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EMG P6 into a 5 String Bass - will I encounter a problem with my A string?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by gitarrenhai, Jan 6, 2021.

  1. gitarrenhai


    Aug 19, 2019
    hello there!
    I tried my best looking up if this has been asked or discussed before, but I couldn't find anything. Sorry if there already is a thread somewhere around. Anyway, here's my problem:
    I am going to build a bass body for a neck I have lying around. I was going for a 6 string, but I eventually changed my mind and will go for a 5 instead.
    I already bought a pickup, an EMG P6 (precision style). Now, according to the manual and the EMG site, the sensing area of both PUs is almost across the whole width of the housing.
    As I will now build a 5 string instead of a 6 string, and I hate the look of a shifted P pickup, it'll look something like this (this is not the bass I will put them in):
    my A string will be in the sensing area of both pickups.
    Is this going to become a problem, like will they actually both pick up the A string and make it louder than all the other strings? Or am I missing something here? Has anyone had experience with a case like this or can explain it to me from a technical/electrical viewpoint?
    Thanks in advance!
  2. rwkeating


    Oct 1, 2014
    Those pickups don't have pole pieces (it is a bar) so you can just center them and let the outer edges stick out. It will be symmetrical and you won't have an overlap on the A string. Look at the documentation on the EMG site to see how the bar magnet is laid out in the pickups to see what I'm talking about.
  3. gitarrenhai


    Aug 19, 2019
    Hey, thanks for your response!
    Okay, I knew about the bar magnets. Bars or poles, they don't worry me! :)
    Maybe I lack imagination - how should I arrange the pups to achieve a symmetrical look and not have the A string pickep up twice? I mean, for a 5er, one PU has to pick up three strings, the other one two.
    Is it really going to become a problem when I arrange them as shown in the picture, will the A string actually be picked up twice? I would just test it out, but I don't have a bass right now where I can put the EMGs in without heavily modifying it first.
  4. gitarrenhai


    Aug 19, 2019
    alright, thanks for the feedback!
    Still no technical insight, I guess I‘ll just try and build a makeshift 5 string to test and see if I really should send the P6 back and order a P5 instead.
    take care! :)
  5. rwkeating


    Oct 1, 2014
    I misunderstood. I thought that you meant the pickup being symmetrical with itself (not different sizes like on a 5.) Now I am guessing you meant the pickups being symmetrical to the strings without over lap. That you can't do. This is what I was suggesting.

    gitarrenhai likes this.
  6. gitarrenhai


    Aug 19, 2019
    Thanks! Yea, that's exactly what I meant and what I was trying to avoid. I hate the look of this, one pup halve sticking out and not being used.
    I forgot I still have an experimental project bass lying around. I put the EMGs in there to test how they deal with overlapping sensing areas and it's just like I thought, unfortunately.
    To test this, I actually placed them like this, so the E and G strings are picked up only once by one pup half each and the A and D are picked up twice. The pickups are flat and the E and G are actually a littel closer to them, as they follow the fretboard radius. A and D sound massively louder - the E and G sound thin and weak compared to them. I was going to test this with a db-meter but the first few notes were more than enough to determine this isn't going to work.
    Thanks all for your feedback!
  7. This is a 'thing' regarding five-string PBass pickups: There seems to be no consensus in the industry whether the pickups (and the shells) should be equal size, or a 2-wide/3-wide combination, and makes replacement upgrade pickups problematic.
  8. gitarrenhai


    Aug 19, 2019
    I pondered upon the P5 pickup alternative. I wanted to be sure before I order the set...
    I made this rough graphic of my strings and where the pups would be. I know my string spacing (19mm from string to string), my nut width (43.5mm) and my scale length (35") and arranged the lines accordingly. The pup placement is determined upon measuring a 34" standard pup placement and recalculating it using the rule of three:
    the pickup measurements are taken from the EMG documentation, so I'll take that they are accurate.
    As you can see, the B/E/A side is still a very tight fit. And I haven't taken the string gauge into account yet! The D/G side will stick out a bit further than the other half, which is a no-go for me...
    is there a recommended or maximum string spacing declared for these pups? Only clue I found was for the 40P5, where they say the pickup is designed for "5 string basses that have a standard string spacing" - but what is the "standard" for the guys at EMG?

  9. dwizum

    dwizum Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2018
    Call them and ask - I've always had good luck getting someone intelligent and knowledgeable on the phone at EMG.
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