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Coil tap in a P-bass...how?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by addylewis, Aug 2, 2005.

  1. I'm interested in getting a seymour duncan spb2 or 3 and wiring a coil tap, how would I do it and what exactly would a coil tap do, use one half/other half/both halfs of the pickup or what?
  2. Nedmundo

    Nedmundo Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2005
    On a P-bass, a coil splitter (frequently called a tap) would be useless, because each coil senses two strings. Thus, splitting the coils would cut the output from two strings.

    You really want a series/parallel switch, like the S-1 on Fender's American Series basses. The coils are normally in series, and when they're switched to parallel, the sound thins out a bit and high end increases. I don't have much use for this on a P-bass, but the S-1 is pretty useful on the Jazz, because switching those pickups to series gives a beefy humbucking tone.
  3. TheEmptyCell

    TheEmptyCell Bearded Dingwall Enthusiast

    Jul 16, 2005
    Belfast, UK
    Yeah, you mean a series/parallel switch. I couldn't tell ya how to wire one, but I know my fretless 4 has that function on a push-pull volume knob.
  4. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    Coil tap in a P-bass would be useless. You would only be able to use either the E and A strings or the D and G at a time. You're probably looking at a series/parallel switch. Instructions for installation can be found at the Dimarzio site here: http://www.dimarzio.com/Text/Install/ModelP.pdf
  5. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    My understanding is that coil split and coil tap are two different things, even though the terms are sometimes substituted for each other incorrectly. Coil splitting is done with humbucking pickups that span all strings: switching between one or both coils of a humbucker is typical. As noted, this won't work with a P-bass pickup because each coil only senses half the strings.

    I believe coil tapping is using part or all of the windings on the pickup bobbin(s): there are multiple taps into the windings. This changes output and tone. I think it's typically used by guitarists, not so much by bassists. I'm not sure if any coil-tappable bass pickups are made.

    Coil splitting and series/parallel wiring are very common for bassists.
  6. say if I got a humbucker p-bass pickup, couldn't I supposedly switch it from humbucker to single coil with a switch? - my mates got a cheap p-bass which someone modified with a switch before he got it...it changes the sound - does this mean that I could possibly have 2 switches for different things if I got a humbucker pickup? or is there still only one tone modification possible by a single switch?

    I guess for a P humbucker it'd probably be a single switch (if I wanna use all 4 strings at once?)
  7. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    All split-coil P-bass pickups are humbucking... they just work differently than dual-coil guitar pickups. In theory you could use just one coil at a time, but because each coil only senses two strings, if you switched to a single coil then you would only hear two strings. Most people would consider that undesirable. :p

    Again, all split-coil P-bass pickups are humbucking: the two single coils work together to make one humbucker. If your mate's modded P-bass is passive, the single switch you saw is almost certainly a series/parallel switch. Those can be useful. If the bass is active (has a built-in preamp and/or EQ) then the switch could be something else.

    Bottom line: for coil-splitting, you need a MusicMan style humbucker: each coil senses all four strings.
  8. cool, cheers man