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Pickup Positioning: AKA "Where do you play, and when"

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by MikeLindgren, Mar 16, 2006.


  1. I haven't seen this thread yet, so I figured I start it. Where do you all position your pickup selector, and when?

    I have gotten tired of fooling around with my 'POD, and started twiddling around like made with my pickups: playing at the bridge with the neck selected, playing at the neck with the bridge selected, playing ON the neck(way up the fretboard past the neck PU), just doing some noodling with playing positioning/PU selector positioning and fooling about with my tone knob. I was shocked at some of the outrageous variety of sounds, and it really has added a new dimension to playing. I have typically been conservative with my basses themselves, and have preferred to use my amp's EQ or my multi-FX for sound shaping, but it has been frustraing because the tone "in my head" was never found. Finally I've found it through noodling about, and the difference shines.

    I have settled on, at least for the time being, playing with the pickup selector fully at the neck, whilst resting on the bridge PU. It gives it a nice, round, bark. I've also noticed that playing ON the neck, as in past the neck PU will make the bass sound like a double. It's really pretty cool. My guitar player had been busting me up about relying so much on tonal shaping, and ignoring technique itself as an avenue for "effects", and tone in general, and it has truly paid off.

    Feel free to share your favourite PU spots and EQ settings ON THE BASS itself.
     
  2. amper

    amper

    Dec 4, 2002
    US
    My standard for a long time has been my 1992 Fender Jazz Bass Plus V, with Fender-Lace Sensor pickups and the preamp designed by Phil Kubicki.

    Usually, I have the EQ's at max, volume max, pickup blend set to 100% neck, preamp in the active (but not mid-boosted) state, and I play 99.44% fingerstyle with my thumb hooked on the B string just ahead of the neck pickup, so my plucks fall right over the neck pickup. I like the sound that way. I also dig in pretty hard with lots of string clankin'. I don't really pluck transversely so much as smack the strings vertically with the pads of my fingers.

    On my V-Type, I usually set the Gain at 12:00, Bass at 10:00, Mid at 12:00 (non-shifted), Treble at 2:00, Deep switch on, Bright switch off, Master at 11:00 (or wherever it needs to be for the size of the gig). And I break the fingers of any soundman who tries to set my DI to "pre-EQ". :) (Not really...but I do insist on post-EQ DI).

    On my SWR rig, I don't usually use the power tubes in the 'Stella, and I set the EQ's flat, except for the "Aural Enhancer" at 2:00.

    On my StingRay, it's usually Bass max, Mid zero or flat, Treble Max, and either mag only or piezo only. I don't really like the blended sound.

    I'm still figuring out the Warwick. It's a special purpose type of instrument, and I don't use it with my band. I need to get a new amp for it. I think I like the Mesa Walkabout Scout with the Warwick, so I'm thinking along those lines right now.
     
  3. On my FBB, I've always had the balance knob at 60/40 or 40/60 neck/bridge, EQ flat. I play with my fingers over the bridge pickup. It just sounds like...me.
     
  4. [​IMG]

    That's why I have one of these installed. Most of the sounds I create are created at my bass instead of with an EQ, let it be the VVT or my fingers. It gives a real variety of sounds when I alter my fingerposition a little bit. Also thanks to the Dimarzio Model J's in it! I usually solo the bridge in series and add a bit of neck in it when I need to have a fatter sound. Treble is ehhm.. somewhere past the middle. On my amp I boost a little bit of lows and some high mids sometimes. All this with lovely dead Thomastik Infeld Superalloy strings :smug:

    Growly, punchy sound with a good basis present!
     
  5. Man, the Model Js are monstrous pickups. I had a pair in a Mexi J and it just ripped. Unfortunately, the neck was green and I had maxed out the truss rod in only a year of owning it... :mad:
     
  6. Moo

    Moo Banned

    Dec 14, 2002
    Oakland, CA
    Towards the bridge for fingers, towards the neck for slap. That's over simplified but about the only thing I avoid is bridge pickup slap.
     
  7. I use a Squire Affinity P-Bass with a Fender Rumble 15 and Black Diamond strings. I play inbetween the neck and my splitcoil. On my amp I put my highs and lows to max and I put my mids at 10 o'clock. On my bass I put my volume on max and my tone on the lower half so I get a Steve Harrisish kind of tone exept just a little bit not as bright.
     
  8. Ívar Þórólfsson

    Ívar Þórólfsson Mmmmmm... Supporting Member

    Apr 9, 2001
    Kopavogur, Iceland
    On my 5 string Fender MIA Jazz bass I play with my fingers just behind the neck pickup.

    When I play with a pick, I play around the bridge pickup.