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MM humbuckers coil tap questions

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by cheechi, Apr 25, 2016.


  1. cheechi

    cheechi

    Mar 10, 2015
    I haven't ever seen or touched a lefty MM bass so some of my questions might sound pretty basic. Apologies.

    Are the MM style pups basically the same as humbucking guitar pups, in terms of wiring and coil tapping? I have wired a Les Paul for HH with taps before.
    if so..
    Can the coil tapped sound coming out of one sound like a jazz pickup? I'm not looking for exact.
    if so..
    Can a MM style pup be used in the bridge to give the sounds of both the 60s and 70s positions, soloing each row of single coils? Either using a 3 way selector or on/on/on?

    I was in the middle of planning for an upcoming PJ and hadn't decided which location for the J bridge pup. This might give me an answer. I am actually planning an EB-0/P/J with V/V/V, one being stacked for tone. I was going to put a 50's style P single coil at the neck like a Tele but have decided against it. If this coil tap turns out to be an option to get similar sounds to what I want, a 3 way toggle shouldn't be too hard to add in there as well.

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. mmbongo

    mmbongo Dilly Dilly! Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2009
    Carolinas
    GENERALLY most MM pickups cannot be coil tapped, but they can be coil split where you can use either coil, or both together. So yes, you can have a 3 way with front/rear/both such as on a Lakland 44-02/44-94.

    OR you can have a 3 way with either coil single/series/parallel such as on most Warwick basses with MM pickups.

    Just make sure your pickup has 4 conductor wiring. Most do, but many do not. Aguilar's are hard wired for parallel operation, as well as some Nordstrands (but some Nordstrand models have 4 conductor).
     
    cheechi likes this.
  3. cheechi

    cheechi

    Mar 10, 2015
    Thanks. Can you school me on coil tap vs coil split? I thought they both meant the same thing in practice, getting output from only one rail or row of a HB. The 'tap' in coil tap, as I understood it, came from a push/push switch when the guitarists first started (Jimmy Page mod, or that era) for speedier changes than push/pull would allow.

    I haven't got the ear to pick out if series/parallel will do anything for me so that's not an adventure I will probably get into, at least not at this point. It would only be on one pup so I could mod that later on I guess.

    Finally, I was originally going to go DiMarzio Model One/Model P/Model J but now with this MM idea, do you have some suggestions for the MM style one that might sound good in a J body with a Model P?
     
  4. mmbongo

    mmbongo Dilly Dilly! Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2009
    Carolinas
    As I understand it, 'coil tap' means you're connecting to the pickup coil somewhere in the middle of the wind...kinda 'tapping into' the actual windings. 'Coil split' means you're just using one of the coils of a humbucker.

    It would be good to try both series and parallel to see what you like better. Series is thicker and louder with more midrange, parallel is quieter and brighter with some mid scoop. As a reference, the classic Stingray sound is parallel.

    There are a lot of MM pickups available so I'm not sure what would work best. Seymour Duncan has one that's pretty low priced (you can get them used for about $50) that is a great all around pickup.
    Music Man - Best Bass Gear
     
    cheechi likes this.
  5. BassWaffle

    BassWaffle

    Apr 10, 2011
    DC/Baltimore
    If it has 4 wires, you should be able to split it

    Coil-tapping is indeed 'tapping' into a different part of the coil winding inside the pickup. I don't really know too much about this, but I think it involves a wire being connected mid-wind, and then the rest of the coil being wrapped. So when 'tapped', the pickup is only using part of the coil. I guess it would create a sound difference similar to having an underwound pickup? I would like some more information on this too actually.
    But I digress. You are talking about split-coil. IME, and from what I've heard from others, split-coil humbuckers won't give you the exact sound of, say, a jazz pickup. My T-40 has two splittable humbuckers, and when split sounds nothing like my friend's Fender Jazz. There are also a lot of other factors, such as spacing and strings, that affect the sound so I could be wrong.
     
    cheechi likes this.
  6. cheechi

    cheechi

    Mar 10, 2015
    Thanks again bongo.

    I will try to start using the term coil split from now on.
     
  7. cheechi

    cheechi

    Mar 10, 2015
    This is what i was looking for. I'm sure you're familiar with the video of the guy playing his T-40 and its meant to sound like every other bass out there. It's not exact but it's an interesting experiment.

    So yeah I wouldn't be looking for exact. More or less a PJ setup favoring the P, if I get the added low without the growl, I could deal with that. I had thought maybe a 5 pole on the 4 strings, like the recently announced Stingray might get me closer than the 4 pole, two poles listening to a string just like a J pup would.

    All of this was a dumb idea I had over coffee this morning. I'm still reading up on what I can do to get where I want to be.
     
  8. BassWaffle

    BassWaffle

    Apr 10, 2011
    DC/Baltimore
    Are you thinking of putting the 'bucker at the neck or bridge? I think if you are planning on blending it with other pickups anyway, it might not be as big a difference as would be apparent when being run solo.

    Ah yes, very familiar. I must've seen every vintage Peavey bass video on the internet already haha
    The T-40 has a lot of options, but I havent really delved into its subtleties as much as that guy has. I mostly just play with the bridge pickup, and much prefer its tone when in full bucker mode. Actually been considering rewiring it so I can get a fully open tone humbucker.
    I don't really buy into the "it can do any tone" mindset, I think if you really want a certain tone you should get something directly suited toward getting that tone. The T-40 makes some varied and awesome sounds, not sure if i myself would claim anything beyond that
     
    cheechi likes this.
  9. cheechi

    cheechi

    Mar 10, 2015
    Yes I was considering the MM style humbucker is approx the size of two J pups, so for the bridge one row would be approx in the 70s position, other in the 60s position.

    It might be possible to cop both PJ tones out of it, as well as some non-traditional tones for lack of a better way to say it.
     
  10. You are not going to get any typical Jazz or PJ tones out of a MM pickup. It does not matter how you wire the pickups, or how you place them; the design of a typical MM pickup is completely different than that of a typical Jazz pickup, and hence, the voicing is not the same.
     
    David Jayne and cheechi like this.
  11. cheechi

    cheechi

    Mar 10, 2015
    Thanks. That is helpful. So basically if I do this it will be like mad scientist level shenanigans.
     
  12. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Google this.

    Seymour Duncan NYC 5

    I have been researching the exact same thing for an upcoming build. This is my favorite of all the options I was able to find.
     
    cheechi likes this.
  13. cheechi

    cheechi

    Mar 10, 2015
    Thank you sir. that is an excellent idea.
     
    chaurett likes this.
  14. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Yer welcome. I used to own a Fender Roscoe Beck bass. It had two double jazz style buckers with a series/parallel/single switch for each. Very versatile bass. I'm about to have one made that has the NYC5 at the bridge and a P bass pickup at the neck.
     
  15. PeaveyPlayer

    PeaveyPlayer Supporting Member

    Jul 15, 2014
    Winnipeg, Manitoba
    Bartolini I believe makes a quad cool musicman pickup that's tapable
     
  16. wmhill

    wmhill

    Aug 20, 2012
    upstate NY
    MTD basses endorsed artist Bartolini pickups emerging artist TECAMP bass players gear endorsed
    I Have a MTD with dual Bartolini MM 4cbc pickups. I have them coil tapped and get a monster tone out of them. Like a jazz on steroids. Hands down my favorite pickup combination. I usually run the bridge p/u tapped south coil (closest to bridge) and the neck tapped north coil (closest to neck). While the barts & MTD are not a Music Man- I see no reason to think that it would not sound any less awesome. If you have 4 wires..tap away.
    MM4CBC | Bartolini Pickups and Electronics

    ***EDIT*** change the word Tap to split, in case anyone didn't know what was meant*
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2016
  17. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    Colorado
    I convert 4 string Rickenbackers to 5 string basses.
    Use a balance pot. Turn it one way for one single coil and the other way for another single coil. In the middle will be a series humbucker. I have 2 basses wired this way and I have 2 others wired single, series, parallel. All four basses are awesome.
     
  18. As mentioned, tapping and splitting refer to different things, and the terms are not interchangeable. What you have described is coil splitting.
     
    David Jayne likes this.
  19. RobbieK

    RobbieK

    Jun 14, 2003
    fwiw, if you are using a triple-coil mm pickup, I'd recommend having the dummy coil wired for series mode in the single coil setting instead of the usual parallel wiring. I've done this on many mm 5ers over the years and it sounds great. much warmer, rounder and closer to a jazz bridge pickup.
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2016
    ex-tension likes this.
  20. wmhill

    wmhill

    Aug 20, 2012
    upstate NY
    MTD basses endorsed artist Bartolini pickups emerging artist TECAMP bass players gear endorsed
    excuse me for using a term that has been universally used for some time, and that left no doubt what I was talking about. ...... I stand humbled for trying to help.
     

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