In a sudden Bass Acquisition Rampage (B.A.R.), I’m getting a Harley Benton P as an inexpensive spare bass for practice and to experiment with maintenance, so if I break anything I won’t cry a river. I have a few questions at this point, and I’d appreciate your input:
I want to change pickups: any recommendations? Are the connections the same as a regular P from squier/fender as far as you know?
If I change pickups, should I also change the wiring of the knobs?
I’ve never owned a Harley Benton, but I am assuming it will be very close to a Squier in terms of imported electronics/hardware. The pickup should be interchangable with the vast array of aftermarket that are available. There are so many choices… I am a fan of Bartolini and Nordstrand, but I’ve also tried Aguilar, Dimarzio (Their old school model with the allen head pole pieces are pretty cool), Seymour Duncan (Hard to beat the SCPB3 quater pounder), EMG (super quiet, no noise issues at all. Cool tone too) and so many others. Also there are a lot of used Fender P bass pickups out there, the Roadworn P pickup is one of my favorites. I also love the Dee Dee Ramone P pickup.
I guess I like a more aggressive pickup, though there are many vintage sounding varieties as well. As for wiring, I would suggest swapping the originals out for something else, whether you wire it yourself or go for one of the complete harnesses that are available. Pickups, controls and hardware are where most import companies cut corners to save money.
The good thing is most pickups are not crazy expensive and if you live in an area with a lot of musicians, there such be used parts available on Reverb or Ebay or even locally (Craislist, FB Marketplace, etc…).
These types of basses are great platforms for experimentaion. You can have a lot of fun chasing your tone, you could even make a post here about your search for the right pickup.
Good luck with your journey
Wait what? This makes your third? Wow nice going.
Let me ask you this first @Rob150 where are you? Since your profile is private. It would help with future suggestions. For one if you are in the States then a used Squier and or used Sterling is a great test bed platform.
That said, @Moonshine already gave you an excellent answer. I’d suggest that you spent the first few months with your stock pickups since you are new to this. You can spend that time learning to set the bass and fix the issues on HB such as fret sprouts, and some other fit and finish issues, once that’s taken care off you learn about what you don’t like the sound of that bass and what you are looking for. It will be pretty easy after that as there are tons of choices. I can recommend a few.
I live in Hong Kong at the moment but I am Italian and I have family there. I can access major distributors like Thomann and andertons rather easily.
I am on a shopping rampage. Never thought it could happen to me, but well…
Thank you for your great reply, much appreciated.
I like how SD sound but I was looking into an EMG Geezer Butler set that seems quite good. Any thoughts?
Makes sense, thank you!
I haven’t tried the Geezer Butler EMG set, but everything I’ve heard about them says they’re are great sounding pickups!
And they don’t need soldering
Only if you replace the pots as well.
For a P bass, a DiMarzio DP122 Model P is a heck if a pickup and underrated. It has versatility, power, and is cheap (as these things go). They have a kit which comes with a pickguard, pots, and everything setup all you need to do is connect up the pickup and ground (no soldering) and you’re good to go.
EMG and Duncan are good too. Only warning about EMG - their kits as I remember come with pots, and are quite easy to install. Whet they do not come with is knobs. So if you doo go EMG, double check and make sure you order knobs if they’re not provided
My favorite of all I listened to was the DiMarzio Model P. But it’s not vintage by any stretch - much more aggressive and mids-heavy. Nice hot ceramic pickup (my preference).
Geezer P is usually the gateway to EMG for most people as their first basses are either P or PJ configuration and its passive. It’s soderlesss system so it’s much less intimidating to first time mods.
If you are willing to route more cavity under the Pickguard then the active system would give you more tonal options.
By riderless he was auto corrected from solderless
lol it’s weird because I spelled it correctly but it changed. Hmm!
Sorry to correct you, but I thought people might miss your point and it was clearly an overenthusiastic auto corrector
Not to worry lol. I did even know it happened
My first introduction to EMG was Lee Sklar’s modded P bass, next was Ned Steinberger’s first models.
I’m a dinosaur.
I checked a video on YouTube, and the kit I was referring to doesn’t come with knobs indeed. The guy who mounted the EMG got some from Ernie ball.
I have a blank p bass body for Lee Sklar reverse double P project. I’d love to have one like that.