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Single Coil to Humbucker Replacement

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by agentphoenix, Mar 11, 2009.


  1. agentphoenix

    agentphoenix

    Mar 11, 2009
    My Dad is a hobbyist luthier and about 8 years ago built me a gorgeous bass. Over the years, it's served me well with 2 single coil Carvin pickups, but recently, I've been thinking that I want to replace the bridge single coil pickup with a humbucker for more low and mid range and to (hopefully) fatten up the sound a bit.

    Mechanically speaking, routing a bigger hole isn't an issue, nor is soldering the new pickup in. But the real question is, what are the potential dangers in making such a change to my bass? Any insight would be awesome. Thanks!
     
  2. Kael

    Kael

    Dec 26, 2004
    Oklahoma City
    You won't have a single coil to balance your single coil neck pick up any longer if you swap the bridge to a humbucker. Result will be lots of buzz unless you turn the neck pickup all the way down. I'd recommend either keeping both single coil or swapping them both to humbucker.

    I use Nordstrands nj4se's (humbucking J's) in my fretless J and could not be happier with them. They sound like a J pickup with a little thicker low mids than usual. Sounds like they might be up your alley from your post.
     
  3. agentphoenix

    agentphoenix

    Mar 11, 2009
    Thanks, Kael! Just a follow-up question. How does Carvin get such a sweet sound from the single/humbucker combination with full blend between the neck and bridge without the noise then? Are they doing something special?
     
  4. The neck must be a dual-coil that looks like a single.
     
  5. Kael

    Kael

    Dec 26, 2004
    Oklahoma City

    Bingo.
     
  6. agentphoenix

    agentphoenix

    Mar 11, 2009
    Yeah, it looks like Carvin does a stacked humbucker at the neck and a normal humbucker at the bridge. I'm not sure now if mine are single coil or stacked humbuckers, so I gave Carvin a call. Unfortunately they don't have records back as far as when I ordered the pickups, but I've just emailed some pictures of the pickups over to them and their guitar guys are going to see if they can identify which it is from the pics. Thanks for all the advice so far!
     
  7. Kael

    Kael

    Dec 26, 2004
    Oklahoma City
    It is an easy check. Solo the pickup you think might be single coil and turn the amp up to a reasonably loud volume. If it is single coil you will get a slight "buzz" which is the infamous single coil buzz. They all do it regardless of how well they are contructed. Shielding your bazz may reduce it a bit, but it will still be present to some degree.

    A good humbucker will be dead silent. No difference with volum knob on bass up or down for that pickup.
     
  8. agentphoenix

    agentphoenix

    Mar 11, 2009
    I don't have much experience with different pickup setups, so what kind of tone would I get with 2 stacked humbuckers versus the 2 single coil pickups?
     

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