Here are my subjective reviews of some bass pickups that I recently tried.
This is the 60’s era pickup from Aguilar. It has a vintage vibe with a little more top end than usual. This pickup sounded good with 45-100 Chromes (flat-wound), but a little weak with 40-100 nickel Dunlops (round-wound).
This is a good pickup if you want a vintage vibe with highs at the expense of some low-end. It is fairly balanced across the spectrum.
This pickup is considered one of the industry standards, and is listed among the top 5 pickups on various sources. And I can see why. It is a bit scooped, but has just the right balance of bass and treble. It sounds full yet clear at the same time, but lacks some low-mids.
Even with D’addario 40-100 SuperBright nickel strings (round-wound), this pickup sounds clear and full. I didn’t try it with flats, but Aguilar AG 4P-60 or Fender PV’63 seems to be naturally better choices for that orientation.
Those pickups are the Precision correspondence of Fender’s ’74 Jazz pickups.
This is the most vintage-correct pickup in this list, in my humble opinion. It can be considered in the same category like the Aguilar, but has less treble and more low-end. Just like a warm vintage P bass should.
When I had these on my American Original 60’s P with 45-100 Chromes (flat-wound), the bass thumped like nobody’s business and filled the low-ends like a sonic pillow. Very satisfying.
Those pickups are the Precision correspondence of Fender’s ’75 Jazz pickups.
This pickup is endorsed by Steve Harris (bass player for Iron Maiden) and is praised on many forums as a versatile pickup. Although I agree that it can be used out of metal context, it has a certain “low-mud” fatness that can’t be dialed out easily. Also lacks a little clarity for my taste.
I hoped this pickup to make my light NYXL 45-100 nickel strings (round-wound) a little thicker, which it did – but the excess fatness and lack of clarity was still there.
I could consider using this pickup if I would be playing heavier styles of music or was targeting a very warm sound. Neither is true, so I let this pickup go.
Selling point of those pickups is being noiseless. They don’t sound as organic and lively as pure single coils, they have a rather modern hi-fi sound – not unlike some 70’s era pickups. But they don’t hum either. You have to decide for yourself if you like their sound or not. I must say that noiseless pickups aren’t my initial choice. My former review of those pickups can be found here.
Do you like slap and/or funk? Do you like Marcus Miller? In that case, those are the Fender pickups I’d recommend. Especially for an ash+maple Jazz Bass with a hi-mass bridge. They have an emphasis on high-mids & treble and have a strong bottom.
Those pickups are the Jazz correspondence of Fender’s ’62 Precision pickups.
Fender Pure Vintage ’75
Those are the siblings of ’74. They sound a little warmer and have more emphasis on low-mids. If that’s your sonic goal, I’d recommend the ’75 pickups. If you want to cut through the higher frequencies a little better, I’d rather recommend the ’74 pickups.
Those pickups are the Jazz correspondence of Fender’s ’63 Precision pickups.