Pickup placement measurements

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by JJP, Aug 21, 2004.

  1. Does anyone know where to obtain specific measurements for pickup placement on various designs of electric bass.
  2. :help:

    Okay, so JJP posted this question two years ago... but I'd also like to know where to get these measurements.

    I've done a lot of digging (as evidenced by the fact that I even came across this thread) and come up with a lot of unspecific, contradictory, or just plain useless numbers. The most useful bit of info I've found so far has been this post here by fookgub:


    ...in which he specifies the following measurements "from the 12th fret to the pickup centerline":
    60's Jazz, Neck: 10 7/8" Bridge: 14 1/2"
    70's Jazz, Neck: 10 7/8" Bridge: 14 7/8"
    Precision, 11"
    Stingray, 13 1/8"
    L2000, Neck: 11 3/8" Bridge: 14.175"

    However, those numbers are still problematic, because A) they are measured to "pickup centerline" and B) observations on my own basses cast doubt on them.

    To my mind, to be really useful these measurements should be from the 0- or 12th-fret location of a given string, to the centerline(s) of the pickup POLEPIECE(S) for that string. Talking only about PICKUP centerlines can be annoying because then you might need to know about pickup dimensions in order to make useful comparisons of string sensing locations across bass designs. Also, the measurements I've seen that are taken from "the bridge" are pretty much useless, because often they fail to specify saddle or centerline or edge or whatever; even if they do, bridges come in different dimensions and saddles are positioned differently for each string when properly intonated.

    As for the accuracy of the numbers above, I unfortunately do not actually own any of the exact models mentioned. However, when ordering my Warmoth body I specified J+MM pickup routings in "the traditional spots". In its case, the 10 7/8" and 13 1/8" numbers provided by fookgub are about right... but applied to the NECK EDGES of the pickups, rather than their centerlines. Are fookgub's numbers off, or did Warmoth screw up my routs? :confused:

    Another discrepancy: while I don't own a G&L L-2000, I do have a L-2500. It seems reasonable to assume that its pickups would be in the same spots as the L-2000's, but on my bass, my yardstick tells me the pickup centerlines are about 11 5/8" and 14 9/16", rather than fookgub's 11 3/8" and 14.175".

    Fookgub's numbers, while informative, seemed to be derived from online research rather than actual observation. In order to get to the bottom of this (as opposed to merely dredging up more net numbers that may or may not be accurate), maybe some of you folks could supply actual real-life 12th-fret-to-polepiece (or PU centerline if pole location is uncertain) measurements from your own classic basses? Some things I'd be particularly interested in:

    Fender 60's Jazz, Fender 70's Jazz, Fender modern MIM Jazz, Fender split Precision (including both halves), Fender single-coil Precision, MusicMan Stingray, Rickenbacker 4003, Yamaha Sheehan signature (and/or Gibson EB-0), Steinberger XL, Warwick Thumb (bridge JJ's including slant), Alembic Series I/II (including scale length), Pedulla Rapture-SB, Roscoe (dual-SB including slant)...

    Here are 12th-fret distance measurements from some of my own basses to get things rolling (disclaimer: my yardstick+eyeballs are not precision-calibrated instruments):

    Pedulla Rapture-PJ5 (34", 2002)
    neck-PU (P) centerline, E string: 10 3/8"
    neck-PU centerline, G string: 11 1/2"
    overall neck-PU centerline: 10 15/16"
    bridge-PU (J) centerline: 14 1/2"

    Ibanez Soundgear SR-400L (34", 1995)
    neck-PU (reverse-P) centerline, E string: 12 7/16"
    neck-PU centerline, G string: 11 5/16"
    overall neck-PU centerline: 11 7/8"
    bridge-PU (J) centerline: 14 7/8"

    G&L L-2500 USA (34", 2004)
    neck-PU (MFD) neck-coil polepiece center: 11 7/32"
    neck-PU bridge-coil polepiece center: 12 1/32"
    overall neck-PU centerline: 11 5/8"
    bridge-PU (MFD) neck-coil polepiece center: 14 5/32"
    bridge-PU bridge-coil polepiece center: 14 31/32"
    overall bridge-PU centerline: 14 9/16"

    aforementioned "traditional" Warmoth J+MM (34")
    neck-PU (Duncan SJB-5N) centerline: 11 3/16"
    bridge-PU (Duncan SMB-5A) neck-coil polepiece center: 13 21/32"
    bridge-PU bridge-coil polepiece center: 14 19/32"
    overall bridge-PU centerline: 14 1/8"
    Huw Phillips and staccatogrowl like this.
  3. BigBeatNut


    Apr 10, 2006
    London, UK
    Given the measurements are "problematic" can anyone either confirm or correct them ?

    Seems to be very hard to get hold of this information.

  4. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Inactive Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    You shouldn't really worry about it. There are no correct locations for pickups.
  5. BigBeatNut


    Apr 10, 2006
    London, UK
    I know that putting pickups in different places results in different sounds. So, I'm trying to understand how the pickup positioning on my basses relates to 60's and 70's jazz positioning, and how that relates to the sound and how it might influence choices for basses I buy in future. Or how it might influence modifications to the basses I have.

    So while I'm not worrying about it, I would be interested in knowing the answer.
    MaglorOnBass likes this.
  6. DavePlaysBass


    Mar 31, 2004
    If you are shooting for the classic J or P sound, Leo did a good job with his orignal selections in many people's opinion. I will get some measurements off my P and Js this evening and post them.
  7. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Inactive Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    One had the bridge pickup closer to the bridge (70's), so it was thinner sounding. One was closer to the neck (60's), so it was a little fuller sounding.

    But you are talking about a difference of 3/8" of an inch (14 1/2" vs. 14 7/8") so it's not a huge difference.

    One of my basses has a rout for two soapbars at the bridge. Now I only have one pickup in there, so I am able to move it around quite a bit. You don't get huge differences in tone even with a move of a couple of inches.

    Personally I'd go with the 60's position.
  8. BigBeatNut


    Apr 10, 2006
    London, UK
    Much appreciated, thank you.
  9. DavePlaysBass


    Mar 31, 2004
    I made measurements from the 12th fret to the pole pieces following the A string with a tape measure marked in 1/16" s.

    MIM 50's Precision: 11" to the EA pole pieces, 12 1/4" to the DG pole pieces

    Sadowsky RV5: 10 3/4" to neck, 14 1/4" to bridge (width of 12th fret can shift this by 1/16" to 10 7/8" and 14 3/8")

    SX Fretless 5 String Jazz (70's spacing): 10 3/4" neck, 14 13/16" bridge (no fret to line up with, lining up to 12th line, not a precise measurement)

    61 Jazz with thin vintage Frets: 10 7/8" neck, 14 3/8" bridge
  10. BigBeatNut


    Apr 10, 2006
    London, UK
    That's really helpful, thanks.
  11. recnsci


    Apr 8, 2010
    Pickup Response Demonstration Applet
  12. kkaarrll


    Jun 1, 2014
    does anyone else have more measurements to compare to this list? I found this very helpful.
  13. BigBeatNut


    Apr 10, 2006
    London, UK
  14. kkaarrll


    Jun 1, 2014
    yes, it's an old thread, it is also the best info on the net about this issue, I learned a lot from it, and would like to hear more
    gebass6 likes this.
  15. What is the purpose of wanting to know the measurements of pickup placements on various basses? I don't see any practical application.
  16. kkaarrll


    Jun 1, 2014

    reference points for custom build locations that someone would want.
    gebass6 likes this.
  17. JustForSport


    Nov 17, 2011
    Not everyone building a bass is buying a pre-routed Warmouth body.
    PawleeP and kkaarrll like this.
  18. I suppose that makes sense. If a customer has a particular demand, then it would be best to have the knowledge. For any other reason, it seems like experimenting on a test bass would be the best way to discover the right placement for the desired voicing.
  19. BigBeatNut


    Apr 10, 2006
    London, UK
    Sorry, I was merely commenting that the thread had been resurrected, not that it was a bad thing. If you check further up the page you'll see I also revived the thread after a 5 year gap. :woot:
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