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Why so little discussion about bass pickups?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by DCWalt, Feb 24, 2021.

  1. DCWalt


    Jan 12, 2021
    The discussion about guitar pickups is endless. It's all about what kind of pickup, who made it, what year is it, how's it wound, what new pickup tech is out there and how they're wired up. But when it comes to bass it pretty much just seems to be a non discussion. It kind of just ends at precision or jazz.

    occasionally there's a something a bit different like a humbucker (or bass bucker if you will) or some weird vintage pickup will poke it's head out every once in a while but generally speaking, I just never really hear the bass community talking about pickups.

    Why is that?
    Big Shrek, fhm555 and westrock like this.
  2. Bass4ThePublic

    Bass4ThePublic Supporting Member

    Jan 27, 2019
    Kansas City
  3. NoiseNinja

    NoiseNinja Experimental-psychedelic-ambient-noise-drone

    Feb 23, 2011
    Not matching my observations, as far as I am concerned I frequently see topics regarding discussions about bass pickups on various forums in the category musical gear.

    Sure the most frequent topic of this kind tends to be some variation of "What P pickup should I chose for my bass?", but that is really not all that strange considering how common P basses are, still qualifies as discussions about pickups.

    And still a P pickup is not just a P pickup, and people who play bass and care about gear are perfectly well aware of that as far as I have observed, so don't really know what you are talking about.
  4. MPU


    Sep 21, 2004
    Valkeala Finland
    Sure it ends on p, j, mm, different soapbars, EMG sizes, Bartolini sizes and so on. I guess you must have broken internet if you can't find any other discussion beside p and j.
  5. I appreciate your question, but in my experience there's plenty of discussion about bass pickup alternatives. However, it could have something to do with knowing what jargon to search for?

    For example, google returned >4K results for "Darkstar" on the TB site alone. Not sure if you're familiar with this but its a highly coveted humbucker ... just as an example.

    A few more google searches of TB returned 26,000 results for "single-coil"; 20,000 results for "piezo"; 3000 for "toaster"; and 1200 for "lightwave".

    Maybe bassists who live outside of the P J mold have had to "dig in" (so to speak) and use more jargon as a result?
    mikewalker, PlatoFunFactory and JRA like this.
  6. dalkowski

    dalkowski Supporting Member

    May 20, 2009
    Massachusetts USofA
    With all due respect, OP, I'm confused.
    A) You can't swing a dead cat here in TB without hitting some conversation about pickups.
    B) Describe more specifically, please, the conversations you WOULD like to see/participate in. What information are you after? What do you want to learn?

    Have a bassful day!
  7. dwizum

    dwizum Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2018
    I can see how it would be easy to take your post as ridiculous considering you made it in a forum full of the discussions you're claiming don't exist, but I get it. There are a LOT more discussions on the internet about guitar pickup details than there are about bass pickup details. If we accept your premise (and I do, to an extent at least), I think it boils down to culture and size of market. The guitar market is bigger than the bass market - doesn't take a rocket scientist to determine that, just go to your local Guitar Center - there will be a 50' wall of guitars, and then a dozen basses off to the side down at one end. Chain retailers are very particular about shelf space and spend effort optimizing it - it's usually a pretty good indication of what ratios things sell in.

    If there are 4 or 5 people buying guitar stuff for every one person buying bass stuff, then it's easier, culturally or market-wise, for any topic to gain more momentum for guitars than for basses. There are literally thousands of choices in guitar pickups. Major manufacturers aside, you can't go on reverb and swing a strat neck without hitting at least a couple dozen people all trying to sell you their own magical strat pickups. That level of market saturation fosters a desire among those sellers to stand out and be different, and that desire leads sellers to market themselves and write very creatively. Often that creative writing focuses on nonsense details like what material the bobbin is made from, or how the pushback wire they use has insulation that was lovingly woven by hand within sight of Leo Fender's backyard in Fullerton. Stuff that doesn't make a difference, but sounds good in text, and stirs the emotions among people who read it.

    Whether the details being written about are true or not, that kind of emotional focus causes curiosity among consumers, which leads to people forming opinions about stuff, which leads to internet forums full of banter about those opinions. The momentum that drives the whole discussion isn't really based on fact, or else it would sort of self-correct once the facts were on the table, and you wouldn't get the constant explosion of discussions. Instead, the momentum is based on emotion and opinion - and people never run out of emotion and opinion, so the discussion just fuels itself endlessly and has no bounds.

    That doesn't tend to happen for bass pickups because we don't have the market size to get that level of momentum and marketing-competition.

    In a way, I see this as a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, it's refreshing to hang out here and not have to wade through pages of people defending stupid, inane theories about pickups. On the other hand, it would actually be nice if there was at least a little more discussion on the technical side, in a way that could help build a foundation to reference for when people asked questions about which pickups were best. But it is what it is.
    Jazzdogg, LostJohnny, pluki7 and 12 others like this.
  8. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    Why so little discussion about bass pickups?
    Jacobaeus, Phaidrus, Fialka and 5 others like this.
  9. ctmullins

    ctmullins fueled by beer and coconut Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 18, 2008
    MS Gulf Coast
    I'm highly opinionated and extremely self-assured
    New around here, huh? :roflmao:

    1. There are a lot more guitarists than bassists, and
    2. Bassists are considerably brighter than guitarists.
    As just one example: PIO caps. :meh:
  10. J-Bass RMR

    J-Bass RMR What size cabinet should I get? Supporting Member

    I've used the forum for years, and I'm still finding ways to navigate and search more efficiently.
    Click the FORUMS tab for specific categories;
    Pickups & Electronics [BG]
    You can narrow your search to that forum only - or often times, I'll just use Google; "geezer pickup talkbass"...
    If your already aware of this, then I'll defer you back to dwizum's post. ;)
    Kubicki Fan, Jazzdogg, mking and 2 others like this.
  11. dwizum

    dwizum Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2018
    Thank you for distilling the point I was trying to make into an easier to read format. :smug:
  12. ctmullins

    ctmullins fueled by beer and coconut Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 18, 2008
    MS Gulf Coast
    I'm highly opinionated and extremely self-assured
    The DarkStar/BiSonic pickup is not a humbucker. It’s a gloriously over-engineered big single-coil, with loads of output, wide frequency response, and otherworldly touch-sensitivity. And loads of chrome!
  13. Meaculpa


    May 18, 2019
    A soapbar split coil is all you need.

    All right, I start the fire. XD

    Seriously, split coil rules them all.
    klaymaster likes this.
  14. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    Might be because pickup discussions here tend to focus on sound rather than get into long discussions about the histories, legends, minutiae, and hero worship surrounding so many guitar pickups?

    Bass players tend to be more results driven musicians. Most I know don’t care about the who, what, when, where, or how of their pickups. All they care about is whether or not the pickups they have are giving them the sound they're after.
    Big Shrek, TC.65, BunchyMutt and 7 others like this.
  15. ctmullins

    ctmullins fueled by beer and coconut Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 18, 2008
    MS Gulf Coast
    I'm highly opinionated and extremely self-assured
    Ha! I appreciate, likely more than most, a well-written paragraph or several, so I do enjoy your missives, my friend.

    But I also enjoy distillation in pursuit of brevity and/or levity! :roflmao:

    @DCWalt , have a read through this thread to really expand your horizons: Sidewinders, Multi-coils and other hard to find pickups
  16. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    At first I read the OP amd thought "What I this guy TALKING ABOUT????"

    Then I realized he's been here a month. :D

    Welcome to TalkBass, @DCWalt !!!!

    Dude, you could spend days reading about nothing but EMG Geezers. And that's before you read the first thread about vintage Fender pickups. You could get lost in those threads for weeks. :cool:

    Poke around. Do some searching. Not much about pickups HASN'T been discussed here.
  17. Rabidhamster


    Jan 15, 2014
    While we’re on it, why does nobody ever discuss flats or tort either?
  18. Bob Clayton

    Bob Clayton My P doesn’t have flats or tort Staff Member Supporting Member

    Aug 14, 2001
    Philly Suburbs
    I’m really upset no one here has compared a P to a J
  19. DCWalt


    Jan 12, 2021
    I mean, of course there are more discussions of bass pickups on a bass forum in the pickup section. That’s why I asked here.

    im talking more broadly. There doesn’t seem to be the same kind of interest in pickups for bass as there is with guitar. There’s certainly less variety and experimentation (I’m not saying there’s non).

    there’s tons of discussion and experimentation around guitar pickups and their configurations. I will grant you, a lot of it is nonsense but I would be lying if I didn’t say they come up with some pretty neat stuff. I mostly only see weird pickups or interesting configurations on multi-thousand dollar, boutique type basses.

    there are lower end basses with interesting configurations here and there like the Epiphone EB-3 but in my experience people are pretty hostile to them. I see people trash it’s neck pickup all the time on this forum. Personally I think it sounds interesting but It doesn’t seem most people are interested in different when it comes to basses
    Paul New, Bassaga and Road Hat like this.
  20. Rabidhamster


    Jan 15, 2014
    I’ve been beginning to think nobody on Talkbass even realizes most 5 and 6 string basses have different string spacing than Fenders...
    SasquatchDude, funkometer and zoonose like this.
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    Apr 14, 2021

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