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Altering a P-bass pickup?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Sonorous, Nov 22, 2004.


  1. Sonorous

    Sonorous

    Oct 1, 2003
    Denton, TX
    Is it possible?

    I've got a fretless SX P-bass and while it sounds fine, I was wondering if there is any kind of tinkering I could do to change it.
     
  2. If you can get to it you could cut the wire inbetween the two sections of the pup, extend those and you get the option of parallel wiring. Mucking around with the cap values gives you options with how your tone knob will change the sound.

    Josh D
     
  3. Sonorous

    Sonorous

    Oct 1, 2003
    Denton, TX
  4. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    that's about all you can do with the pickup, short of changing it or rewinding it.

    Do you have something in mind you're looking for, a certain sound? Or is it just tinkering for tinkering's sake (nothing wrong with it, I've done plenty of that)
     
  5. hey david, its funny you say rewiring the pickup, because a while back i asked about rewiring pickups (with no replies) since you mentioned it, maybe you know something about it? i am just interested!
     
  6. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    no, absolutely nothing, sorry! I just mentioned it as an option, although I'm not sure it would be worth doing on an sx.
     
  7. Sonorous

    Sonorous

    Oct 1, 2003
    Denton, TX
    While it is close to being tinkering just to tinker, I wouldn't mind the pickup being a tad darker.

    Re-wiring is a feasible option, I've certainly got the time to do it. After all, I am on Thanksgiving break. Information on that would be nice, as would anything about changing the cap value.
     
  8. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    I was having a brain fart, meant to say rewinding. Honestly, you'd be better off spending the money on a new pickup. Dimarzio Model P can be had for $60 new, or less used.
    Look on ebay, or here in the classifieds (I have a couple of P pickups for sale, as do other people)
     
  9. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    IMHE, parallel/series wiring is pretty much worthless for a P pickup.
    Some people seem to rave about the copper underplate (as explained in an earlier Talkbass mail) but I've never A/Bed it.

    Oh yeah, I've once seen a crazy mod done on a Jim Harley (cheapo korean copies, very common in Europe) as a science project : the kid installed and oscillator into the bass with speed control that panned between the 2 parts of the pickup. The result was amazing, especially when you played octaves.
     
  10. I too have heard of the benefits of the copper underplate thingy but I gave up on that after I couldn't find any copper plate to use.

    The oscillator would be a cool idea too, depends on your style though.

    I wouldn't really reccomend rewinding as an option, I haven't actually wound a pup yet (wire is hard to find/fund) but I have come to the understanding that it is not a simple process. I'd say wind your own pup from scratch because chances are you'll probly give up half-way, after buggering it up several times, leaving you with a stuffed pup. However, if you have the grit and finish the sucker, everything I've read indicates you'll have an incredible sense of self-worth having wound your own pup, whether it sounds good or not.

    For cap value: higher value (~0.05mfd) will give a darker tone as you roll off the tone, lower values (~0.01mfd) will give a brighter tone. Essentially the value of the cap will determine the frequencies, above which, the tone knob will send to ground.

    Josh D
     
  11. Sonorous

    Sonorous

    Oct 1, 2003
    Denton, TX
    Can anyone tell me more about the copper underplate? It sounds like an easy enough modification. What does it do?

    I don't know anything about oscillators, so I think thats out of the question.

    About rewinding a pickup, like I said I've got plenty of time to work with it. I would rather rewind one instead of build my own, if I did that I would have to make the case and get the magnets in addition to the wire.

    How do you adjust the cap value? Is there a little screw you turn or something? Is it on the pickup or on the tone pot? I'd like it to sound less clanky, but not sound muffled and muddy.
     
  12. The copper plate disturbs the magnetic flux (I think thats the right term), of the pup's magnets. I dunno exactly how it changes the sound, run a search, there was a thread a fair while about it.

    Can you get the coils out of the current pup housing? I can't with mine, so when I wind mine I'm gonna have to go the whole hog.

    To change the cap value you have to remove the current one and swap in one of the value you want. Small amount of soldering.

    Josh D
     
  13. Sonorous

    Sonorous

    Oct 1, 2003
    Denton, TX
  14. Couldn't say, you'd have to find out by experiment. I dunno if there will be a 'better' metal to use, because they'll all affect the magnetic field differently.

    Diamagnetic (eg copper) = repels magntic field, therefore should register as a stronger pup magnet.
    Ferromagnetic (eg iron) = attract the field, therefore weaker magnet.
    Paramagnetic = should be the same as Ferromagnetic but not as strong. Thats an educated guess there, not real sure.

    Run a google search for those terms and you'll find a plethora of information.

    Josh D
     
  15. Sonorous

    Sonorous

    Oct 1, 2003
    Denton, TX
    Ok, well I changed the cap value from .0473 (.5) to .1

    I was worried that it would make it sound muddy, but it didn't. It mainly made it sound beefier and darker. The highs don't sound as wussy anymore.

    However, the two extremes of the tone knob are nearly the same. I have to strain to hear a difference in a completley silent room. In a real playing situation the tone knob would be useless. Is this expected to happen, or is something wrong?
     
  16. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    Sonorous, you keep deleting and reposting the same post. Why?

    Changing the cap value on the tone pot should have no noticeable difference with the tone control wide open.
     
  17. Sonorous

    Sonorous

    Oct 1, 2003
    Denton, TX
    Because its not as messy as saying, "Bump." many times.

    Ok, thank you.