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Matching pickups to your build

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Basschair, Apr 21, 2005.

  1. Basschair

    Basschair .............. Supporting Member

    Feb 5, 2004
    Stockton, Ca
    This is a build-related question (or set of questions):

    Do certain pickups match well with certain woods? Are certain pickups so unique in their sound that it really doesn't matter what the body and neck materials are? Last, what considerations do I need to make when matching pickups with internal electronics (aside from physical space)?

    I am reading the suggested books feverishly, but this popped into my head while at work today. Your thoughts are greatly appreciated...thank you!
  2. Frank Martin

    Frank Martin Bitten by the luthiery bug...

    Oct 8, 2001
    Budapest, Hungary, EU
    Yeah, bad p-ups ;)

    Curious about this, too.
  3. Basschair

    Basschair .............. Supporting Member

    Feb 5, 2004
    Stockton, Ca
  4. Frank Martin

    Frank Martin Bitten by the luthiery bug...

    Oct 8, 2001
    Budapest, Hungary, EU
    I wasn't just joking. If a p-up doesn't bring out the tone of the bass, well then it's pretty much useless... IMO.

    Gibson EB-0 Mudbuckers, anyone?

    But as for p-ups that add their tone to woods...
    Wal. But I think it has a lot to do with the construction, too.
  5. luknfur


    Jan 14, 2004

    approaching 75 pup sets to date, I have yet to run across a pup that does not reflect the acoustic tone of a bass - active EMGs probably sound most consistent no matter what they're stuck in, within limits.

    Once the bass is made and the acoustic tone of the bass established (I don't know anybody who can make a bass from given woods to get a predetermined tone with any accuracy of significance), pups can be selected bassed on preference. In general, if the bass is dark, you probably want brighter pups, if it's bright, darker pups. A slapper may want bright pups in a bright bass. Some Rasta dark pups in a dark bass.

    In as much (depending on what's desired), certain pups don't work well to certain woods, certain pups work well to basses with certain acoustic properties (which may be very different using the same woods or very much alike using different woods). You've got onboard electronics, rigging, strings, style of play, music genre, etc. to factor in and alter the mix.

    Onboard electronics can be used to fine tune the outcome of the bass/pup match - using different caps, switching, whatever.