Stacked VS Split (Jazz Bass Humbuckers)

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by erikmilan1987, Feb 2, 2010.

  1. countbassiedad


    Apr 29, 2010
    No affiliations
    Can anyone comment on the output level of the Dimarzio Area Jazz compared to a straight up single coil that is hot-ish?

    I have a Vintage Modified Jazz which has stock pickups that are quite similar to Duncan SJB-1's. The tone is great, but I want to be able to solo the pickups without noise.

    From what I read, the Area J is a decent poor man's version of a Fralin or Nordstrand split coil.

    My only concern is loss of output because I also have an EB style sidewinder that I added at the far neck position on this bass. The singles balance reasonably well with the mudbucker but its going to be too muddy if I lose output with the split singles.

    The Ultra Jazz probably has the right output level, but I''d prefer to keep a flatter frequency output range if possible.

    By the way, I never know what the right protocol is - start a new thread vs adding to a relatively old one. I'd welcome any coaching on that too.
  2. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Inactive Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    The Area J pickups (output=155) are slightly hotter than the Model J (150), but don't sound as thick. That was done intentionally for the Model Js.

    The UntraJazz pickups are a lot hotter (250).

    As far as a poor man's Fralin or Nordstrand, DiMarzio was doing split coil Jazz pickups since 1979.
  3. countbassiedad


    Apr 29, 2010
    No affiliations
    Thanks David. I saw the comparisons of tone and output between the various Dimarzios on their home website but what I can't tell from that is how they compare to a pure single since all of the Dimarzios are split (I think).

    I'm trying to understand if a split coil is inherently lower, higher or the same output (typically) vs a similar pure single coil like a Duncan SJB-1 for example?
  4. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Inactive Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    A perfect example of a split coil pickup is a P bass. You can see that they have plenty of output. The DiMarzios are split coils.

    Stacked coil pickups intrinsically have less output and low end. This is because of phase cancelation. So compensate for this they are often wound pretty hot. For instance, the Duncan Classic Stack reads 20k for the bridge pickup! But its not a hot pickup.

    The tone of a split pickup might be slightly different from a single coil because you have two smaller coils instead of one large coil. This tends to make pickups clearer sounding, but the inductance is different, so they might sound a little different. But any two Jazz single coils might sound very different from each other. A split coil is technically sensing the strings exactly like a single coil, since none of the strings are sensed by more than one coil. There is no phase cancelation or reinforcements going on.

    So the split pickups should be similar in output to single coils.
  5. countbassiedad


    Apr 29, 2010
    No affiliations
    Cool. Thanks David. I thought of the P pickup comparison but was not sure if that would be representative since a P pickup is wider - more room for more wire. Also was not sure if the splits were wired series or parallel but they must be series I would think.

    Anyhow thanks for the input. For $100, maybe I'll just try a set. I can always go to three volume controls. Tone control probably not needed with such a wide range of pups anyway - bridge pup would be like treble boost and mudbucker like bass boost.

    By the way, when will your new J sidewinders be on the market? That would be a cool setup for this bass - three sidewinders.
  6. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Inactive Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    Yes, the P is winder, but it's shallower. But it does have 10,000 turns of wire on each coil. The split Js are never wound that hot.

    Regarding the Sidewinders, yes, they will be back soon. I just wanted to change some of the aspects of the way they are put together.

    I'm just swamped with work at the moment that I'm trying to get cleared up, and then right after that I'll get back to work on those.
  7. Nedmundo

    Nedmundo Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2005
    The Area J is about the same. I swapped the stock "vintage alnicos" in my G&L JB for an Area J set, and the output is similar. I think the Area J are a little hotter, but if so it's not a big difference. The Lindy Fralin Split-Jazz I have in an MIA Fender seem slightly hotter than the Area J, with thicker lows, but they're pretty close on both counts and the instruments' inherent acoustics could account for some of the perceived difference. I just did the A/B between the two, both with 45-105 DR nickel Lo-Riders and similar pickup heights, and noticed these differences, but I switched between the two during a recent gig and I don't recall noticing any meaningful difference in the loud band mix.
  8. Nikoubis


    May 3, 2007
    Athens, Greece
    Is one design better suited for a passive bass? I recall reading that the Area J set is a better choice for that application because Duncan's vintage stacks sound weak and thin without a preamp. Is there any truth to this or is it just a matter of preference? I haven't heard either set on a passive Jazz and I've been wondering.
  9. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    stacks in general are more in need of active preamps, i think; they're usually marketed towards that application.

    side-by-sides are good either way.
  10. cnltb


    May 28, 2005
    I have one single stacked P/U in my main bass and no electronics whatsoever-wired directly to the socket.
    It works well and sounds really good.
    The pickup was made however in the knowledge that there was not going to be an onboard pre involved.

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