Pickups and Strings - find your bass' tone

The happy medium between flats and rounds that I found was GHS Pressurewounds. They retain enough of a rounds tonality and expressiveness but the method of rounding over the outer wrap eliminates the more typical “zing” of new rounds and they feel very nice to the touch. Great on fretless.


New flats for the Ricky. Because she’s worth it :slight_smile:

I have these on my AE bass and love them. They take that brittleness of the piezo and tame it just enough.

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I call them my Goldilocks string. Not too bright and not too flat. Just right. If someone told me I had to choose just one string for all of my basses GHS Pwounds would be it. Luckily we all have more freedom of choice than that.


I have a BB434, my first bass (I’m a former guitar player). I like the feel of it and the neck and the P pickup, but the J is so noisy. When it’s up over maybe 60% its like I’ve turned on the noise peddle to 11. At first I was mostly playing the P, but now I’m wanting to mixing more J and it’s exceeded my annoyance threshold.

I’m thinking of changing out to the Aguilar AG 4P/J-HC. Any thoughts on this?

Or should I leave her for a younger bass? At some point, I’d like to get a 5-string active to go with the 4-string passive. I really don’t want more than two. I still have 4 guitars and three keyboards and too many mics…

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I also have question related to a J pickup. I have a Mustang PJ, and while the P pickup is solid, the J is really quiet. Does anyone have a replacement recommendations? I’m gonna get the switch changed out for a knob and would happily get the J pickup replaced, as well. Thanks!

The J is really weak on the Mustang by design in my opinion. Ina PJ, you get a really good tone when the J is about 30% and the P is 100%. With the 3 way switch, I think the mustang achieves this by having a weak J.

I changed this on my Mustang, removed the switch entirely and put in concentric vol/tone pots so I could control each pup independently. And put in Dimarzio DP126 pickups, replacing the P and J, and I really like the results.

The DP 126 is a really nice punchy set. Worth your consideration.

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Aguilar has nice pickups. I have a 4p in a P bass which is nice.

Thanks so much. Looking into it now!

After too much youtubing, I decided I’m never going to know which pickup to try in the BB434 without trying them. So I ordered the EMG-GZR and will try it first. I’ll record some material with the yammie stock, then with the EMG-GZR and see what it does to the frequency response. Based on one review that actually had FR delta charts, I expect a bit of low and high gain, flatter in the middle. We’ll see. On the bright side, the EMG are solderless, so if I don’t like it, they are easy to review which was another reason to try them first.


Looking forward to your results as I am thinking about either the DP126 or one of the EMG P/Js for a potential new shorty…

Order knobs. EMG pickups generally come without them and stock knobs rarely fit.

I do like EMG pickups though, and double triple quadruple check before you press down on that ground wire thingy

I had not thought of that.

Does anyone know if the BB434 has a lined pup and electronics compartment? Would it be useful to put down copper tape if not, while I have the thing open?

Quick question, why replace those at all? The YGD pickups in the 434 are excellent. Unlike a lot of other companies, Yamaha (and Ibanez) generally have outstanding stock pickups.

Some basses need upgrades, some don’t :slight_smile:

The BB734A does, and I would bet the 434 does. Every Yamaha I have owned had conductive grounding paint.

edit; oh I see, you’re having noise issues on the J. One thing I would say is - this probably means you have a noise source somewhere in your environment and another J might not fix it, unless you get a humbucking J.

The real fix is to find out where the EM noise is coming from. For my room, it’s my PC, for example - and it’s easy enough to mitigate.

I have way too much noise on the J. If the volume control is up over 50-60%, it’s a really bad hum in my environment. The P is just fine.

I took the BB434 out to my office/studio space, and the J pickup is dead quiet there, plugged directly into a Motu interface. The problem is that’s not where I want to be practicing.

I’ll see if I can isolate what’s causing the hum in my practice room (really, the TV room), but I don’t think I have anything unnecessary on.

Good plan, this is the real answer. Any single coil would cause you problems in there, and the split coil or humbucking J’s aren’t really J’s, they are humbuckers in a J housing. Not that that is a bad thing, but it won’t sound the same.

PC, wifi router, Alexa, cell phones, “smart” things, you name it. They all make noise.

Maybe a power conditioner helps? I have some old Belkin PF30s behind every major A/V component, though it is not really necessary with our current inhouse cabling…

I purchased them for my old house a few years ago, and it solved some electrical ingress issues there…

Stainless wound strings - metal only? I’m curious about them. I’m also curious whether they’re murder on fingers.