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base plate for bridge pup

srslots

Member
Messages
114
I tried doing a quick search but didnt find what i was looking for...

What does adding a base plate to a bridge pickup do?
 

Gtowngearhead

Senior Member
Messages
840
Callaham describes it as boosting the mids and bass. I'm getting ready to install a baseplate, but I was wondering, does anyone know if you can take a baseplate off once you're glued it to the pup?
 

rmconner80

Cantankerous Luddite
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
4,160
Callaham describes it as boosting the mids and bass. I'm getting ready to install a baseplate, but I was wondering, does anyone know if you can take a baseplate off once you're glued it to the pup?
If you are talking about a strat pickup... you shouldn't be gluing anything.

Generally a baseplate will come to you dipped in wax so it's just a matter of pushing the baseplate onto the bottom of the pickup and then using heat from a soldering iron of appropriate wattage to flow the wax a bit. That along with the magnetic coupling to the pole pieces will secure it. Removing it just requires popping it off or remelting to soften the wax a bit.
 

guzman

Member
Messages
1,161
I recall Jason Lollar saying that it doesn't change anything, or at least not enough to be noticeable.
 

dkals

Member
Messages
1,349
Where can you buy a bass plate besides Callaham. Callham minimum order is $25.00 and the bass plate runs $8.75. I also don't feel like spending $10.00 to ship an $8.75 part.
 

therhodeo

Member
Messages
10,143
I recall Jason Lollar saying that it doesn't change anything, or at least not enough to be noticeable.
Bill Lawrence would disagree.

http://www.tdpri.com/resources/tele-bridge-base-plate-materials/

There is quite some confusion about the Tele bridge base plate. everybody tries to explain the reason for this baseplate with only one function, but this baseplate has, in reality, 3 different functions:

  • A. Ferromagnetic functions
    B. Electrodynamic functions
    C. All metal plates provide extra shielding.
#1 — Only the steel baseplates corresponds to function A, B, and C.
#2 — Brass, copper and aluminum baseplates have no ferromagnetic functions, and therefore, only correspond to function B and C
#3 — Alloys of the 300 series stainless steels have neither ferromagnetic nor electrodynamic functions and therefore, only correspond to function C.

Brass Base Plate – notice that the base plate also serves as the ground for the bridge pickup.
Function A
Leo Fender used copper-plated steel baseplates on the Tele bridge pickup to stabilize and to increase the magnetic force of the relatively weaker Alnico 3 slugs. The ferromagnetic steel plate increases the inductance of the coil (like increasing the number of turns on the coil).
The steel baseplate also transmits from the steel bridge mount via the steel mounting screws some of the body vibrations into the pickup, resulting in that typical Tele twang. As a negative, this is also the cause of microphonic squealing at high volume levels.
Function B
Baseplates made of steel, copper, brass or aluminum are the cause of eddy current interference. Eddy currents shift the resonances toward the lows, resulting in a fatter, more pleasant tone, especially in the bridge position. If you don’t want to increase the inductance of the coil and the magnetic force of the magnets, aluminum and brass baseplates are ideal to fine tune the tone of single coil pickups.
These baseplates can be very effective on traditional single coil pickups with alnico slugs, but on many different designs, the result can be disastrous.
Also, the thickness of the baseplate is very important — if the plate is too thin, the effect is very little, but if the plate is too thick, you may end up with a muddy pickup. For excellent results, keep the thickness of the plate between 1/32” and 1/16” and make sure that the plate is firmly attached to the pickup.
Submitted by legendary pickup manufacture/inventor Bill Lawrence
www.billlawrence.com
 
Messages
23,963
I recall Jason Lollar saying that it doesn't change anything, or at least not enough to be noticeable.

Frankly, the better the pickup to begin with, the less you need a base plate.

Baseplates are left off certain pickups to:

1) Save money;

2) Make the pickup a better choice for whole-hog high gain, distortion heavy players.

I think the base plate helps most on cheap bridge pickups (plastic, not fibre) like those on MIM Classic 50's and 60's Teles and Strats, Tex Mexes, Highway One bridge pickups - especially when played clean or with minimal distortion.

I like an adhesive like Shoe Goo, that will insulate the plate from the pole pieces and damp out squeal under most circumstances. You can then remove the base if you want a heavier or lighter guage baseplate, or if you wanna return the guitar to stock when you go to sell it.
 

Gtowngearhead

Senior Member
Messages
840
The callaham baseplat I have is just a metal baseplate with painters tape on one side and the directions say to use a bead of silicon adhesive and attach the baseplate to the bridge pickup tape side down... Does this sound wrong to anyone?
 

candid_x

Member
Messages
9,667
I've had base plates on Fralin blues specials and vintage hots, and on a Music Man Silhouette Special, and they sounded fine. However, I also think something can be lost with them in some cases. On significantly hotter bridge pickups which are wired to the lower tone control, I just don't need 'em, nor want 'em.
 

srslots

Member
Messages
114
Great info guys, thanks. I happen to love my bridge pup in my 50th anniversary standard strat...but was curious what the plate was. Thanks again.
 
Messages
23,963
The callaham baseplat I have is just a metal baseplate with painters tape on one side and the directions say to use a bead of silicon adhesive and attach the baseplate to the bridge pickup tape side down... Does this sound wrong to anyone?
Not at all. My technique is evolved directly from Mr. Callaham; plus I checked out the goo that Mr. Lawrence pots his L-200s and Keystone Deluxe Tele neck pups (and many others). Wax is a little inadequate for my tastes.

Did I hear someone just say Bill Lawrence's article is hearsay? ????

One thing I would have known to do if I had re-read Bill's stuff again is, do not perch a Tele Keystone bridge pup ( G E Smith style application ) on a piece of foam in the middle, then tighten down the 3 fasteners on the plate into the rout in the body. The base plate is thin, hardened aluminum and if I had been thinking at all, I'd have not done it. You betcha the thing squealed at high volume. Bill called me up and suggested I treat the plate as a diaphragm or drumhead.
I felt real dumb - because I was dumb! Support the pickup from below at the three mount holes or use a regular Tele bridge plate.
 

Gtowngearhead

Senior Member
Messages
840
Thanks Boris... And no, no one said Bill Lawrence's article was hearsay. He said he wanted to provide a reference, in this case Bill's article, instead of hearsay, being the posters own opinion.
 

guzman

Member
Messages
1,161
Just trying to provide some references and not just hearsay. :dunno
Sorry, I should've said that it's written on his website somewhere in the FAQ section.

Here's what he says:

Do you make a metal base plate for Strats pickups?

I did some testing on what makes a Tele sound like a Tele and how well a similar base plate would work on a Strat pickup.
Testing was this: I made a Tele pickup and 2 Strat pickups with the same size and type of magnet same coil height and the same turn count. I put steel base plates on the Tele and one of the Strat pickups and left the other Strat pickup bare.
I have two Strats that are as close to identical as you can get and they have matched pots—both guitars have pots and caps that read the same. I put one of each type of Strat pickup in each of the guitars.
I could hear the tiniest bit of difference but the other people listening did not hear it. The base plate seemed to add the slightest amount of compression I could "sense." Maybe I could hear it only because I was playing the guitars. But maybe I didn't actually "hear" it; maybe I felt it more than heard it.
There was no difference in volume between the two. I installed the Tele pickup into a traditional Tele bridge and mounted it on a Tele with pots and caps that matched the Strats. I got about 15% to 20% more volume out of the pickup, a little more bass and more aggressive tone. Most noticeable was the volume boost. I have also made Tele pickups without the base plate—they have a little less up front aggressiveness. If you measure a Strat coil lets take one at 2 henries for example and you put a steel plate on the bottom the inductance will raise to approximately 2.15 henries. So you can measure that something is actually happening, but it is hard to hear the difference and I have pretty good ears. After this I decided not to recommend a base plate on Strats. It just doesn't seem to have enough effect to make it worthwhile.
From Jason Lollar's website FAQ.
 

drolling

Member
Messages
6,102
An interesting read so far.. - Boris, is your base plate really a thin strip of aluminum? I love the tone of aluminum as much as the next guy (Bigsby! Travis Bean!..etc.) but the base plate I've got's a thick piece of steel.

And it sure did make a difference to the sound of a Fralin Vintage Hot I've got in the bridge of my strat.

It was my understanding that adding all that metal would beef up the tone, make it sound more like my tele, and to my ear, that's exactly what it does. I spend a lot more time on that p-up position since I added the plate.

A cheap, simple & easily reversable mod. I give it a :aok
 




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