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Roscoe Beck V pickup- minimum string spacing?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by RBrownBass, Dec 1, 2005.


  1. RBrownBass

    RBrownBass Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2004
    I just snagged a set of replacement Fender (Actually, I'm not sure that they are by Fender, but I hadn't heard of any low-end RB replacement pups, so I figured they'd be fine) Roscoe Beck 5 string pups, and I'm interested in how narrow a neck I can use for the bass I'll build around the pups. I now have a Mighty Mite 5-string neck that's 3" at the 20th fret- I figure that's wide enough to pretty much match the original RB spacing. Thing is, I think I'm going to end up wanting a "better" neck, like the Warmoth Deluxe Jazz 5 22-fret. I have bodies for either neck, but the Warmoth neck is not as wide at 2.9" at the 22nd fret. My question is, can I use the Warmoth neck (which will push the B and G strings in at least 4mm) and still be within the range of the polepieces? For anyone who can answer without knowing about the bass itself, the pups have six sets of polepieces rather than five, and the strings sit between them rather than directly above them.
     
  2. luknfur

    luknfur

    Jan 14, 2004
    DIXIE
    FWIW:

    I've had no problem unless the strings were bent out of the perimeter field. Anything within the mags was fine. Any given pup may be different for whatever reason - mostly likely if some strings are over the pole with others in between, which probably is an unlikely scenario unless you've got an 8 string or something wierd.

    If what your doing is permanent, it would probably be worthwhile to make a Leo 2x10 (whatever) experimental bass and know in advance. If nothing else you'll have the Leo for future endeavors.

    Another options may be a Schaller 5 string roller bridge. However the lateral play on the 5's is no where near the play on the 4's so it may get you dead on but wouldn't likely correct anything major. I've actually got a 5 Schaller on a "narrow scale" 4 string bass so I could use the Ric/EBO pups on an Ibanez (which houses a Dearmond HB at the moment). I've done my share of dinking with pole/string spacing and have ran across more pups that had inherently poor string balance for what they were intended for rather than from installs with pups that didn't belong in the bass.

    there have numerous post about pole/string spacing and search should turn up more information.
     
  3. From www.roscoebeck.com

    I think it actually has 3 poles per string, one is hidden.

    How about tilting the PU's a little....?
     
  4. luknfur

    luknfur

    Jan 14, 2004
    DIXIE
    FWIW:

    that's a good point. I've done some of that too. You can actually angle quite a bit without altering tone detectably. Maybe a combination of tilting with whatever else could be the difference between make or break.

    Also, it may be that tilting the pup may produce a tone more to your liking. Again, a Leo 2X10 would come in handy. And if you used the same neck on the Leo (assuming bolt-on), you may be VERY suprised at how similar the tone is to the finished product. At least I'd be very interesting in hearing the results.
     
  5. The string spacing over the pickups depends only on their spacing at the nut and their spacing at the bridge, nothing to do with the neck width at the heel.
     
  6. RBrownBass

    RBrownBass Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2004
    I understand this. But you're wrong- the string spacing over the pups most definitely is affected if the neck is so narrow that the strings cannot be placed at their usual locations wrt the pickup magnets.

    As I pointed out earlier in this thread, I am considering using a neck with a considerably narrower fingerboard. My question came up because I don't know if the RBV pups require the strings to be centered directly above the magnets (or, perhaps in this case, between them) or not.

    I didn't want to rout/install only to discover that my B and G strings were in a "dead" spot magnetically, if you get my drift.
     
  7. I do get your drift, and I don't have a problem admitting to be wrong when I am, but in this case I'm not: the string is a straight line between the nut and the bridge, so only the nut and bridge determine the string spacing at any point along its length, regardless of what's underneath it. It's the nut that you should measure on your Mighty Mite neck and compare with the nut widths Warmoth offers. Unless what you're saying is that a neck that's narrower at the heel is always narrower at the nut, but I don't think that's necessarily the case.

    Besides, a given difference in nut width translates to a much smaller difference in string spacing over the pickups if you're not changing the bridge. I have a Warmoth Deluxe 5 with the 1-7/8" nut width. I've just taken my caliper and moved the G string out of its slot at the nut and about 3.5 mm towards the middle of the neck (as if I had a 1-3/4" nut). The difference in B-G spacing over the neck (J) pickup is about 0.9 mm.
     
  8. RBrownBass

    RBrownBass Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2004
    Sorry to come off like a jerk. My Mighty Mite neck's string center to string center width is 1 5/8" or 41mm and the width at the 20th fret is 3".

    I probably haven't really made myself clear. I'll try again.

    I did know what you meant technically, but the difference in neck widths is pretty big. I'm making the assumption that the Warmoth neck will not accept the ideal bridge I'd be using with my current neck, so I'd likely use a bridge with Warmoth's suggested 17mm/68mm spacing. Well, the pups' appearance suggests that they are specifically designed for a 3"/76mm spacing at the bridge. Obviously, with every polepiece pup, there's a point where if the string gets too far away from the polepiece (on either side), it weakens the sound of the string. If I use the Warmoth neck/bridge combo, the bridge string spacing will place the B and G strings 4mm farther inward. That may be too far to be properly sensed by the polepieces. That's what I'm trying to avoid.

    So I started this thread to see if anyone who owned this bass or knew anything about the pup design could tell me if the string spacing is as crucial as it looks. A few years ago, I'd have built this bass up with the Mighty Mite neck and been done with it, but now that I see them being compared on these boards to MIM and Squier necks, I'm worried about using it.
     
  9. Of course not! I just didn't get that you were thinking about having to change the bridge along with the neck, which I agree you would probably have to do: My Deluxe 5 has a 70 mm bridge and a 76 mm one would definitely bring the strings too close to the edge of the fingerboard for comfort.

    In any case, and answering your question (I'm sorry I didn't do that in the first place), the magnetic field of the pole-pieces combines together and is actually pretty uniform at the distance the strings are, so you won't have a problem, especially going to narrower string spacing. There may be a problem in the opposite case (i.e. narrow pu - wide string spacing), in particular with the large vibration amplitude of the B string bringing it out of the overall pu magnetic field, but even in that case things are more tolerant to misalignment than you might think. As an amusing example, this is what you can find in a $6000 (!) guitar:

    http://www.benedettoguitars.com/models/electrics/benny.html
     
  10. RBrownBass

    RBrownBass Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2004
    Clorenzo, you da man! I saw that thread a couple days ago and didn't make the connection between the A-style Hipshot and the Warmoth neck. Granted, the Hipshot does have string spacing adjustment, so I won't blame myself completely for missing it, but after checking the Nordstrand site for the spacing on that pup, I see he's got the 19mm/76mm thing going with a Warmoth neck.

    But I lost control of my GAS and bought not one, but two Spectors this weekend. Now I gotta wait until next month to get hold of a Warmoth neck and start this from further back. At least I know it can be done, and done with a decent neck. Thanks again.