1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  

Cons to moving the pickups to a spot with no string harmonics to not cancel out played harmonics?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by NoiseNinja, Mar 31, 2021.


  1. NoiseNinja

    NoiseNinja Experimental-psychedelic-ambient-noise-drone

    Feb 23, 2011
    Denmark
    So the thing is Ibanez chose to place both half of the P and the J on my main Mikro Bass so that the pole pieces lines up exactly with where there are harmonics on the strings, this means that certain harmonics that can be played acoustically are totally cancelled out in the amplified tone, and I happen to love playing harmonics.

    Now the J pickup is not an issue, since I removed that and only got a P pickup installed, but certain harmonics are still cancelled out because the pole pieces of both halves line up exactly beneath spots with natural string harmonics.

    So I was thinking if I were to move the P pickup so that the pole pieces are not placed directly under harmonics spots would I loose anything in terms of the tone they produce, other than it obviously changing slightly due to the different placement of the pickup.

    Does placing the pickups so that their pole pieces line up with harmonics on the strings contribute to a tone with richer harmonic content or will this only have an effect on open strings?

    To me it seems like it could have, cause it seems that picking the strings around the 24th fret harmonic contributes to a richer tone, but I might just be imagining that.

    Just slightly annoys me that I can't use certain harmonics as it is now.
     
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2021
  2. ctmullins

    ctmullins fueled by beer and coconut Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 18, 2008
    MS Gulf Coast
    I'm highly opinionated and extremely self-assured
    In short, moving the pickup a cm or so either way won’t substantially change the tone, but it should help with harmonics. It could also be the response of the pickup; some have more treble roll-off than others.
     
    NoiseNinja likes this.
  3. NoiseNinja

    NoiseNinja Experimental-psychedelic-ambient-noise-drone

    Feb 23, 2011
    Denmark
    Well, it's definitely a case of a couple of harmonics, the one on the 3rd and the one on the 4th fret, being cancelled out, cause I play with a relatively bright snappy tone with a good amount of bite, and those harmonics ring loud and clear when played acoustically, and the harmonics that aren't cancelled out sounds perfectly clear and bell like amplified, while those mentioned are completely muffled when played amplified, just giving off a dead click when picked.

    Not sure if I want to go through the trouble of doing the routing needed but it definitely does annoy me that I can't play those harmonics, and I think it's a shame that Ibanez insisted on aligning the pole pieces of both the 2 P halves and the J right under harmonics spots of the strings, though if I do go through with it I would think that I would only need to move the P pickup, which is the only one I use and got installed, just about 10mm (0.40") or so, as you said, back towards the bridge to fix it and steer clear of string harmonics spots, which would also bring the reverse P a bit closer to the traditional P position, since on the Mikro Bass the P is placed closer to the neck than the traditional P pickup position.

    And you are properly right with a minor relocation like that the impact on the tone would likely be quite minimal, that is at least if we assume that the fact that the pole pieces are lined up perfectly beneath natural occurring harmonics spots of the strings doesn't actually contribute to the character of the tone the pickups produce.

    Though I can't help to think that the fact that all the 3 sections of pole pieces of the pickups lines up perfectly with the harmonics spots of the strings seems a bit too consequent to be a mere coincident, which leads me to believe that whoever designed the bass must have had some kind of reasoning behind doing so, which to me seems likely to be due to tonal concerns.

    But if you or anyone else can confirm that pickup pole pieces lining up perfectly beneath natural occurring hatmonics spots of the strings in fact doesn't contribute to a more harmonically rich tone I would have one less concern about making the decision to slightly relocate the pickup.
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2021
  4. ctmullins

    ctmullins fueled by beer and coconut Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 18, 2008
    MS Gulf Coast
    I'm highly opinionated and extremely self-assured
    I am happy to stake my meager reputation on that assertion.

    Others have wondered about this as well. And you have to remember that the "harmonic" position is actually a node, where the string isn't vibrating at that frequency. If you want to capture all of the overtones, you would want to place the pickups where there aren't any nodes at any of the overtone frequencies. That's nearly impossible, though, especially when considering all of the frets change the string length, and therefore the position of all of the nodes and anti-nodes.
     
    NoiseNinja likes this.
  5. ctmullins

    ctmullins fueled by beer and coconut Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 18, 2008
    MS Gulf Coast
    I'm highly opinionated and extremely self-assured
    From a practical perspective, if you want an instrument with prominent harmonics, you would want a single narrow-aperture pickup with lots of extended treble response, placed close to the bridge. The Q-Tuner comes to mind.
     
    NoiseNinja likes this.
  6. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

     
    May 12, 2021

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.