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Strings sound better off-center on P pickup poles?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by smeet, May 21, 2011.


  1. smeet

    smeet Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 27, 2006
    Woodland Hills, CA
    I'm new to the world of P-basses, but on my 2008 MIA P5 I'm finding that the B, E, and A strings sound better if I move them (on the threaded bridge) to a position where they are not exactly centered between the pole pieces. I get more attack and oomph even though the string looks slightly asymmetrical on the pickup.

    Anybody encounter this before? Am I doing a no-no?
     
  2. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    That's because they are over one of the magnets. Back when Leo designed that pickup, he was trying to limit the attack and improve the sustain.

    Part of the reason might have been that the bass amps at the time couldn't handle massive attack transients without breaking up.

    At the time he applied for a patent that also shows a guitar variation of the pickup, but he only used it for his bass pickups.

    If you leave the string centered between the poles and move the pickup closer, it should get a similar tone.

    But either way it wont hurt anything.
     
  3. smeet

    smeet Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 27, 2006
    Woodland Hills, CA
    OK thanks.

    The weird (to me) thing is that it's not just punchier, but the frequency response is different, more mids and a bit more focused sounding. It might be an illusion, but it sounds different to me than moving the pickups closer.

    Just another one of those things that I obsess over that nobody except me will ever ever ever notice I guess. :p
     
  4. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    Well the magnetic field is stronger over the magnet, so it's louder, and that might bring out more of certain tones.

    Leo must have agreed, because the next bass pickup he designed was for Music Man, and then of course G&L, and they both have large pole pieces under the strings.

    And of course by that time, the sound of electric bass and its role in music had changed, with the bass being more up front and brighter.
     

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