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Mix and “match” pickups?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Ringhammer, Nov 17, 2018.


  1. I have a bunch of pickups, due to plenty of trial and error, and I always prefer to have two pickups in any bass I put together, I generally use the same brand and model for both positions, but I have a P-bass bass that came with a DiMarzio (which I have never used before). I’m going to add a P-bass pickup in the bridge position, and since I have a bunch of stock pickups, I’ll probably use one of them.

    Now for the question, is it best to make sure that the resistance reading of one pickup is as close as possible to the other?

    Are pickups with less resistance “hotter”?
     
  2. Slater

    Slater Leave that thing alone. Supporting Member

    Apr 17, 2000
    The Great Lakes State
    It depends on your desired results, but if you want similar output or volume from each pickup, then typically you will want the DCR of each pickup to be close to one another.
     
  3. Slater

    Slater Leave that thing alone. Supporting Member

    Apr 17, 2000
    The Great Lakes State
    Pickups with a higher DC resistance are usually referred to as “hotter”.
     
  4. ctmullins

    ctmullins fueled by beer and coconut Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 18, 2008
    MS Gulf Coast
    I'm highly opinionated and extremely self-assured
    DC resistance is an extremely rough guide to output. It doesn’t tell near the whole story, but will do in a pinch.

    The real thing to watch out for is polarity. There is no universal standard for wire colors from manufacturer to manufacturer, and even if there were, there is also no universal standard for magnet polarity or coil wind direction. This means you have about a 50/50 chance of wiring the two pickups out of phase. If the middle position sounds wimpy and thin, that’s probably why. The fix is easy, though: just reverse the hot and ground on one of the pickups.
     
    Slater likes this.
  5. ctmullins

    ctmullins fueled by beer and coconut Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 18, 2008
    MS Gulf Coast
    I'm highly opinionated and extremely self-assured
    Oh, and since you mentioned P pickups, I recommend you investigate “reverse P” versus normal P. There’s a big difference in tone when installing a P pickup at the bridge.
     
  6. Ahh, more trail and error... luckily most of the ones with the two P-bass pickups sound good already. I do have one that has a couple of Lindy Frahlins and I’m not happy with it, maybe it is out of phase, although since they are identical pickups, I”d be surprised if they were wired or wound opposite.
     
  7. sikamikanico

    sikamikanico Supporting Member

    Mar 17, 2004
    Some pickups just don’t work well together, but some do. Trial and error is best unless you buy a matched set...

    I had a no-name ceramic P at the bridge with a DiMarzio Model P at the neck, sounded good to me. (FYI, IMO, reversing both pickups worked best). I imagine an alnico P might not pair as well and having alnico at the neck and ceramic at the bridge might sound more balanced?
     
  8. When you mention reversing, does that mean attaching the white wires to ground/common and the black wires to the volume controls?
     
  9. ctmullins

    ctmullins fueled by beer and coconut Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 18, 2008
    MS Gulf Coast
    I'm highly opinionated and extremely self-assured
    Yes. But only if the pickups are actually out of phase, and only switch the wires on one of the pickups.

    Edit: unless you’re asking about “reverse P”? That’s referring to the physical orientation of the two halves of the P pickup, placing the E/A half closer to the bridge than the D/G half.
     

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