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Dual precision pickups, polarity question

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by fretlessman71, Mar 21, 2013.

  1. First of all, I stink at soldering, and I don't want to waste my repair person's time for a whim...

    Got an old Squier P bass with TWO sets of P pickups. They failed, I had them replaced, and something didn't sound quite right. It's got a lack of clarity on the E & A strings (yes, it could be the strings).

    I have a cool polarity tester that was able to tell me that:

    - The neck P pickup is South on the E & A coil, and North on the D & G

    - The Bridge P pickup is NORTH on the E & A, and SOUTH on the D & G.

    Is this right? wrong? neither? Is there a "best" way to do this? Is it worth sending to my repairman? What else could it be?
  2. audioglenn


    Jul 14, 2012
    What kind of controls do you have on the bass? Is it set up like a jazz with V-V-T? What you are describing is one pickup polarity is inverted from the other.
  3. One volume, one tone, like a standard P, but with two sets of pickups. (Yeah, I know.)

    I had a friend install the pickups; I don't even know how they were wired in the first place, or how they're supposed to be wired in this situation...

    EDIT: I should add that an hour's worth of searching for an online schematic was fruitless (trying to search for something with "P" in the title is frustrating at best).
  4. That's the way you want it. One coil pushing and one pulling, rather than two exerting the same force on the strings. Other than that, it makes absolutely no difference whatsoever, unless the coils are individually voiced for a certain string pair. (And that's unusual.)
  5. Magnetic polarity and electric polarity need to be opposite each other. What you mean is phase inversion, where the output waveforms are out of phase because either the magnets or the coils have the same polarity.
  6. audioglenn


    Jul 14, 2012
    Thank you, line6man. I stand corrected. You're right...I was thinking of phase inversion. Too much time in the studio.
  7. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    They are both exerting the same pulling force on the string. The string doesn't care what polarity a magnet is it, it wants to stick to it! Until Fender started doing the RWRP middle pickup on Strats, they were all South up.

    The polarity only matters to the signal, which is how they hum cancel.

    It shouldn't matter if the two pickups have the same polarity magnets under the same strings, since each is a humbucker.

    If they end up out of phase, just reverse the wires on one of the pickups.
  8. Still waiting for my multimeter (I'm a n00b at this), so maybe I can test if something is out of phase when it gets here tomorrow. Thanks everyone (and it still may be the strings!)...

    Where can I find a schematic for an oddball setup like this? It was stock, I know that...
  9. A schematic for what? You just mentioned one volume and tone. Is there a pickup selector switch, or are the pickups parallel to each other?

    In any case, it's not that complicated. I'll draw one if you want it.


    Jun 20, 2011
    Hey I have a question to add to this thread; I got a set of bartolinis in the mail and one is labeled treble and the other bass. My immediate thought is treble goes towards the bridge. Any thoughts?

  11. More accurately, I bet it means that Treble is for the D & G strings. But on most P basses that's the same thing (my Ibanez bass reverses the coil positions for example).
  12. You're hired. :hyper:

    I guess the pickups are parallel to each other; I don't know enough about this stuff yet. Would series wiring or parallel wiring be a bigger sound?

    No pickup switching of any kind. Not the most logical wiring scheme, but this is from the early days of Squier...
  13. Series wiring probably wouldn't sound good. It would be very hot and midrangey.

    The wiring would be the same as a standard P bass, but with both pickup hots together and both pickup grounds together.


    Jun 20, 2011
    No, not p bass; soapbars.
  15. petrus61

    petrus61 Supporting Member

    Many soap bars are often just housing a split single coil pickup...essentially a precision pickup with a soap bar sized cover over it.
  16. You can run an allen wrench over the pickup to see where the magnets are. And since I misunderstood your original question, I think you're right; treble means bridge.

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