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Steel vs standard pole pieces

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by GroovinOnFunk, Jul 18, 2012.


  1. GroovinOnFunk

    GroovinOnFunk Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2008
    San Diego, CA
    Endorses Cleartone and SIT Strings
    Hey guys,

    Here's my dilemma: I tend to have overly sweaty (and corrosive) hands when I play bass. It does a number on my strings and the pole pieces of my pickups. I saw that Lindy Fralin offers pickups with steel or "standard" pole pieces.

    Can anyone comment on the difference in tone for a 2012 MIA Std Jazz Bass? Also, would steel be less susceptible to rust from sweat than "standard" or other way around?

    Any advice on this would be huge! Thanks
     
  2. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    Steel would rust faster than alnico, which is mostly aluminum.

    Pickups with steel poles are generally powered by ceramic magnets. Depending on how the pickup is wound, they can sound very similar to regular alnico pickups, or be a little fatter and have more bite on top.
     
  3. GroovinOnFunk

    GroovinOnFunk Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2008
    San Diego, CA
    Endorses Cleartone and SIT Strings
    Oh cool. So alnico is the least likely to rust out of all my options?
     
  4. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    If you have nickel or chrome plated steel, that should hold up well. Alnico will rust a little, but it tales a while.

    If you have sweaty hands, it's always a god idea to wipe down the bass when you are done playing.
     
  5. GroovinOnFunk

    GroovinOnFunk Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2008
    San Diego, CA
    Endorses Cleartone and SIT Strings
    Im very careful to clean the bass with a microfiber towel after every time I play it. I even wear a glove on my left hand (still experimenting... Not sure if I'll do that forever). Thanks for the advice!
    Your pickups sound awesome by the way. I'm trying to save up some spare money.
     
  6. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    Thanks!

    My hands that hardly ever sweat at all, but I imagine it must be a pain and kills your strings quickly.
     
  7. GroovinOnFunk

    GroovinOnFunk Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2008
    San Diego, CA
    Endorses Cleartone and SIT Strings
    Yeah, super annoying. At most a set of strings will last me one month. Wearing gloves helps, but kills a little bit of the classic jazz bass attack.
     
  8. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    alpha-music.com
    steel-pole pickups IME are completely different beasts than alnico-rod pickups.

    they can sound good, but they won't be the same as "real" fender-type pickups.
     
  9. GroovinOnFunk

    GroovinOnFunk Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2008
    San Diego, CA
    Endorses Cleartone and SIT Strings
    Well, it seems as though steel isn't what I'm looking for anyway as it can rust easily
     
  10. testing1two

    testing1two Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2009
    Southern California
    If you don't mind the cosmetic change you could house your existing pickups inside solid wood or plastic covers (meaning no holes for the pole pieces).
     
  11. GroovinOnFunk

    GroovinOnFunk Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2008
    San Diego, CA
    Endorses Cleartone and SIT Strings
    I would have no idea how to do that. I could also try to put a shim under the cover of my CS 60s since I do like how they sound... But again, I have no idea how
     
  12. Yeah. Why not just get covered poles?
     
  13. testing1two

    testing1two Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2009
    Southern California
    It's much easier than you think. All you have to do is buy some covers without any holes for the pole pieces, take your pickups out of the old cases, and insert them into the new ones. You could optionally use a dab of silicone adhesive inside to make sure the pickup doesn't shift inside the cover but the downward pressure from the pickup mounting screws will hold them in place just fine.
     
  14. phmike

    phmike

    Oct 25, 2006
    Nashville, TN
    Just put black electrical tape or clear package sealing tape on top of the pickups to cover the pole pieces.
    Cheap - it works - looks fine if you don't do a cr@py job of it.
    ps, get'cha some stainless strings (Chromes would be great).
    pps, NO - the tape will NOT shield the pickups from sensing the string vibrations.
     
  15. Toptube

    Toptube

    Feb 9, 2009
    I wonder if its possible to anodize pole pieces without affecting their function? If it doesnt ruin things, you would get rust protection and the possibility to even custom color your pole pieces!
     
  16. GroovinOnFunk

    GroovinOnFunk Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2008
    San Diego, CA
    Endorses Cleartone and SIT Strings
    Chromes are flatwounds right? isn't that a bit different from stainless steel strings?


    I guess the easy answer really is to just replace the covers for my pups. Though I will admit, something about a Fender Jazz bass without exposed poles just looks... "off" to me. But it probably is my best option.
     
  17. phmike

    phmike

    Oct 25, 2006
    Nashville, TN
    Yes - flatwound. Different from stainless? Not really, they are just bright like polished chrome - "D'Addario Chromes are wound with flattened stainless steel ribbon wire which is polished to an incredibly smooth surface."

    Don't let preconceived ideas about flatwounds steer you away from them until you have tried them. (bonus points - they last forever and (IMO) sound great)

    Clear tape will let the pole pieces show. :bassist:
    Replace tape when necessary. :p
     
  18. How about just adding a dab of clear nail polish on each pole piece? Easily renewable when they wear or flake off.
     
  19. bassfran

    bassfran

    Mar 1, 2012
    Chicago
    Endorsing artist: Lakland basses
    +1 to the electrical tape fix suggested by phmike.

    Wipe 'em down before you do it and it should work pretty well.
     

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