1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

Why are 5-string P-basses so rare?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Monterey Bay-ss, Apr 11, 2019.

  1. Thanks for validating my side of the argument. Those coils are the same size, just like the Bill Lawrence solution posted earlier.
  2. tfer


    Jan 1, 2014
    Tone deaf.
    Thumper and Caca de Kick like this.
  3. It's not carry-okie, contrary to how it's spoken all over North America.
  4. tfer


    Jan 1, 2014
    After reading through this thread, I’ve learned that in order to make split coil pickups for an odd number of strings, it requires resources and commitment.

    So, even numbers of strings are the way to go

    6ers it is!
    Killed_by_Death likes this.
  5. Stick to 4 or 6 & you don't have to even consider the compromise that was made.
    or stick to pickups where you can visibly see that the coils are the same size
    tfer likes this.
  6. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    I build and modify basses
    excuse me … I never validated your argument … I simply stated my preference … in fact why do you need to argue? We all have different opinions here.
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2019
  7. You did, I commented repeatedly that for the pickups to hum-buck perfectly that the coils need to be matched. You posted a photo of your instrument with two equal-sized halves, so the coils in each are the same size.

    Not really wanting to argue, but I have to disagree with people when they post false statements.
  8. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    I build and modify basses
    False statements or different opinions?
  9. I'm not arguing an opinion, I've been stating facts.
    My next post will be about the compromise I've been talking about to balance two dissimilar-shaped coils.

    I'm not the only one who recognizes coils should be matched for perfect hum-bucking:

    >>matched coils<<
  10. Stevorebob

    Stevorebob Well... I Am Here, Aren't I? Supporting Member

    Sep 29, 2011
    Los Angeles
    There are plenty of asymmetric split-coil pickups in the marketplace that perform superbly. Every split-coil 5-string J pickup and many 5-string split-coil soap bar pickups are asymmetric, and the ones made by quality manufacturers are engineered to deliver great tone. They work, and they work very well. If you played a few 5-string basses with these pickups, you would know, and you would drop your silly pedantic argument. All pickups are a compromise of many things. Yes, even split-coils with same size coils and the same number of windings, even humbuckers, even single coils, even piezos — they all compromise something.

    Noise? My asymmetric 5-string P, My symmetric 5-string P, my asymmetric split-coil 5-string Jazz, my single-coil 5-string Jazz with both pickups equal, my 5-string Bart dual-coil, my Lace 5-string dual-coil, my 5-string Music Man humbuckers, my import 5-string split-coil Bart MK-1s all are perform equally noise-free — even with the gain maxed. My noisiest bass? My only bass that produces any meaningful noise is my 5H StingRay Special, but only with the coils in series.

    You’re saying that what happens everyday doesn’t happen. Well, my friend, it does. It’s true: Bumblebees can fly.
  11. I've not commented that it doesn't happen, I've commented that I'm not willing to allow the compromise.
    My point lately has been that you need more than just two coils with one reverse-wound to cancel all the hum. There's more to it than that!

    It's as if you haven't been understanding my posts at all. I've commented more than a couple of times now that there are compromises to get the dissimilar-sized coils to match.
    Why are you not getting that part? It's a bigger compromise than a set of pickups that have physically the same size of coils.
    Wait for my next post where I explain it & then refer to that post EVERY time you come back with this similar dialog.
  12. reading:

    Electromagnetic induction - Wikipedia

    how EMI induces noise into a coil


    how the Inductance of a coil is measured
    directly related to how much noise is generated in the coil by EMI


    The number of turns in a coil helps determine how much Inductance it has, but so does the size of the coil.

    In a typical 4-string set of p-style split-coil pickups both coils are the same size using the same diameter of wire & the same amount of turns.
    In that way the noise is cancelled as perfectly as possible, the coils are physically & electrically matching, but just doppelgangers of one another.

    Let's say I'm a new engineer & I'm putting together a 5-string split-coil pickup set.
    Before I do any design work, I'm just going to wire up two dissimilar-shaped coils & see what happens.

    coil B = 5 cm x 3 cm
    coil G = 3 cm x 3 cm

    These both have the same amount of turns on the coil & G has two poles while B has 3 poles. The diameter of wire in both coils is the same.
    The balance of output between strings is fine, but the noise cancellation is unbalanced, because the larger coil has more noise induced than the smaller coil.

    Just to put numbers behind it, let's say B has 16 milliVolts of noise, based on the circumference of 16 cm. Coil G would have a relatively smaller amount of noise induced at only 12 milliVolts.
    That leaves 4 milliVolts of noise left over that should be designed out.

    The simplest solution is to manipulate the number of turns in one of the coils to make the inductance match that of the other coil.
    Here comes the kicker. If you change the number of turns, you in turn change the level of output & the resonant peak of the coil.

    Changing the resonant peak means you're changing the timbre of it.
    To keep the output the same, the diameter of wire in the coil needs to be changed. Let's say we're going to use larger diameter wire on coil B & less turns.

    With the right diameter of wire & the correct amount of turns we can match the output & noise level in both coils, but at the risk of changing the timbre of one coil.
    Here comes the compromise. Does the engineer just say to Hell with the timbre & go for perfect noise cancellation or does he or she split the difference by changing the resonant peak a little & leave 2 milliVolts of noise?

    If you can live with these compromises, then bully for you.
    I'm too OCD & I play with the gain up too high to tolerate unbalanced hum-buckers.
  13. mattj1stc

    mattj1stc Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 13, 2009
    Dallas, TX USA
    2.0. Since I was talking up my 5 string P, I thought I'd share a picture.
  14. Yay for Nordstrand, two design revolutions. The angled poles & equal-sized coils for a 3/2 hum-bucker.
  15. Stevorebob

    Stevorebob Well... I Am Here, Aren't I? Supporting Member

    Sep 29, 2011
    Los Angeles

    The compromises, they exist; nevertheless, in practice they somehow yield great-sounding basses. That’s the point.
  16. Well, maybe some will be open to learn from it & understand ALL that dialog I kept having to repeat over & over again throughout this thread.
  17. somebrains

    somebrains Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2017
    There were a ton of single soapbar basses from the late 80's to late 90's that would be a fun mod candidate for an EMG or Bart split coil.

    There are enough examples of 2xJ, dual coil, MM, etc that really capture what sold back then.

    70's-mid 80's there were enough 2xPs for me to try in the used section that I really like a P bridge for grunt and a J middle for clarity.

    Worst comes to worst you get a Warmoth body cut for whatever works best for you and just screw it together yourself.
    Monterey Bay-ss likes this.
  18. Monterey Bay-ss

    Monterey Bay-ss Supporting Member

    Hey, boss! Buster just got back from the doctor and sounds appropriately burly.

    I keep daydreaming about going the Warmoth route here somewhere down the line, but I think your first option is the more likely one for me.
  19. somebrains

    somebrains Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2017
    Glad you have that amp killing it.
    The takeaway from your want list is the traditional body shape wasn't fashionable during the Modulus M92 era, that was the slappy J - MM - humbucker - 2xJ.

    People are parting their 5's, you could get a nice neck + the rest, then have a body cut.

    My concern would be weight and position in a P5.

    You time to go haunt stores and strap on their P5s to see how they sit for you.
  20. I think the general conservatism in the P bass community in general also works to keep things traditional/appealing to luddites (delete as applicable per your prefence). The P bass has not found itself as the home of innovation and innovative bassists in quite some time. Billy Sheehan aside, I'm trying to remember when I last heard someone breaking new ground on a Precision...

Share This Page