51 P-Bass Split Coil vs. Split coil P-Bass thoughts?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by goat1234, Jan 28, 2014.


  1. goat1234

    goat1234

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    Can anyone speak to the tone difference between the 51 P bass split coil and the more ubiquitous split P-bass pickup?

    I would like to replace the humbucker in my Mikey Way mustang for something with a more solid P bass tone, but do not want to put in a P pickup (or a mustang pickup).
     
  2. Jared Lash

    Jared Lash Casting out the nines Supporting Member

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    Aug 21, 2006
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    The original Pbass didn't have a split coil pickup. It was a single coil pickup with one polepiece per string.

    The sound is much more direct with a bigger attack and more highs and lows than the split coil. On the other hand it lacks the thick, low mid presence of the split coil P and like all single coils it is susceptible to 60 cycle hum.

    Here are some songs with single coil P bass tones:



    Lindy Fralin DOES make a great split coil version of the original Pbass pickup so you get most of that tone but in a humcancelling setup. Worth looking into.
     
  3. Salamenster

    Salamenster

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    Just some info: I've always been told that Leo switched to the split-coil, because the single coil gave too much low bass that most of the amps and speakers at the time couldn't handle it really well. That's why he started using the split coil: A little less serious lows and high sparkle (everyone was playing flat fingerstyle so that didn't really matter at the time), and more low-mids. Better for your speakers (and for you in the mix as well).
     
  4. mcnach

    mcnach

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    I don't know, but I seriously doubt it. I would imagine that his motivation was primarily to combat hum.
     
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  6. Jared Lash

    Jared Lash Casting out the nines Supporting Member

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    Wait stop, you're both right. The original single coil P bass WAS blowing speakers (no issues with bass amps, it was the cabs that weren't up to snuff) and was redesigned allegedly for that reason but the split coil design also allowed Leo to outfit the bass with a humbucker without violating Gibson's patent.

    At least that's my understanding.
     
  7. uOpt

    uOpt Supporting Member

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    The important difference isn't the pickup, it is the pickup position.
     
  8. mcnach

    mcnach

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    Really?

    I can't say that I've noticed significantly reduced bass on the split coils (I have both types of P bass)...
    If I wanted that I would probably move the pickup towards the bridge rather than redesign the thing... But I really don't know what the truth is. I'm just surprised because to me both sound different, but not that different in the lows department... :confused:
     
  9. Salamenster

    Salamenster

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    The lows in question are almost subsonic. And with a P most of the "lows" you hear are actually low mids. So it isn't that much notivable, but has effect nonetheless.
     
  10. Salamenster

    Salamenster

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    Oh, and one more thing, the double pole piece design opposed to single oole piece, makes the output less likely to "fart out".
     
  11. Jared Lash

    Jared Lash Casting out the nines Supporting Member

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    I'm not sure that it was the actual lows so much as the attack transients. The single coil Ps have a much sharper initial spike. But then again, this is all just what I've read. I can't say with any certainty what the real deal was.
     
  12. bass_case

    bass_case Used Register Supporting Member

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    Whatever. Two ompletely different sounds, each great in its own way. Try some basses of each type and decide for yourself. I recommend owning at least one of each.
     
  13. mcnach

    mcnach

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    Interesting nonetheless. Thanks for sharing.
     
  14. Vintage1

    Vintage1

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    Feb 12, 2012
    " but the split coil design also allowed Leo to outfit the bass with a humbucker without violating Gibson's patent."


    Gibson was granted their patent July 28th, 1959-
    so that wasn't it for July 1957 split P-Bass design.
     
  15. GlennW

    GlennW

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2006
    A lot of that is because of the magnet directly under the string. The split-P pickup has the magnets arranged like J pickups, which removes harshness from the attack.

    I tried a bunch of split-P pickups and was surprised how bright they were. The brightness can be EQ'd out, but it's there.
     
  16. ctmullins

    ctmullins Registered thumper Supporting Member

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    But they applied for that patent in 1955, after which they installed thousands of them in their guitars, with a "Patent Applied For" sticker on the underside. Thus was born the legend known as the "PAF humbucker".
     
  17. Vintage1

    Vintage1

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    Feb 12, 2012
    "But they applied for that patent in 1955, after which they installed thousands of them in their guitars, with a "Patent Applied For" sticker on the underside. Thus was born the legend known as the "PAF humbucker".

    Fender couldn't violate a patent that had not been granted yet.

    Gretch had a humbucking patent granted to them
    before Gibson did- around 1954 or 1955.

    And Vega had humbucking pickups in lapsteels in the late
    1930's too- just for the sake of pointing it out.
     

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