Building a bass with interchangeable pick-ups

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by vaskrishnan, Jan 21, 2014.


  1. vaskrishnan

    vaskrishnan

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2014
    Hay guys
    I am in year 12 and for my major work i want to make a bass guitar with interchangeable pick-ups so a person playing could have the diversity to play at a huge rock concert one day and the next be able to play at a small bar this bass would be for people who are gigging and don't have space for multiple guitars or don't have the money to buy multiple guitars. For this too happen i need to make mock bodies and i was wondering if anyone knew a good wood that i could make mock bodies out of that isn't too expensive

    Thanks

    This can also be seen bellow

    This is a very short short quick explanation to my idea, i had not heard of any BASS guitar that had interchangeable pick-ups the whole concept is instead of having 30 basses you have 1 where you can easily change out a part, including position etc. This would make the bass more versatile in sound, Jazz bass, and P bass in one. I have explored a need for the market it is limited but there is still a market, this message did not aim to ask whether this bass is viable this post aimed at asking a question about WOOD

    Thank you people that have showed me existing ideas no matter how old they are, those ideas all just change the pick-ups
    I want to change the whole electronics of the bass, being able to change everything about the electronics, except for the jack port, which i will figure our some kind of connection to an electronics base
  2. lowfreq33

    lowfreq33

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  3. trevcda

    trevcda

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  4. lz4005

    lz4005

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    Oct 22, 2013
    Interchangeable pickups are a solution to a problem that doesn't exist.

    Do you play bass? What makes you think someone would need different pickups to play a stadium and a small bar? That would require a difference in amplification and EQ, not pickups.

    Here's a Dan Armstrong bass from 1969 with pickups that slide in and out under the strings. The idea has been around for over 40 years. And has been rejected as unnecessary.

    [​IMG]
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  6. pfox14

    pfox14

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  7. kohntarkosz

    kohntarkosz

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    I would be worried about the wear and tear that any sliding/replacement pickup would develope. I saw a video of Guy Pratt playing a custom Warwick with two sliding pickups. The tonal range of the bass was astonishing, especially for a passive instrument. However he was chucking the pickups around in the cavity, and I was wondering how the solder points on the instrument would take he abuse over time.

    I've had an idea in my head for ages. Somehow, you make a pickup that runs the full length of the body from the bridge to the neck. Underneath the pickup is a long 'track pad', so you can select where you want the pickup to sense the strings. It would function like a maglev train track, in that any part of this long pickup could be magnetised to function like a conventional pickup, but only if you selected it first.
  8. fhm555

    fhm555 So FOS my eyes are brown Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2011
    Actually, that depends on the problem.

    If you are designing pickups and have 20 or 30 different winds, magnet types, bobbin types, etc., a quick change pickup system would save a ton of time.

    Speaking of which, some type of hot rail configuration would be very cool. Not only could you quickly change pup types, you could position them at different locations between the neck and bridge as well.

    Last of all, it's a school project so who cares if it has any practical application?
  9. RSBBass

    RSBBass

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    Jun 11, 2011
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    NYC
    Not that I think there is much call for your project but poplar is a decent inexpensive wood for bodies. Pine was suggested but it can be highly variable. Your questions suggests you are not that familiar with judging wood. If so I would avoid pine.
  10. lz4005

    lz4005

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    Oct 22, 2013
    As a testing platform, sure. Gibson had a similar thing in stores a few years ago that was a modded Les Paul with modular pickups so you could hear the differences between pickup designs with no other variables changing.

    If part of the assignment is solving a real world problem, then this fails. If innovation is a part of the assignment, this fails. If potential for consumer adoption is a part of the assignment, this fails.

    If the assignment is to design something that looks good but doesn't solve any problems or appeal to consumers and is a retread of a 45 year old idea, then sure, why not.
  11. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Supporting Member

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    Agreed. A good sounding bass is simply that - a good sounding bass. If you need to change the sound, you can do so with simple tone/EQ adjustments, or in some cases, pedals. Both are much easier and less expensive than trying to interchange bass bodies.

    Having a second bass for backup with you play gigs is a good idea. That second bass can have quite a different sound. Having an interchangeable body really isn't something that makes sense.

    Of course it's possible, but one of my favorite sayings is: "Just because something is possible doesn't always mean it's a good idea."
  12. fhm555

    fhm555 So FOS my eyes are brown Supporting Member

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    Feb 16, 2011
    It's a school kid trying their best to be creative, who cares if it's real world, innovative, or practical.

    Here's an idea, why not do our best to help them do as well as they possibly can, then let their teacher judge them?

    When I was in school I drew a project of coming up with something new for automobile lighting. My idea was a brake light mounted higher than the tail lights that flashed as the brakes were applied. The harder the brakes were applied the faster it cycled on/off. I drew a couple of concepts sketches, one with the light mounted just below the rear window and another with the light mounted just above the rear window, then after some input from my dad, I drew a third with the light mounted inside the car on the rear package shelf with a tunnel between the light and glass so it wouldn't distract the driver by flashing inside the cabin when actuated.

    I had more people tell me it was foolish than thought it was a good idea. I received a B+ with a note telling me it was an awful idea but because of the quality of my presentation it was worthy of a B.

    Oddly enough today we have a third brake light on our cars. it doesn't flash to let us know how hard the car ahead is braking, but I did manage to get it half right in spite of all those people telling me how silly, impractical, unnecessary, my idea was. Go figure.
  13. Jay2U

    Jay2U Not as bad as he lóòks Supporting Member

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    Interchangeable pickups isn't the solution. Pickups which can be used both single coil and humbucking, parallel and series, that's a nice feature. G&L already offers these possibilities. A variable pickup position might be an option. Make it adjustable between the bridge and the neck and wire it for humbucking and single coil operation. It offers any pickup position and the sound of jazz, precision and t-bird basses.
  14. Immigrant

    Immigrant

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    Jul 2, 2010
    Location:
    West of Stumptown, USA
    The Bob Daisley Black Beauty uses a concept you might borrow. Odd Google it and supply a link or two, but I'm too lazy for that.
  15. lz4005

    lz4005

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    Oct 22, 2013
    You had a good idea that other people were wrong about.

    OP has a bad idea that other people are right about.
  16. line6man

    line6man

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    Close to Los Angeles, CA
    Not to be negative, but as others have pointed out, it's a flawed concept. Pickups have nothing to do with whether you are in a stadium or a bar, and people usually have multiple instruments for reasons other than pickup choice. (Multiple tunings, change of scale length, strings, fretted/fretless, etc.) For both versatility and practicality, it is generally a better option to choose switching options and onboard controls than the ability to swap pickups. And that's what the vast majority of players do.

    On the other hand, if you tweak your concept around, the ability to swap pickups easily generally only appeals to people that want a testbed bass to compare and contrast pickups with. Arguably, this is the only real practical application for such a bass. A number of pickup manufacturers and testers keep a bass around with a "swimming pool route" to allow anything to be dropped in for testing. Perhaps you can expand on this with a more elegant solution, such as a sliding mechanism, or flush-mount inserts to fill the open route.
  17. vaskrishnan

    vaskrishnan

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2014
    This is a very short short quick explanation to my idea, i had not heard of any BASS guitar that had interchangeable pick-ups the whole concept is instead of having 30 basses you have 1 where you can easily change out a part, including position etc. This would make the bass more versatile in sound, Jazz bass, and P bass in one. I have explored a need for the market it is limited but there is still a market, this message did not aim to ask whether this bass is viable this post aimed at asking a question about WOOD

    Thank you people that have showed me existing ideas no matter how old they are, those ideas all just change the pick-ups
    I want to change the whole electronics of the bass, being able to change everything about the electronics, except for the jack port, which i will figure our some kind of connection to an electronics base
  18. fhm555

    fhm555 So FOS my eyes are brown Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2011
    And you my friend seem determined to be right no matter how wrong you are.

    Just because the potential is limited does not make it a bad idea.

    At least you've focused your negativity on me instead of the kid so there is some good in that.
  19. GMC

    GMC

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2006
    Location:
    Swindon
    Leo Fender used a mule bass, which was a fender bass neck attached to a body which allowed him to plug in different pickups and more importantly their placement.
    It's not just swapping out coil designs which matter here. Where they are placed along the body is important too. There are certain harmonic sweet spots, J / P / MM pickups are placed on these points.

    [​IMG]
  20. BlueTalon

    BlueTalon Happy Cynic

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    Hey sourpuss, put a cork in it. A lot of inventions have been happy accidents, stemming from attempts to solve related problems, or even unrelated problems.

    This kid has an idea, and I think it's worth pursuing. He might not ever have a viable product, but who cares? All he needs at this stage is proof of concept. If he comes up with an idea and method that works, if it is not exactly identical to one that already exists, it counts as a success.

    The exciting possibility that I see is what problems he encounters during the project, and what ideas he has in overcoming them. He may get finished with his project, and have one part of it really bother him because he knows there has to be a better way of doing it... then come up with an idea for doing it better, and doing the project again. The next thing we know, the world has another inventor!

    And if nothing else, worst case scenario, the experience he gains from this project will serve him well if he ever does anything working on guitars in the future.
  21. BlueTalon

    BlueTalon Happy Cynic

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    Yeah, I wouldn't be concerned about that. At all. Those "harmonic sweet spots" only exist where they are when the strings are open. Once you start playing up and down the neck, the harmonic nodes are moving all over the place. Any attempt to pin down one or two optimum spots for pickups based on harmonics is an exercise in futility or self delusion.

    Where a pickup is placed certainly does affect the sound. Closer to the neck = deeper and richer, closer to the bridge = tighter and more middy. But it has nothing to do with harmonic sweet spots -- at least, not for a bass that's being played.

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