Best upgrades for a Players P Bass?

Hi folks!

After years of watching from the sidelines, I finally got a bass and joined this wonderful world of groove.

Every time I looked up who played bass on a song I liked and WHAT kind of bass they played, it always ended up being a P Bass.

So I picked up a Players P Bass as it fits my budget, and I’m loving it so far.

I was wondering what most people upgrade on a non-American P bass usually?

I was surprised to see that the neck dives when I sit and play with it unstrapped. Not sure whether I should upgrade the bridge or get lighter tuners - or both.

*UPDATE: THANK YOU so much for all the comments and feedback! It’s been very helpful and encouraging to see the level of engagement in this forum.

*I’m starting to think that the P Bass is balanced so that it sits properly when standing. I saw a YouTube video where the reviewer held it with one hand, balancing it at the highest point of the fretboard where it meets the lowest cutaway. I held it the same way and it balances perfectly for me as well!

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Fender’s iconic headstock is a big chunk of wood. Replacing the stock tuners with lighter ones will help with neck dive; a new bridge won’t.


Overall I think that the only almost mandatory upgrade is to change the pickup. Strangely, Fender pickups are rarely good, and it’s even more true with MIM Fender’s.


Vintage Fender pickups or go for the Quarter Pounds?

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It depends on your tastes and what you plan to play ! I’m not a big fan of the QP but a lot of people like it.


I’m a bit of a mixed bag to be honest.

I tend to lean towards progressive/experimental rock, funk, and some reggae/dub.

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A pickup like a Duncan SPB1 “Vintage P-Bass” or SPB2 “Hot P-Bass” would work fine, for example. But no need to rush, you can take your time to find the right pickup :slight_smile:


Didn’t know they (Duncan) made a vintage style pup!

Thank you!

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For Prog/Experimental you might want to play around with some of the more mids-heavy pickups. I really like DiMarzio’s various ceramic pickups - powerful punch and very mids-forward to stand out in a mix.


Hey @gabe I started on a short scale Ibanez for a year whilst learning, then bought a Fender MIM P Bass.

I’ve played it for the past two years and at no point did I think ‘these pickups suck’. Maybe it’s my crappy hearing but I’ve posted a bunch of covers and the thing that still needs work is my timing, not swapping out the pickups IMHO.

I’d encourage you to get a strap. This takes care of a lot of the neck dive issues and as you improve standing up whilst playing is good for you.

Gear is cool, but practicing is cooler. Get stuck into playing it :wink:

You can get some ideas from this video and thread.


Appreciate the info Barney!

I’ll have to see if the neck dive still happens when I stand - don’t yet have a strap.

Was just surprised that it happened while sitting. Not sure if it was a P Bass/Fender thing?

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I’ll have to listen to DiMarzio pups and see what they sound like!


One sure fix for neck dive is to simply replace the tuners and bridge. You want a heavier bridge and lighter tuners. So something like a Fender HiMass or a Gotoh 201B-4 for the bridge, and HipShot ultralites for the tuners.


Me too but I’m not sure it would be ideal for funk. But for rock to metal, a DiMarzio would be an excellent choice, sure.

Also there is a relatively rare pickup that is really stellar and would work for all those styles of music, with an incredible definition even with down-tuning : the MEC Dynamic Correction (the “made in Germany” one). But it’s not easy to find one.

You can totally play with a stock MIM Fender, obviously, and the sound will not be horrible at all if your signal chain and your mix are good.

Still, there is a lot of much better pickups out there, and changing the pickups on a Fender almost always reveals the qualities of the instrument.

It’s not something you “must” do to make a Fender work, but it’s by far the #1 upgrade in my opinion. (it was the initial question :slight_smile: )


I think I’m OK with the stock pups as they’re a little hotter AlincoV - to my ear they sound like the tone I’ve always loved.

I’m also looking into strings because going with flats is a very specific tone. NYXLs seem to be in the middle in terms of tone so I might go with those.

I figured I’d slowly upgrade this P Bass as it’s technically an entry level into the Fender world.

Just learning the quirks that comes with owning a P lol.

Doesn’t help that other versions use different woods and parts so that will of course affect the sound, the balance etc.

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Yeah I was thinking more for prog


NYXL’s and EXL’s are actually my favorite strings. I do play harder genres though.


It’s funny, i’ve been playing my player pbass for 2-1/2 years and i never considered it to have neck dive, and i play seated, usually without a strap… but I also play an SG guitar so not much has neck dive compared to that :joy:

What i upgraded was nothing, I find the stock pups sound good and it stays in tune reliably so i didn’t care to change the tuners. I put a new set of strings on it last April or so. :slight_smile:

If i was going to get new pups, i’d get fender Custom Shop 62 or Lindy Fralin. What you like really depends on personal preference, the strings you use and the genre of music you play. I pretty much always play clean with no effects :slight_smile:


One really cannot emphasize that enough… just play a lot, whenever you can, even if it’s only 10 or 15 mins. Recording oneself helps a lot too.



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