best suited pickups for series wiring in a jazz style bass

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Drawoh, May 7, 2019.

  1. Drawoh


    Apr 23, 2019
    I have been reading up on how pups can be wired in parallel or series and this effects the tone/sound. Particularly with jazz style bass's.

    Im considering modding a cheap jazz style bass with a switch for doing just this. As the guitar is going to be cheap, i intend to replace the pickups anyway (and pots/caps if needed)

    Should this only be done with scooped single coils due to how much mids is produced and treble attenuated? Or is the effect not that drastic?

    I like a seriously over the top beefy sound like you hear in reggae bands (I know a lot of you find that unmusical and dull), so I dont mind gaining this as long as it is not completely unusable mush that will useless in a mix...

    For those who have experience or know how in this, how would you describe the following pups put into series to each other (while in series to themselves if already split coils):

    Seymour Duncan -
    Quarter Pounders
    Hot for jazz
    Hot stack

    Dimarzio -
    Model J
    Area J

    Would any of the above be a no go, for this kind of full series mode? Im interested in the above ones, as I understand from reading other posts, that single coil scooped/low output would be fine. So im curious as to how how pups with hotter output would work in full series.

    Looking forward to learning from you all.

    Many thanks :)
  2. micguy


    May 17, 2011
    The comb filtering that occurs when you have two pickups operating - what gives you the "scoop" depends on the pickups' physical positions - wiring them in series or parallel, or changing the brand or model of pickup, does not change that at all. 2 pickups operating on a J=scoop. No way around that.

    Changing pickups (or putting them in series or parallel) changes the amount of high mids and treble - it's the interaction of their impedance with the cable capacitance that determines that. In general, hotter pickups in series might take you further down the more mids/less treble road than you want to go - I'd stick with more normal output pickups for that.
    Bassamatic, jw23mind and sikamikanico like this.
  3. sikamikanico


    Mar 17, 2004
    Yup, I don't see hot/middy pickups working well for this. With Model Js, however, you can wire them in parallel individually, then series together, so that might work. Otherwise, I'd go with a more vintage set, like Duncan vintage J, or DiMarzio Area (which I think are humcancelling, which is nice). I'd also seriously consider Wilde J-45, though they're slightly more than those above ($160 for a set, I believe).

    But frankly, I'm not sure if series wiring will work for reggae that well. I consider that more of a rock tone, with higher output and beefy mids. I think for reggae, solo neck pickup would work better, then shape that with the tone control (maybe try a .68 or .1 uF cap) and EQ. In this case, I'd strongly advise not using single coils, to avoid hum. Wilde or DiMarzio Area J should work well for that, I think.
  4. Yahboy


    May 21, 2008
    To OP,

    From what you mention above, I suggest you buy an Ibanez SR300E instead.
    Built in Series and parralle switch along with 3 band EQ and pretty nice sounding Powerspan Pickup.
    I own one in past. But sold.
    Because banama neck problem.:D
    Suggest you try it at your local GC if possible.
  5. Zoobiedood

    Zoobiedood Commercial User

    Sep 1, 2015
    Writer/Ambassador/Artist/Resident Bass Expert for Seymour Duncan
    For series, I would consider only vintage-output pickups. It gets really muddy very fast if the pickups have a higher output.
  6. Killed_by_Death

    Killed_by_Death Snaggletooth Inactive

    They have a switch for series, coil-splitting, & coil-splitting with a perceived bass boost.
    Yeah I know, they call it "Tap" & "Power Tap", but that's a misnomer.

    The PowerSpan pickups are great, but they only have 3 wires, which makes it impossible to wire them in parallel.
    The necks on Standard Ibanez can be flimsy, so just look out for that.

    A good trick is to try down-tuning them & see if it remains playable or if the strings just go flat against the fret-board.
    All my instruments can be down-tuned to C Standard from E & remain playable, but one has Titanium bars in the neck & the other is a roasted neck.

    However, I did recently pick up a RGA that also has a really stiff neck, but it was made in 2009.

    Also, the Series on the SR300E is intrapickup series, not interpickup series like the OP is after.
    Yahboy likes this.
  7. bigtone23


    Dec 10, 2014
    Denver, CO
    I have a Peavey Foundation with the Super Ferrites and did a series mod to it. Those pickups sound great in parallel and series as they aren't hot nor dark.
  8. Drawoh


    Apr 23, 2019
    Thanks for all the replies - some good info to think about :)
  9. Drawoh


    Apr 23, 2019
    I have read that the scoop on a dual pickup guitar like the Jazz, is around the 500hz mark. Let me know if I am understanding this correctly - would putting the pups in series only raise the high mids (above the scoop) and dampen the treble, but otherwise keep the eq curve that the 2 pickups place in the middle and bridge positions inherantly gives?
  10. Seymour Duncan quarter pounds in parallel (standard jazz bass wiring) with steel rounds. The bass is actually quite bright, but with some eq you can get that reggae tone. The old school reggae tones are mostly passive jazz basses with flats or dead rounds. For more modern tones, I would go to an active preamp and passive soapbar pickup setup. That said, it is doable with a passive jazz, just learn how to control your high end with your right hand technique.

    Zoobiedood likes this.
  11. micguy


    May 17, 2011
    You understand most of what’s going on. The place where you need a bit more info is that the “scoop” isn’t one dip in the frequency response, it’s a series of dips (and peaks) that start in the low mids and continue upwards. One more thing....

    The comb filter is a wavelength filter - as the velocity of wave propagation on a string depends on its tuning, there are actually 4 filters - each string has its dips and peaks at different frequencies. So, there is not a single answer for where the “scoop” is - on the G string, for example, the first dip is about 2.5 times the frequency that it is on the E string. If you detune a string, the dips move. I have a bass tuned in D standard - because of all this, it sounds different than an E tuned bass.

    One final point to ponder - as each string has its own comb filter, there is literally no way to undo these filters via eq, without having a pickup (and eq) for every string, and combining the string’s signals AFTER the 4 eq’s. So, if someone tells you they can make a P sound like a J with both pickups on, or the other way 'round, they may think they can, but the Physics says otherwise.
    Last edited: May 8, 2019
  12. nilorius

    nilorius Inactive

    Oct 27, 2016
    Riga - Latvia
    Bartolini, Aguilar.
  13. Drawoh


    Apr 23, 2019
    Ah I see - i think i see it, although it is still a bit much to fully understand lol.

    So because the pups are far apart, even in series they will never act like a proper humbucker (2 coils in series side by side)

    With this in mind, im thinking of maybe just finding the thickest/fattest sounding single pickup to put in the neck position, and just run that on its own - or get a P bass instead - as that will solve the scoop issue?
  14. NKBassman

    NKBassman Lvl 10 Nerd Supporting Member

    Jun 16, 2009
    Winnipeg, MB, Canada
  15. CallMeAl


    Dec 2, 2016
    Ithaca Ny
    ^^^all these things. Plus roll tone down. I did series on a Peavey Jazz style bass, and found to to be to muddy, switched to a P bass- but I'm not playing Reggae. I would think get a jazz bass you like the sound of as is. Series wiring is cheap enough to test out, it wont be a loss if it doesn't work out.
  16. Bikeguy57

    Bikeguy57 Supporting Member

    I’m using model J’s with a series/parallel switch. Ballsy deep sound in series. Love it.
  17. I happen to have the Area Js wired so I can switch between series and parallel.

    First of all, the Area Js sound amazing. They sound believably close to single coils, but without the hum.

    Honestly, I very rarely use the pickups in series. I pretty much have the switch because I already drilled the hole for the switch. As some people have already mentioned, the pickups in series are definitely more beefy, but things also get pretty muddy, which I don't like very much. I tend to just solo the neck pickup with the tone rolled off most of the time as oppose to using the pickups in series.
    alanloomis1980 likes this.
  18. bigtone23


    Dec 10, 2014
    Denver, CO
    If you replace one volume knob (assuming VVT on a Jazz) with a push/pull to do series, the capability is always there and you didn't irreversibly drill or modify the instrument to do so.
    Jinglesmeowmeow likes this.
  19. Ric5

    Ric5 Inactive

    Jan 29, 2008
    I like 5, 8, 10, and 12 string basses
    if you are going to wire in series then you want to start out with a weaker pickup … 2 11k ohm pickups wired in series will make a 22k ohm output. Get 2 7 or 8 k ohm pickups and wire them in series for a 14 or 16k ohm output.

    try wiring the existing pickups in series
  20. Killed_by_Death

    Killed_by_Death Snaggletooth Inactive

    Output isn't measured in Ohms. It should be measured in Volts or milliVolts.
    The DC Resistance measurements just give us a general idea of how many loops are in the coil.