If you’re looking for the best bass guitar pickups, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve gathered a list of the best pickups on the market, so you can choose the one that’s right for you. Whether you’re looking for a high-end pickup for your expensive bass or a budget-friendly option for your beginner bass, we’ve covered you.
A Variety Of Bass Pickups
Single-coil or humbucker pickups are the most common.
Humbuckers combine two single-coil pickups to reduce hum and noise while producing a fuller sound. Single coil pickups are less expensive, brighter, and thinner. Noise interference and feedback are likewise more familiar with single coils.
Category of Pickup
Pickups are classified into three groups based on how they convert energy from a vibrating string to an electric signal.
Magnetic and Piezoelectric pickups are the two most common types, with the Optical category being a modern rarity.
Pickups with magnets
are the most popular, especially for electric basses. They catch the strings’ vibrations with magnetic poles aligned beneath them and turn them into a little electronic signal. The lows and mids are well defined, and the upper end is often brilliant. Magnetic pickups are available in both single-coil and humbucker configurations.
This intriguing gadget is more usually found on upright and acoustic basses. Piezoelectric bass pickups function by picking up vibrational energy that has been transferred from a resonant part of the instrument.
They are sometimes used as an auxiliary pickup on electric basses to enhance the sound of magnetic pickups. Piezo pickups produce a brighter, twangier sound than traditional pickups.
Piezo pickups are also placed differently than magnetic pickups. Due to the way piezo conduct energy, they are frequently positioned under the bridge or nut of the guitar.
This is a contemporary pickup design that captures the energy of the bass using infrared light. Optical pickups provide a wide, even response with distinct frequencies. These pickups are extremely clean and have crystal clear tones. Unfortunately, an optical pickup will be costly and difficult to come by.
Styles of Pickup
There are numerous distinct sorts of pickups within these categories. The shape and size of the pickup, the number of poles or pickups utilized, and the sound they produce are all influenced by the pickup styling.
Some of the most common styles are described below. You can find these designs in various manufacturers’ collections; they are not exclusive to a single brand. Is it a car, a van, or a motorcycle?
It’s almost comparable to vehicle designs. A vehicle manufacturer will frequently produce all of these machines, which is true for bass pickups. All of these standard pickup designs are available from most high-quality pickup manufacturers.
Magnetic pickups, often known as Jazz Pickups, are magnetic pickups. The sound of jazz pickups is brighter and more forceful. Because of their clear mid-range attack, these are ideal for jazz, rock, and metal. These pickups are from the early fender jazz bass models that popularized their design.
J pickups are commonly seen in a two-pickup arrangement, with a neck and bridge pickup. The neck pickup is often slightly wider to create a crisper, punchier tone. To develop diverse tones, these two pickups can generally be mixed. The J Pickups are known for their long, thin design.
Another magnetic type of bass pickup is Precision pickups. Precision bass pickups differ from jazz bass pickups in that they are shorter and use one pole per two strings.
This results in a lower, sub-heavy tone with a more low-end punch. The pickups are frequently staggered between the neck and bridge positions, with two pickups quite close together. P Typically, pickups are packaged as a single circuit with a single volume and tone control knob.
P pickups are also frequently available in humbucker configurations.
P pickups are recognized for their tight, meaty tone, which suits funk, rock, hip hop, and dub music well. Despite the fact that they are adequate for most genres.
Best Pickups For Bass Guitar
Nordstrand Big Single J Pickup Set
The Nordstrand Big Single is our top pick for the best J Bass Pickup. For 4-string bass guitars, the kit comprises the neck and bridge single-coil pickups.
This collection is about a massive tone: it’s rich, loud, and as aggressive as a J pickup.
Professional bassists have utilized the Nordstrand Big Single to generate the thick, punchy, and beefy P bass sound in a number of genres. And when you turn up the level, it gives you the immaculate natural overdrive that only a good J bass can provide.
Overall, it produces a big, beefy, powerful, and well-articulated sound.
It also comes with a soap bar chassis, which ensures that it will endure a long time. It’s designed to take the place of the Bartolini single-coil versions seen on many Fender Jazz basses in the United States and Mexico.
However, I must point out that this is not a noise-free model. Instead, it produces the finest J Bass sound, complete with buzz and hum noises.
This pickup features a ceramic body and cutting-edge squat-coil construction. Warmth, articulation, and low-end punch are all present as a result. This type of sound encompasses a wide range of classic and contemporary tones.
On the flip side, this pickup is rather pricey so I wouldn’t recommend it for entry-level bass guitars. Install this instead on the best mid-level and higher basses.
However, they do introduce some noise and hum, so you shouldn’t use this with bass distortion pedals.
However, only expensive bass guitars come with the Big Single package, such as this Ibanez masterpiece:
Bartolini Bass Series J Pickup Set
Bartolini, like Fender, is a well-known maker of high-quality bass pickups. Many Fender J and P basses are equipped with a Bartolini taper.
The 8S is Fender’s top-of-the-line bass pickup, and it’s a popular choice for bass guitars. We have included the review in our list of the best bass pickups.
A ceramic bar magnet is used to create two passive single-coils (neck and bridge). The result is a warm, scorching, crystal clear sound and has a huge growl.
The result is the traditional J bass sound associated with higher-end J bass guitars.
The low-mid frequency range gets a lot of attention, but the higher register gets less. As the volume increases, the effect is a continuous sound that is less harsh and unpleasant. The tone is overall smooth, balanced, and organic.
It gets even better because it’s coated in epoxy, a special wax. Epoxy eliminates feedback and boosts the Bartolini J Pickup set’s durability.
Keep in mind that this package includes the Fender J bass’s actual measurements so it won’t fit anywhere else. This is the case because the bridge pickup is larger than the neck pickup.
We can understand the high price tag given the stage-ready tone it provides. Fortunately for you, there are some less expensive options coming up next…
Seymour Duncan SPB-3 Quarter Pound P-Bass Pickup (Best Value)
The SPB-3 Quarter Pound is a high-quality modern drop-in replacement for the Fender Precision Bass guitar. It produces a big, punchy tone with many low-end, a well-defined mid-range, and a far better treble response than original Fender P-style pickups.
Cutting through the mix will be a piece of cake with this pickup, whether on stage or in the studio. It has a more modern take on the classic Precision bass sound and, thanks to its wide frequency range, will fit perfectly with any kind of music.
This is a pickup for people looking for a high-quality, high-output pickup that won’t break the bank for a current Precision Bass tone. This is, in my view, one of the greatest P bass pickups for the money.
Dimarzio DP120 Model One
The Model One was initially intended to be a replacement pickup for Gibson EB series neck pickups, but thanks to Billy Sheehan and his signature booming bass sounds, it has gained a broader appeal.
The Dimarzio DP120 humbucker combines components of the Model J and Model P pickups, giving you a blend of J-style and P-style tones in a single humbucking pickup. Thanks to its robust ceramic magnets, this pickup has a high output and offers earth-shaking lows, aggressive, punchy mids, and crystal-clear highs.
For bass players looking for massive bass sounds at a reasonable price, this is a powerful and adaptable pickup. While this is one of the more costly items on the list, it has some of the best bass pickups available and is well worth the money.
Seymour Duncan ASB-BO Blackout Set
This is Seymour Duncan’s best-selling active soap bar humbucker, designed to replace EMG 35-sized soap bar pickups as a drop-in replacement. They have a wide dynamic range and are voiced aggressively. Its signature sounds include booming lows, dazzling highs, and percussive mids.
It has good endurance with a mid-range snarl that is almost overdriven. The ASB-BOs is extremely responsive to your playing technique, whether you use a pick or your fingers, and they will pick up on all nuances and dynamics. Their tonal range allows them to excel in various musical genres ranging from metal to hardcore.
For any metal bassist, the ASB-BO Blackout set is an excellent choice. They’re reasonably priced and offer a wide selection of heavy tones.
DiMarzio DP127 Split P Pickup
The DiMarzio DP 127 Split P is a bit of an outlier among precision-style bass replacement pickups. Each side of a normal P-style pickup is a single-coil pickup, but they create a split humbucking pickup because they are wired together and out of phase.
The DP 127, on the other hand, goes a step further: each half of the pickup is a genuine humbucker (with two coils per half). As a result, this is a very hot and responsive pickup that has been EQ’d to extend both the low-end and high-end response of your bass.
String spacing isn’t an issue because of the double-bladed design, which is also exceptionally sensitive to both fingerstyle and pick-playing. The DP127 features a robust low-end, smooth but slightly suppressed mid-range and more treble than one might anticipate from a P-style pickup.
Overall, a very Hi-Fi sounding P-bass pickup with a snappy attack and a focus on tonal and dynamic diversity is well suited to any kind of music.
With the correct cutout, a great pickup with a fantastic sound can give any bass an extraordinary level of versatility. You’ll be hard pushed to find anything comparable at this pricing.
Fender Ultra Noiseless Vintage J Bass V Pickups
These Jazz Bass pickups represent the peak of Fender’s single-coil design. In a twin J pickup setup, this is a superb pickup set.
The Fender J Pickups Bass is a great way to improve your bass. In a twin J pickup setup, this is a superb pickup set. These pickups are designed for guitarists who seek a classic, round tone. They’re made to the greatest standards, and before they leave the factory, each one is thoroughly inspected and tested.
They have almost minimal noise interference, ensuring the purest bass tone possible.
The noiseless feature is beneficial for distorted or overdriven bass tones, as the additional amplification increases interference noise. The degree of hum or noise on these pickups was at a bare minimum, even when distorted to ridiculous levels. There is still a slight hum or noise, but this can be eliminated with further shielding.
These Jazz Bass pickups use a stacked coil construction, similar to a humbucker but use one single coil on top of the other instead of two single coils side by side. This indicates that the polarity has been reversed, which aids in breaking the noise cycle.
Thanks to a novel winding technique, these pickups offer an open, clean sound with full resonance. These J-pickups have all the growl and bite you’d expect from a J-pickup. When they’re clean, they sound rich and punchy, but they sound thick and muddy when they’re cranked up. From jazz and blues to heavy metal, their clear and open sound will fit various genres and styles.
This brightness to the notes higher on the fretboard makes them sing even more. They may be overly bright for specific players, but the top end can easily be toned off using a tone knob. These feature a high level of craftsmanship and are great for achieving a vintage sound.
These vintage-style J pickups will give any bass guitar a classic Fender J-Bass tone. These are great options for searching for a cheap solution to have a vintage Fender bass sound on your bass guitar. They’ll give you a vintage Fender sound for an even more vintage price!
Pros and Cons
- It’s a quiet, clear tone that’s perfect for distorting.
- Fender’s classic tone is full, bright, and warm.
- Installation instructions are thorough and easy to follow.
- Great for overdrive and distortion.
- Without shielding, there is some hum.
Seymour Duncan Quarter Pound P-Bass Pickup
The Seymor Duncan Quarter Pound P-Bass pickups are up next. Precision bass pickups from Seymour Duncan are a superb and cheap set of pickups. They sound fantastic, with a deep, warm tone to them. You’ll be able to play bass like the pros with these!
In most genres, the P-bass is one of the most popular bass styles. You can see how with these pickups. Any mix will benefit from these Seymour Duncan Pickups. P-pickups from Seymour Duncan are known for their punchy, thick tone, which makes your basslines stronger than ever. They’re ideal for both live and studio use and most musical genres.
Thanks to the pole alignment, these Seymour Duncan Quarter Pound P bass pickups are typically split single-coils with almost little hum.
There’s not much else to say about these precise bass pickups except that they sound fantastic. These pickups are highly suggested if you want to add additional output, weight, and cut to your P bass stock pickups.
These pickups are offered in a Seymour Duncan P-J set that includes both sorts of pickups for a great price. If you want a little more variety, the Seymour Duncan P-J Set is ideal. If the precision bass models aren’t to your liking, look for a J style.
These could be among the greatest bass pickups for rock and funk musicians.
Pros and Cons
- Tone is heavy and fat.
- A straightforward circuit.
- Excellent assault and defense.
- It distorts a lot.
Fender Custom Shop Custom ‘60s Passive/Active J Pickup Set
Here’s another choice with a more enticing name. This ’60s Jazz Bass pickup set was modeled after Fender’s original ’60s-era pickups. A bass single-coil for the neck position and a bass single-coil for the bridge position are included in the package.
They are overwound because they have larger coils, making them a custom modern design. The result is a punchier mid-and low-end pickup. It is also absolutely silent when in use.
The Alnico V magnets in the Fender ’60s J Bass Pickups are combined with a high-quality formvar wire to create the extra growl and thumb these pickups provide.
They also include flush-mount magnets to ensure that your string response is consistent across the fingerboard. This makes it an excellent choice for any bass player serious about their sound.
It’s important to realize that this is a passive pickup system. They do, however, operate with an active preamp. As a result, they’re classified as passive/active J pickups.
With the addition of an active EQ, the ’60s J Pickup now has the adaptability and extra options needed to cover as much territory as possible in both traditional and modern music genres.
The J Bass pickup from the 1960s is the most selling single-coil bass pickup on Amazon. You wouldn’t be incorrect if you chose these.
Seymour Duncan Quarter Pound J Pickup Set
This is a popular option, but they provide a sharp output with a noise-free operation instead of a vintage Jazz sound. As a result, they’re ideal for rock and even metal music.
The best feature about this model is that it has large diameter poles and powerful coil windings, resulting in a full, even response with plenty of richness and persistence. They still have that bright attitude you’d expect from a J bass.
A neck pickup and a bridge pickup are included in this combo. The neck pickup, in particular, is wound RWRP (reverse wind reverse polarity). Because this pickup is polarized opposite to the bridge, the entire set suppresses hum and sounds.
The Quarter Pound bass single-coils are also wax-potted, which eliminates feedback.
Overall, they’re an improvement over the stocks on any budget-level bass guitar and a tonal tweak for any Fender American Jazz Bass.
For rocker bass players, these are the greatest J pickups. It can compete with any P pickup and any bass humbucker.
EMG JVX Active Bass Single-Coil Set
The EMG JVX is the most advanced active single-coil set on the market. It’s made by EMG, the masters of active pickups. They’re also part of the brand’s X line of bass pickups, which are an upgrade over the company’s standard offerings.
The EMG JVX is inspired by the old J Bass guitars’ “faded” or deteriorated attack. Because it’s created using offset pole sections, this is the case. However, EMG adds a modern touch by combining these attributes with the lowest-noise preamp available.
As you might expect, the result is a hybrid of vintage, and modern J Bass sounds and a mix of active and passive tones. To put it another way, it contains the finest of everything.
The final tone has everything a good tone should have: dynamics, balance, grit, clarity, and warmth. It boasts tight, low-end, powerful mids and sparkly highs. Even better, there are no noises or hums.
I like how the JVX set keeps the clarity and quick response that EMG tapers are known for. It also has adequate headroom to produce an open, organic bottom tone.
Finally, the JVX set has a single-coil bridge and a neck single-coil. Both have a single 9V battery that lasts over 1,000 hours.
The best thing about JVX is how simple it is to set them up. They don’t even need to be soldered. EMG bobbins, in reality, do not require any soldering.
EMG Geezer Butler Signature P Set
If you haven’t heard of Geezer Butler, he is best renowned for his work as the bassist and lyricist for Black Sabbath, a famous British Heavy Metal band.
Over the course of his lengthy and illustrious bass career, he has shared the stage with icons such as Ozzy Osborne, Heaven and Hell, and Deadland Ritual. To provide you with these vintage heavy metal bass pickups, Geezer has partnered up with world-famous pickup manufacturer EMG.
These pickups were designed to reproduce the legendary Black Sabbath bass tones from the band’s early days. For heavy metal and rock players that enjoy the sound of songs from the 1960s and 1970s, these could be the greatest P Bass Pickup design.
These are, without a doubt, quite heavy trucks. These are not for the faint of heart. These Precision bass pickups are made to produce the fattest P tone possible. They have a powerful mid-range with hench, earthy undertones. These beauties’ lows are simply awful.
This set of passive pickups has a hefty, vintage tone. When flat picked, they have a thick, chunky attack, and when finger picked, they have a warm, feisty character. These pickups feature four Alnico V pole pieces per pickup for the optimum combination of bite and punch, each with handmade hand-wrapped coils.
You can’t ask for much more from these pickups than a gritty, growling rock or metal bottom tone. The neck and bridge pickups sound great, with the bridge pickup having a brighter twang and a more substantial mid-range presence.
The tone of the neck pickup is rounder and lower. When the signals from both pickups were combined, the result was a tremendous whole range tone.
Is there any other band with more iconic heavy bass lines than Black Sabbath? Is there a band more deserving of a pair of trademark bass pickups? No, I don’t believe so!
These are the best P Bass Pickups if you want to recreate the legendary Black Sabbath bass tones from songs like “Paranoid,” “War Pigs,” and “Sweet Leaf.”
These can also be purchased as a P & J Set, which combines the best of both worlds! These are some of the best bass pickups for old-school rock and metal players.
Pros and Cons
- Sound of vintage rock/metal.
- Black Sabbath’s signature bass tone.
- High gain, overdrive, and distortion settings are all excellent.
Buyer’s Guide For Choosing Best Bass Pickups
A new set of pickups for your bass is a terrific way to improve its sound. In theory, you can make a low-cost bass sound like a high-quality bass.
However, before you go out and buy a new set of pickups, be sure they’re compatible with your bass guitar model. If bass is equipped with a specific pickup style, you should utilize the same models.
Types of pickups
The key options are Humbucker vs. Single-Coil or Split Coil, which have already been largely covered. A humbucker pickup produces a richer tone while reducing noise.
Magnetic vs. piezo vs. optical is the other option. However, magnetic pickups are the best option unless you have a unique requirement for another type.
Passive vs. Active.
Another significant distinction between pickup types is this.
The most popular kind is passive, which eliminates the need for a power supply before the amplifier. Magnetic coils receive energy from the bass strings in these. The amplifier gets these tiny electronic signals.
Active pickups, which use a battery to increase their signal before going to the amplifier, are a relatively recent variety. To detect energy from the bass strings, they employ a different technique. Passive pickups feature a tone, tonal response, and dynamic range radically different from active pickups.
First, look at the pickup’s measurements. Compare this to the amount of space available on your bass guitar. If you don’t want to drill holes in your bass to create a place for new pickups, make sure you get a set with the correct dimensions!
Is It Better To Use A Single Coil Or A Humbucker?
Single-coil pickups were the first pickups ever made, and they were the sole option until 1955. As their name suggests, they employ a single coil to produce noise or hum.
To solve this problem, double coil pickups, often known as humbuckers, were developed, which do precisely what their name implies: they buck the hum.
So you’d assume that humbucker pickups are superior in every regard… However, both types of basses are equally popular, owing to the fact that Jazz and Precision basses feature single coil and humbucker pickups, respectively…
Is It Possible To Use Guitar Pickups On A Bass Guitar?
On a 4 or 8 string bass, the guitar pickups work perfectly.
How To Change Your Bass Pickups
Changing the pickups on your bass isn’t tricky, and as long as you have the correct equipment and instructions, you’ll be OK.
What Are Some Pointers For Selecting The Best Bass Guitar Pickups?
Size and style of pickup are crucial factors to consider, so think about how you’ll use them when shopping. If you intend to use the bass guitar as your primary bass instrument, you’ll need a pickup that can be plugged into any amp, whether or not you have a PA system.
Also, if you’ll be playing mainly on stage, a smaller, more compact pickup for your instrument is a good idea. Smaller pickups are preferable for live performance, whereas larger pickups are better for recording. It’s also crucial to invest in a good pickup truck, even merely to save money.
Pickups typically cost between $10 and $50 for each piece, primarily determined by the materials and construction quality. Ceramic (typically aluminum or titanium), plastic, and steel are the most frequent pickup materials.
Anodized aluminum pickups are the least expensive, followed by ceramic pickups. Plastic pickups are more expensive, but they are more durable and long-lasting.
How Much Do Bass Guitar Pickups Cost?
A simple single-coil pickup in various sizes and materials can be found in this price range from $20 to $50. In this category, there are several excellent choices.
If you require an excellent bass pickup in this price range, the closer you get to the $200 mark, the more likely it will be a dual coil model. These are the most common novice pickups. They’ll be composed of high-quality materials and have solid construction.
How Did We Choose The Pickups For Our Bass Guitar?
When producing our Best Of lists, we always make sure to include a diverse range of products so you may discover the right fit for your style. As with our top pick for the finest electric guitars, you’ll notice that we’ve chosen a variety of pricing points with the good cross-buy potential to help you save even more money.
Our goal is to provide you with the unbiased, honest reviews you need to locate the best items, always looking at what other customers have to say. We also look at other expert assessments to see what features and concerns others are concerned about.
While we don’t always believe what we think, it’s preferable to be safe and trust user feedback, especially when it comes to personal products like your bass guitar.
Bass guitar pickups are frequently on sale at a significantly cheaper price if you want to save money. However, there’s a good possibility you’ll be able to discover one that’s brand new, unused, and undamaged. This indicates that the box is likely to contain high-quality components. Some items from lesser-known brands have also received positive feedback.
As we stated at the outset of this piece, most of our choices are from established, high-quality companies. These brands will cost you a little extra, but that’s part of their uniqueness. On the other hand, some of these bass pickups may be a good choice for you if you have a smaller or less expensive investment to make.
There’s nothing more aggravating than rushing out to buy something only to find out the next day that it doesn’t live up to your expectations. Reviews are an excellent method to gauge the quality of a new item and make your buying easier.
Customers may be disappointed if product information is poorly phrased or deceptive. Customers can get a better understanding of the performance of their new product by reading reviews from past customers and looking at some high-quality reviews and consumer reviews from trusted sellers.
Fidlar really liked a lot of the pickups on this list, especially the vintage-style Fender Custom Shop pickups. Some of the fender custom shop modern is also a wonderful choice if you’re seeking a more conventional vintage sound. The Fender Custom Shop Jazz Bass pickup set would be my choice for a more vintage sound.