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1 Pup or 2?...Phase cancellation question

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Yamarc, Apr 19, 2003.

  1. Yamarc

    Yamarc Supporting Member

    Jun 25, 2002
    Okemos, MI
    I am getting a custom bass built for me, I have some details to still work out, like the question of 1 pup or 2, also the question of who will build it. I am leaning towards 1 pup because I like to reduce the amount of knobs and gadgets on the bass, I like to change my technique in order to get a differnt sound, ala Anthony Jackson (One of my favorite artists!) What do you guys think? It seems that I can notice some type of phase cancellation between 2 pups when they are set evenly, is this also true? Thanks, Marc
  2. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol Supporting Member

    1 pickup is enough for many people.
    I like 2 pickups but with passive electronics.
    It's all a question of taste.
    The hum cancellation thingy is true.
    Now, assuming it's a humbucker (2 coils wired together), it can be done with a single pickup.
  3. geshel


    Oct 2, 2001
    I don't think he meant hum cancellation, but rather frequency cancellation.

    And yes, it's true - you can't get the same sound with one pickup, no matter where, as you can with two. Of course, the reverse is almost true - you can only get the 1-pickup sound if you have 2, if one of the two is at the same place as the single one would be.
  4. Atshen


    Mar 13, 2003
    Grim Cold Québec
    It's really just a matter of taste, but I think you have a fuller tone with two pickups, maybe because they catch the vibrations of the strings at two different positions.
  5. 12bass


    Jan 2, 2003
    Victoria, Canada
    I have four basses:

    Pedulla Rapture 5 - one Bartolini CX pickup
    Hamer Chaparral 12 - two Lane Poor wide apertures
    Rickenbacker 4001 - two Ric single coil pickups
    Homemade 8-string - one J, one P, and one single coil pickup

    So, which bass do I play the most:

    The Rapture 5!

    Although it has only one pickup, the sound is great where the pickup is positioned. Multiple pickups give you more sounds, but sometimes lack the "sweet spot" tone that you can get from a single pickup bass. On the other hand, you will never get a Jazz bass with both pickups on full sort of sound from a single pickup bass.

    Whenever you have more than one pickup on, you will have frequency addition and cancellation. This can create sounds that neither pickup alone will provide. Usually having both pickups on full give a mid-scooped sound, while blending one way or the other varies the color. If you like to tweak, then two pickups are better than one!

    IMO one pickup basses are easier to "set and forget", because they have one basic sound. My Rapture has a low-mid cut switch and active bass and treble controls, and is consequently quite versatile. That said, however, the tonal variations are variations on one theme. A great theme, though....

    I happen to use a blend of both pickups on my Hamer 12-string and Ric, often favoring one slightly more than the other. It's a different sound than one of single pickups alone.

    A lot of people hate PJ combinations because they don't produce a proper Jazz tone, and the P and J sounds don't mix well together. Whether you want two pickups or not depends a lot whether you like the "two pickup" sound.

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