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Pickup placement on short scale Jazz

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by abarson, Nov 21, 2010.

  1. abarson


    Nov 6, 2003
    Santa Cruz
    I'm guessing that the "ideal" location for mounting pickups on a 32" scale Jazz bass would be different than for a standard 34" scale. Can anyone provide corrected measurements?
  2. Rocky McD

    Rocky McD

    Jun 28, 2005
    San Antonio, Texas
    Ideal? What tone are you trying to achieve? Close to the neck gives a mellow tone, close to the bridge gives you a brighter tone. Do you mean "most common placement"? If you want a short scale P Bass than you can use the P placement reduced for your size.
  3. Yakob


    Nov 15, 2009
    Philadelphia, PA
    I might be able to help you out. I have a 32" scale Aria Medium II which has a Jazz-bass like pickup set up... Interested in measurements or pics?
  4. Beej


    Feb 10, 2007
    Victoria, BC
    Well, if you're trying to set it up like a jazz with your pickups in the same relative position, you just need to find the locations of the pickups on a 34" scale jazz, calculate their placement based on their percentage of string length, convert that to 32" and there you go.

    From what I could quickly glean, the 60's J spacing is the neck and bridge pickups being 3.6" apart on centre. The 70's spacing puts them at 4" apart (bridge pickup is closer to the bridge). Typically, this is measured from the bridge, but in my own experience, I have seen the bridge location vary on Fenders up to 1/4".

    Instead, I've calculated (off the two vintage positioning jazzes here) that the neck pickup is centred 10 25/32" away from the 12th fret. Its easier to write it as 10.78125. The bridge pickup then on a 60's is about 14.38125" away, and on a 70's, its 14.78125". Dividing them by the 34" scale gives us 0.42297794 for the 60's bridge and 0.31709558 for the neck. The 70's bridge is 0.43474264.

    Multiplying those by the 32" scale gives us the new location in inches for placement of the J pickups in relation to the 12th fret on a 32" scale:
    Neck: 10.147058 (or ~10 9/64)
    60's Bridge: 13.535294 (or ~13 17/32)
    70's Bridge: 13.911764 (or ~13 29/32)

    I'm way too tired to check my math, but there are engineers and such on here, so if someone sees an error, please correct it...
  5. abarson


    Nov 6, 2003
    Santa Cruz
    Measurement from the 12th fret would be cool!
    If you can get the measurement from the center of the saddles to the center of the bridge pickup, that would be awesome!
  6. abarson


    Nov 6, 2003
    Santa Cruz
    So, here is why I ask: I acquired this hefty brass bridge that looks cool, but measures 1-3/16 inches between the center line of the saddles and the center line of the pickup. It's obvious that this probably won't be appropriate for a full-scale bass, but maybe it would be for a short scale. I'm trying to figure out whether it's worth a go, or if it should just go up on ebay.

  7. mikeyswood

    mikeyswood Banned

    Jul 22, 2007
    Cincinnati OH
    Luthier of Michael Wayne Instruments
    Why wouldn't it be good for a full scale? You would capture a great amount of harmonic content at that location.
  8. Your math and process is spot on. I use percentages for so much stuff it isn't even funny. You can do almost anything with a ratio. As for that bridge, I would put a third pickup in that location that was wired to a blend pot where I could blend it in independently with the other two.


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