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lots of pickup questions

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by acrofts, Mar 28, 2005.

  1. acrofts


    Apr 16, 2004
    Can someone explain to me exactly what humbucking pickups do (i.e., musicman) as opposed to a J-bass pickup? can a MM pickup be wired for passive (as an extra pickup on a P-bass?) in place of the traditional P/J setup? also, where is a good place to find wiring diagrams to put stuff like this together? Sorry so many questions, I want to put together a bass and have no experience in this area. :help:
  2. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    humbucking refers to the internal coil configuration, not the shape. A humbucker will have 2 to 4 coils internally. A single coil pickup (i.e. a vintage J) has, you guessed it, one coil.

    Therefore not all J's are single coils. And an MM shaped pickup is not necessarily a humbucker, although all the ones I know are and the classic MM sound is the sound of a humbucker wired in parallel. Companies like Bartolini, Seymour Duncan, Nordstrand etc all make humbuckers in a J shape.

    You have a few things mixed up here.
    You can have active pickups or passive pickups.
    You can have active electronics (bass/treble/eq) or passive electronics (tone control)
    Within a bass, you can have any combination of these two things.
    For example, passive pickups with a preamp for onboard eq, or active pickups with a passive tone control.
    You can't really mix active pickups and passive pickups on the same bass unless you have a preamp that allows for that type of mixing (such as demeter or the John East J/U-Retro)

    Places for wiring diagrams: http://www.basslines.com, http://www.bartolini.net, http://www.emgpickups.com, http://www.guitarelectronics.com all have lots of diagrams available