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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. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    I was pointing out that a P pickup is technically a single coil as far as the signal is concerned. That's not hard to follow, is it?

    How many basses have more than two pickups? (nope, two hum canceling pickups coils as two coils, not four)

    The whole statement made no sense at all. :rollno:

    (Alembic Series I basses have three coils, and are very clear) ;)
  2. Darkstrike

    Darkstrike Return Of The King!

    Sep 14, 2007
    In this case, DiMarzio Jazz pickups count as four coils, and Fender Noiseless, wait, what?:confused:

    I agree with you SDG.
  3. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products

    Right, the DiMarzio Jazz pickup has two coils, but as I mentioned, as far as what senses the strings, it's only one coil per pickup. You can have one coil per string, and it's still one coil per pickup as far as the sound, because there is no phase cancelation going on.

    A regular humbucker gives you a little boost in the lows and mids, and smooths out the top end because of the phase relationship between the coils. Split coil humbuckers act like single coil pickups. They just don't hum.

    When you have two pickups on at the same time in different locations you have a number of things going on. Some frequencies are enhanced while some others are diminished. And the pickups' impedance loads down the other pickup if they are passive.

    I've had three pickups on a bass a few times. My '74 Ric had an added Dimarzio P at one point. I didn't often use them all at the same time, but when I did it wasn't a bad sound. It kind of smoothes things out in the mids.

    More recently I had three EMG soaps on my bass (before I replaced them with my own pickups). I had a 40-P5, a 40-DC and a 40-J. They sounded good together.

    The bass player in the funk band Slave had three pickups on his Jazz bass. He got a cool tone.

    If it works, it works. There is no right and wrong tone, just your tone. :bassist:
  4. I have several m'self. :smug: Truth be told, there aren't many tones I don't like, which is why I have many various configurations. Piezos are great, but I tend to only use them on fretless basses.
  5. Darkstrike

    Darkstrike Return Of The King!

    Sep 14, 2007
    Yup, piezo + frets = horrible clack.:atoz:
  6. Godbody


    May 27, 2008
    YES! Visions of my Jag dance before my eyes...
  7. i voted soap+soap, but i still love my active jazz j+j quarterpounders.
  8. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    sorry, man. i think you're giving my goofy statement more weight than it's worth by arguing with it. :p i'm not trying to be a troll or anything.

    it was really just a back-handed way of expressing my bias towards the earlier designs, the good ones of which all seem to have two actual coils per bass, whether it's a split pair in series (P), two full-lengths in parallel (MM), or two full-lengths adjustable from single operation to parallel (J, Ric).

    i'm really a guitar player who also plays some bass, and it's funny how guitar players are perfectly happy with the old designs, even preferring them, while bass players and builders are usually looking to push the envelope in terms of design (as are you, if that gorgeous monster in your avatar is any indication).

    my theory is that leo's early designs were all about trying to squeeze some headroom out of crappy little tube bass amps, which is why they have such a distinct (some would say limited) character, while advancements in amp and speaker tech now allow for systems that can handle the clarity and bandwidth of modern active instruments, which can be dialed in to sound all sorts of ways. (i guess the MM would be a "transitional" design?)
  9. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    Ah, I got it now. :) Sorry didn't mean to get on your case.

    Leo did try and make things work with the crappy amps, like doing the two poles under the string to soften the attack somewhat, as well as the 4x10's in the Bassman.

    You're right, guitarist like traditional for the most part, while bassist like cutting edge (until recently with the me-too-everyone-has-a-jazz-bass fad.. so it went full circle. First everyone had a P bass, and then the "modern" era came, and now it's back to Fenders for some). My theory on this was always that back in the day we had underpowered amps that never gave a clear tone, and were relegated to being in the background. Bass wasn't considered a "serious" instrument (same with things like tuba, which I used to play).

    Then bass got brighter and clearer and took more of a forward and melodic role in music, so part of that revolution was new technology... round wound strings, higher powered solid state amps, etc.

    So we went from underdog to the guys with the coolest hi-tec gear!


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