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PU's sweet spot

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Le Basseur, Apr 6, 2003.

  1. Le Basseur

    Le Basseur

    Mar 26, 2002
    Even though this thread could be placed in "PU's" section,it seems equally proper to put it here....
    The question is:
    What is supposed to be the famous "sweet spot"?
    I'm looking for some explanations of a more "technical" nature,such as WHY the sweet spot was choosen where it's already "estabilished".It was a "trial-and-error" type of decision,or it's a precise harmonic configuration picked up from the string that leaded to this?
    Also,related on theme:it's a big gap of information on this aspect...only some modest info's on MM,JB and PB,wich say that on those basses the PU is placed on 11'' regarding the 12th fret.
    What if an instrument has another measure?
    Wouldn't be more appropriate to measure the sweet spot from the bridge?
    And,in the end,one more question:are the "sweet spots" on different brands in the same place?
    I'm especially interested on Fodera's.....where do they established it?:confused:
  2. I don't think there is one single "sweet spot". A lot of poeple refer the the location that MusicMan uses for their basses as the "sweet spot", but the case could be made that the location of the pickup on a Fender Precision is also a "sweet spot".

    There are lots of folks who have worked out the mathematics of the "sweet spot", but the problem is that those mathematics change as soon as you fret a string. Knowing Leo Fender's mode of operation, though, the pickup location for MusicMan (at elast) was likely chosen simply through trial and error, until he found a location that seemed to work best for the sound he was looking for with the pickups he was using. In practical terms, a pickup location similar to what Musicman has chosen is a good compromise which allows for a reasonable amound of variety using the EQ, but even that position has not stayed precisely the same from model to model or year to year. Other makers use different locations, even between their own models. Since you asked about Fodera, have a look at the Beeze Elite Fretless vs. the Anthony Jackson Presentation over on their gallery page ( http://www.fodera.com/bassgallery.htm ).

    Since the pickup locations on a Musicman, Jazz Bass, and P-bass are all quite different, I'm not quite sure where you're getting the "11 inches from the 12th fret" measurement. However, the reason you measure from the 12th fret rather than from the bridge is that the 12th fret is a specific, fixed location in relation to the scale of the bass, whereas the bridge covers a range 2"-3" long, with saddles for each string in different locations along that range, adn those locations change depending on what stirngs you're using and how the bridge was installed--taking a precise measurement from there simply isn't possible.

  3. Le Basseur

    Le Basseur

    Mar 26, 2002
    The most of your comments confirmed what I already supposed.
    About the "11'' thing" on Fenders,I just took the information from an older thread...some guy wroted that his measurements showed a "strict rule" in this aspect.In the old days,when I had the opportunity to see and/or play on a wide variety of Fender and MusicMan basses,it never crossed my mind to measure the sweet spot,but,purely visual,I recall that,really,there were different placements!
    OK,I'll take for real your argument of measuring from the 12th fret and not from the bridge,even though I'm not 100% convinced about the purity of this method.
    Also,thanks for the Fodera link....as you might suppose,I've already tried to get something from the pics,but it's not an accurate way of determining a sweet spot.
    Since you mentioned,I'm especially interested in the PU's placement on the Anthony Jackson model.
    Do you have any idea where can I get this info?(none of my friends owns a Fodera...)bawl:
    Or,it would be appropriate to ask directly from Fodera guys such kind of info?:rolleyes:
  4. You're right, it's pretty tough to try and guess anything like exact dimensions from looking at photographs, though if you have a really straight-on pickture, you can sometimes get a general idea of the pickup location in relation to the scale, and the relationship to the scale is really the important thing, anyway. For instance, on the AJ in question, the center of the pickup looks like it's about 2/3 of the way between the 12th fret and the end of the scale (take the distance between the nut and the 12th fret, and go the same distance past the 12th fret). However, on the single-pickup Emperor II 6 on the same page, the pickup looks a touch closer to the bridge (almost 3/4). They both have 28 frets, which makes it a little easier than visually comparing the AJ with the 24-fret basses. If both basses are a 36" scale, that would put the AJ at about 12" from the 12th fret, and the EII6 at about 13.5" from the 12th fret. I have no idea if that's right, though.

    Yes, you could probably contact Fodera and ask them about the pickup position on the AJ. From what I understand about Anthony Jackson, I suspect there are very specific reasons for the pickup being exactly where it is.

    Good luck!
  5. Le Basseur

    Le Basseur

    Mar 26, 2002
    THX again,Mike!