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5-string pickup on a 4-string bass...

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by amper, Dec 19, 2002.

  1. amper


    Dec 4, 2002
    I was wondering...

    What would happen if you used a 5-string pickup on a 4-string instrument? As long as the two pickups were designed for the same inter-string spacing, you'd end up with something that looks like this:


    What would it sound like? Has anyone tried this?
  2. Bass Kahuna

    Bass Kahuna

    Dec 3, 2002
    West Lafayette, Indiana
    Luthier, Custom Builder
    It should work okay.

    The pickup senses with a combination of the pickup windings on the bobbin and the magnet. It creates a magnetic field that extends beyond just the top of the magnets, and it should sound fine.
  3. Bonafide


    Oct 15, 2002
    In reality (And according Seymour Duncan) it would be ideal.
    The only true 'flaw' in pickup design is the pole spacing .
    A humbucker for example has 6 poles, only the 2-4 strings have a magnetic field on both sides. The Low E and High E strings do not. The pickup isn't as balanced as it should or could be. Same applies to Bass pickups.
    No one is interested in making pickups longer/bigger and more costly. Tradition reigns on.
  4. Skerik1


    Sep 21, 2002
    Saint Paul, MN
    ...it's a pickup with just one solid metal bar going accorss the span of all the strings like with EMG's. You could put it anywhere and it would work.

  5. JOME77

    JOME77 Supporting Member

    Aug 18, 2002
    Until today I would have assumed that would be true. However, when I installed a new neck on my 5-string Jazz (Bartolini P/U's) I had to adjust the bridge string saddles (side-to-side spacing) slightly. After I finished the assembly of the bass, I plugged it in the amp and the "G" string sounded very think and had a chorus sound to it. I adjusted the P/U hgt., changed the string (even though it sounded fine unamplified), changed the battery, tried bridge P/U only, neck P/U only and checked everything I knew to check but could not figure out the problem. I knew I had seen this problem before on P/U's with pole peices before so just for kicks I moved the "G" string saddle closer to the end of the P/U's. The problem went away! Maybe Bart's don't have a single magnet/bar. :confused:
  6. Bonafide


    Oct 15, 2002
    Actually that is true.
    Not just Barts but any 5-string pickup doesn't have a single bar magnet, they are too short. Usually 5 and 6 string pickups use a reverse P or P shape magnet configuration. Often time the 2 magnets aren't touching where they meet end to end and this causes a 'dead' spot on the pickup. This dead spot usually isn't a problem unless you try to use the pickup for something other than it's intended use, like using a 6 string pickup with a 5 string spacing etc.
    The 'solid metal bar' going across a pickup is simply a large pole piece.

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