Why are "P" Pickups Offset?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Groover, Aug 12, 2005.

  1. Groover


    Jun 28, 2005
    Ohio, USA
    Does anyone know why the P pickup configuration is offset? Seems odd to me mainly because the A and D strings work off of two poles (one pole from each pickup), whereas the E and G work off of one pole.

    We all know it works well, but what's the logic behind it :eyebrow:

    Just curious. Not the end of the world if I never solve this mystery....
  2. Showdown

    Showdown Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2002
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    Yup, its humbucking.
  3. Groover


    Jun 28, 2005
    Ohio, USA
    Ok, makes sense. I guess I should have looked how the pickups stack-up a little closer. It does look like pretty much each string gets two poles each. E and A from one pickup part, and D and G from the other.

    Now, the D and G are set closer to the bridge though.... why did they do that? Seems as if all other pickups out ther (J MM, etc) are all inline... again, just curious.
  4. Showdown

    Showdown Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2002
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    The D & G strings, being closer to the bridge, would have more highs, while the E & A string being closer to the neck would have more lows.
  5. This is correct, but I bet that's not enough offset to really make much of a difference in the tone.

    This is a really interesting topic. I bet it had more to do with the physical limitations of needing two magnets of opposite polarity and wanting to wrap a lot of wire around each magnet to get more output.

    Any Fender history buffs out there know what Leo was thinking?
  6. Marcus Willett

    Marcus Willett Supporting Member

    Feb 8, 2005
    Palm Bay, FL
    Endorsing Artist: Bag End - Dean Markley - Thunderfunk
    I think that a reversed setup (i.e., D and G closer to the neck) would be better for balancing the tone. I have heard that Leo originally designed it that way, and that *somehow* the layout design got reversed (into what we have now) and they decided not to mess with it and just go ahead with the reversed design, which of course now is the normal design. I think Rocco have a sig model with a reversed P layout for a while...makes sense to me.
  7. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    As far as being offset, they had to put the second coil that didn't fit in a straight line somewhere, so it's right next to it, and probably is one of the most famous design "flaws" ever!

    A lot of companies use the reverse P setup as well, but at the moment only Ibanez comes to mind. It doesn't sound like a Fender entirely, the D and G strings are a bit warmer tonally, but it's almost too close to tell.
  8. alibloke


    Dec 17, 2004
    Bristol, England
    Regular (g****r!) humbuckers have two counter-wound, reverse polarity halves, both of which are used to sense all six strings.

    The reason that many guitar players have a love/hate relationship with humbuckers is that the phase cancellation between the coils causes a midrange 'hump' in the sound, which sounds great with distortion but not so great when used clean.

    By splitting the P-coils into the 'offset' configuration each half only senses two of the four strings, so when playing multiple strings i.e. chording, (or not palm muting between each note), minimises any wierd effects caused by the phase cancellation.


    See here: