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pickups for dummies

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by bassike, Sep 10, 2008.

  1. bassike


    Apr 24, 2008
    Hey guys
    I anted to know if someone could explain the difference on pickups.
    Cause I see all kind of pups like p style, J, soap bars, single coil, dual coil, twin jazz,MM, etc, etc.
    Could we make some kind of pickup guide for dummies, so we all know how to choose?
  2. bassike


    Apr 24, 2008
    is it just the shape?
  3. GabeN


    Feb 27, 2006
    Chugiak, AK
    There are a bajillion things that go into a pickup to make it sound different. Yes, shape is one thing but there are other things like magnet material, type of wire, magnet shape, magnet size, impedance, pickup type (humbucker, single coil, noise cancelling single coil) and pickup position.

    It's all in the sound. With stock pups like MM, J, or P style you can kind of see how their type defines the sound but aftermarket pickups and soapbars can run the gamut of sound so it's impossible to nail them down as one specific sound.
  4. Wikipedia's articles on pickups are passable for a cursory introduction.
  5. bassike


    Apr 24, 2008
    that was good but lets just for example compare plain jazz against soapbar, what would be the difference.
    I know all kind of matereals make them sound different but does the shape make a difference.

    i would like to build a warmoth bass but there is way to many shapes and diferent pups to shoose from; for example i've never seen an (MM, P) bass
    there are P J basses but I haven't seen soap bar P basses or MM soapbar.

    so what i'm trying to make it is a guide of all of us to share knowledge in pups shapes, materials, etc.
  6. GlennW


    Sep 6, 2006
    There's no contest; a plain jazz against chicken soupbars doesn't stand a chance.
  7. I love me some chicken soupbars.
  8. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    Soapbar is of course a shape, but it allows more options on what's inside the pickup.

    Some soapbars are dual coil humbuckers, where both cols are sensing the strings. This not only cancels hum, but gives a fuller low and and smoother top end. The soaps I make are like that, as are EMG DC and CS pickups, some Barts and Basslines, and MM pickups.

    Some soaps are split coil humbuckers, like a P bass pickup. This sounds more like a single coil, since no string is being sensed by both coils. You can even find single coils inside a soapbar, like the EMG-35J or the Darkstar.

    Jazz pickups are thin and tall, so they have a bright cutting tone. They sense a smaller section of the string than a wider pickup. They are somewhat limited as to what you can do differently, so most of them still sound like Jazz pickups. Hum canceling Jazz pickups often either have one coil stacked on top of the other, or are a split design like a P bass pickup.
  9. Ívar Þórólfsson

    Ívar Þórólfsson Mmmmmm... Supporting Member

    Apr 9, 2001
    Kopavogur, Iceland
    Most, if not all of the info you are looking for can be found via the Pickups FAQ located at the top of the forum.

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