Do pickups vibrate relative to the strings?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Ross AriaPro, Jan 21, 2014.


  1. Ross AriaPro

    Ross AriaPro

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2013
    I'm not sure how various bass pickups are mounted on the body, but if Fender Jazz singles are screwed right into the body they will vibrate with the body relative to the strings...correct?

    What difference would this make in tone, compared to pickups mounted with rubber washers/gaskets that insulate body vibration?
  2. wvbass

    wvbass Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2004
    I'll have some of what he's having.
  3. petrus61

    petrus61 Supporting Member

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    Dec 18, 2011
    Location:
    Earth
    Try it and see what happens. I'm guessing the difference will be nominal but what have you got to lose? Aren't most Fender pickups mounted on a piece of rubber foam anyway?
  4. FourBanger

    FourBanger

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    Sep 2, 2012
    Location:
    SE Como
    Yes everything connected to the strings will vibrate BUT in most cases very little compared to the strings.
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  6. Ross AriaPro

    Ross AriaPro

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2013
    I dont know...I think the Precision split coil is mounted on rubber washers.

    Are the Jazz pickups also?

    I recall reading about how Eddie Van Halen always screwed his bridge humbucker directly into the wood...as a way of improving the tone, as least to his ears.
  7. Jefff

    Jefff Supporting Member

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    Aug 14, 2013
    Location:
    Chicago
    It seems to me that to make any difference a pickup would have to be screwed TIGHT to the body. Otherwise it would just be hanging by 2 screws.

    You would have no adjustment.
  8. john m

    john m Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2006
    The moving iron (or nickel) in the string is "picked up"
    by the magnetic field that surrounds the coils in the picup.

    Piezo pickups respond to vibrations and turn them into
    electricity. (Piezo tweeters work in reverse).

    Microphones (microphonic pickups) respond to vibration,
    but the moving part -element- is suspended inside the mic.


    Most of our pickups are MAGNETIC.

    Those with more to add--- please do.
  9. lz4005

    lz4005

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2013
    Guitar players have told me that guitar pickups mounted directly to the body react differently in terms of how and when they start to feed back at high volumes than rubber mounted ones. Which makes some sense I guess.

    Whether that's relevant to basses, I don't know.
  10. Ross AriaPro

    Ross AriaPro

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    Dec 27, 2013
  11. Raf Seibert

    Raf Seibert

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2013
    Location:
    Texas
    The pickup doesn't have to move at all to convert the motion of the strings to electrical impulses. Will the pickup vibrate with the vibrations in the body? Sure! However, that isn't a big factor in the electrical signal going to the amp.

    -Raf
  12. wvbass

    wvbass Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2004
    I guarantee you will not hear a difference between mounting your pickup on springs, foam or a wood block. If you do hear a difference, it is because you convinced yourself you would. The time involved in remounting the pickups and the variables involved in changing pickup heights, restringing the bass, and elapsed time pretty much make it impossible to prove or disprove. In cases like this, common sense must prevail.
  13. P Town

    P Town Guest

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2011
    I predict that any movement of a pickup caused by vibrations of body would be so small as to be negligible, and inaudible. I think this could be proven by a careful comparison of the electrical output signal of the pickup under both conditions of operation.
  14. CoarseBass

    CoarseBass

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2002
    Equal and opposite reaction - the strings push as hard on the pickup as the pickup does on the strings.

    Negligible in any case
  15. M0ses

    M0ses

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    Sep 11, 2009
    Location:
    Eastern Wisconsin
    The pickups cannot induce a current in themselves. That doesn't make any physical sense. The movement of the strings inducing a current in the pickups (which are transducers) is what you hear when you plug your bass in. But sure, they can vibrate. A vibration in the pickup will simply mean a shift in the magnetic field's position in space. It's the movement RELATIVE to that field that matters.
  16. petrus61

    petrus61 Supporting Member

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    Dec 18, 2011
    Location:
    Earth
    Any Precision or jazz I've come across has been stock mounted on rubber foam strips...not sure if thats what ylu mean by 'washers'. I can sort of see where the theory applies to guitars but I still think its splitting hairs unless dealing with hollowbodies or microphonic pickups. I would try searching guitar forums.

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