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Where exactly is the " sweet spot" pickup placement

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by jibreel, Mar 22, 2010.

  1. jibreel

    jibreel Supporting Member

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    I am modding two basses and actually have the fronts open. One is semi-hollow and the other has a big route.

    I am experimenting with pickup placement.

    Is there an actual measurement for the sweet spot?

    What are the tonal characteristics of the sweet spot?

    Thanks
  2. lug

    lug

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    The "sweet spot" is a myth if you consider both fretted and open notes. Better way to think of it is a balance of power between fundimental and overtone frequencies. Closer to the 12th fret equals greater amount of fundemental in the signal, closer to the bridge equals greater amount of overtones in the signal.
  3. FunkMetalBass

    FunkMetalBass

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    This is a better question for the EBMM forums. I'm sure there's a list laying around with exact measurements for the pickup placement throughout the years.
  4. mongo2

    mongo2

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    "The Sweet Spot" is a total myth and just a way to say, "This bass is better for some esoteric nonsensical reason nobody can explain" in ad copy and on internet boards.
  5. FunkMetalBass

    FunkMetalBass

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    I'm pretty sure the term "sweet spot" refers to specific pickup locations on mainstream basses and guitars. I've most commonly heard it used in reference to a MusicMan Stingray.
  6. mongo2

    mongo2

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    Agreed, there is no single "sweetspot" on a bass, hence the myth. There can be as many sweetspots as marketing departments wish to conjure.

    One of my personal favorite "sweetspots" is the on the original the '51 type P bass.

    Another is on the Audiovox #736.

    Ever heard a Stingray without the preamp? IMO, it's not very "sweet" sounding at all.
  7. JMac4strngr

    JMac4strngr 4th degree Slacker Supporting Member

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    The term "sweetspot" is very subjective. Different style's of basses have different sweetspots...... I think it is a formula determined by the type of pickup that you are using and the placement on the instrument where it sounds the best..... I honestly dont think that there is a measurement that is writen in stone anywhere for a certain pickup, but you could take some measurements off of some factory built basses and go from there.
  8. GlennW

    GlennW Supporting Member

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    It's between the the bridge and the neck.

    Whichever one it's closest to is a matter of personal preference (and the pickup in question).
  9. tdvt

    tdvt Supporting Member

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    I started a thread a little while ago as I was interested in comparing PU placement of various basses.

    PU placement thread

    I had hoped a few more people would add to the list but there are a few dimensions to check out.
  10. bassbenj

    bassbenj

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    I agree. The "sweetspot" is the answer to the question: "If I could only have one pickup of this given type on this particular bass, where should it be placed to give the best and most useful tone?" Examples are the P-bass or a one pickup stingray. Note that the placement in these two cases is quite different.

    I have a Modulus with three pickups and the middle one is supposed to be "sweetspot" and it pretty much is! So what that means is that because of the equally spaced pickups the neck pickup is further up toward the neck than is usually the case. That makes the neck sound darker. That's really what it's all about. As you go toward the neck it sounds deeper and darker and as you have a pickup near the bridge it sounds brighter and higher. In the past people have actually made basses with a pickup that slides from the bridge to the neck to choose your own "sweetspot".
  11. Greevus

    Greevus

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    Subjective myth for sure. Wait....it's the P bass pickup.
  12. Stealth

    Stealth Supporting Member

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    Whoops! Forgot about the thread. Will fill it up soon (tm).
  13. taviswardlaw

    taviswardlaw

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    well if you think back to our founding father pythagoras, and the whole harmonic vibrations of a string then when we think about the way a magnetic pickup works and apply that to all the possible notes on a bass and where their harmonic divisions sit you could find places on the strings that contain the highest concentration of harmonic content. Generally the more harmonic content the more people think of a full, rich, fat and warm tone. Most standard basses seem to set the pickups up underneath one of these harmonic points for the open strings but maybe using a simple algorithm to find spots where there are more of these points close to each other right across the notes you would get a more harmonically rich sound. (i'm thinking i'm talking in very vague, round circles now)... also Carey Nordstrand has a pickup that is two magnets offset which is supposed to help catch greater harmonic content... I'd be inclined to believe it purely because his pickups sound incredible....

    (if you don't know what i'm talking about i'm sure there's a wiki page - in fact:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scale_of_harmonics

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Single_coil_string_anim.gif


    there ya go!)
  14. Rickett Customs

    Rickett Customs

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    Typically, I look for these spots (or at least these spots tend to be the best spots I've found):

    Neck: Between the 2nd and 3rd fret harmonics, only 2 octaves up (past the 24th fret).

    Bridge: Usually no less than 3/8" and no more than 5/8" distance from the bridge.



    YMMV
  15. taviswardlaw

    taviswardlaw

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    i seem to remember seeing a thing on youtube about a program which interprets the harmonic content of a note that's reasonably readily available. I think the guy talking about it was using it to assess his mongolian (?) throat singing (harmonic overtone singing). This could be interesting if it was connected to a pickup on a bass you could move back and forth...

    ... at the end of the days the two things on the side of your head are the best guide though and the ten things growing out of your hands are the biggest factor in tone... :)
  16. taviswardlaw

    taviswardlaw

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  17. nic salsus

    nic salsus

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    Question for all the people saying sweet spots are a myth: How many have owned a bass with a sliding pickup? I already know the answer. NONE. Sitting down with a bass whose p.up slides neck to bridge makes it clear even after a few minutes there ARE sweet spots.

    The reason you don't see sliding pickups are a) expensive, b) ugly and c) builders spend some time figuring out the sweet spots so you don't have to worry about it. This doesn't mean they don't exist.
  18. GlennW

    GlennW Supporting Member

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    I guess in the few days you've been coming here you've surveyed everyone to discover that no one ever owned a Gibson with the sliding pickup.

    Sweet spots might exist until a different fret is played, then it's all out the window.
  19. nic salsus

    nic salsus

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    The gibson p.up has a short range of travel and isn't representative. It's what I thought when I played one and has been echoed by more than one player I've talked to about it.

    And hanging out here isn't the only place to figure out what's out there and what people are using my friend. lol! You might want to consider also that TB has been up and running for a long time....people come and go.
  20. lug

    lug

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    Obviously, your sweet spot would move depending on what fret you fretted (changing the harmonic points along the string due to changing vibrating length). So while you can pick a "sweet spot" for a certain vibrating string length, you certainly can't for a whole range of fretted notes on a string. You can't make general physics change to suit your theory.

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