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Why Aren't More Pickups Radiused?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Bryan R. Tyler, Jul 25, 2005.


  1. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    Connecticut
    I was thinking that, because many companies have a standard radius to their fingerboards, they could order their pickups to match and be able to order large quantities at once. Bartolini offers different radiusing for their pickups, but of the many Barts I've seen I've never seen one that wasn't flat. F Basses all have radiused pups for more string-to-string sound continuity; I'm just surprised that it's not more popular.

    Is it simply a production expense that wouldn't be worth it to the pickup manufacturees due to having to manufacture the same pickup in multiple radiuses?
     
  2. luknfur

    luknfur

    Jan 14, 2004
    DIXIE
    FWIW:

    I'd speculate most basses don't have a radius significant enough to require a variation in the pup. Not only do most aftermarket pups seldom have a radius but most factory pups don't. PV seems to be more prone to it than anybody and having stuck a pair of the radius'd PV foundation pups in an Ibanez, radius'd pups are among the few I avoid.

    To my knowledge radius is a hangover from uprights where it facilitates use of a bow.
     
  3. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    Connecticut
    Perhaps, but many people prefer a rounder radius- I know I much prefer a 12"-16" one to a flat board, and some prefer the older Fender radius around 9". When you play with low action and low relief, it can bring the strings pretty close to the pickups, where the difference between the string volumes can become more apparent. I've noticed it anyways.
     
  4. geshel

    geshel

    Oct 2, 2001
    Seattle
    I'm guessing, though fairly certain, that most radiused pickups you've seen only had the cover radiused. The "guts" were still "flat", at least as much so as a regular pickup.

    I'm also guessing that non-adjustable pickups like Bartolinis are actually designed with an average radiusing "built-in", EG the pole pieces (or the height of the blade) are naturally curved just a little bit.
     
  5. luknfur

    luknfur

    Jan 14, 2004
    DIXIE
    FWIW:

    never thought about it but that's probably about right. I can't recall whether balance was an issue in that radiused pup or not. What I do recall is that a more severe radius pup than neck placed the middle strings a lot closer to the pup which was irritating to me to play - especially with a pick.

    I prefer some radius myself but to my knowledge there's nothing about a radius that would permit any advantage or disadavantage in setup. The nut and bridge relative to neck relief determines that. Under any given string the neck has whatever relief it has whether radiused or not.
     
  6. Funky Doctor

    Funky Doctor

    Aug 28, 2003
    Australia
    I guess I'm lucky. My six string has a flat fretboard. BAAAAHAHAHAHA. I think it would be pretty hard to radius the actual coil winding in the pickup and still have it perform as well as a flat one. I guess that's what pole pieces are for.
     
  7. Audiophage

    Audiophage

    Jan 9, 2005
    I may be wrong, but aren't magnetic fields naturally "radiused"?
     
  8. luknfur

    luknfur

    Jan 14, 2004
    DIXIE
    FWIW:

    Don't know but I do know on many pups the poles are placed at various heights to balance output so makers believe there's need for compensation.
     
  9. Trevorus

    Trevorus

    Oct 18, 2002
    Urbana, IL
    And, there are also adjustable pole pieces, like in my dimarzios. I find that on guitars I like to stagger them to get a nice even sound out of each string, and not give too much emphasis to any one string. This is also important to me on my basses, and adjustability really helps.
     
  10. paintandsk8

    paintandsk8 Pushin' my soul through the wire...

    May 12, 2003
    West Lafayette, IN

    I dunno but this is straight from the EMG site.

     
  11. geshel

    geshel

    Oct 2, 2001
    Seattle
    A simple field createdy by just a magnet or coil will have curving field lines, yes. However, the pole pieces can have a very dramatic effect on the shape of the field within the region near the pickup.

    Also, where the field interacts with the strings, the field lines are still more or less going "upwards" away from the pickup and through the strings. And as they curve, they'll curve either towards the bridge or towards the neck for the most part; not in a way that would follow the arc of the fingerboard.
     
  12. fretlessrock

    fretlessrock Supporting Member

    Aug 8, 2002
    Corrupticut
    I don't have a ton of experience with it but I wonder if it is because it doesn't really work the intuitive way. I was playing a Karl Hoyt fretless 5 with custom Lawrence J pickups. The pole pieces were radiused (meaning that the edge pieces were lower than the middle ones, and I didn't find the balance to be better. I played the bass for a few months so it wasn't like I played it for 5 minutes and made up my mind. I have played a bass at the local boutique shop that had a curved pickup and it was even, but not more even than my Lull with SD Customs that I was A/B'ing with it. And on my other basses with traditional flat pickups I don't find string to string balance to be a problem. So I'm not convinced that a radiused pickup, or radiused pole pieces, are necessarily linked to more even volume between strings.

    :ninja:
     
  13. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD

    Feb 20, 2005
    Seweracuse, NY
    I have a PRS with radiused blade pickups...and I think it's a great thing. Makes perfect sense to me, especially if your bass has a vintage or similar radiused neck.

    On the other hand, my Dingwall is compound radius, and flattens out across the end of the fingerboard...so the strings are flat across the pickups. That works for me too.