Selecting pickup / position
Curious about this for some time: In which situation would you use either one of your pickups (supposing you only have two!)? Or why, or what do you achieve by chosing a certain configuration?
For clarification: I'm talking about adjusting the output of your pickups on your bass to either use the neck, bridge or both depending on the situation.
In my case: I play a J-bass (Am. deluxe, so active) and I really dig the tone I get when using both pickups equally. so in this case the pickup knob would be in its middle position. I always stick to this configuration. However, I vary my hand position from neck position to bridge position often, depending on several parameters. This sort of mimics the effect (up to a certain degree) of turning the pickup knob, I guess, without reaching for it.
So, how do you use the pickup knob? Am I missing something? :)
I now own three basses with twin-pickup configurations, and only ever use the neck-position pickup. I just don't like the sound of bridge pickups on basses.
Use your ears, find what you like the best, rock the crap out of it.
It's a tone pot really. Same as where you pluck. Bridge pickup is thinner and more trebly, neck pickup is fatter and bassier
It starts with the sound you want. If you pluck near the neck, it will sound completely different than if you do so near the bridge. From there, you dial in your pickup blend to best suit your preffered position.
I have a MusicMan Sterling with two humbucking pickups.
The neck pickup is rounder and deeper sounding. I'd use it when I want a more mellow and woody sound, almost like an acoustic or upright bass.
For aggressive stuff, like rock, I like the bridge pickup with the instrument's low eq boosted a bit. It's more punchy and tighter and less woody than the neck pickup sound.
I usually play finger-style. But if I'm playing with a pick, I'll cut the instrument's mid eq.
Using both pickups gives me a more scooped sound. Turning on the two inner coils gives me a deep, slightly boomy sound that I personally like for slow reggae. The two outer coils give a brighter, clearer scooped sound. It's almost like the lovechild of a MusicMan and Jazz bass.
Haven't really used all 4 coils simultaneously for anything yet.
Thanks for the replies.
I was interested in how other bass players use it, or don't use it - like me. I've tried lot's of settings to get a taste of what I can get, but I always end up with both pickups equally (single coils) and changing my hand position to achieve different tonal variations. E.g. when playing quick riffs, or hitting a lot of muted strings I usually play near the bridge. For slower, more boomy stuff, I will play at the neck pickup. When plucking multiple strings I have more positions: between neck and neck pickup, above neck pickup, between neck & bridge pickup, ... (I only play finger-style, btw)
Overall, it's something very subjective; every player will use the knob - or not to his or her satisfaction I guess :)
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