Where to put pickups?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Fleanthony18, Dec 10, 2001.

  1. I am building a bass right now and was wondering if anyone new of good places to place the pickups other then the standard jazz bass placement? I am using two jazz bass pickups. I know warwick puts them near the bridge and at an angle on there thumb bass, what does that do to the sound? Anyone with ideas would be great! Thanks!!
  2. FalsehoodBass


    Jul 22, 2001
    Denver, CO
    in general... closer to the bridge = more highs, closer to the neck = more lows..

    if you want your higher strings to be brighter, angle the pickups with the G string closer to the bridge.. if you want it the other way around, angle them oppositely

    pickpup placement is VERY tricky... unless you plan on making a few different basses and experimenting, i suggest you find a sound you like on a real bass, and take measurements to copy for your own.
  3. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    Rule of thumb IIRC is that you shouldn't put a pickup where a harmonic node is on a string, or else you'll loose that overtone in the pickup signal.
  4. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    Most people put them under the strings somewhere between the neck and the bridge.
  5. geshel


    Oct 2, 2001
    What he said. The rule of thumb for a single pickup (bright near bridge, bassy near neck) is generally good. But when you have two pickups, the interaction between them depends on the distance each is from the bridge and the distance they are from each other - some frequencies will cancel because the two pickups are picking them up out of phase. Hence on a J bass, when both are full on, the midrange is reduced.

    I just discovered that on my bass, with both pickups on, the 9th harmonic (just north of the 2nd fret) is completely missing when both pickups are full on! If I hit that harmonic with the blend in the middle, I just get a "thup" and silence. If I then move the blend, a tone comes out of nowhere! It's pretty cool.

    Aha! I got it. The distance from the nut to the 9th harmonic (first node of it anyway) is the same as the distance between the two pickups' centerlines. It is also twice the distance between the bridge and the bridge pickup. So that is exactly as expected: the two pickups are perfectly out of phase.

    So, this 9th harmonic plays a big part in the difference in sound between each pickup solo (right on the antinode) and combined (cancels out).

    FYI, see this picture:


    for the pickup placement in question.
  6. one of the sweetest sounding combinations that i've ever owned is this:

    (from the bridge nominal)
    bridge pickup - 2 1/4"
    neck pickup - 5 3/4"

    (from the 24th fret nominal)
    bridge pickup - 6 5/8"
    neck pickup - 3 1/8"

    soooooo yuummmmyy.... of course, there are other factors, but here are some numbers that work well for me:cool:
  7. geshel


    Oct 2, 2001
    (gets out tape measure)

    From the 24th fret on mine: 3-1/16, 6-5/16

    BTW, it was actually the 10th harmonic that is just shy of the 2nd fret. It happens a bit on the 9th harmonic (just past the 2nd fret) too.