Bass pickups are essential tools for bass players seeking to add depth, rumble and solidification to a band’s sound. Most single-coil pickups use six magnets in order to detect string vibrations more accurately.
Pickups come in various forms; some with individual magnetic poles and others using blade-style designs.
Bass guitar pickups convert the mechanical energy from strings into an electrical signal that can be amplified, amplified and amplified further. There are numerous varieties of bass pickups on the market, each offering its own distinct sound. While certain pickups cater specifically to genres or playing styles while others depend on how many coils they contain.
Single-coil and double-coil (also referred to as “humbuckers”) pickup construction types are two primary choices, respectively. Humbuckers consist of two coils of wire joined together by a magnetic bar or pole piece and controlled by vibrations from bass strings, which disturb its magnetic field and cause voltage variations in copper wire coil. When vibrated by bass strings, these voltage fluctuations are picked up by magnetic pickup and transformed into electric current that is then filtered to isolate individual frequencies that comprise its tone.
Humbuckers can be constructed out of various materials, from plastic and compressed paper fiber to metal alloy. Purists seeking an exact replica for their vintage bass guitar may insist that its replacement pickup be composed of similar materials to its original. In addition, these pickups may feature additional electronic components that enable them to boost specific frequencies or cancel out unwanted ones.
Bass pickups can also be divided into active and passive models based on construction type, with active pickups requiring an external amplifier to increase output and sensitivity; passive models do not contain internal components that require extra electricity for operation – making these basses quieter with less feedback issues.
Although there are various methods for creating bass guitar pickups, the quality of the bobbin is key to its construction. Most are stamped from flatwork plastic or phenolics sheets before being hand fabricated into their final shapes by skilled artisans; some companies use injection molds instead to mass produce thousands of them at a time in an effort to reduce costs while maintaining consistency in production.
Black vulcanized fiber is the go-to bobbin material for making bass guitar pickups, typically found on acoustic and mandolin pickups but suitable for creating pickups for any number of strings and string spacings.
The shape of a bass pickup bobbin can have an enormous effect on the sound of a bass guitar. It helps keep wire wrapped in coils in an even fashion, protecting them from damage. But don’t mistake the bobbin as an active component; rather it simply holds coil wire in place while making winding easier.
Bobbins for bass guitar pickups are often made of plastic material and may either be injection molded or hand fabricated, depending on your pick-up model. Modern electric bass pickups typically use injection-molded bobbins while older models might still feature hand fabricated ones; both types contribute to the sound of an instrument; although injection molded ones are generally preferred.
One of the most commonly seen designs for bass guitar pickup bobbins is known as a split-coil pickup. A split-coil features two independent coils connected by metal keeper bars that hold pole-piece screws; these coils produce much less distortion than single-coil pickups, as well as producing different tones with ease.
Humbucker pickups are another highly-preferred choice of bass guitar pickup. Although more complex than their split-coil counterparts, humbuckers offer greater tonal diversity thanks to two coils placed side-by-side and larger pole pieces arranged horizontally on either end of their pickup’s coils – providing for both humbucking properties when both coils are engaged and punchy tones often employed for slap bass playing.
A third type of bass pickup, the sidewinder is an amalgamation between humbuckers and split-coils. A sidewinder features two bobbins arranged side by side that each have their own magnet and pole piece screw, giving this kind of pickup more focus and clarity than traditional humbuckers while still having enough power to create different sounds from low end rumble to crisp highs.
Bass guitar pickups convert the vibrations of strings to electrical energy by converting magnetic fields generated by magnets and coils into currents that flow out the output terminals of a pickup. Their output depends on its configuration and materials used during construction; to produce different frequencies they may either be overwound or underwound – with overwound pickups boasting higher output and greater midrange growl than their underwound counterparts. Furthermore, single coil pickup output may differ based on coil size, gauge wire gauge winding pattern – see figure 8.
Bobbins are essential parts of any bass guitar pickup, helping shape and protect its coils. Traditional Gibson humbucking pickups feature plastic top and bottom plates with internal walls designed to keep coil wire away from pole pieces, while our AR90 pickups use taller structures made from vulcanized fiberboard for maximum coil protection.
Thickness of coil wire can have an effectful influence on a bass guitar pickup’s tone. Thicker wire has lower resistance than its thinner counterparts and can carry more electricity over a given length, with diameter, turns count and insulation being key factors affecting this resistance. Pickup makers can manipulate coil tone by altering its size, winding pattern or magnet placement; while increasing output and dynamic range by choosing thicker coil wire with lower turns or thinner wire with increased turns.
Insulation is an integral component of building a pickup, as its presence impacts capacitance and therefore its sound. Therefore, using high-quality materials that won’t short out – like Plane Enamel, Heavy Formvar, Polyurethane or Poly-Nylon are extremely durable materials with extremely low capacitance values – is of vital importance when creating your pickup.
Bobbins are also essential in controlling coil’s voicing. DC resistance provides one measure of coil’s resistance; however, it doesn’t reflect all aspects of sound produced by bass pickups; its sound can also depend on magnet type/size, amount of polepiece wear-and-tear, as well as how our human ears perceive sound waves.
The bobbin is one of two key components that contribute to the sound of guitar pickups, along with magnet. Together they work to convert mechanical vibrations (guitar strings vibrating) into electrical signals which travel to an amplifying device before being converted back into audio output – producing that signature tone of each pickup.
Pickups come in various shapes and sizes, often being combined together for different sounds. Popular pick-ups used today on electric guitars are single-coil, P and humbucker pickups; these are used to amplify string vibration while simultaneously giving each guitar its distinctive tones used across genres of music.
Single-coil pickups are an excellent option for beginning guitarists as they are relatively affordable and simple to install. Their inexpensive nature allows them to provide players of all experience levels access to various tones spanning country, blues, and rock genres for soloing or playing in small bands.
P pickups are more complex than their single-coil counterparts and offer a wider variety of tones. Their main difference from single coils lies in how they manage harmonic overtones and fundamental tone – P pickups utilize several thousand wraps of feedback-dampening copper wire around each polepiece for this purpose – this allows strings to fall between each of the polepieces for stronger and more focused tonal output.
The humbucker pickup design offers an improvement on basic single coil designs in that it prevents electrical interference between Coils A and B that usually manifests itself in buzzing or humming sound at higher volumes. Humbuckers remedy this issue by strengthening magnetic fields of each coil while combining their voltages for an overall stronger signal output.