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Precision pickup questions

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by ForestThump, Sep 19, 2008.


  1. ForestThump

    ForestThump

    Jun 15, 2005
    Paris
    1) Since there are two pickups in a P bass, does it matter which goes on top and which on the bottom?
    2) How do you measure the strength of the pickup with a multi-meter, what should it read and what does the reading mean?
    3) Higher numbers stronger pickup but does this change alot from pickup to pickup?
    4) Logically older instruments would have lower readings, does this affect the tone as well as the volume?
    5) What should I be looking for if I buy a vintage (older) pickup?
    6) How are most of you setting the heights of Precision pickups, yes I know with a screwdriver but how?
    Thanks!
     
  2. praisegig

    praisegig Supporting Member

    Jul 7, 2008
    Stephenville, TX
    1) Look at the wiring, and install per the pic.http://www.seymourduncan.com/support/wiring-diagrams/schematics.php?schematic=std_pbass
    2) hook up the black to black/white to white leads, turn meter to ohms range for Kohms. reading probably read something anywhere from 5 Kohms to 16 Kohms. The higher the reading the hotter the pup.
    3) it can depending on the pickup magnets
    4) lower the reading, the more warm the tone and usually lower the volume as compared.
    5) maybe 5.5-7.0 Kohms is normal
    6) install sponge rubber under the pickup, then adjust height desired to Fender specs, usually 8/64" on bass side/ 6/64" on treble side, depending on neck radius.
    http://www.fender.com/support/basses.php

    All the above is JMHO.
     
  3. scottbass

    scottbass Bass lines like a big, funky giant

    Jul 13, 2004
    Southern MN
    (1) Very slightly. The pickup closer to the bridge will sound more "treble"-y and less "bass"-y. This would be more pronounced if the distance between pickups were greater, as on a Jazz bass.
    (2), (3), (4), (5) I defer to those more expert than myself.
    (6) Start with the Fender-recommended heights, then listen and tweak, listen and tweak, listen and tweak, etc. until the output of the strings sounds equal TO YOU using YOUR STYLE of playing and YOUR EQ SETTINGS on YOUR AMPLIFIER (and/or preamp). I prefer to slightly lower one side of the pickup to slightly decrease the volume of a string I perceive to be relatively louder rather than raising one side of the pickup to decrease volume. If the pickups get too close to the strings the magnetic pull will damp some of the harmonics. That's not good.
     
  4. Alcyon

    Alcyon

    Jan 15, 2008
    Vancouver, BC
    Not to mention that having pickups very close to the strings can overdrive the inputs of some amps, especially those without alternative -14dB plugs or switches (namely my Kustom KBA100).
     
  5. ForestThump

    ForestThump

    Jun 15, 2005
    Paris
    Good links scottbass and Lon.
    7) So in a P/J configuration if I have a 70's Dimarzio P-bass pickup that is reading say 7Kohms what kind of reading should I be looking for in a J-bass pickup to match?
    8) I know that often the J-bass pickup in these configurations sounds weaker because there is less string vibrating, so is it logical to have a hotter bridge position (J-bass) pickup?
    9) Would most people also go with a Dimarzio J-bass pickup or would a Nordstrand be a desireable choice in the bridge position?
    10) Sometimes people talk about a reverse Fender P pickup, what does that mean?
    11) It sounds like that even though the two components of a P-bass pickup look the same there is some "polarity" or difference between the two.


    As a footnote I am playing mostly alternate country and rock.
     
  6. ForestThump

    ForestThump

    Jun 15, 2005
    Paris
    Anyone?
     
  7. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    It's not two pickups, it's two coils. It's wires in series as one pickup. This is for hum cancelation.

    Doesn't mater which coil is used where as far as swapping them between the two openings.

    Generally speaking, you don't measure the strength of a pickup with a multi-meter. Most of the time the readings you see are DC resistance, measured in kiliohms, i.e., "12K".

    But this doesn't tell you the strength of the pickup. Pickups with higher resistance often have more wire wound them, and might be louder than a pickup with lower resistance, but it's all about how many turns there are on the coils, and the strength of the magnets. A coil with 8,000 turns of 42 AWG wire will have a lower resistance than a coil with 8,000 of 44 AWG, and they will be about the same volume, but will sound different.

    See above. Also there are many factors to the output and tone of a pickup. Even sticking to a simple design like a Fender P or J pickup, you can get different tones depending on how the coils are wound, magnet types, and if you add metal cores or pole pieces, which increases the inductance, and can make the pickup more efficient.

    Why would they? Lower readings might mean a brighter cleaner pickup, but not always.

    I'm assuming you mean a "vintage" style pickup, compared to a "modern" over wound pickup? Most P bass pickups are the same... 10,000 turns of 42 AWG on each coil with Alnico V rod magnets. Something like the Dimarzio Model P uses ceramic bar magnets and steel poles for a more aggressive tone, and I think is wound with more turns of thinner wire, such as 43 AWG for a bit more output.

    All depends on the tone you want. There are also pickups with a similar reading as a vintage pickup, but a very different tone, such as a Bartolini.

    I set the treble coil fairly close to the strings, and angled to match the fingerboard. The bass coil is lower under the E string, and angled up to the A.
     
  8. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    That doesn't sound right. Should be about 11.3K. Or was that just hypothetical?
     
  9. ForestThump

    ForestThump

    Jun 15, 2005
    Paris
    By vintage I meant a pickup that is actually from the 70's not vintage-type pickup that was made recently. I have a Dimarzio p-bass pickup from the 70's and would like to find a jazz pickup for the bridge position that is a good match- powerful, yet not overly trebly.
    I originally thought that as pickups age, their magnets lose strength but that might not be true.
     
  10. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    OK, DiMarzio hasn't changed the way they wind the Model P, so it has nothing to do with it being from the 70's. That was one of the first replacement pickups for Fenders, so any other pickups from the 70's would have to be the now vintage original Fender pickups. That's why I didn't understand your question.

    The DiMarzio is wound hotter than a usual P bass. The Model J works well with it. I'm sure the Ultra Jazz do also, but I've never used them.

    You had very limited choices for third party pickups in the 70's. Either you got a Fender or Gibson pickup, and then later were Hi-A (Bartolini) and DiMarzio. The Model P came out in 1977. I bought a Hi-A pickup in 1976.
     
  11. ForestThump

    ForestThump

    Jun 15, 2005
    Paris
    I mean that the pickup was actually manufactured in the 70's.
    It is old.
    I would like a powerful yet warm sound in the bridge position.
    Does a Model J sound like that?
    Thanks!
     
  12. ForestThump

    ForestThump

    Jun 15, 2005
    Paris
    Anyone?
     
  13. 4Mal

    4Mal Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge

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