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Warmoth Gecko 6 - which pickups? (and how to wire them to the pre)

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by thumbs3000, Oct 25, 2013.

  1. I'm currently working out the last details of my third Warmoth build, a Gecko 6. All my previous basses have had exposed pole piece and sadly I dont know much at all about soapbars, despite 20 years of bass playing. According to Warmoth I'll need to use a Hipshot A bridge with 17mm spacing, so this spacing may dictate which pickups are compatible. I'm aiming for a pretty modern hifi "piano-like" sound.

    Question 1 - Does string spacing/alignment matter on enclosed soapbar pickups or do they transfer sound from anywhere above the pickup?

    Question 2 - I'm interested in the following pickups, I welcome any feedback about their compatibility or quality but welcome other suggestions:
    * Nordstrand Dual Coils - I love Nordys, although these are a bit expensive. Would I need to custom order these and specify 17mm spacing?
    * Bartolini P4 XXP46C dual coils - These are probably the most appealing: not too expensive and seem to be widely used in quality basses.
    * Delano SBC HE/S - Been hearing good things about Delano. Not sure what the difference is between these dual coils and the SBC HE-S4 quad coils?

    Question 3 - I'm contemplating putting 3 soapbars in this bass each with an on/off switch. Would I wire these to a 'single pickup' preamp (ie. one with no blend control)? Also, am I crazy for considering this or can you think of any drawbacks?

    Question 4 - Am I right that 17mm is the only bridge spacing possible on a Gecko 6? I want to go with whatever the bass is optimised for.

    Thanks, appreciate any help you can offer!
  2. 1. It depends on the pickup. Some have pole pieces, and some have rails.

    3. Almost all preamps are "single pickup," as you put it. Some have multiple inputs, but it is far more common to just have one. Blend pots, volume pots, switches, etc. are all wiring choices, irrelevant to the preamp.

    4. You could call and ask if they will drill for other spacings, because they have been known to do a lot of unadvertised things on request, but they probably only offer the 17mm Hipshot A drilling.
  3. tubby.twins

    tubby.twins Amateur Pickup Reviewer Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 15, 2009
    I've built a Gecko bass (5-string) with three pickups. The body came routed for two pickups (P2 shape) in their standard bridge and neck positions. I had to use a router with a special jig to carve the middle pickup route between the two. There was very little wood left over (~4mm) between the pickup routes by the time I was finished.

    Since the Gecko 6 has even less space for pickups on the body than the Gecko 5, I don't think you would be able to fit three P4-shape pickups in a Gecko 6 body, unless you asked Warmoth for custom pickup positions (add $45 for each route) or do the body routing yourself.

    It's a good experiment to try, and for those who need all the tonal flexibility of selecting individual pickups (or even individual coils) there is much to be learned. But most of the time, two well-chosen pickup locations (i.e. customized) can be more useful, depending on your needs.

    As far as pickups, from the selections you gave, I prefer the Delano SBC series. They have a lot of usable midrange and brightness in the treble without sacrificing any of the low midrange or bass. The Nordstrands sound more "peaky" and mid-scooped, while the Bartolini "deep tone" series will sound treble-reduced and muffled by comparison.

    Most enclosed "soapbar" shape pickups use blades instead of polepieces, and these will work with pretty much any string spacing. Both the Delano SBC and the Bartolini "deep tone" pickups use blades. The Bartolini "deep tone" quad coil pickups actually have a gap between each of the coils, which would be in the dead center of the 6-string pickups. But you probably won't notice because no strings will pass over that point.

    The Delano SBC quad-coils are similar (i.e. there is a gap in the coils) but the pickup coils are wired (and magnetized) to effectively work like a regular P offset pickup and a reverse P offset pickup in the same housing. This is in contrast to the Bartolini quad-coils, which are "inline". Tonally, the SBC quad-coils sound pretty much the same as the dual-coil SBC. On the SBC quad-coil pickups, I believe the blades are continuous (i.e. no gap like the Bartolinis) across the entire pickup length.
  4. Thanks guys really helpful info. Tubby I just discovered you have like 11 Geckos..... Far out, I'm impressed!
    I think I will just go with the standard 2 soapbars.

    I also just discovered Nordstrand have just released a Dual Blade Neo.. This sounds right up my alley.
  5. tubby.twins

    tubby.twins Amateur Pickup Reviewer Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 15, 2009
    Yep, they should be pretty sweet. I've been thinking about trying these. If I do, I'll let you know. :)

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