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Is this mod a good idea or a bad idea?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Kyosanshugi, Oct 30, 2013.

  1. Kyosanshugi


    Oct 30, 2013
    Hey guys, this is my first ost here on the forums, I was hoping someone could shed some light on an idea I had, as I'm not sure if it's a good or bad one. I have a Peavey Zodiac EX, which is a pretty standard P-style bass, and I was thinking about making it a P/J, but before getting out the router and making some sawdust, I decided to do some research first. The thing is, P/Js usually have the J pickup near the bridge, but I wanted to install it by the neck. As much as I looked online, I couldn't find any info on a similarly modded instrument, but I did find some info about pickup placement and phase cancellation if they're too close together. I'm worried that I don't have enough space between the neck and the existing pickups to do this and have it sound good. It's a standard 34" scale bass; from the center of the top P pickup's coil to the neck is about 4 3/16". Where I planned to put the J pickup, it's coil would be 2" from the P's top coil and 2 1/4" from the neck. Also, I don't want to mess with the other electronics much, maybe just install a 3-way switch, but no more than that. I have pictures of the markings of the placement I made on my instrument in grease pencil, if anyone wants/needs to see that. Is this a good idea? Or would my tone suffer? Any help would be appreciated.
  2. Stealth


    Feb 5, 2008
    Zagreb, Croatia
    Make a mounting jig from several pieces of wood and mount the pickup so it's above the strings. That way you can move it about and see which position it would work in best.

    I did a similar thing a few weeks back when I tried a replica Gibson humbucker.


    Using a three-way switch would by far be the easiest way to wire the whole thing together. I wanted to try just the neck humbucker out, that's why it's rigged directly to an output jack.
  3. Kyosanshugi


    Oct 30, 2013
    Simple, yet elegant solution you presented there, Stealth, thank you! I'm gonna get right on that.
  4. Plucky The Bassist

    Plucky The Bassist ZOMG! I'm back from the dead! Supporting Member

    Jul 30, 2010
    Houston, TX
    + 1

    Definitely some good advice right there! :bassist:
  5. JustForSport


    Nov 17, 2011
    Quite a few basses are config'd with a pickup at-or-near the 24th fret position-
    Jaguars, Big Al's, etc.
    There's a thread on here for 3 pickup basses- should be able to 'pickup' some 'sound' advice there.
  6. Dogghouse


    Jan 25, 2011
    Santa Barbara
    Bass Guy @ Seymour Duncan
    You have to let us know how this turns out! I love neck pickup tone.....
  7. JustForSport


    Nov 17, 2011
    ^^^ +1
  8. eddododo

    eddododo Supporting Member

    Apr 7, 2010

    That is a prettttttttty nice idea... so simple, I never thought of it though
  9. Stealth


    Feb 5, 2008
    Zagreb, Croatia
    I can't claim to have invented it. Someone suggested the same thing ages ago. I just decided to try it out with the minimum amount of material possible. :D
  10. Kyosanshugi


    Oct 30, 2013
    Well, I did it, and I have to say I'm fairly pleased with the results! The neck pickup is (I'm assuming) a stock one I took out of a cheap Chinese bass I got off eBay, but for some reason its output is insane! I also added a Telecaster-style 3-way switch as the pickup selector. The only real issue I'm having with it is that the middle position sounds thin, with a very noticeable drop in low end output. I'm guessing this is some kind of polarity issue, because I rearranged the pups about 1000 times until I found a decent sounding configuration. Here are some photos, I'll post sound samples too when I have time.



    EDIT: I'm too impulsive sometimes. Only now do I read the FAQ sticky and come across Dr. Dimento's troubleshooting guide. Some of this info would have saved me a lot of time. But all's well that ends well, I suppose. :ninja:
  11. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol Supporting Member

    Cool mod. Middle position sounding thin typically means off phase pickups. Easy to fix.
  12. Just remember that some harmonics will be killed if the pickup is under that node. Seems to me I read that a strat sounds the way it does because the neck pickup is rigt under the 4th harmonic. Also, you may notice some harmonics will be stronger when the pup is at the antinode. But other than that, I'm glad all worked out for you. Now, one q before I go. Do you notice the volume with both pups on drop on certain notes? And do you notice any harmonics that are hotter than others? Just something to think about.
  13. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol Supporting Member

    The position of harmonics changes as soon as you play a fretted note so it's not really significant unless you play open most of the time.
  14. Hence why I asked if it was on certain notes. You'd be fine if you like the harmonics in the area you play. I personally play all over the fretboard, so I would be bad at placing a pickup, as my ears have gotten used to the tonal changes. Plus, I use those different tones to my advantage when playing. So pickup placement can become a double edged sword, which can be handled however you need to. Me, I just swing that sword over my head and hope I'll eventually kill that fly buzzing around the room...

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