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Some real talk about Pickup Placement.....

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by pablomigraine, Feb 4, 2016.

  1. Dual pups at or near the "Standard" J-Bass Position

  2. Dual pups close together towards the bridge

  3. Single pup at or near the MM position

  4. Single pup at or near the P position

  5. Single Pup right at the neck

  6. I don't think it makes much difference....

  1. Jaco Taco

    Jaco Taco

    Jul 30, 2012
    No option for choosing Ric placement. Poll invalid.
  2. FourNotFive


    Dec 30, 2011
    I agree when the solution involves compromises, but that is not the case with what I proposed.
    Imagine that you know exactly what pickups you want and exactly where you want them positioned (let's call this "default position"). Now imagine that you can move them an inch or so in either direction and switch pickup styles. While these other options may not provide ideal results they do provide options and most importantly these options do not change or detract from the use of "default position".
    Put another way: would having the ability to move or switch pickups on your current favorite bass make that bass sound / play any differently when the current pickups are in and placed where they are now? Nope.
    By the way I drive a pickup truck that drives like a pickup truck, my fishing boat has no fancy amenities and I only wear loafers to work.
  3. peterpalmieri

    peterpalmieri Supporting Member

    Apr 19, 2005
    Babylon, NY
    Have you checked out the Fodera Pope Viceroy? Only the back pickup moves, also Wood and Tronics is doing this, again with only the back pickup. Some others I know less about have been doing this. I get where you are going, totally cool not my thing. When I think swapping out the pickups too and having to remove the strings etc is a step to far. Likely if you change the location you likely want to adjust the height too. Makes me think there is a reason most who have tried this limit it to 1 moving pickup. Also the dual route on a Sadowsky is cool where you can swap the neck J for a P. In all these cases the folks I have spoken to eventually settled on a favorite location and at some point stopped the experiment. My Valenti PJ 5 is never going to sound like my Smith 6, there are to many variables....
    FourNotFive likes this.
  4. AndreasR


    Oct 23, 2012
    I don't get what myth is being busted but I like 2 pickup basses because it allows for a larger range of timbre.

    Second is single humbucker because stingray.
  5. pablomigraine

    pablomigraine Commercial User

    Feb 9, 2005
    New York
    Director of Commercial Sales - Neural DSP
    Thanks very much for your input. I'm not going off the beaten path with my new bass, it's more about deciding which beaten path. I'm actually not 100% certain that all the options I'm thinking about are even open to me... but right now I'm considering the placement found on certain Zon basses (slightly different than the standard J bass config when measured from the bridge) or something like the Sadowsky Moderns / G&L basses with both pups close together near the bridge.

    I know I know.... the idea was that I was inviting people in the know to come in and drop some science in this thread and dispel some myths.... not that I was going to bust the myths in my OP. I'm gonna change the title as this continues to draw negative commentary....
  6. mdlewis


    Jan 1, 2005
    Boston Metro
    I've always found that pickup location is one of the more important characteristics that give's an instrument its unique voice.

    To restate the obvious, a specific location favors those vibrational modes which have amplitude directly over it. These are like fixed acoustic resonances and will be dependent on absolute frequencies rather than following the pitch your playing, since the pickup is a fixed distance from the anchor points. It's very similar to formants in vocal music, which make one singer sound different than another. My favored position for a single pickup depends upon the style of music and and where I"m generally playing on the next. Normal stuff - it's pretty much a modern P location. Contemporary music it's somewhere in the range of a sixties jazz treble pickup or a music man.

    FWIW, there is an additive synthesizer in Logic that's you experiment directly with this. You specify the resonant material and shape, such as steel and strings, or nylon and strings, and you can place pickups at very locations and mix and match. Kinda fun to see what you can do with location and combination alone.
  7. makanudo


    Dec 26, 2008
    How about pickup configs like the Corvette $$ and Dingwall NG-2 with those massive pickups close together but with the coils close to the "standard" positions?
    EmuBass and DiscoRiceJ like this.
  8. ofajen


    Apr 12, 2007
    92.4W 38.9N
    Bottom line, as the pickup location gets closer to the bridge: 1) low end roll off starts at higher frequencies, 2) is more pronounced at a given low frequency and 3) the frequency of the lowest null rises.

  9. pablomigraine

    pablomigraine Commercial User

    Feb 9, 2005
    New York
    Director of Commercial Sales - Neural DSP
    I guess that's really the important factor... the aperture and where the coils themselves sit...
  10. peterpalmieri

    peterpalmieri Supporting Member

    Apr 19, 2005
    Babylon, NY
    The two best examples of the modern spacing is a Ken Smith or Sadowsky modern 24 fret, I'd suggest if you go that route try to play a bunch first. I say a bunch because if you are going off a single Zon it will be hard to know if what you are hearing that you like is the pickup placement or something else. I had a pavel that had a similar spacing to my Ken Smith and they were pretty different sounding. Even the Smith and Sadowsky sound pretty different.

    EDIT: Also meant to mention, always measure from the 12th fret, it's more accurate then the bridge
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2016
    merseymale likes this.
  11. saltydude


    Aug 15, 2011
    boston CANADA
    Wasn't for me. I shifted or relocated mine closer to the neck. More of a middle position.. I get all the same tones and even more power. I'm just on the knob a little more frequently..
  12. Doner Designs

    Doner Designs Steve Doner Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2012
    Metro Chicago Area
    Doner Designs is an alias for Steve Doner
    Pickup location is a huge factor in tone, especially when you don't have an onboard preamp to dial in different sounds. I like to use 4 band preamps but also prefer triple pickups. The six pack (three dual coils) below has 63 possible coil combinations for a little more versatility.

    JPJ and JJJ.jpg

    1BassDreamer, Qlanq and dinodino like this.
  13. macmanlou

    macmanlou Don't push it. Just let it fall. Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2007
    Washington, DC Area
    I really like where Scott Beckwith positions the pickup on the Shortbass. It's probably close to the P-Bass position, but the Shortbass has a 24 fret neck so it looks like it's even closer to the neck.

    merseymale, JjJosh and Qlanq like this.
  14. tortburst


    Apr 1, 2007
    New Jersey
    I like that you used the 12th fret as your anchor point. I used a bridge saddle and the nut and found it hard to grapple with PowerPoint when resizing the bass pictures to get them in the right dimensions so they all were at the same scale length and lined up.

    I did this one last year comparing
    Fender 51 p
    Fender 59 p
    Fender 60s j
    Fender 70s j
    G&l l2000

    I first made the doc bc I wanted to see where g&l l2000 and fender 60s jazz compared but ended up throwing in a bunch of others bc it was interesting
  15. Marko 1

    Marko 1 Supporting Member

    Mar 9, 2009
    N.E. Ohio
    I imagined the Jazz mid pickup being farther forward compared to the Precision...
  16. tortburst


    Apr 1, 2007
    New Jersey
    The jazz neck and precision upper split are so close it hardly makes a difference. The lower split pickup is close to Rickenbacker bridge pickup territory.

    I was more surprised to see the 51 was further up

    The other thing I thought was interesting was the relationship btwn the 70s jazz, l2000, and WAL.
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2016
  17. JjJosh


    Oct 31, 2007
    Gladstone, OR
    I would be interested in hearing what 51 pbass neck pickup placement with 70s jazz bass bridge pickup placement would sound like.
    J_Bass and xsogol like this.
  18. MobileHolmes

    MobileHolmes I used to be BassoP

    Nov 4, 2006
    I didn't vote because my choice wasnt' an option:

    I think it makes a difference, but there are multiple flavors and I like many of them.

    Lately, I've been mixing it up with a J (60s spaning), Single pickup ray, P, and Guild with 2 HBs kind of wide set. They all sound radically different (though they have differences beyond the pickup spacing) but I like each for it's own thing
  19. knumbskull


    Jul 28, 2007
    Ok how about four parallel rails running from bridge to neck, one under each string lengthwise. On each rail is a separate sliding pole piece. So you can customize the pickup position to the individual tone of each string.

    Deltatim likes this.
  20. MCS4

    MCS4 Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2012
    Fort Lauderdale, FL
    My main bass will probably always be a two-pickup, jazz style. For one thing, part of my tone is based upon the positioning of my hands and where I strike the strings, which is founded in part on using the jazz-placement bridge and neck pickups as anchors. I dig the tone of one-pickup basses in many applications, but I tend to find them to sound "incomplete" for purposes of everything I need my main bass to do.
    JjJosh likes this.
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    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

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