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sweet spot?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by byronkowalski, Dec 20, 2011.

  1. byronkowalski


    Nov 26, 2010
    where would you guys say the sweet spots are for a jazz pup in the bridge position and a P in the neck position? theres about 9" between the bridge and the end of the fingerboard, if thats relevant.

  2. Actually the "Sweet Spot" is the point where the Fourth Harmonic is at Zero gain...approximately 80% of scale length, measured from the nut. Lots of bass builders use that spot for obvious reasons....it sounds great.

    I have a harmonics graphic given to me by a bass builder. PM me if you want it.

  3. Tristan


    Jan 28, 2001
    Ottawa, Canada
    A few ???

    Why is the fourth harmonic bad? It come back when you fret a note anyways.
    Why 80%? The node would be at 75%
    80% of scale length would put the pickup closer to the neck than the neck pickup of a jazz bass. Who puts it there?

  4. Who puts it there?
    Danelectro, Gretsch, Gibson, Epiphone..
    The fourth harmonic is not bad and yes it comes back when you fret. I am speaking of the open string. My misteak for being unclear.
    I may have spoken out of turn here..I cannot seem to find my spreadsheet on this computer...
    I did a thorough study on a whole lot of bass pickup locations and the last custom bass I had built I had one pickup in the sweet spot and one at the bridge at appprox 93% of scale...I'll have to look on my other computer and make sure I have my facts correct.....
    The Sweet spot may be....on the open string...where the fourth harmonic is strongest....I wil check and get back to y'all.
  5. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    You can really stick the pickup any where it will fit. The closer to the neck sound deeper, and closer to the bridge sounds brighter.

    Some builders do use open string harmonic nodes as locations of pickups, however, as soon as you fret a note, the harmonics move. So placement has nothing at all to do with harmonics.
    Also, look at slanted pickups, such as on the Strat. That's certainly not lined up with a harmonic node.

    But the 24th fret location is a common spot for neck pickups, providing you don't have 24 frets. But you can put it anywhere and it will sound just as good.
  6. I agree that the sweet spot is more a myth - but it makes for interesting conversations.

    Like SGD says: it's moving constantly if you put your fingers on the neck anyway - so why worry about it?

    The note tends to sound more complex when the bridge p'up is running, and thinner or wispier when you go for the neck p'up - but that's just because the strings aren't moving quite as much or they are making smaller arcs or oscillations near the place where the strings technically end at the nut or barrels.

    That's the whole myth, exposed.

    Now - let's talk about wood.
  7. FunkMetalBass


    Aug 5, 2005
    Phoenix, Arizona 85029
    Endorsing Artist: J.C. Basses
    He's talking about the fourth-fret harmonic, which is not 1/4 the scale length (in fact, the fourth harmonic would be 1/8 the scale length, provided we consider the fundamental to be the first harmonic). Thus, it would be 79.37...% the scale length measured from the nut.

    An easier measurement for that location is to use a fretboard calculator for your scale length and take the fourth fret distance from the saddles (about 7" from the saddles).
  8. Tristan


    Jan 28, 2001
    Ottawa, Canada
    So Danelectrofy is calling a pickup right near the neck the sweetpot (which is cool), others call the MM humbucker in the sweetspot, and some would say the P pickup is the sweetspot.

    I.e. its a matter of taste.

    I think between P and MM would be a great location tho personally for a single pup.
  9. BassBuzzRS


    Oct 18, 2005
    On the other hand, a pickup in the right place may produce a sweet sound that hits the spot ! :ninja:
  10. BassinCT

    BassinCT Supporting Member

    Jun 17, 2006
    Thank you for your clear reply.


    In my 6-er, I have a single Aero Instruments K dual coil placed roughly between the relative positions of a P and a MM. I put it there because I like certain things about the tone of both instruments, but wanted a deep and clear picture- not honky mids or twinkie lows. After talking it over with Larry Pollack, I settled on a parallel-wired PU that has slightly less low-mids than a P, and a very broad response. It sits in the mix nicely and sounds good on its own.
  11. Tristan


    Jan 28, 2001
    Ottawa, Canada
    That sounds awesome. Would you change the position in retrospect at all? I am thinking of doing something similar.

    The only thing is, the Stingray has a lot of EQ stuff going on even "flat" (I have a 2 band). So I might actually like that position just fine with a generic soapbar and passive for example... the pre makes it hard to judge. The P sound is great too but I am looking for something with a bit more bite.
  12. byronkowalski


    Nov 26, 2010
    cool, thanks for the info. i guess its not as crucial a factor as i thought,
  13. BassinCT

    BassinCT Supporting Member

    Jun 17, 2006
    My current configuration is neutral enough to allow me to shape the tone with technique and a touch of eq. I am liking it very much. It doesn't sound like either a MM or P- both of those beasts fit into the mix in different ways. The mid hump of the split-coil P was not the flavor I was after, but I can get close by rolling off the passive tone.

    I used to own a modulus with two EMG CS's and found that I was centering the blend and flattening the eq. It was deeper and brighter, but the mids were too peaky when soloed. When playing in a guitar/bass duo, I can fit in the mix and it still sounds pleasant by itself.
  14. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    the MM spot is kinda far back, which along with the parallel-wired pickup, makes for a pretty thin sound with lots of treble content.

    The whole idea is for the preamp to bring in the missing lows, so you get clear and deep.

    As such, you indeed might want a single passive pickup to sit a bit forward of that.
  15. I doubt that the sweet spot is entirely a myth. Yes, the harmonic nodes change each time that one frets a note; however, if most players would mostly play notes in the E, A, D, G pentatonic scales (and perhaps C and F to a lesser extent), then there should be about 1-3 positions at which more overtones are present than at more arbitrary positions.

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