-1 (the other Aggies are not on my list of recommended pre-amps, since they tend to overly color the sound much like any of the Bartolini offerings) I install all of my OBP-1's with a bypass toggle (either a toggle switch or a push/pull volume pot)

I am very intrigued by another pre-amp company - Audere - but I have yet to find the $$ to purchase one for myself and give it a spin. I like how they allow you to 'preload' the pickups and force them into various capatance scenarios. I like their specs, and I like their available options ... but I think that these options can get very confusing for a non-technical person to sort thru and properly determine what options they really want.

Feel welcome to tos me a note if you have anything specific you'd like to know about any of the Nordstrand pickups. They also make a killer MM styled pickup should you want to go this route. When my new website returns on-line in 2009, I plan to have a limited selection of Nordstrand pickups available for direct purchase. As such, I hope you can see that I have a bias towards these pickups - but know that I was a user long before I began my OEM relationship with Nordstrand

all the best,