Pickup Placement, measurements of specific basses

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by tdvt, Feb 28, 2010.

  1. tdvt


    Oct 13, 2008
    I throw the odd parts bass together every once in a while & decided to search the forums for info regarding P/U placement of a few certain intruments. While there are many threads regarding placement & it's huge effect on sound, I didn't find any hard & fast numbers (maybe they're out there?) for various basses. I myself would find this interesting just for comparison & also useful for building. So I thought I would start up a list that others can add to if they feel inclined.

    I chose not to measure from the bridge because of the compensating saddles but measured from the nut since it is a constant point relative to the scale of the instrument. On both basses I measured, I measured from the nut to the center of the pickup (same as the center of the pole on single coils) & also added the pole centers for the humbucker. Numbers in parentheses are the remainder when subtracted from the given scale length.

    The two that I can throw out there are:

    1976 Music Man Stingray
    34" scale length

    Nut to PU centerline 30 9/16" (3 7/16")

    Nut to Pole centerlines 30 1/8" & 31 1/16" (3 7/8" & 2 15/16")

    1998 MIM Fender Jazz
    34" scale length

    Nut to bridge PU centerline 31 7/16" (2 9/16")

    Nut to Neck PU centerline 27 7/8" (6 1/8")
    Mili and peter-j like this.
  2. Stealth


    Feb 5, 2008
    Zagreb, Croatia
    This is a very good idea as having such standardized tables may finally give some people an answer why particular pickups at particular positions create particular sounds.

    Would love to help - I'll check my P/J bass clone once I get to that bass and write back. If you plan on adding to the table, here's an extra idea you might want to consider: it would also be good to write down the metric equivalent, for us Imperially impaired. :D

    I was going to comment on the instrument scale because it has a major impact and the sizes have to be refactored for <34" or >34" scales, but I see you got that covered. :smug: By the way, is the 1998 MIM Jazz the one with 60s or 70s pickup spacing?
  3. tdvt


    Oct 13, 2008
    That would be great, I think it will be interesting to see how things compare.

    I can add metric to my dimensions, I think that's a good idea. I had started going inch/decimal with my own measurements then realized many people here (including myself) would use a inch+fractions tape measure, so I stayed completely fractional.

    I'm not sure which layout my Jazz is, hopefully we'll find out!

    I am particularly interested in measurements from a 60's/70's Humbucker Telecaster bass if anybody's got one.
  4. My EBMM HH, 34-inch scale, measured from the nut:
    Neck pickup centerline, 26 5/8;
    Rear pickup centerline, 30 5/16.

    My MTD 535, 35-inch scale, measured from the nut (ignored the '0' fret):
    Neck pickup centerline, 29 1/2;
    Rear pickup centerline, 32 15/16.
  5. Stealth


    Feb 5, 2008
    Zagreb, Croatia
    Okay, P/J clone, 34" scale, measured from nut:

    P-pickup center:
    734mm, 85% of total scale length
    P-pickup EA-half, pole centers:
    720mm, 83.333% = 5/6 of total scale length
    P-pickup DG-half, pole centers:
    750mm, 86.80555555% of total scale length
  6. Great thread, useful data.

    Warwick Thumb NT 4 string, 34" scale
    measured from nut to centrline of pup
    Neck: 29 3/4"
    Bridge (angled, measurement from centre of neck): 32 3/8"

    Warwick Thumb NT 5 string fretless, 34 1/2" scale
    both pups angled and parallel to one onother, measurement from centre of neck (A string)
    Neck: 31 1/8"
    Bridge: 32 3/4"
  7. gack


    Sep 28, 2007
    Russia, Chelyabinsk
    Hey, guys.

    Can anyone give measurements of PU placement for Ibanez GWB1 or 1005? Thanks
  8. slyjoe

    slyjoe Supporting Member

    Jun 28, 2008
    Valley of the Sun (AZ)
    SR1005 - 34" scale
    Nut to centerline of pickups:
    Neck: 28 15/16"
    Bridge: 31 15/16"
    Luke Sheridan likes this.
  9. Spino


    May 21, 2006
    Anyone got the measurement for a '76 Fretless MMSRay to compare positions to a fretted, or were they the same.
    From front of nut to center of pup. Thanks
  10. Rano Bass

    Rano Bass

    Sep 9, 2006
    Tijuana Mex.
    Is that bass custom???
    All regular 5 string Thumb NT basses are 34" scale.
  11. DustandBarley


    Feb 4, 2009
    1977 Fender Telecaster
    34" scale length

    Nut to PU centre line 25"

    Nut to Pole centre lines 24 9/16" & 25 7/16"
  12. I'm glad to see you paying close attention to the distances. You know, I've delved into that a bit. I chopped up one cheap plywood body bass in the 90's just to add one EBO style pickup. So this bass had a regular "P pickup" - just to simplify terms for now - and then I added the neck pickup 1/16" back from the neck. Each pickup yielded a good tone when mixed. Then I chopped up a 1975 Precision Bass (gasp, yeah I know) for the same mod that I practiced on the first cheap bass. This time it sounded much better than the first time - I still use the same P-Bass. Then I bought a brand spanking new G&L L-1505 and had a highly skilled tech do the routing to add a second identical pickup from G&L. You see, in the case of G&L all of their L series basses with 2 pickups are spaced less than 1 inch apart from each other. I know Leo Fender had his reasons - maximum respect to Mr. Fender. With two pickups placed so closely there is not enough difference in tone. So, I made my own mod. The third time is charm. And you know man, when the tech and I had the uncut, beautiful L-1505 (still with the tags on the tuner) on the counter at his shop he asked me where I wanted him to put the second G&L pickup and I said, "right here". He measured and we agreed that the distance between the pickups would be 2 1/8". 20 years after I modded the plywood bass and looking at many pictures and measuring basses in stores and writing down the numbers I developed an idea of where the second pickup should be on a G&L bass. And then of course there are the topics of string nodes and harmonics. Enough, I felt that I was ready. After a while you just know when you're ready. I took a $1200.00 risk and I won.

    Was I lucky ? No, I learned what I needed to know after a very long time. I owned many stock, run of the mill, ordinary basses before I did the mod for the third time. I'm a slow learner. Right before, I mean 1 month before, I bought the G&L L-1505 I bought a G&L L-2000 brand new because I wanted to give it a fair shot through my rig. I did not appreciate the sound of the pickups at 50/50 blend because they are too close to each other - again I say < 1". I returned the L-2000 and put ordered the L-1505. I promise you that this mod was the best mod I could have made to an already great bass. Now, in my case I always blend my pickups at 50/50. I adjust most of my tone on the amp.

    I wish you well in your pickup placement projects.
    fnordlyone likes this.
  13. Here's Leo's designs:
    you can see some overlapping sweet spots, yet each is a bit different. Interesting that the MM and P which have a similar classic tone share no "sweet spot."


    Attached Files:

    Peter Weil likes this.
  14. maurilio

    maurilio Musician - Owner Mo's Shop & MBD - Tech Nordstrand Commercial User

    May 25, 2003
    Redlands, CA

    The zero fret is what matters. It is where the scale starts (intonation point). The nut is there just to hold the strings in place....
    TrustRod likes this.
  15. djm150


    Oct 6, 2011
    great pic. is it possible to add the L-2000 to this comparison picture?
  16. BlueTalon

    BlueTalon Happy Cynic Supporting Member

    Mar 20, 2011
    Eastern Washington
    Endorsing Artist: Turnstyle Switch
    Honestly, I think it will cause more confusion than it alleviates. What happens when, hypothetically, there are 5 or 6 basses with pickups in identical spots having sounds that are distinct from one another?

    I think compiling a chart/table like this would be interesting, but I don't think it will be useful.
  17. uOpt


    Jul 21, 2008
    Boston, MA, USA
    From my personal notes. Let me know is something is too obscure to understand:

    bass pickup positions, center of pickup from fret 20:
    - red jazz: 11.5, 20.7 cm
    - 2000 stingray: 18.3 (coils 17.3 and 19.5)
    - 1997 P split style: 13.4cm (coils are at 12.0 and 14.7 cm)
    - P51:  10.4 cm
    - gibson thunderbird: 10, 21cm
    - 4 HH bongo: 11.75neck, 20.5cm
      - outside stingray range
      - happens to be exactly jazz bass range
    - birdie [2006 PH thumb]:
      - pbass 14 cm from fret 20
      - hum 23 cm
    - corvette: 13.5, 21.5 cm from fret 20
    Xhaxo, razboinikoff and fnordlyone like this.
  18. I lifted that pic from another tb member from a long ago thread. Cannot remember original poster of pic, but maybe he could do a new comparison. Afraid I don't own the basses or tech to post an update:atoz:
    galgoom likes this.
  19. 1BassDreamer

    1BassDreamer Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2012
    Chattanooga, TN
    Can someone please post the pickup measurements from the 12th fret for a Spector Euro 5lx and a Ken Smith 5 neckthru?
  20. Kenty1983


    Apr 30, 2015
    Interesting thread this!! Anybody know the measurements for a Les Paul bass?
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

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