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Amplitude of string vibration+MM pickups

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Taylor Livingston, Apr 9, 2003.

  1. Taylor Livingston

    Taylor Livingston Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    Oregon, US
    Owner, Iron Ether Electronics
    Heh. Another crap title.

    Seymour Duncan MM pickups have 3/8" pole pieces. According to Bartolini, the ampiltude of a low B string's vibration can be as much as 1/4". In a doubled-string design (8-string, with octave and regular strings), an octave string can be placed anywhere from 1/8" away from its respective primary string, to maybe 1/2".

    Assuming I'm willing to go as close as 1/8", would it be possible to use an MM pickup for a bass like this? Would 1/8" between octave and bass strings be small enough to keep both strings vibrating in the sensing range of the pole piece, but also big enough to let the low B vibrate without interference from the octave B? Obviously, the B only vibrates 1/8" in each direction, at most, but, seemingly, that wouldn't leave any room for the octave B to vibrate. If I went any bigger than that, I would be afraid the two strings vibrating would go out of the range of the pole piece. What do you think?
  2. Leo Fender used double pole pieces in his Split P design because of bass string movement.

    But.. the MM is much closer to the bridge than is the Split P. I suspect the string movement is much less because of the closer proximity to the bridge.
  3. Taylor Livingston

    Taylor Livingston Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    Oregon, US
    Owner, Iron Ether Electronics
    So do you think it could work?
  4. Bonafide


    Oct 15, 2002
    It's great that you are thinking of any potential problems in advance but in all honesty you don't anything to worry about.

    A pole piece as large as the poles used with a Music Man pickup have a VERY wide magnetic field AND it is a very powerful pickup (That is why (a reason) it is run in parallel). You could not possibly space your octave strings too far away and still have a realistic distance between them.
    1/4" vibration from a low B string, with an octave string placed even 1/2" would still get sufficient magnetic coverage (and output) from a MM pickup if the pole was placed in the center of the 2 strings.
    Even if you fudged you wouldn't have to worry.

    Why not use a soapbar type pickup? You could place the strings as far apart as humanly possible.

    Good luck.
  5. Taylor Livingston

    Taylor Livingston Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    Oregon, US
    Owner, Iron Ether Electronics
    I've thought about a soapbar, but I want that big bottom/sparkly top/no mids that MMs get. I haven't done the practical research (read: playing a ton of basses with a ton of p/u and pre combinations) that I really should.

    If I could get a pretty "scooped" tone with a Duncan soapbar, I'd go for it (though I can't find a place that has them available individually, and I can't afford 2 pickups at this point). I really want to keep it Duncan, because I prefer them over Barts and EMGs, and Barts are too expensive.
  6. Bonafide


    Oct 15, 2002
    Hmmm... In my experience, you have just described the Anti-Music Man sound.

    Music man basses are FAMOUS for their cutting midrange. Straight out of the box, a MM pickup will not have ANY 'scooped' tones. A pre-amp will serve you well regardless of the pickups and certainly help you define that scooped tone. The Seymour Duncan ASB soapbars are excellent pickups, Full range extended frequency response and extremely dynamic. Well worth the dough.

  7. Petebass


    Dec 22, 2002
    QLD Australia
    He seems to like what he hears so his verbal description doesn't have to be perfect. Mids can be anything between 200hz and 2k which is why everyones perception is a little bit different, and why so many people disagree with eachother when discussing mids.

    One point though, I believe part of the signature stingray sound is the pickup placement. It's closer to the bridge than you'd expect on a bass with one pickup. I love em..... fat but punchy at the same time :)
  8. Bonafide


    Oct 15, 2002
    I agree, it is often extremely difficult to 'describe' sound. Being in the field of guitar electronics and pickups I have been hired to help manufacturers choose and define tones for their products, during product 'tone' testing I am often in the position of having to interpret with some sense of accuracy what people mean with 'tone' words. He did say that liked the 'no mids' sound that the MM gets and he is looking for a 'scooped' sound.
    His verbal description doesn't have to be 'right' but it does help to get clarification.
    Many tone quester's aren't entirely sure what they hear. If someone likes the sound of a Music Man bass or pickup, they aren't looking for a 'scooped' mid sound though they haven't learned that yet.

    Also, though mids range from 200hz to 2k (That is a wide spread) typically when discussing mids you are pertaining to FUNDAMENTAL mids. 350hz-800hz (Another wide spread)
    With bass electronics you often find the mid fundamental around 450hz-650hz with a wide Q. That is Music Man mids.
    'Scooped' mid sound would be a total cut in the 450hz-650hz range.

    Ideally the goal is help someone achieve what is in thier head. In my experience,deciphering and interpreting is easiest by asking questions or pointing out something that your client doesn't see or hasn't thought of.

    The Music Man pickup alone (without a pre-amp and wired in Parallel) is bright with a good low end and not to heavy on the mids and may actually work well for conical. The Music Man 'sound' however will not.
    That is ONLY my opinion and subjective to 15,000,000 + variables.

    Let us know what you decide and how it works out.