J pickup and humbucker

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by nubassplayer, May 22, 2001.

  1. nubassplayer


    Mar 26, 2001
    I have a question what's the difference between a J style pickup and a humbucker? I am looking at getting a carvin bass, and I have a choice between the two. I'm already getting a humbucker at the bridge and a piezo bridge.
  2. seamus


    Feb 8, 2001
    I don't like Carvin's humbucker, I tried it out. I had them rebuild the bass because it sounded weak with no presence. There was positively NO bass response either! I got 2 J99's instead, and they are doing ok I guess.

    This way, I can replace the pickups as needed with most any aftermarket jazz pickups. I know they *say* monstrous tone and all for that humbucker, but I didn't find that to be the case. It was a really weak sounding pickup, not what I was looking for at all. I'm thinking about dropping some Barts into my LB75. I would have done it already, but I play my other basses a lot more right now.

    Personally, I think Carvin bought a mess of those things and they are tryin to unload them. Seems they try to market those humbuckers more and more.

    The piezo on the other hand might be a good idea, I don't have those!
  3. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    J - is a single coil pickup - there's one coil of wire wound many times. The reason the humbucker is larger than the Jazz is because it has 2 coils. A single coil pickup cannot distinguish between the strings' signals and anything producing hum, so they are notorious for hum. One of the benefits of them is that they can get more treble response than a humbucker and have a "clean" sound because they have a smaller aperture and "see" only a small part of the string along its length.

    Humbucker - a second coil added to the first. The second coil is added in the opposite direction of the first and has an opposite magnetic polarity. Since each coil "sees" the SAME hum field(s) 180 degrees out of phase, the signal of each cancels the other coil's signal out...voila, they "buck" the hum. Hum fields don't interact with the the permanent magnetic fields of the coils.

    As for the strings, they do interact with the coils' permanent magnetic fields and what each coil is "seeing" is a bit different since they are sensing the strings at different points along their lengths. Because the polarity of each coil's magnetic field is opposite, their two 180 degree phase shifts, combined, result in 360 degree phasing, which means the strings' signals are put back into phase. What each coil is "seeing" from the strings isn't cancelling the other out. Fender pulled a trick when he made the Jazz bass. When you blend the two pickups they act as a giant humbucker because they are installed as I described above. Sometimes you will see someone on Talkbass complaining about the hum on their Jazz. Almost always, it is because they are using just one of its single coil pickups.
    Since the humbucker with its increased mass "sees" more of the strings' lengths, it gets more "information" and produces more mids than the J. The trade off is that the humbucker cancels out some treble response. This is because treble wavelengths are short and the coils "see" much of them the same which means they cancel each other out, just as they "saw" the hum the same way. (There are stacked humbuckers and air coils that are designed not to lose treble, but that's another story).

    As for what seamus said about the Carvin pickups, I totally agree with the statements about their humbucker. It is A DOG!....boxy, weak, lame. BUT, it does come in handy for me. The J99 is all treble and bass. Its highs are glassy and bright and its lows are steely and deep. Blending it 50/50 with the humbucker adds some mids and the combination of the two has some guts, assertiveness. and warmth. By looking at the humbucker, you wouldn't guess it was that way with its big pole pieces made of alnico. My guess is that they were wound with cheap, foreign, wire.

    From what I've seen, the piezos definitely add in a positive way to the sound of the basses.