M&V Guitars and Pickups Atlas P Bass-Style Pickups
Let’s face it – when it comes to boutique pickup options, bass players have gotten the short end of the stick. And as for the venerable Fender Precision Bass, well there’s only so many ways you can put a new harness on the old warhorse.
Enter M&V Guitars and Pickups, which offers proponents of the low-end theory a real alternative to stock P-bass offerings – the Atlas Large Pole Precision Bass pickup. What’s different about this pickup is M&V’s placement of four 0.375″-diameter Alnico-magnet pole pieces directly under the strings as an alternative to the traditional P Bass’ eight 0.1875″-diameter steel pole pieces energized by ceramic bar magnets and offset from the strings. The Atlas’ massive magnets are scatter-wound with 42-gauge enameled wire into coils registering a nominal resistance of 11k. The company says they sense string vibration over a much narrower range than the big-pole Music Man dual-coil humbuckers with series or parallel wiring, resulting in less frequency loss due to phase cancellation.
To our ears, it’s a punchier (and somewhat brighter in the treble settings) signal than stock P-Bass pickups. With a little downward EQ adjustment on the amp, the M&V-equipped P Bass sat nicely in the mix, but with greater clarity of note than we were accustomed to hearing, especially when playing up the neck. Though unmistakably Fender-ish, the tone in the upper registers is a bit reminiscent of the bridge pickup in a Rickenbacker 4001S – crisp and almost gated. For players looking for the Fender sound, but just a little more “in-front,” this may be just the ticket.
This article originally appeared in VG Overdrive issue No. 039. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.