soapbar is a humbucker, or something else?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by ILLINOX, Nov 25, 2012.


  1. ILLINOX

    ILLINOX

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2011
    i want to make a set of pickups on my own, but i'm apprehensive for some (normal?) reasons:

    1. a soapbar pickup. I've read on some threads that it's just a humbucker in one package and i've read on other threads that it's made with just one magnet as opposed to ___ (the number of strings) magnets.

    Some clarification please, if you will.

    2. As well, making a pickup with one magnet... what are your thoughts?

    3. i see plenty of resources saying "8-10,000 turns for a telecaster pickup" but i want to make bass pickups. I've loved the tone of the Music Mans and the Bartolinis, which i know are very different models but... how many turns, what do more turns do?

    4. an idea for counting turns if i build a winder (drill, sewing machine)?


    thanks guys.
  2. Stealth

    Stealth Supporting Member

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    I can only answer the first two points.

    A soapbar is anything you decide to fit into it. It describes the shape of the pickup shell, not the actual contents, and it doesn't prevent the pickup from having either exposed or closed pole-pieces or blades. It also doesn't prevent the pickup from being a single-coil or a humbucker - if you can wind it to fit, it's a soapbar.

    One example of an open, pole-pieced, single-coil pickup would be the Nordstrand Big Single. An open, pole-pieced humbucking pickup would be their Big Split. A closed bladed pickup would be an EMG-35 (which is a "standard" humbucker).

    As for making pickups with a single magnet, have a look at how Gibson Firebird pickups are made. The use a magnet and two thick blades to cover all strings. It can be scaled up to bass levels.
  3. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned

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    A soapbar is the shape. Originally that name was given to the Gibson P-90, which looked like a bar of soap, and was a single coil. Now its used for any pickup that has a rectangular shape, like an EMG 35, etc.
  4. MPU

    MPU

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    A cheap counter ccan be made of digital bicycle speedometer.
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  6. ILLINOX

    ILLINOX

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    a bicycle speedometer? mmm... i assume it also has a trip meter?
  7. uOpt

    uOpt Supporting Member

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    The most common form of Humbuckers is a single bar magnet at the bottom and passively magnetic polepieces. The passive polepieces can be replaced by passive blades.

    Rod magnets as polepieces are more common in basses, most Fender humbuckers and the MM Stringray.

    Then you have special humbuckers, for example coils turned 90 degrees and using a bar magnet "as polepieces", e.g. in early Firebird and Thunderbird pickups (careful, Gibson messes with this a lot). Originally this was done to make the pickups smaller.
  8. Nev375

    Nev375

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    Soapbars give you that nice "clean" tone.


    ...now back to the thread.
  9. giacomini

    giacomini Supporting Member

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    Then a soapbar and a mudbucker in the same bass would be a paradox!
  10. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol Gold Supporting Member

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    Actually you could even mount a mudbucker into a soapbar.
  11. Nev375

    Nev375

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    I was messing around at home and wired the two in series once and this happened...

    [​IMG]

    I'm not sure I know exactly what the scientific term for the phenomena is, but I can confirm that it created the "brown" note.
  12. giacomini

    giacomini Supporting Member

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    Exactly what I was talking about.
  13. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member

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    A soapbar pickup is a pickup that is shaped like a bar of soap. It can be single coil, bouble coil, series, parallel, etc. It can have alnico magnets, ceramic magnets or other. It can have any number of coils of wire inside. Typically a soapbar will not have exposed poles, but it could have exposed poles.

    Soapbar pickup is a generic term that covers a lot of different pickups.

    Perhaps the OP was confusing the generic term of soap bar pickup with a specific pickup brand like EMG.
  14. MPU

    MPU

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    Yes. I set mine so that one rev of wheel is "1". This way 1km is 1000 turns.
  15. SoVeryTired

    SoVeryTired Endorsing nothing, recommending much Supporting Member

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    It is confusing as some manufacturers or stores advertise the pickups as 'soapbars' wihtout giving any clue what's underneath. My ACG, when completed, will have what looks like a soapbar and a single coil - it'll actually be a split coil under the soapbar cover so is really a P/J.
  16. ILLINOX

    ILLINOX

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    Jun 20, 2011
    any ideas about how much thickness of plastic or wood i can put for a pickup cover before i interfere with the EMF?
  17. Mehve

    Mehve

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    That would make for some pretty small tires.
  18. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned

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    Plastic and wood wont interfere, but it will make the poles too far from the strings if the cover is closed on the top. I would not go any thicker than 1/8" (3mm).

    You can buy plastic covers here:

    http://www.mojotone.com/guitar-parts/pickup-covers-bass
  19. KrisHayes

    KrisHayes

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    Sep 30, 2012
    Typically referring to a "soapbar" means a P90, which is a single coil pickup, but the poster before was right - if you're building your own, whatever magnet you want to fit in there! Plenty of P90-sized humbuckers out there.
  20. ILLINOX

    ILLINOX

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    Jun 20, 2011
    this is an electronic device, or mechanical?
  21. MPU

    MPU

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    Sep 21, 2004
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    Valkeala Finland
    Electronic. Magnet mounted on the winder plate and sensor on the winder.
    Marko

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