Bass Guitar Pickup Lines

Pickups are the invisible force behind amplifying sound from strings to make a bass’s final sound as distinct as possible. Their influence can have a significant effect on its final tone.

The two primary pickup styles are single-coil and double-coil (also referred to as “humbuckers”) models. With the latter model using two separate coils to reduce noise pollution.


A single-coil bass guitar pickup is a magnetic transducer that converts string vibrations to electric signals that are then fed through cables into amplifiers, providing bright sounding output levels with high output levels. Commonly found on jazz basses but can also be found elsewhere – these pickups often work best when wired in parallel and produce wide ranging tones which can be enhanced further with equalizer boosts to create deeper and fuller sounds.

Single-coil pickups can become noisy due to their design. Acting like antennae, single-coil pickups act like antennae in picking up electromagnetic interference (EMI), which in turn causes unwanted noise and hum. To alleviate this problem, many manufacturers have developed hum-cancelling features on single-coil pickups; however, this may reduce tone quality of your pickup.

Double-coil pickups are more complex than single-coils and offer more tonal variety than their single-coil counterparts. Some can have more twang while others produce mellower tones; choosing a pickup depends on a player’s personal style and desired tonality preferences. Furthermore, double-coil pickups can be combined in various configurations to offer further tonal variations.

There is an assortment of bass pickup types, such as humbuckers, split-coils and dual-coils. Their primary difference lies in their ability to pick up hum. Some allow series/parallel switching as well as polarity changes for tone modification. Most bassists opt for single-coil pickups; the choice you make should depend on your musical preferences and needs.

P, J and humbucker pickups have long been the go-to choices for bass guitar pickups. While these three designs were once dominant among all types of pickups on bass guitars, today they remain popular choices. Additionally, mini-humbuckers, rail humbuckers and stacked pickups provide additional choices with similar functionality but different size and shapes.


Bass guitar pickups generally fall into two main construction categories – single-coil and double-coil (commonly referred to as humbuckers). Both types convert string vibrations into an electrical signal which is amplified and translated into sound by your bass amp. Your choice of pickup will determine what kind of tone you get; single-coil pickups feature copper wire wrapped around magnetic pole pieces known as “slugs”, and their coil creates voltage fluctuations when strings vibrate that cause changes to magnetic fields that is then picked up by magnets which transmit to an amplifier for playback by amplifier.

These pickups produce an exceptional sound, making them popular among many bassists. Their tone range extends from deep low bass to bright treble, as well as having more output than single-coil pickups and being responsive to picking styles of different bassists. Unfortunately, they can create significant background noise as well as being susceptible to electromagnetic emissions from radios, transformers, neon tubes, or computer monitors which might disturb them and reduce performance.

Fender first introduced split coil bass pickups in 1957. Similar to humbuckers, but more versatile than traditional single-coils. Each coil serves a separate string – E and A strings are picked up by one coil while D and G strings by the other coils. Furthermore, these pickups can be split off completely with one coil remaining fully operational while leaving another fully operable.

Although some players might prefer just one type of bass pickup, others utilize multiple pickup types. For instance, some basses employ double-coils in the bridge position and single-coils at both middle and bridge levels; others opt for multiple single-coils on all three positions.

Some bassists like to experiment with different types of pickups to find those which best suit their musical style and needs. This might involve trying various combinations of single-coil and humbucking pickups or testing various coil taps; coil tapping involves adding extra wire during manufacturing so players can access part of a coil winding for different impedance characteristics.


As you may already be aware, there are various kinds of bass guitar pickups on the market, but not all are created equal. Each type has distinct qualities which may make it better or worse for certain genres or playing styles; therefore it is essential that you understand all your options when selecting a pickup for your bass guitar.

P-style split-coil pickups were among the earliest designs of bass pickups and remain an indispensable tool for any electric bass player today. Offering powerful yet growly tones with an expansive bottom end, these pickups make P-styles great for blues, rock and metal playing as well as other genres – but don’t take that as an indication they won’t work elsewhere!

Early in the ’20s, various inventors attempted to turn string vibrations into electrical signals that could be amplified and transformed into sound. With time, various technologies allowed these early prototypes to take shape – George Beauchamp of Texas generally being the one responsible. When string vibrate against bridge, they create magnetic field which disturbs magnetic force of an electric current running along neck of guitar thus turning vibrations into electrical signal that could then be amplified and translated to sound amplification.

The original P pickup, or humbucker, was developed in 1932 for use on a prototype bass known as “The Frying Pan”. Though commercial production did not begin until 1950s, this technological advancement forever altered bass guitar electronics history.

A P bass pickup features two separate boxes, each housing two single-coil pickups wound and wired in reverse to cancel out hum. While single P pickups without humbuckers may exist, their sound will differ significantly from its counterparts.

Somewhere during the ’70s, some bassists began customizing Precision basses by adding a Jazz Bass pickup in the bridge position to produce P+J basses – hybrid models created from Precision and Jazz Bass models that provide powerful yet full bass tone that fills in low and mid frequencies that may be lacking from their sound. These basses quickly became known for their innovative sound that could instantly elevate any group.


When you strike a string on a bass guitar, its vibration produces an inaudible electric signal which is picked up by its pickup and played back through an amp as sound – this gives your instrument its unique tone and color! Every part contributes in some way, with the pickup often being the catalyst behind these processes.

Faraday’s Law of Induction forms the cornerstone of all modern electrical devices and electric guitar pickups alike, including transformers, generators, electrical motors and pickups. When strings vibrate they disturb Faraday’s magnetic field which disrupts current running through pickup wire and produces distortion that is recorded by microphone inside body of guitar body.

No matter whether you want a bright and snappy sound or something deeper and thicker, picking up on your bass can make all of the difference in creating that tone. Passive basses may work for most styles of music; for more control over tone enhancement, however, active basses might be worth upgrading to.

An active bass features a preamp built into its body, which helps shape the signal before passing it to its pickups. Metal players often prefer such basses because high-gain amplifiers produce more aggressive and louder tones; also, this extra gain increases finger slides and fast slapping response.

Active basses feature preamps designed to eliminate noise and hum caused by their string ground wire (a wire connecting most electric guitar strings to an electrical ground in order to reduce any risk of electric shock), while simultaneously offering stronger signals less affected by things such as instrument cord length or amp input characteristics.

Active pickups do require batteries, which adds another cost factor when purchasing your bass guitar; however, their advantages far outweigh this drawback.