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Weird idea for MM pickup mod

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by kalipigeon, Feb 21, 2008.

  1. Does anyone know what a MM pickup might sound like if you pulled the D and G poles of the neck side coil and the E and A coils of the bridge side coil and replaced them with a non ferrous material ( like wooden dowels painted black). The coils should still be magnetized by the ceramic magnets on the bottom of the pickup, but I was thinking this might give more of a P-bass sound in a MM form factor since the string sensing range would be more like the classic P pickup. Any thoughts or experiences there?

    I know its crazy, I'm just brainstorming on what to do with an old OLP that never gets played to make it different and unique.
  2. While i see what your trying to do, i doubt it would make it sound anything like a P-bass, too many differences in the pickup design and placement.
  3. yeah, I was thinking more for the basses that have the P + MM configuration that it might make them sound like a double P. I may grab a cheap GFS replacement pickup and try this if no one tells me why its a horribly dumb idea in the next couple of days. Who knows it may sound like a darkstar and I can retire...runs off to patent just in case.
  4. I doubt you could patent it :p more than likely in the claims section of the origina pickupl patent (if there was one), and if it was, it would be out of date by now, being free to public use ;)

    While you could go for the P + MM, one thing ill point out, is the position of the p-pick up, will be closed to the neck than regular.

    Here's an idea for you.

    Why dont you get a new pickguard for your OLP (cut one, or somehow get one without the MM cut). and actually just make the bass a double P ? If you were to use a new (blank) pickguard, you could cut the holes or get them cut exactly for P pickups, and it would look like one hell of a cool custom bass :)
  5. Liten


    Jan 26, 2007
    I know windmill-guitars(.com) developed a MM-style pickup with an extra row of "j-bass" "single-coils" and the MM rows were "P-bass" splittable in 2 ways.. low / high and the other way around..
    In the end.. the pickup is splittable in 5 ways...

    (the one on the right)
  6. Pretty funky looking pickup, so the MM part of the pickup is essentiall a quad coil, and to that the J pup like bit has been added.

    Not quite the same thing, but similar to the Delano hybrid
  7. santucci218


    Jan 26, 2007
    this seems like a useless idea.

    if you want a p bass, get a p bass.
  8. robert43


    Jun 5, 2007
    Thats why I dont like p & J bass my thoughts are you either have a J bass or a p bass
  9. Whats wrong with a P-J bass? You can use it exactly like a P bass, or you can use it exactly like a solo'd bridge jazz. Something else, you can even mix the sounds, getting quite pleasant tones which a P or a J individually could not produce.
  10. Tristan


    Jan 28, 2001
    Ottawa, Canada
    MM pickups are pretty low output (at least the alnico one in my SUB is)

    Making the coils essentially air coils would probably make the pickup much too weak.
  11. Is that the case with the MM pups put in OLPs tho? As OLPs are all passive, so you'd think they'd need a bit more power to them compared to the ones found in active basses where the pre gives a nice boost.

  12. You're right, rather than modify a 30 dollar part to see if something interesting is possible, I should shun the inventive spirit and just spend a bunch of money to buy a whole bass to do the job. I already have a P-bass, and I'm not really looking for a second...I just had the idea and was wondering if anyone knew of a reason why it may or may not work. I don't wind pickups or work on them much so I figured someone with more experience in the pickup area might be able to help...
  13. DavidRavenMoon

    DavidRavenMoon Banned

    Oct 20, 2004
    If you pull the poles out of a MM pickup, you might ruin the pickup. It all depends on how the bobbins are made. If the wire is wrapped around the magnets or poles, than pulling out two poles will probably break the coil.

    The most this would do is maybe make the pickup a little brighter since each string is not being sampled by two close proximity coils. It would sound a little more like a single coil. It wont sound like a Dark Star, and it wont sound like a P bass pickup, because the coils are the wrong size, the magnets and poles are different, and the amount of wire wound is different.

    It's certainly not a new idea though.

  14. BobXboB

    BobXboB Banned

    Sep 25, 2007
    Funny, that's what was said about the original p bass :)

    To the OP, what you'd get would be similar to a single coil with a dummy coil hum canceler. It will work if you don't break anything and should bring your tone closer to that of a P pickup.

    You could also just remove one row of poles and instead of doing the black dowel thing you could just put a small piece of plastic under the cover to keep the mice out.
  15. DavidRavenMoon

    DavidRavenMoon Banned

    Oct 20, 2004
    Said by who? You mean the bass, or the pickup? The bass was obviously commercially successful. :)

    Fender switched to the split pickup to get rid of hum. So obviously there was a need.

    Interestingly, the split coil design was covered in Seth Lover's original humbucker patent, but Leo got around that by getting his own patent on a split coil pickup, which did not feature hum cancelation.

    Just to be pedantic... it's not a dummy coil. It's a split coil humbucker. Both coils are active. And even with the poles removed, the coils are full length, so it's not at all like a P bass pickup.

    Now the question is, why does a P bass pickup sound different from a Jazz bass pickup?

    It's not because it's a humbucker, because the split coil setup makes it sound like a single coil.

    The biggest reason is the size and shape of the coils. P coils are wide and squat, while J pickups are tall and thin. There's also more wire wound on a P pickup. MM coils are closer to J coils, but they have a larger core.

    Or a cover with no holes! I still think that removing the poles might destroy the pickup, unless it is made with a plastic bobbin.
  16. BobXboB

    BobXboB Banned

    Sep 25, 2007
    That's my point, when the electric bass was new to the market it was ridiculed by most musicians. They appear to be wrong in hindsight.
  17. BobXboB

    BobXboB Banned

    Sep 25, 2007
    Since I can see you wrote the word more and I know what it means I still think your guess is correct. It will still be placed much closer to the bridge than a P and I feel that will make a large difference in keeping the tone more of a MM thing.

    IME and without making any claims I find that a MM style in a P position can sound very close to a P once the band is playing. Sliding your stock pickup over about an inch and a half should move the tone a good chunk closer to P tone. That will mess up the pickguard pretty bad though ;)
  18. Cool, thanks guys, that was kinda what I expected. I know that the location relative to the bridge will affect the frequency/harmonic that gets amplified, and I've been reading up on how the MM pickups consist of wire wound directly to the magnets so they're very easy to damage while raising and lowering magnet height. I don't think I'll be trying this out, though I may make a cover for an extra P-bass pickup I have laying round so that it looks like it covers the whole route.
  19. Eh, I donnow, I'm going to throw two J pups in an Kingston MTD since I cant stand the single MM in there now. Play away. Just do it with precision, dont make a mess of things.

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