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Giant vs. Normal vs. Blade Pole pieces!

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Altemo, Apr 9, 2010.

  1. Just out of interest, what are the major differences (if any) between the myriad of pole piece styles i.e Quarter Pounders etc.

    If its been asked before, apologies, but I found nothing on search (i might be doing it wrong:rollno:)
  2. Funny. I've been thinking about this pretty much all week!
    While I don't have extensive experience in the matter, I have heard a few things about it.

    For example, Jim Roberts, in his book "American Basses," said the single-coil Fender P-basses (with single pole pieces under each string) had an "attack transient that was hard on speakers from those days," or something to that effect. Doubling the pole pieces and surrounding the strings apparently "smoothed" the attacks.

    I guess that means being directly underneath the strings made them more punchy?

    Ed Friedland, though, in his latest EMG JVX pickup review, said that the (mainstream) double pole piece setup still offered more punch than the blade-style pickups. I guess with that in mind the order from punchiest to smoothest would go something like "Single - Double - Blade."
    Still can't say what inherent tonal qualities they each have, though, if we disregard "punch."

    Not sure what enlarging the pole pieces does, either. The biggest I've used were the SD SPB-3 Quarter Pounders for the P-bass (only somewhat big compared to Musicman size), but I didn't have it long enough to have an idea as to where it fits tonally in between pickups with small poles that surround the strings and those with giant poles that sit underneath them. (The QP's have somewhat-giant poles that surround the strings)
  3. mongo2


    Feb 17, 2008
    Da Shaw
    Regarding the "punch" of the narrow single polepiece per string pickup like the early '50's style single coil P bass (SCPB) and speaker damage. My theory is it's all about whether the string remains in the magnetic field during it's entire excursion or not. The narrow poles have a narrow discrete field compared to the later bipole design which has a continuous mag field across the pickup where the strings intersect the combined fields for a "normal" setup. On the early single pole pickup, if the string can reach the edge or even leave the magnetic field, the induced electric field in the pickup can collapse and cause a transient peak when the string re-enters the mag field. It can also cause a woofy or compressed/limited type of tone.

    On an SCPB the strings can easily be offset from the center of it's polepiece and closer to the edge of the magnetic field due to the unslotted 2 saddle bridge. Combine those SCPB pickup's narrow poles/fields with possible inconsistent string placement over the center of that single narrow pole, the wide excursion of the strings (especially the E and A when plucked hard near the neck where the finger rest is located) and it's very possible for the string excursion to overrun the magnetic field of it's pole.

    With a wider single polepiece the magnetic field widens acordingly. Combine the wider poles with improved string alignment over the poles and that transient can be alleviated. Newer speaker designs are also more robust.

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