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Stingray coil tap-short story

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Timmy-Watts, Nov 17, 2012.

  1. Timmy-Watts

    Timmy-Watts Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2010
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    EDIT: Coil splitting on Stingray 5, not coil tapping...sorry. Thanks for the correction.

    So had another gig with a Latin/jazz band I play with, mostly Tumbao grooves with a few samba, bolero, etc. usually I play U-Bass, which nails the whole baby bass thing. I sold my 5-string fretless U-bass to fund a custom 5-string U-bass, so now I have just the 4-string acoustic one. This music just begs for the extra low range of the 5er. A few months I played a gig in this particular room and it is not very U-Bass friendly. This is also a high volume band, so the Stingray 5 came to the gig.

    This Ray I got new in 2000 and it has been my workhorse Electric since then. I generally set it on parallel for a modern, neutral tone. The highs slice and dice and I prefer it in most situations where many others would play a jazz bass.

    The series setting I kick it to when I want a belligerent, snarly, aggressive, balls out tone, when I dig in and take no prisoners.

    I never had a use for the single coil setting. It has always sounded like a tired, weak version of the series setting. All the grit on the attack, but not as loud, and not as aggressive. Less meat to the sound.

    Last night I noticed that when my EQ made the bass sound perfect, the lowest few notes on the B string were too boomy and not clear in the mix. During a song I put it on single coil and *angels singing* Clear notes! I did not notice much drop in volume, and while the tone did not seem to change much, the bass all of a sudden got clearer in the mix! And my low notes tightened up. I ended up boosting bass on the instrument just a hair past the center detent, and leaving the highs backed off, where they already were. I kicked it to parallel on solos (jazz-like, playing over choruses, not just a bass breakdown, etc.) and left it on single coil for accompanying parts the rest of the night.

    Folks, I have some possible explanations, and I'd like to her feedback and if anyone has any specific experiences like this too. After 21 years and ~30 basses, I play acoustic piezo basses, stingrays, and P-Bass. I have a cheapo 2-humbucker bass and a parts jazz FOR WHEN THAT SPECIFIC SOUND IS CALLED FOR. Otherwise, I have found that while 2 pickups sound fantastic practicing at home, they just do not work in a mix for me. I always like the single pup basses better. It seems to be even more true after my experience last night. In a live setting the normally weaker single coil setting outperformed the others in a loud band mix, especially on the B string. I'm guessing that multiple coils on the same vibrating string cause phase cancellation on certain frequencies and multiply on others, creating kind of a comb filter. For the same reasons it makes it sound better, it takes away stuff I need in a live mix. I just figured in close proximity of the same pickup it would be less, but I was surprised. Kind of makes me re-think some things...
  2. That's coil splitting, not tapping.

    Yes, constructive and destructive interferences of waves reinforce some frequencies and cancel others. The greater the spacing between coils, the greater the phase difference. This is why Jazz basses have a mid-scooped vibe when both pickups are used.

    Personally, I'm not a fan of two pickup basses, either. It never sounds good to me, on any instrument, except the neck+middle setting on Strats.
  3. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    I like two pickup basses but rarely have both pickups on. And when I do, it's really favoring one over the other.

    On the other hand, if the two pickups are voiced differently they can blend together without that notchy midrange stuff.
  4. sevdog

    sevdog Supporting Member

    Mar 2, 2008
    I prefer my Stringray 5ers in parallel (They're both wired that way, I don't even have a switch) for the same reason that you're saying, Series is too boomy in a band setting and I can EQ enough bass on my preamp so I don't just need the output there.
  5. Funkinthetrunk

    Funkinthetrunk Registered User Supporting Member

    Blasphemy, blasphemy, blasphemy.
  6. Yeah, that's what I meant. My PJ Jazz bass has two pickups, but I never blend them. I like to have two pickups, because having only one is limiting, but I will almost always use pickups separately. I do have a single-pickup Jazz bass, and have been meaning to finish up my single-pickup guitar build, though.
  7. iunno


    Dec 16, 2010
    I've got my Ray set up to use the neck coil in single coil mode. Sounds great, kind of like a Rickenbacker.
  8. Timmy-Watts

    Timmy-Watts Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2010
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    That sounds more my thing. Is it an easy mod?
  9. iunno


    Dec 16, 2010
    Well it's different on an SR4, I had to replace the 2 wire connector with a 4, then wire it up to a DPDT on on on miniswitch. SR5s have a dummy coil, which you would need to flip the other way, otherwise it would add hum instead of bucking it. Other than that, I think all you would have to do is switch the north and south coil connections to the switch, and you'd be all set.