Pickup-advice concerning fanning.

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Roland777, Sep 21, 2006.


  1. Roland777

    Roland777

    Jun 1, 2006
    Sweden
    Hey there. I'm currently drawing up a sketch for an extended range bass, and there is one aspect I've gotten stuck on - pickups. Given the scale difference on the bass (35-39 inches) and the uneven distribution of the difference between the bridge and nut, ("1.5 fan at the nut, "2.5 fan at the bridge) I'm wondering what my options are pickupwise. Given the fact that I'm a complete bass-pickup newbie, I've come here to ask you for advice.

    http://files.upl.silentwhisper.net/upload5/BasspickupSlant.jpg

    Here's a detailed version of the exact dimensions and specifications of spacing and all at the bridge. Now, what pickups can I use that are wide enough? And further on, I wonder what pickup I can use that has sonic properties closest to those of a Bartolini Mk1? (Since that is the only point of reference I have, given the fact that I'm very happy with their performance in my BTB555)
    Finally, given the fact that the bass is designed to be tuned around the sub-octave E area, I'd like your recommendations to be able to handle low-end well.
    I know I'm asking quite a bit for something that's just a mental creation at this point, but I'd love to get some professional feedback.
     
  2. Phil Mastro

    Phil Mastro

    Nov 18, 2004
    Montréal
    I've had a pickup made by Nordstrand to solve such a problem. It's not cheap, but for the quality, it's still a pretty good deal. Here's a pic of said pickup to give you ideas in case you need some.

    [​IMG]

    Apparently it was the first pickup with that shape that ever came out of their shop. Maybe I shouldn't be showing this then... :bag:
     
  3. Roland777

    Roland777

    Jun 1, 2006
    Sweden
    Hey. That looks kinda hot. Anyway - I do have to ask, approximately how much did you pay for it? I want to know whether I'm looking at 200USD or 500USD+ per pickup. And as always, if you DO have a non-custom option, please do tell!
     
  4. Phil Mastro

    Phil Mastro

    Nov 18, 2004
    Montréal
    It was less than 200$ USD, though I kinda got off with a special deal... I'm making my own covers too, so that also may have pulled the price down a bit. You should email them for a quote, but I'd be extremely surprised if you ended up paying much more than 200$.
     
  5. Since you're liking the Bartolini pickups, you could use their 7-string pickups. The P5 might (not sure) work, or the X6 or a pair of them to make a humbucker. See the pdf list linked on this Bartolini page.

    Actually, any 7-string could work. You just "waste" one polepiece at each end and end up using the part of it looking like Phil's amazing Nordstrand.

    edit: I don't know about the tones of those specific ones. They may or may not match what you're looking for.
     
  6. pilotjones

    pilotjones

    Nov 8, 2001
    US-NY-NYC
    Time for a little math. OK, I already did some of it.
    A six string with a spacing of 17mm = 85mm total width. The stagger at the bridge of 2.5" = 63.5mm, so the diagonal at the bridge is 106mm long, as you've noted. So a bridge pup mounted near the bridge would need close to that in sensing width.

    The Bartolini site says they make 7-string pups with sensing widths of 103-108mm, so that looks good for you. You could not use any 7-string pup; you need one with a blade (like a Bart), not individual polepieces, since there are only 6 strings across that "7-string width".

    Another option is to use a pair of standard 4-string pups as one pup. Each one would be required to cover 42.4mm in width, and a standard 5-er pup has to cover 57mm, so you'd probably have to let them project beyond to strings a little bit. (If you centered each of them under 3 strings, the sensing area would hang at least 7.4mm beyond the intended string, and might start to pick up extra strings- or it might be OK.)
     
  7. pilotjones

    pilotjones

    Nov 8, 2001
    US-NY-NYC
    BTW 39-35", huh, that's a big boy! Sounds like the fanned Knuckle that's been proposed.
     
  8. Roland777

    Roland777

    Jun 1, 2006
    Sweden
    WHAT? There's a fanned Knuckle in the works?! That sounds great.
    Anyway - do you have some input on the sonic properties of the seven-string bladepickups? As expected, I do want something that can handle the low-end without being lacking in the treble-department (Doubt that any sevenstring pickup is, in fact - lowend is another matter entirely though.)
     
  9. pilotjones

    pilotjones

    Nov 8, 2001
    US-NY-NYC
    - no info I can give on 7-string pups. Other people should be able to help you, though.
    - not in the works AFAIK, just that the owner of Knuckle Guitar Works (forgot his name) has talked about it. Could be in the works, or not at all.
     
  10. knuckle_head

    knuckle_head Commercial User

    Jul 30, 2002
    Seattle
    Owner; Knuckle Guitar Works & Circle K Strings
    You'll notice on your drawing that there is no room in your footprint for pole pieces on the neck end of the treble side, nor bridge end of the bass side.

    Take a look at the pup that pJ posted - what you need is equal sensing surface area beneath the strings or you are going to have unequal output.

    You are likely going to have to consort with a pup maker as you are venturing in to custom land big time.

    The solution to my design conundrum is individual string pickups - I can go as wide as I like regardless of spacing or fanning.
     
  11. you could get 6 sets of p-pups, and orient them vertically, so there is one set per string
     
  12. pilotjones

    pilotjones

    Nov 8, 2001
    US-NY-NYC
    If you've got the right bank account!

    Also, that would create a very wide aperture pickup (wide sensing area per string), with the accompanying increased bass and lowered treble response.
     
  13. pilotjones

    pilotjones

    Nov 8, 2001
    US-NY-NYC
    Does this mean you are actually doing a fanned Knuckle? :eyebrow:
     
  14. knuckle_head

    knuckle_head Commercial User

    Jul 30, 2002
    Seattle
    Owner; Knuckle Guitar Works & Circle K Strings
    Someone's been talking to me about it - it has me curious enough to follow through whether or not he does.

    I don't do spec instruments, but this one seems like fun.
     
  15. Well I've already PM'ed the info but just an FYI from someone that has been through this, here is my 2 cents.
    The Bartolini XXM56C pickups should fit they do cover up to 95mm string width. They worked great in my project allthough a little darker than the first set I tried. With the M56CBC the low B and high C in my case were wimpy and outside the poles, especially when you split the coils, you could make the low B disappear all together. That was interesting.
    Dirk
     
  16. pilotjones

    pilotjones

    Nov 8, 2001
    US-NY-NYC
    No good then. He needs 106mm coverage minimum.
     
  17. Well call me crazy but it looks to me by his drawing he only needs 85mm total. And that's how I measured my project and it works perfectly. Also note that the XXM56C quad coil extends a lot further to the periphery of the case. And I say this all since I've been through it, there is not a lot of useful info on the web about slanted pickups, it requires real experimentation not conjecture.
    That's my 2 cents, good luck with the project, I can't wait to see those scales setup.
    Dirk
     
  18. knuckle_head

    knuckle_head Commercial User

    Jul 30, 2002
    Seattle
    Owner; Knuckle Guitar Works & Circle K Strings
    So it's looking to me as though pilotjones is spot on - 106 mm over-all spread with pole pieces at 21.2 mm apart.

    Then there is coil structure to consider, and whether there is a second row of pole pieces, which would measure slightly tighter than the 106 mm.
     
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