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Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Hamlet7768, Jan 7, 2012.

  1. Hamlet7768

    Hamlet7768 Here to chew gum and rock. Still have gum.

    Jun 5, 2011
    I'm a Cliff Burton fan, and noted that his Rickenbacker 4001 had special pickups installed: a Seymour Duncan Strat pickup under the bridge, a DiMarzio in the Bridge pickup position, and a "Gibson mudbucker"

    What is a mudbucker? Is it just a term for a humbucker or does it have some extra property?
  2. I figured someone else would have answered by now, so I guess I will. A "mudbucker" is a term given to the only pickup of a Gibson EB-0, EB-2, and the neck pickup of the EB-3. It is a pickup that differs from most modern, and older style pickups in that it is a "sidewinder" pickup. In ordinary pickups, a coil surrounds magnetic poles, or ferrite poles with magnets on the bottom; a humbucker has two pickups put right up against each other, usually wired in phase with each other, to reduce hum; a mudbucker is only one pickup, with one set of poles, with one coil on either side of it.

    (The poles are the screws in the middle, the coils are under the black electrical tape on either example of the pickup, and the magnets are on the outsides of the coils [they are the black bars in the left example, and the silver bars in the right example])

    As illustrated here, with the pickup covers off, the coils run in parallel with each other (although they are technically wired in series), beside the adjustable screw poles, lying flat on their sides, horizontally, where in single coils they are vertical. The main reason for this pickup's creation was to find a single coil sound without the 60 cycle hum that plagues single coil pickups even until today. If you have ever played one, you will understand the two reasons it's called a mudbucker- the "bucker" part I have already explained, but the "mud" part is, what some might call a loving term for the tone of the pickup. It's muddy. It has a huge sound, and a huge amount of bass, but almost no mids, or highs, because of it's position against the fretboard, and because of the two overwound coils.

    A regular bass neck pickup usually measures somewhere around 7,000-9,000 ohms of resistance on a ohmmeter, while a mudbucker usually measures around 30,000 ohms. If a regular single coil pickup was wound to a resistance of 30,000 ohms, you would have a almost two pound pickup, and you would be getting almost heavy metal distortion with the guitar's volume knob at 9 or 10, even on an amp's clean channel, but the fact that the coils are place on the outside of the poles, with the magnets on the very outside of the pickups, very far from the poles, the magnetic field is weak, and undefined, so a mudbucker only has a slight volume gain over single coil pickups. One of the biggest nuances of the mudbucker is that with a resistance rating of 30,000 or so ohms, it has a severely high inductance, a pro to that is that it has a very unique sound, but a con is that with such a high inductance rating, it overpowers almost any pickup you put it with, and essentially only makes a second pickup something of a slight addition to the sound of the mudbucker when both pickups are on. For instance, playing an EB-3's mudbucker soloed, it's a very bassy tone, with little definition, but turning on the bridge pickup with the mudbucker, it gives the sound a little more definition, and allows a little more highs, and mids to come through, but you're still hearing about 70-80% mudbucker.

    If you want to hear what I mean, go to The Gibson EB3 bass guitar (hope you don't mind me advertising your awesome site, bud). The site has many examples of each pickup soloed, and played together, and you will definitely hear how thick, and big the mudbucker sound is. I like to think of the EB-3 like... free form jazz. It's a very acquired taste, because the EB-3 (and even more so, the EB-0) is very monotonous, and not very diverse tonally, and when you hear it for the first time, you know right away whether you love it, or hate it.


    Sorry, I had been up for two days when I wrote this, and every time I meant to write impedance, I wrote inductance.
    depalm and hieronymous like this.
  3. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
  4. Jazrpet


    Oct 27, 2011
    Nova Scotia
    Thanks for that, Omnipharious. Informative, well-written, right to the point!

    Jas. R. Petrin
  5. Bassamatic

    Bassamatic keepin' the beat since the 60's Supporting Member

    The Mudbucker is so-called because of the very heavy sound - popular in the 60's. It is also called a "sidewinder" because of the way the coils are positioned. DiMarzio has an updated version. (GREAT post Omnipharious!)

    As I started playing bass back then, and learned to play on a Gibson EB-2, I modified the Hagstrom I bought in '67 with TWO of the monsters. The resulting sound is quite amazing and powerful. I add just a bit of the huge neck sound to the thinner bridge pickup sound for an fantastic result. It has never failed to get comments.

    In these later times, I have been considering replacing the bridge mudbucker with a MM type for a little more clarity in the mids.

    Attached Files:

    Rock Salad likes this.
  6. Fly Guitars

    Fly Guitars

    Dec 29, 2008
    These pickups go right through you. Live, the sound is so rich in low frequencies it vibrates your internal organs. Definitely the most fun a bass player can have on stage.
  7. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    I rewound my mudbucker to get a clearer tone, and make it blend in better with the bridge pickup. I also wired it up with 4-conductor cable so I could switch it to parallel.

    It retained some of the characteristic tone, but was clearer and had more highs and upper mids.
  8. Dan_Electro


    May 24, 2011
    Is there an aftermarket replacement pickup that can be installed into an EB0 bass to give it a little high-end punch? I have a '69 EB0 that's in excellent condition so I wouldn't want to make any changes that couldn't be totally reversed. A pickup that fits the existing rout under the crhome cover is what I am looking for. I'm a guitar player and this bass is just something that I noodle around with at home, but still it would be nice to hear a little punch and note definition from the guitar. Other than the "mud", I love this bass.


    A few "horned" guitars
  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
    DiMarzio Model One.

    Curtis Novak's FatBucker or BiSonic.

    Or have David at SGD rewind one of the Asian ones, like he's doing for the LoBue build in the LC. :)
  10. therealveal


    Mar 18, 2018
    Rather than start a new thread, I'll post this here:

    I've just acquired a rather modified '67 EB0 and I'm concerned about the mudbucker. I was told it was original, but after having opened it up, I'm now skeptical. Has anyone ever seen one like this? I'm thinking it's possible that it's been repaired and that's what the blue coil wrapping is from, but I'm really not sure.
    20180318_125433. 20180318_125638.
  11. Axstar


    Jul 8, 2016
    East of Eden.
    The blue tape looks fine to me! I've seen it on other mudbucker pickups of the era.
  12. therealveal


    Mar 18, 2018
    Oh that's good to hear! I couldn't find any on Google so started to get a bit worried. It actually was only reading like 2.6k so I was trying to look at my options but I got it reading 29k after cooking the main lead and ground wires! It's paired up with a 70s DiMarzio patent applied for p-bass pickup. Kind of an output mismatch but the DiMarzio sounds great!
  13. Paulabass

    Paulabass Supporting Member

    Sep 18, 2017
    Looks legit. Most of the copies I've taken apart were just big single coils under that mamoth cover.
  14. rushkid2112


    Sep 27, 2018
    how is it wired?

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