Grateful for any help/advice!
I'm about to start my first build and have a couple very basic questions that I'm hoping to get some help from some of the very talented builders here.
I'm using a 5 string Carvin neck thru to avoid dealing with frets,truss rod and fingerboard on my first build.It's a 34inch scale,for the bridge placement is it as simple as centering the bridge saddles and then mounting the bridge at 17 inches from the 12th fret to the saddles?
My 2nd question is about pickup placement.I picked up a pair of Nordstrand fat stacks for it,how critical is the placement? Can I just mount the neck pickup a couple inches from the end of the fingerboard and the bridge pickup a couple inches from the bridge or is there a sweet spot I should try and hit? Thanks very much in advance for any advice/help!!
1. I think so. but more experienced people will weigh in pretty soon. There are some pretty great youtube videos where people show you exactly how they do it. One of those folks is Michael Tobias, who know a thing or two about a thing.
2. pickup placement is more or less as important as pickup choice for determining what your bass will sound like. There is a lot of really good info you can grab from Warmoth about where pickup placement is relative to other things. It doesn't matter unless you are going for a specific kind of sound.
In my builds, I've been reverse engineering pickup placement. What's really kind of funny to me is that pickup placement appears to more or less arbitrary. I think sometimes they try to go for putting the pole pieces around a "harmonic node" (where a harmonic will ring out the loudest?) except that its usually only placed for maybe one or two strings. Not a whole lot of manufacturers will slant their pickup position so that the pole pieces pick up the same relative spot. I think that leads to basses being uneven in tone and sometimes volume across the strings. The P and the J come to mind.
Another thing I think is kind of hilarious is that the munch vaunted "sweet spot" for MM style basses seems to placed in the exact center between the J pickups in the 70's J configuration. That's kind of why the Stingray has a sound all its own (that and the dual humbucker and active EQ)
Ultimately where you put your pickups doesn't really matter exact for how you want your bass to sound The fattest most resonant point of the bass string is at the 12th fret. The farther away from that, the more treble/ mid you get.
Centering the Saddles 17" from fret 12 is the right method for bridge placement with a 34" scale.
There is a LOT of science in where the pickups "belong" based on the frequency your after and the wave pattern of the string.
But the reality is your not gonna hate it anywhere in between the bridge and neck. You may wish it has more high end or low end responce. In which case you would want to move it back or forward.
It is safest to put it where the mig guys do as they definitely researched the science behind the placement, and also did a lot of R&D and Trial and error that you dont necessarily want to.
I built a mule just so I can try different pickups I build in different positions.
Correct placement of the bridge is with the witness points of the saddles 17" from the twelfth fret, when the saddles are either adjusted all the way towards the headstock (if you have faith in your abilities) or 1/8" or so back from there (if you want to leave some room for error).
Placing the bridge with the saddles centered would needlessly waste half of your intonation adjustment ability. In theory they will only need to move back from the virtual bridge line to intonate; in practice, this is always borne out.
^^ PJ is correct. I always adjust my high saddle 1/8" shy of fully extended, put the witness point on the scale line, and that's where to bridge goes.
I misspoke about "centered." I do set them close to the end as well. I simply meant they are inline at 17" and I deal with the intonation from there. Thanks for clarifying so that he did not follow my recommendation exactly as written. ;-)
I'll exclude myself from the cohort of "talented builders" but I did stay at a Holiday Inn once. I agree with everything above, and would only add that you can build a simple jig to suspend the pickup at the right height above the strings, and if you wire it to a jack, you can play around with the location while you strum along. This will let you find a spot you like...
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