Here is a short review of some P-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. This is currently my pickup of choice for rounds, I have it on my American Standard P.
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.
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.
This is my pickup of choice for flats. I have it on my American Original 60’s P with 45-100 Chromes (flat-wound). It thumps like nobody’s business and fills the low-ends like a sonic pillow. Very satisfying.
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.