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Using Three EMG Pick ups in a build.

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by jbrooks, Jan 26, 2013.

  1. jbrooks


    Sep 7, 2007
    I am considering a three pick up configuration for a custom build bass.

    I will be using two EMG 35 TW pickups from a previous build as well as a BTC control from around 2008. I used an 18 volt set up in this build and will use it in the new bass as well.

    For the third pickup (as a mud bucker) I will use either a CS or another TW pickup.

    My question concerns the wiring of this configuration. Would I have issues if I added another volume pot to control the third pick up or would I need to have a Strat type pickup selector?

    Instead of a Strat type set up would individual on off mini toggles be an option to turn an unused pickup off or is this even necessary if the volume pot is turned off?

    What would be the best way to wire this set up?

    I appreciate any input on this issue.
  2. joelb79


    Mar 22, 2006
    Lansing, Michigan
    EMG pickups have to be in parallel. The TW will have its own push-pull volume pot that you would just add to the wiring of your existing setup. The CS could be done similar by just adding a volume pot. You don't need to have a strat style switching system, you don't even have to have switches, just a spot for another hole and pot. You don't need a blend either. Blending would only work for two inputs anyways, requiring you to add a switch for at least one.

    Switching can be done, and a 5 way strat switch would be best. It's all up to how you want to select your pickups. But the TW will need a push/pull selection; and since I have not used one I am not sure if that requires you to use the EMG included pot which is setup for it already or if any 25k pot with push/pull on/on switching will work. You could take a look at the Musicman Big AL and see how they did 3 pickups with selector buttons. Same with a particular Godin bass that had three pickups, which used a strat switch. There are lots of ways to do a 3 pickup bass.

    I just saw a ibanez bass on facebook with an EMG DC in the neck and two EMG J's in the bridge. That bass had a switch for the bridge pickups and used a blend to mix both pickup positions.
  3. jbrooks


    Sep 7, 2007

    I have the two TW pickups in an existing bass with the BTC control. You are correct about the push pull pots to switch between modes. Two volume verse a blend with switches to change modes is easier. I was wondering if the addition of a third pickup and volume would create problems. It's been a while since I wired it up so I'll would have to take a look at it.

    EMG sells a five position switch that solderless to work with their pickups. I would probably switch the middle and neck position on the switch since I would use the bridge pick up with either the middle ( precision or jazz neck) or the mudbucker (true neck position). I think this would be more useful that the combination of bridge + middle and middle + neck. I think this set up would create more problems than a simple three volume and one tone set up. The TW and BTC set up makes a blend knob troublesome.

    I might add a switch that allows me to select either the middle or neck pickup.

    Thanks for your input. I also wrote EMG for advice which I will post as well.
  4. joelb79


    Mar 22, 2006
    Lansing, Michigan
    There should be no issues with adding another pickup and volume to an EMG setup. Typically the problem people have with another volume knob is the additional loading to the pickups, but I think the EMG's will take care of a lot of that problem with the Active pickups.

    The switch IS a nice option. But adding a volume knob is just as easy. A switch and blend might be nice too.

    I would think that the neck pickup blended against your choice of other pickups would be best. The neck gives you the most lows, and the different positions behind that would give a different flavor of mids and bite. You then choose which bite works best for the song and blend in your bass/neck pickup for the lows. That is; as long as you like the neck position sound. You'll get the least drastic results live this way, as once you move away from the neck pickup lows drop off and would need to be added back with an EQ. To me, two knobs to turn is worse than one when it comes to doing this in-between songs. Just a thought for your ideas. Not saying i'm right or anything, find what works best for you. Nice thing about the plug/play pots is you can easily make those decisions/changes.
  5. jbrooks


    Sep 7, 2007
    Thanks again for your imput