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Four coil/super versatile pickups

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by barlemniscate, Sep 3, 2020.


  1. barlemniscate

    barlemniscate

    May 8, 2020
    So I've been trying to see how I can my bass super versatile.
    So far the best answer is Sims Quad Coil pickups, imitating a P bass, and J bass, and a Stingray. However, the only part about these pickups that's special (as far as I can tell) is that they're quad coil and can be switched into different configurations (J: two coils next to each other in parallel, P: two across from each other in series, and MM: all four in series). Oh, and they're dumb expensive.
    So my question is this could I take another quad coil pickup and use it in the same way as the Sims pickups - to imitate other basses, that is.
    Here are some examples of quad coil pickups.
    MM4.4 Quad Coil
    Sims Super-Quad Hand Wound Bass Pickups — Sims Guitar Works UK | Super-Quad Pickups, Enfield Bass Guitars, Spray Shop, Custom LEDs, Pickguards, Servicing, Repair
    SPLIT 8 COIL MM HUMBUCKER
    Thank you!
     
  2. barlemniscate

    barlemniscate

    May 8, 2020
    bump
     
  3. sunbeast

    sunbeast Supporting Member

    Jul 19, 2006
    Los Angeles, CA
    There’s no reason you couldn’t do the same with any quad-coil that used the same coil configuration and with all the wires given, but there just aren’t a lot of other quad-coil options set up to work like that out there. Bartolini has made a bunch of quad-coil pickups, but theirs are wired differently than these. Nordstrand makes some quads, but treat each pair as a single hum-cancelling coil and don’t give you the wires to split them up. The only options I’ve seen that are set up for this amount of custom wiring are pricey.

    An important thing to consider is that the tone of a pickup is defined by more than just coil configuration. Different types of pickups have different sized coils, for example a P has short and fairly fat coils while a J has a tall and thin coils. There are tons of split-coil J pickups out there, and they neither sound like a single coil J or a P despite having elements of both of those designs. Still the number of possible option is super enticing!
     
    barlemniscate likes this.
  4. barlemniscate

    barlemniscate

    May 8, 2020
    You can take a P bass pickup and split the two coils from one output to two, so why not do the same with a humbucker? Even if it's two split singles, it's still theoretically possible so long as there's four overall coils.
    I do get what you mean, though, about the coils making a difference. But if Sims can do it pretty well with four coils, I think I can, too!
    And the point is more to get the most usable sounds, rather than the most accurate P/J/etc (although there's bonus points if I can pull off a P tone!).
    Hope this makes sense and isn't rambley.
     
  5. sunbeast

    sunbeast Supporting Member

    Jul 19, 2006
    Los Angeles, CA
    I’m not sure what your first line was in reply to, but if in reply to the lack of available options- the reason it isn’t possible on most available 4-coil pickups is that they hardwire the coils inside in a certain way and epoxy the pickups together so you don’t have access to them. Both the Nordstrand and Bartolini Quad-coil pickups give you 4 conductors to work with, which are the 4 ends of the tall (“Jazz”) dual coils which are hard-wired in series internally. The wiring necessary for what you posted requires 8 conductors, meaning both ends of each of the 4 separate coils. There just aren’t many quad-coil options out there that give you all these wires to work with. Also, the Bartolini quads are actually different in that the two coils that make up the “Jazz” pair on each side are not would RWRP (so no noise-cancelling from each of these pairs, only when the 4 are used together)- they used separate coils because they claim it allows more clarity than a single long coil and not for noise-cancellation.
     
    FugaziBomb likes this.
  6. sunbeast

    sunbeast Supporting Member

    Jul 19, 2006
    Los Angeles, CA
    It could be interesting to take some small-coil pickups and fit them under a humbucker case to make your own quad-coil. There are some cheap Mustang/bullet split-coils on EBay I’ve been eyeing that have quite small coils and could be modified to do this. I may have to put it on my list of experimental projects
     
  7. Hundred proof

    Hundred proof

    Apr 22, 2018
    Nordstrand quad coil in my 2002/EBMM Sterling, split into two separate pickups. Each pickup half feeds its own Audere Classic series preamp. Two separate and discrete pres give you amazing versatility!

    29F0AAC5-4FFC-443D-965B-62DF7A1B522F.jpeg
     
    4StringTheorist and FugaziBomb like this.
  8. dwizum

    dwizum Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2018
    Even though many of the Bart quads aren't wired with individual wiring for each coil, many of the older versions had the begin/end of each coil exposed on the back of the pickup (and then hard-wired into their stock wiring in a default configuration). These can be easily modified by removing the original wiring and adding your own, which gives you full access to each of the 4 coils for the configurations you're describing here.

    Here's an example I grabbed from google:

    fullsizeoutput_160.jpeg
     
  9. rojo412

    rojo412 Sit down, Danny... Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2000
    Cleveland, OH.
    I asked Nordstrand about making a Big Split Man pickup with the ability to run each of the coil leads out to switching and they said they've done it before. This would be custom work, of course, which they don't charge much extra to do, but a pickup like that would be inherently pricey to begin with, even with their "standard" specs.

    This configuration would be different from the usual quad coil setup, as that is typically 2 different humbucking "pickups" (2 coils together, like a standard side-by-side humbucking pickup), wired with singular outputs each, then configured with a 4-wire setup to allow the use of either of those humbucking sides of the pickup as "separate coils". I almost did the custom thing in a recent build, but ended up chickening out and just using the quad coil like it normally came. I will say though, that is still an incredibly versatile arrangement.

    But yeah, with the right custom made pickup and switching configuration, you could make a quad coil pickup do configurations like:
    - Both coils (well, all 4, really)
    - North or south side of the pickup
    - "P" or "Reverse P" configurations
    - And if you get crazy with it, all of these could have various series or parallel wiring options as well.
     
    dwizum likes this.
  10. sunbeast

    sunbeast Supporting Member

    Jul 19, 2006
    Los Angeles, CA
    Bartolini has made a ton of different pickups internally, but most of their original quad-coils were built with each J pair made up of two in-phase coils (so like a single coil pickup split in half, no hum-cancelling): https://bartolini.net/product-category/bass-pickups/bass-soapbars/originalquads/ if you were to get all the wires on one of these pickups, you could still have hum-cancelling P and reverse-P pickup options but the J options would not be hum-cancelling. They make a soapbar called the “2J squared” which is wired like the pickup the OP linked, but may or may not come with this customizable wiring on the rear (quite possible they would do a custom though!)
     
  11. BaileyMan

    BaileyMan Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2012
    San Francisco
    I recently went with a custom order from Delano. Really quick turn around and shipping to US.

    Medium Scale Fretless Warmoth Build

    I looked into many of the options already mentioned. Came down to Bartolini and Delano. Bartolini turn around time was an unknown number of more than several weeks.
     
    sunbeast likes this.
  12. sunbeast

    sunbeast Supporting Member

    Jul 19, 2006
    Los Angeles, CA
    Does your neck pickup have 8 conductors, or is it hard-wired for the options you utilized? Looks like a great bass!
     
  13. BaileyMan

    BaileyMan Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2012
    San Francisco
    It's 4 conductor and is pre-wired for the P / Rev P / all 4 coils. The neck pickup is their standard quad coil. I wanted the Jazz arrangement at the bridge, so I had them put their DJC pickup in a different housing.

    If you're wanting inline (J) and split (P) options in a single quad coil, like has been mentioned by others, it will result in one of those orientations not being hum canceling.

    I am loving the bass with those Delanos in there!
     
    sunbeast likes this.
  14. BaileyMan

    BaileyMan Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2012
    San Francisco
    If you don't mind about the hum canceling bit, try reaching out to Delano. They were pretty happy to work with me. Email response was a little slow, but once my order was placed it was super quick.
     
    sunbeast likes this.
  15. sunbeast

    sunbeast Supporting Member

    Jul 19, 2006
    Los Angeles, CA
    I’m curious if your neck pickup is wired with the J coils in humcancelling pairs or not. I’d personally probably be more interested in the ability to get the single-coil J and P in a single pickup, but the OP is looking for complete humcancelling.
     
  16. BaileyMan

    BaileyMan Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2012
    San Francisco
    The neck pickup on mine is not wired with J-coil hum canceling pairs, only cross coil hum canceling.

    The neck pickup is essentially set up like this. Cross coils cancel, inline don't.

    + -
    + -
    + -

    + -
    + -
    + -

    On mine, I can't choose between a P (cross coil) option and a J (inline coil) option in the same pickup. Whether or not that's doable is beyond my pay grade. What I can say is that the difference between P and Reverse P is barely noticeable. And any difference I could really closely emulate with a little EQing, which the East preamp can do.
     
    sunbeast likes this.
  17. sunbeast

    sunbeast Supporting Member

    Jul 19, 2006
    Los Angeles, CA
    Sounds like they are the same design as the Bartolini “Classic Quads” then.
    I mostly agree re: flipping P positions. I’ve experimented with this on basses before and would probably choose one or the other as a wiring option personally. I am curious to hear the tone of a split-coil J-style pickup that isn’t humbucking though!
     
  18. BaileyMan

    BaileyMan Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2012
    San Francisco
    Yeah. At some point I'll probably rewire the pickup switch to be series / parallel / cross coil.
     
    sunbeast likes this.
  19. sunbeast

    sunbeast Supporting Member

    Jul 19, 2006
    Los Angeles, CA
    Two Ps in series should be interesting! I had a bass with Dimarzio Model Js that I put a series switch in (plus series/parallel switches for each pickup independently) and it was huge. Not a tone I used much at the time, but definitely much different than the other sounds in that bass. Those pickups are probably the closest I’ve tried to a P in a J form (still not that close!).
     
    BaileyMan likes this.
  20. barlemniscate

    barlemniscate

    May 8, 2020
    That is exactly what I'm going for! That's why I thought about the Sims Super Quad pickups which do that (minus the series/parallel). I just don't know how I'd wire it (with my already limited experience) in a simple way. I saw a Strat one time with six switches on it, and that seems almost like more trouble than it's worth.

    I'm thinking of just sucking it up and ordering it custom (hopefully less expensive than Sims + Import taxes). I know a shop that does really nice hand-made P pickups for, like, $50 (check out Epic Custom Shop, they're great), so I may go with them.
     
  21. 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.

     
    Feb 24, 2021

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