Guitar pickups in a bass?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by TimboZ, Jan 14, 2009.

  1. TimboZ


    Jan 4, 2009
    South of Buffalo
    I am in the process of my next Bass build and thinking about using some guitar pickups in it.

    I was thinking of doing something like.


    So has anybody used guitar pickups in a bass with good results?
  2. ryognbass

    ryognbass Supporting Member

    Nov 7, 2008
    North NJ/Worcester MA
    thats sick... those look like danelectro lipstick pickups.
    the dano pickups sound phenomenal for bass, so judging by that, i say go for it haha
  3. SpamBot

    SpamBot Guest

    Dec 25, 2008
    St. Paul, MN
    Oriented regularly, it just depends on the pup. They often sound thin, like they would on guitar, but thin works much better on a Strat than a bass......
    Oh, and to what you have up there ^^
    That will be muddy as hell. Mud mud mud mud mud. However you will be able to get perfect level between strings. Try that, but wind your own pups so they aren't as long.
  4. 22pauld22

    22pauld22 Guest

    Aug 11, 2007
    sydney australia
    I spoke to a guy about pickups .. he had an old steinberger with the humbucker size pickups and he said he had tried bar style humbuckers in there with great results

    I guess its all about the pickup you choose I would get a guitar pickup and hold it over your bass string and see what it sounds like ??
  5. Actually, Carl Thompson use to put a guitar pickup mounted in wood as his vbridge pickup in his early pass for treble. My 1st bass teacher had one, at least that how he explained it..very thin sounding, used it in combination with the bass pickup to compliment slap style.
  6. I think it would sound pretty thin.

    I have seen some basses with guitar pickups in them (I saw a P bass with a tele pickup on ebay)

    I literally laugh out loud when i see such things because it looks so halfa$$3d

    FWIW, It would be best to get a rail style pickup to keep the string spacing in check.
  7. Darkstrike

    Darkstrike Return Of The King!

    Sep 14, 2007
    I've been using a guitar pickup in bridge position in my P bass, a DiMarzio X2N-7, made for 7 string guitars.

    Pleeeeeeennnnnttttyyyyyy of low end! :)
  8. The single coil P's(1951 - 1956) were essentially a strat pickup with four poles. Lots of guys swear by them. I've also seen Tele basses with Bartolini or lace sensor strat pickups because finding a replacement bass pickup was difficult. They sounded fine to me. I played one of those Italia basses at a pawn shop. It did seem a bit dark, but I wasn't sure if it was the bass or the trashed 15 watt practice amp they had available to try it out. I thought the finish/constuction was particularly cool.
  9. 6Steve6Harris6

    6Steve6Harris6 Guest

    Sep 12, 2008
    Blacklick, OH
    I've seen a few people using the X2N-7 in their basses, so I don't see why not. I'm actually kind of intrigued by the idea.
  10. sunbeast

    sunbeast Supporting Member

    Jul 19, 2006
    Denver, CO
    A guitar pickup in a bass will generally sound like a bass pickup more or less. There is often a misconception that it will somehow make your bass sound really twangy, like a guitar. Its less about the pickup design than strings/tuning/etc. Guitars sound "thinner" because they are tuned higher with thinner strings... I'd actually guess that alot of "hot humbuckers" used in guitars would probably sound extremely muddy on a bass- they would likely have a really overpowering midrange, with attenuated lows and highs. The above "Italia" bass would probably be extremely dark sounding- each string with its own fairly high-wound humbucker would mean a whole lot of capacitance!

    String spacing is also an obvious issue- It isn't neccesary that your strings line up with the polepieces on a pickup (though it will affect the tone- so "rail" style pickups would be ideal), but they do need to be within (or at least directly above) the outer ones in order to fall within the magnetic field. I would bet that a fairly low or average output single coil rail pickup (or possibly a dual coil strat-size) pickup would sound pretty nice in a neck position of a bass, if you could find a pickup with compatible string spacing (or even in the bridge position, if your bass has pretty tight spacing).
  11. Eilif

    Eilif Grooving under the MDW runway.

    Oct 1, 2001
    I know a guy whose making an EB-0 style bass and putting a bar magnet pickup in it. One of these if I recall. There's a chance I may be able to try it this weekend. I'll report back if I do.
  12. Ach


    Jan 24, 2008
    Due to large aperture of such pickup placement (along the string, not across one), you could get very dark sound, so i think such pickup combo should be placed as much as possible to bridge, to compensate mud and string pull.
  13. Stealth


    Feb 5, 2008
    Zagreb, Croatia
    I remember quite a few people using Dimarzio Fast-Track 2s as well as Lace Transensors for their Tele Basses.
  14. Yeah all the early Rics used toasters- 6 pole guitar pickups.

    That looks awesome BTW. :bassist:
  15. Stealth


    Feb 5, 2008
    Zagreb, Croatia
    Looks like an Italia Modulo with the "bicycle seat" pickguard.
  16. ga_edwards


    Sep 8, 2000
    UK, Essex
    I remember reading an article years ago in the now defunct British 'Bassist' magazine, about one of the staffers refurbishing an old shortscale Fender (possible a MusicMaster?). He found that the pickup was a regular strat type with 6 polepieces, which was completely wrong for something with 4 strings. So yes, even Fender did it, even if it wasn't executed very well.

    BTW, he installed a blade style single coil guitar pickup which worked much better, and apparently sounded great.
  17. rllefebv


    Oct 17, 2000
    Newberg, Oregon
    It's actually a Musicmaster Guitar pickup... It's not about the polepieces lining up so much... the magnetic field is what's important... the rest is mostly perception. The stock pickup on my '78 Musicmaster is a ballsy lil' mofo! Thin sounding?? Not on your life...

  18. keb


    Mar 30, 2004
    And for what it's worth, the "toaster" vintage-style pickups Rickenbacker offers for their guitars and basses are exactly the same.
  19. synaesthesia


    Apr 13, 2004
    +1. A pickup is a pickup, it has characteristics for sure, and you may or may not like the results. FYI, the Rickenbacker toaster pickup in the neck position is the same as the toaster pickup used in the 6 or 12 strings. The neck toaster is famous for sounding deep and bassy in a bass application, and in the guitar application they are famous for sounding chimey as bells.
    xsnrg27 likes this.
  20. acleex38


    Jul 28, 2006
    Birdsong uses "guitar" pickups by Lace, including a Lace Gold Sensor at the neck - I run it by itself on my fretless most of the time and LOVE it.
    ThatsYourName? likes this.