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Soapbar-shaped jazz pickups - do they exist?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Karma Police, Jan 18, 2012.


  1. Hi all,

    I'm looking at replacing the pickups on my custom bass - I currently have Nordstrands (Fat Stack and MM) but they're just not for me. I'm pretty keen on getting jazz-style pickups (particularly SD QP's), but obviously it's gonna look pretty bad with big holes around the pickups.

    Are there any single-coil jazz style pickups that come in soapbar shape?

    How about humbucker? (as in, perhaps two jazz pickups joined?)

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. JimWasHere

    JimWasHere

    Sep 8, 2010
    Portland, OR
    I have a set of EMG-TW pups in my bass... They're an EMG-CS in one mode and a jazz pup in the other, and you have a switch to go back and forth. I've been consistantly very happy with them, except that the output is lower on the single coil side. Because there's only one coil, I would guess.

    They're called something else now, I think. I bought them 8 years ago or so.
     
  3. You can do just about anything in a soapbar case. Have someone wind you some J style pickups.
     
  4. Nordstrand Big Singles
     
  5. Thanks for the replies - the custom pickups might be a good idea...

    The builder of my bass has used Big Singles before, and he was unimpressed - very noisy.
     
  6. I respect your builder's opinion, but a search will yield a lot of specific experiences and opinions on these pickups.
     
  7. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    Single coils are noisy. Can't do much about that.

    There's lots of things that can be done in a soapbar case that get you that single coil bite and don't hum like an angry hornet's nest.
     
  8. JimWasHere

    JimWasHere

    Sep 8, 2010
    Portland, OR
    There is truth here. Don't settle, what you are looking for is definitely out there, and the right luthier/tech will be able to help you find it.
     
  9. Thanks for the suggestions all. I know he's a very busy luthier, so does anyone have some fancy words I can throw at him? :D

    I guess what I mean is - do you have any technical recommendations?
     
  10. BruceWane

    BruceWane

    Oct 31, 2002
    Houston, TX
    Nordstrand also makes a "Big Split", word is they sound almost exactly like a Big Single but with no noise (split coil humbucker).

    Alternately, you could have a custom cover made for any jazz style pickup - basically just back-route a soapbar-sized block of wood for the jazz pickup, leaving a thin layer intact on the top.
     
  11. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    Right, but he said he has Nordstrands and wants something different.

    As far as putting a Jazz in a soapbar cover. You can get empty plastic pickups covers. Then stick a Jazz in that.

    However, he wants a hum canceling pickup. I make several pickups like this, and I'm sure other pickup makers do as well.
     
  12. Thanks David - yes, I probably am looking at something other than Nordstrand. I find the Fat Stacks to be too brittle for me. The Big Splits are tempting, but they are also really expensive (at least to buy here), and I'm sure that need not be the case.

    I'm talking to David about pickups, but if anybody has other thoughts, I'd be interested. Perhaps something else to consider - I have the Nordstrand preamp in the bass, so anything I put in would be passive and then going through this preamp.
     
  13. i always wonder why someone would like to have a single coil inside a soapbar.
    First, most double coils pups can be switched to single coil mode.
    Second, you got unnecesary wider cavities on the bass body...

    Maybe only in case you love the soapbar look but hate the soapbar sound... But functionally, is kinda nonsense
     
  14. Passinwind

    Passinwind I am Passinwind and some of you are not. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2003
    Columbia River Gorge, WA.
    Owner/Designer &Toaster Tech Passinwind Electronics
    Magnetics in Italy makes some very nice sounding ones.
     
  15. Lots of things in the music world are functionally nonsense ;) it's all about personal taste and feeling 'comfortable', even if it's not a tangible reason.

    Personally, I don't like the soapbar sound, and I have yet to hear a humbucker that, when tapped, sounds as good as a great single coil. It was a bit of a leap of faith trying out both soapbars and a Musicman humbucker on a custom bass, and I learned that those things aren't for me.
     
  16. Thanks - I'll have a look at those.
     
  17. Passinwind

    Passinwind I am Passinwind and some of you are not. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2003
    Columbia River Gorge, WA.
    Owner/Designer &Toaster Tech Passinwind Electronics
    I had a pair in one of my fretless basses for a couple of years. Finally decided I wanted humbuckers again though, and settled on Q-Tuners, which I really like.
     
  18. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    When you have a dual coil humbucker, each coil is not wound the same as a single coil pickup, it's wound a lot less. So when you split to the single coil, it's often weak and thin sounding.

    Some companies get around that by winding them both like single coils. That would be too muddy in series, so they wire them in parallel. But having the two coils wound that hot, even in parallel, doesn't sound the same as lower winds in series because of the increased inductance on the coils.

    Also, some soapbars can have a wider aperture single coil than a Jazz pickup.

    Lastly, Jazz pickups just don't fit the look of every bass. They are an old design, and look out of place on some more modern looking basses. Could you imagine Jazz pickups on a Steinberger? :)
     
  19. I don't even want to imagine a Steinberger :bag:
     
  20. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    I always wanted one, just to have one. I played a few and thought they were kind of cool, once you got used to them. Ned also designed the Spector NS basses.

    I'd rather play a Steinberger than a Jazz bass. :bassist:
     

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