Bass Pickups - stupid questions

Discussion in 'Bass Area; The Bottom Line' started by Angstwulf, Dec 6, 2018.

  1. Angstwulf

    Angstwulf Member

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    I have a Spirit/Steinberger Bass which I keep around for fun. I'm going to be swapping out the pickups and wanted some thoughts on what bass players look to in choosing pickups.

    A few disclosures:

    1. I'm doing this more out of curiosity than anything else and because I want more practice with my soldering iron;
    2. Because of this I'm not interested in some of the higher priced guit-humbucker sized opens like the Rio Grandes (maybe one day). Probably GFS's or used;
    3. I don't expect the results to fool anyone into thinking I'm playing a P-Bass/Rick/Whatevers and I know guitar pickup poles may cause some sound balance issues; and
    4. I otherwise know jack squat about basses.

    Some questions I had in mind:

    Do hotter pickups on a bass darken the sound or put more emphasis on mids?

    I'm thinking of starting off with a lower output humbucker but would hotter be expected to give me a more percussive thumpy tone? My opinion of the Spirit is that I can get nice warm rounded tones easily. I'd like to give it a little more "edge", if that makes sense?

    Compared to a guitar, how much more (or less) critical is it to put a stronger pickup in the bridge to balance output? It's probably a secondary consideration since the Spirit has independent volumes.

    Thanks and like I said, I'm learnin', so any opinions will help.
     
  2. TylerE

    TylerE Member

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    If you want thump you want single coils (imo).
     
  3. somedude

    somedude Member

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    I’ve been playing bass for a few years now and after scouring the internet for everything I could learn about the instrument I’ve determined that most bassists know very little about pickups. They can tell me the difference between a P, a J and a MM, but if I ask about winds and magnets differences they go silent.

    IMO, those that want that level of tweakability would typically opt for an active bass rather than swapping 10 different passives, and rather than swap pickups most will experiment with a few different string types/brands until they find the sound/feel they’re looking for.
     
  4. Angstwulf

    Angstwulf Member

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    Given some of the cork sniffing many of our fine six-string forums, that can be quite a blessing!

    I think I'm going to try out a couple of GFS humbucker sized pickups. TylerE planted the idea of single coils in my skull and they have the Mean 90: P90 style in a humbucker case. Got an unused Carvin humbucker in the botton of a drawer that I'll stick in the bridge maybes.

    Thanks, people.
     
  5. Killed_by_Death

    Killed_by_Death Member

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    matching bridge & mid (or neck) pickups does help
    I think the Big Singles in my bass are 1K Ohm different, bridge being wound with more coils.

    Single-Coil pickups are going to give you the most brightness, in general.
    I'm not accustomed to hearing a single-coil bass pickup with a lot of thump, in comparison to a humbucker.

    split-coil pickups like in a Precision are also humbuckers, but sound closer to a single-coil than a normal humbucker

    Overwound pickups will have a higher output, but lower resonant peak, meaning they'll have less highs & more mids or lows.
    However, G&L's MFD pickups are somehow every high output, yet still have a broad timbre, including highs.

    It's just too bad that G&L chokes them out by using 250K Ohm pots.
     
  6. s2y

    s2y Member

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    I'll be the first to admit that I pay no attention to magnet type or winds. I search for various clips and make the decision from there. I like something or don't. I don't invest much thought past that.
     
  7. Endr_rpm

    Endr_rpm Member

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    I have an SB2, and used to own both Tribute and US L2500s. Anything they can do to tame those big humbuckers was likely a step in the right direction, IMO :)
     
  8. Killed_by_Death

    Killed_by_Death Member

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    If they used 500K Ohm pots they wouldn't need a bright switch for the preamp.
     
    Endr_rpm likes this.
  9. Angstwulf

    Angstwulf Member

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    Yeah, there are some things I'd like to get out of this but if I don't get the bass to "sound like this or that" I'm okay so long as I get a usable result. My main concern is what I need to pay attention to as far as getting strong enough pickups that are relatively well balanced.

    I know that the DCR isn't a great guide as to output but I'm going into this with a couple of assumptions:

    The Mean90's are 7.8 kOhms neck and 8.6 K at the bridge. From what Killed By Death says, the .8K difference should result in a decent balance. If I stick the bridge pickup in the neck position, I'm wondering how large of a difference in the bridge pickup DCR I can go before the volume drop becomes obnoxious. I'm thinking another GFS pickup at no more than 10-11K should be okay, no?

    Then again, at $35 a pickup, I should probably stop waffling and try it out.

    Thanks for your replies.
     
  10. TylerE

    TylerE Member

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    I think it is more accurate to call them humcanceling. They aren't true humbuckers (and I fact I consider them single coils) as any given string is only seeing one magnet, not two.
     
  11. Killed_by_Death

    Killed_by_Death Member

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    hum-bucking & hum-canceling define the same thing, one is just a more colloquial way of putting it

    Just because one is using two poles per string has no bearing on whether it's hum-canceling or hum-bucking. (since it is both of those things)

    I also disagree that single-coils is how to get thump.
    Humbuckers are going to have more low-end output than most single-coils.
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2018 at 9:00 PM

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