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series/parrallel coil tap?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by RETSAMPALS, Sep 13, 2000.



    Sep 10, 2000
    maybe i'm an idiot but what is it with this series/parrallel coil tap switches? i mean i love the fact that you get to have switches on a bass, you mostly see them on guitars and i was always wondering why basses don't have too man of them (especially ibanez)
    but what's the difference when you flick the switch?
  2. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    The Fender Roscoe Beck bass has this type of switch for each pickup. Without going into technical details, when you switch one way you get a fuller, more active sound like a Musicman bass and when you switch the other way, you get something closer to a single coil pickup without the hum. That is, like a normal Jazz bass sound.

    The single coil sound is sort of like a "vintage" ideal, but if you can get it with a humbucker, you can avoid the hum or buzz, that is inevitable in some situations with a single coil pickup. This also means that with one pickup and a small switch you can get a variety of sounds - vintage and more modern.
  3. SMG

    SMG Supporting Member

    Apr 17, 2000
    metro Detroit
    Schaller used to make a "double J" pickup that could be wired through a three way mini switch: series, split (single coi, and parellel. The only company that I know of that made use of these was Kramer. (The headless "Duke" bass had one of these pickups and a three way mini switch.) A few years ago Victor Litz (Music store in Maryland) was selling out a bunch of old Kramer parts and I got as many of these as I could, and have installed them into a few custom basses. In the middle (single coil) mode, they sound a lot like a Duncan Vintage J pickup, and then the two humbucking modes each add a distinct tone with more bottom, one being sort of a cross between a traditional J and a normal humbucking, and one that is a full humbucking (a really ballsy sound!) I always get confused of which is which between the series and parallel, but I think series is normal full humbucker (though I could be wrong and it could be other way.)
  4. Monkey

    Monkey Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Ohio, USA
    I put a series/parallel switch in my homemade bass. I have a single powerful 14k ohm pickup slightly farther from the bridge than a MM, and passive electronics. I found that the series position gave a big, ballsy sound with much more output than the parallel position. The parallel sounded a little more refined, with more upper mids and highs, but it sounded weaker to me (I like big bottom). I ended up not using the parallel setting, so I took out the switch. I bet the switch would be more useful on an active bass.
  5. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    A little off topic, but remember those awful sounding phase switches a lot of 2 pickup basses had in the late 70's and early 80's?

    Did anyone ever find a useable sound with one of those?
  6. Luis Fabara

    Luis Fabara

    Aug 13, 2000
    Ecuador (South America)
    Audio Pro - Ecuador
    Ibanez not having Series/Parallel Switch?? hehe, check the Ibanez ATK300.
    It is a matter of design. Some pickups are desingned in a way that you can control each coil wiring. Others just dont.
  7. SMG

    SMG Supporting Member

    Apr 17, 2000
    metro Detroit
    Agreed...I suspect that that is exactly what is in the ATK series, with the third position being single coil. The middle coil in the ATK pickups is a "dummy" coil which would therefore cut the hum in single coil mode.
  8. The MM Sterling has got this switch too. Par/single/Series.
    Its nice and useful to obtain different sounds. Its active electronics in that one.. not the switch, the electronics that is. :)

    I mainly use the series mode since i like the punchier bigger midrangesound.

    Perhaps someone stated in the past: "switches shall only be fore the guitar" at least that is how it seems. ;)
  9. Brooks


    Apr 4, 2000
    Middle East
    G&Ls also have the Series/Parallel switch, though sadly, no Single Coil mode. I tend to play in Parallel mode for fingerstyle, and Series for slap.

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