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Best Pickup Configuration

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by allexcosta, Mar 21, 2009.

  1. P

    12 vote(s)
  2. J + J

    47 vote(s)
  3. P + J

    30 vote(s)
  4. P + MM

    6 vote(s)
  5. J + MM

    25 vote(s)
  6. Reverse P + MM

    5 vote(s)
  7. MM

    11 vote(s)
  8. Reverse P

    0 vote(s)
  9. Reverse P + J

    7 vote(s)
  10. MM + MM

    7 vote(s)
  11. J + J + J

    1 vote(s)
  12. P + P

    2 vote(s)
  13. Reverse P + Reverse P

    0 vote(s)
  14. P + Reverse P

    3 vote(s)
  15. Reverse P + P

    0 vote(s)
  16. Soapbar

    1 vote(s)
  17. Soapbar + Soapbar

    33 vote(s)
  18. J + Soapbar

    5 vote(s)
  19. P + Soapbar

    1 vote(s)
  20. Carrot Humbuckers

    17 vote(s)
  1. They all have merits, or they just wouldn’t be…

    Personally, although I don’t own one…I voted J + MM…I love J + J… MM’s are great at times (not always) with J + MM you can get MM or J + J or J +MM

    MM + MM is a bit too much for me, although it has the same merits as the J + MM (+ more)…

    The only trouble I find with buckers is that they always sound a bit too “middly” for me…I LIKE the clarity of single coils…

    And don’t even get me started on P’s…they’re a whole different animal and to me, sound completely awesome in their own right…

    So do I have a favourite? Yes
    Does my favourite get all my favourite sounds? Not at all
  2. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    i say basses should have 2 coils, no more, no less, so for me it's Ps, Js and stingrays. (and the occasional ric). any less and you have a noisy "roots rock" instrument, any more and it starts to lose its "identity" in the mix.
  3. allexcosta


    Apr 7, 2004
    Never thought about it, but kind of makes sense. So, no humcancelling JJ's for you, correct?
  4. hmmmm...sounds a bit oversimplified to me...

    there's something to the idea of only USING 2-coils at a time, I admit...but having more than two available (for tonal variety), is not a bad thing at all
  5. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    That's an over generalization. P's are technically single coil pickups, since no string is sensed by both coils. J's are two coils, but who uses both pickups on at the same time all the time? I sure don't. Stingrays are humbuckers. But humbuckers give you a composite signal, so they really count as one coil. So two humbuckers are not really 4 coils. Rics have two pickups, and they don't hum cancel when they are both on.

    The thing is, just because you have two pickup on a bass doesn't mean you should have them both on at the same time, all the time. However, if you have the right pickups, they will enhance each other when both on, and function as one pickup.

    I can attest that often this works better in a mix in the recordings I've done. My bass doesn't loose it's identity and you can hear it just fine.

    Ultimately the number of coils you use does not dictate the tone you get... that's up to the player and how he or she has her tone set.
    I can make my neck humbucker sound like a P bass, and make the bridge humbucker sound like a Jazz. But I have the "wrong" number of coils. ;)
  6. bassike


    Apr 24, 2008
    I voted soapbar + soapbar, or just soapbar bridge position are good too.

    I'd like to have an opinion on the other configurations but i've never had a P+P bass or other unusual configurations.
  7. kirkm24


    Jan 1, 2007
    Columbus, Ohio
    Based on what I tried and played up to this point, I'd say J+J. It just seems to work for anything.

    Doesn't Bootsy's famous "Star" bass have 4 P's?
  8. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    you're right, of course.:p

    i'm biased towards leo's "big 3" (although i believe mr. ernie ball was involved in the original stingray design), but real musicians know that "it's the indian, not the arrow".
  9. Stealth


    Feb 5, 2008
    Zagreb, Croatia
    Should've been a multi-selection poll... But I'll go with J+MM.
  10. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    Pretty much.... I'm sure leo did the pickup, because pickups were his favorite thing to design... from Wikipedia:

    The Music Man story began in 1971 when Forrest White and Tom Walker talked with Leo Fender about starting a company they would call Tri-Sonic, Inc. White had started working with Leo in the very early days of Fender Electric Instrument Manufacturing Company as the plant manager and stayed on after the company was sold to the CBS Corporation, but had grown unhappy with their management. Tom Walker worked as a sales rep at Fender. Because of a ten year non-compete clause in the 1965 contract that sold Fender to CBS, Leo Fender was a silent partner.

    The name of this partnership was changed to Musitek, Inc. by 1973 and in January 1974 the final name, Music Man, appeared. In 1974, the company started producing its first product, an amplifer designed by Leo Fender and Tom Walker called the "Sixty Five".

    This wasn't Fender's sole enterprise however. He also owned and ran a consulting firm called CLF Research (Clarence Leo Fender) in Fullerton, California. By 1976, it had built a manufacturing facility for musical instruments and was contracted to make Music Man products. In June 1976, production started on guitars and in August basses followed. The 1976 catalogue shows the first offerings; A two pickup guitar called the "StingRay 1" and the StingRay Bass. Both instruments featured bolt on neck designs; the basses featured a distinctive 3+1 tuner arrangement that should help eliminate "dead spots" while the guitars came with a traditional, Fender-style 6-on-a-side tuner array. The StingRay Bass featured a single large humbucking pickup (located somewhat toward but not adjacent to the bridge) with a two-band fixed-frequency EQ. A row of string mutes sat on the bridge. Basses were produced in fretted and fretless versions.

    These instruments were designed by Leo Fender and Forrest White. Sterling Ball assisted in the design of the bass. Tom Walker played a large part in the design of the bass preamp. CLF Research and Music Man were treated as separate companies, headed by Leo Fender and Tommy Walker, respectively. Fender made the guitars and basses, while Walker's company made the amplifiers and sold accessories.

    The instruments were made at CLF, and shipped to Music Man's warehouse, where each instrument was inspected and tested. Problems with fibers in the finish caused Music Man's inspectors to reject a high percentage of the instruments, and return them to CLF for refinishing. Since Music Man didn't pay CLF Research until the instrument finishes were deemed acceptable, a rift developed between CLF and Music Man over payment.

    Low sales stressed the staff. The company's internal conflicts caused Leo Fender to form another partnership. Paul Bechtoldt author of "G&L: Leo's Legacy" describes the situation. "Leo had decided to market guitars under another name besides Music Man in 10/79 due to tension between CLF and Music Man. Production of bodies and necks for both Music Man and G&L were concurrent up to and including March 1981. G&L was incorporated May 1980, although some early models with the moniker "G&L" have body dates from March 1980."
    Other incidents point to a later date for CLF's exit. Sterling Ball, the current owner of Music Man, describes the circumstances and confusion regarding this era on the Ernie Ball website forum:

    "Here is the problem...most of these guys are dead so trying to correct the record becomes more and more difficult. Tommy, Leo, Forrest and quite a few more are no longer with us. I can tell you that Leo was very disappointed that his stingray and sabre guitars didn't sell and that was the basis for G&L. G&L (GEORGE AND LEO) was started at CLF behind Music Man's back and coincidence or other CLF made 2,500 Music man bass necks with straight truss rods. Tommy was forced to go to a young upstart Grover Jackson to make the basses. Grover was the one who introduced the trans finishes. I often asked Tommy why he didn't sue over the suspect necks and he replied "My daddy didn't raise me like that".


    Feb 2, 2005
    S. Carolina
    OK, I am ready to learn again.
    What is ... Carrot humbucker?
  12. They're nice, but I think the baconbucker is going o make them obsolete.
  13. allexcosta


    Apr 7, 2004
    Just wait until you try açaí soapbars...
  14. PSPookie


    Aug 13, 2006
    Lubbock, TX
    J + MM
    I like the mid character of a bridge 'bucker with a little extra thump courtesy of the neck SC.
  15. Darkstrike

    Darkstrike Return Of The King!

    Sep 14, 2007
    I'll take these please.



    You also missed out on standard humbuckers, mudbuckers, split and stacked jazz's, and a few more.
  16. allexcosta


    Apr 7, 2004
    Polls are 20 max...
  17. J+MM, J+J, MM+MM then Soapbars
  18. Darkstrike

    Darkstrike Return Of The King!

    Sep 14, 2007
    Quite a few of the ones you did choose are very similar to another though.
    Not all really necessary.

    Like P+P, Reverse P + Reverse P, P+ Reverse P etc.
  19. There's an all-important question that was not asked here that makes this poll difficult to answer:

    Context! Context! Context! :)

    To choose one as the all-time best is difficult because what's best in one context may be far from best in another. Okay, what's your personal favorite? Well, again, context.


    For Passive Fretted: Probably JJ (2nd best PJ)

    For Active Fretted: Probably M (2nd Best SS) (maybe the other way around)

    For Active Fretless: Probably SS (2nd Best M)

    For Passive Fretless: probably PJ (2nd Best JJ)

    But this poll is interested in which is best overall, not, which is best in the given circumstances. For the one who only has one bass, this is an easy vote, but I have two of the four above (passive fretted JJ, and active fretless SS), and some have all the above and more, so for me, and for most of them, this is a toughie.

    I'm not going to vote right away because I have to think about this. Do vote JJ or SS? Which do I use more? Which do I like more, etc. etc. etc.

    This poll is a really neat idea, but what would've made it really awesome would've been to setup a 4+ question poll, one for each of the different contexts of basses (and/or styles, etc) and then answering would be a cinch! :)

    God Bless!

  20. allexcosta


    Apr 7, 2004
    Oh, they are not... Not at all... I bet you've never played a bass with Reverse P's... A totally different world. Much, much better actually...

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