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Individual pickups per string

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by mid_life_crisis, Oct 7, 2010.

  1. mid_life_crisis


    Jul 8, 2010
    Has anybody actually tried these things? They are individual pickups for each string. They look almost like a black rubber cork with a metal post in the center.

    The idea sounds like it has potential. With a little experimentation you could position each one in the exact right spot for each string to produce the tone you are looking for. Plus I can envision a small board with individual pots and caps in the control cavity to allow tweaking each string's output individually with a final overall tone control on the front of the bass. Of course that kind of tweaking power is way beyond my ability to make use of, but the idea is kind of cool.
    Question is, what do they sound like?
  2. TRichardsbass

    TRichardsbass Inactive Commercial User

    Jun 3, 2009
    Between Muscle Shoals and Nashville
    Bassgearu, Music Industry Consulting and Sales. Tech 21, NBE Corp, Sonosphere.
    There have been two companies that made/make basses with them or a version of them. Steve Ripley, world reknown guitar player, invented a stereo bass that was produced by Kramer in the early 1980's and that he still makes under his name.

    Also, the former head at Tune and Matsumoku in Japan makes basses, I think under the name Artesia, with individual string pickups.

    Interesting concept.
  3. Unfortunately the only place I've seen them is in the banner ad at the top of TB, but I've always wondered what they sounded like.

    Just out of curiosity, I wonder if there would there be any ill effect of placing regular pickups (say jazz pickups for example) 90 degrees from standard orientation so that they run parallel to the strings vs perpendicular to the strings...1 pickup centered under each string? If that makes sense....?
  4. mid_life_crisis


    Jul 8, 2010
    I had it explained to me on another thread that while it would look cool, it is a really bad idea. Essentially you would be picking up the string vibration over a long length of it, which would vary so much in tone from one end to the other that it would sound like mud.
  5. Interesting, that never crossed my mind but it makes perfect sense. Do you know if that explaination was based off theory or experience? Thanks!
  6. steve_rolfeca

    steve_rolfeca Supporting Member

    When I last checked (about 8-10 years ago?), EMG was still making round single-string pickups for Ned Steinberger's electric uprights. At the time, they quoted me $600 for a 5-string set, which was a bit rich for my blood.

    They sound really good in that instrument, but I've no idea how much of that is the pickup, the preamp, or the lumber. Or how they would sound in a bass guitar...
  7. Actually it makes no sense at all. Midlife is thinking of what happens when a regular pickup( a J pup) is rotated 90˚ so it only picks up one string, but several inches of it. THAT sounds like mud. What the OP is pointing us to is fundamentally the same as what a Wal pickup has inside it, and it works just fine.
  8. Yeah, the regular pickup rotated 90 degrees was what I was referring to as well.
  9. TRichardsbass

    TRichardsbass Inactive Commercial User

    Jun 3, 2009
    Between Muscle Shoals and Nashville
    Bassgearu, Music Industry Consulting and Sales. Tech 21, NBE Corp, Sonosphere.
    Correction. Japanese company is ATLANSIA. Google them, you will see single string pickup basses. I understand from a Japanese counterpart that they play and sound just fine.
  10. TRichardsbass

    TRichardsbass Inactive Commercial User

    Jun 3, 2009
    Between Muscle Shoals and Nashville
    Bassgearu, Music Industry Consulting and Sales. Tech 21, NBE Corp, Sonosphere.
  11. Ovation Magnums have a similar approach, with a bijou trimpot on each coil.
  12. mid_life_crisis


    Jul 8, 2010
    It was a luthier who posts fairly often. I don't remember which one. His explanation made sense and had a little more detail, I just summed up for brevity.
  13. mid_life_crisis


    Jul 8, 2010

    We were on the same page. I am the OP. This question was kind of an offshoot inspired by mine, I think.
  14. TGLbass


    Aug 20, 2010
    I'm thinking my 74 Hayman 40-40 had those and it sounded really nice.
  15. KramerBassFan


    Jan 3, 2009
  16. Most of the sources for inexpensive hobby-level individual string pickups have dried up, and I have need for a set of magnetics for the 7-string electric cello I'm about to take delivery of. (yes, modding it right away.)

    There used to be a hobbyist model available for cheap mail-order. It's been mentioned in various threads here. Nowhere to be found now. There's a Japanese company that makes them, but they don't advertise clearly in English what it would cost.

    I looked around for an alternative, and short of winding my own, I thought I'd give a set of Rhodes pickups a try. Cosmetically perhaps not the best, but they're roughly 200 ohms a piece and if you take the metal mounting tab off the bobbins they aren't all that big. They seem to be workable throughout a wide range of frequencies on a Rhodes.

    It's sometimes hard to get a whole set of matching ones. There are about 3 different styles of bobbin, of different dimensions, and they often sell as singles or groups of singles < 5 on eBay. But every so often you can find someone who's parting out a disassembled Rhodes, and I found an auction selling 7 lots of 5 for $25/lot.

    I ordered 3 lots of 5 - 7 for the cello I'm about to take delivery of, 7 for the second one I'm having built later this year, and one spare.

    Once you get enough of them to populate your instrument of choice, buying singles as replacements for broken ones isn't so hard, there are usually a few of each style available on eBay at any time.

    I'll report on my success/failure.

    In case anyone's interested, Ergo Instruments is making me the custom 7-string cellos. They're 1" longer in scale, and I'm working with a string manufacturer to do a custom flatwound string for the low Bb. Great company to work with, I've had photos throughout the build process. Their instruments aren't fancy but the simplicity of design seemed a benefit to me. Good, inexpensive platform for experimentation.
  17. Configurating each pup for each string would be tricky and tedious for me. I would try some of this:

  18. All_¥our_Bass


    Dec 26, 2004
    Next step is using one output jack per string.
    salcott likes this.
  19. Stealth


    Feb 5, 2008
    Zagreb, Croatia
    The Modulo bass made by the Italia luthiery had four single-coil pickups aligned parallel to the strings - although those appeared to be lipstick pickups, and there are no clips online whatsoever.
    Then there's the Synco pickups, also a pickup-per-string manufacturer, as well as Searcy String Works' Scarabs.
  20. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    Hamer quad 12 string basses.




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