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Guitar pickups as bass pickups?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Brendan, Aug 16, 2005.

  1. Brendan


    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    Got to wondering this today, while playing (poorly) guitar. Assuming the string spacing was narrow enough that the strings all sat over the pickup, would a guitar pickup work serviceably as a bass pickup?

    Like, old Steinbergers had pickups that fit in a humbucker ring, (currently EMG's HB, Rio Grande's Pitbull), but would a guitar pickup itself work? Are the differences in magnets and winding too disparate, or is it largely a matter of string spacing?

    Just wondering if anyone could weigh in on the subject.
  2. Slater

    Slater Leave that thing alone. Supporting Member

    Apr 17, 2000
    The Great Lakes State
    IIRC, Carvin used to use the same pickups in their guitars and basses in the early 80s, so it's do-able. I think as long as the strings are over the magnetic field of the pup's pole pieces, the pups will "work". I have no idea how they would sound...
  3. keb


    Mar 30, 2004
    The "toaster" vintage-reissue pickups Rickenbacker uses on guitar and bass are identical. (The only difference being that the bass ones, if you buy them aftermarket, have longer lead wires and threaded screw holes, whereas the guitar ones don't... but the actual pickup itself is identical.)

    I tried a Seymour Duncan bass humbucker in a guitar once (it had rail polepieces, and it fit the guitar physically.) It actually sounded pretty good!
  4. nysbob


    Sep 14, 2003
    Cincinnati OH
    I think lipsticks are the same for guitar & bass. Interesting that what I consider to be two of the best pickups out there -the lipstick & rick toaster go both ways...
  5. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    -cough- -Carvin- -cough- -bull****--.... ;)
  6. Ripper


    Aug 16, 2005
    Has anyone tryed a Gibson classic humbucker?

    also... could someone post a clip of what a bass with guitar pickups sounds like?
  7. SuperDuck


    Sep 26, 2000
    The only thing I can think of is that you *might* get better results with a blade-style guitar pickup than one with individual pole pieces where each guitar string would be.

    Then again, I've never played a bass with guitar pickups, so I'm likely off my rocker.

  8. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    The Lipstick Dano guitars and basses both sound great. Those are the same pickups, huh?
  9. nysbob


    Sep 14, 2003
    Cincinnati OH
    That's my understanding...
  10. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize! Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    Old Fender Musicmasters used strat pickups and string alignment be d*mned. Made for a very hot bass pickup. With the added advantage that they where also very noisey.
  11. A9X


    Dec 27, 2003
    Sinny, Oztraya
    I've tried a few now that I've liked, but that depends on what you're looking for sonically. Most of my experiments were with shortscales too, so.....

    Dimarzio: X2N, Fasttrack 1, Chopper, Cruiser, Pro track, and PAF Pro (in my OLP MM5 6 stringer)
    SD: Cool rails and Hot rails, neck versions iirc.
    EMG: FT, 89

    All of these have bar magnet assemblies, so no string spacing issues.

    Got the idea for this from a guy online who'd tried some of the Strat sized pups in his Musicmaster. In this application, the humbuckers are very quiet.