Choosing Bass Guitar Pickup Rings

bass guitar pickup rings

Selecting the ideal pickup for your bass guitar can have a dramatic impact on its tone. Single coil pickups offer versatile sound that works well with clean tones and high preamp gain levels, while humbuckers offer thicker sounds that help mitigate 60-cycle hum while retaining their dynamic qualities.

Split-coils consist of two single-coil pickups placed apart from each other (like those found on Fender Precision basses) for an iconic, identifiable sound.


Humbucker guitar pickups provide an effective means of cancelling out background electrical noise by using opposite coils to generate current that is almost completely neutral and produce thicker, fuller sounds than single coil models. They can even produce increased power!

Magnets, coil winding and wire type used can all have an enormous effect on how a pickup sounds. Furthermore, factors like size of pickup, coil number and active or passive status will all play an integral role in its tone.

Most humbuckers feature two coils, but there are exceptions. Companies such as Seymour Duncan offer active humbuckers with three coils – giving greater output while providing multiple wiring options like coil splitting or series/parallel switching.

Humbucker pickup rings come in various styles and colors. RAW unplated nickel/silver and chrome rings provide the clearest sound without altering your tone; black, gold, white metals cause small decreases in output and resonant peak which become noticeable when placed closer to strings.

Installing a humbucker ring correctly means compressing it gently so the screw threads into the baseplate instead of pushing through it, to prevent breaking. Otherwise, too much bending sideways or pushing against too hard could result in its breakage and ruin your instrument!

Once the humbucker ring is in its proper place, tightening can be completed using a phillips head screw driver. Be wary when tightening as this could damage the humbucker and result in unnecessary buzzing noises.

If you’re new to installing your humbucker pickup ring, it is best to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for installation. Most importantly, do not hammer it to remove or install, as this can crack or distort its plastic construction. Instead, if you’re having difficulties turning away slightly from strings may help alleviate pressure off of it and tightening back again may work better.

Single Coil

If you don’t require the full noise-canceling power of a humbucker but still desire the fat sound of a P90 pickup, single-coil pickup rings could be exactly what you’re looking for. They allow you to mount single-coil guitar pickups in any standard humbucker rout for mounting them together; providing clarity of a Strat tone with midrange bark from Les Paul basses while still giving noise cancellation courtesy of P90s.

These cream-colored rings are injection molded correctly so they will never split at the cold joints like some cheaper replicas do. Plus, they’re easy to bend over your pickup baseplate without hot water needed! Additionally, their molds include gates to direct plastic flow into their rings more smoothly, helping avoid weak spots that form within it and keeping weak spots at bay while also fitting existing bobbins perfectly.

Vintage-style PAF pickups feature cloth-insulated lead wire with braided shielding on their exterior. Their leads may either be white/black (signifying a neck or bridge pickup) or black/yellow (indicating an RWRP, or reverse wind/reverse polarity, pickup). When accessing them, simply push back on the outer cloth insulation; there’s no need to strip anything!

PAF pickups from the 1950s-era feature rough sand casted magnets that set them apart from smoother cast modern magnets used by many other electric guitar pickups, lending the PAF its characteristic richer and warmer tone than many single-coil pickups.

An important component of any bass guitar is its pickups. Their quality determines how much energy the strings can generate and how this energy is transferred to amplifiers and speakers; and for optimal results they should have no distortion due to mechanical strain from string vibration and electrical interference (60-cycle hum).

Seth Lover of Gibson Engineering invented the humbucking system to address this problem by connecting two single coil pickups serially but out-of-phase electrically and magnetically; thus cancelling out 60Hz hum, creating a clearer signal with more harmonic content.

Split Coil

. A humbucker pickup features two coils connected by magnets in opposing directions that produce thicker sound than single-coils, making them popular for jazz, blues, heavy rock genres as well as bass guitar. Splitting them off enables one coil to activate for single coil-style sound creation.

An electric bass guitar equipped with a split-coil pickup can easily switch between full humbucker sound and half-hum mode with just the flick of a switch. Half-hum mode cuts out signal between one coil and magnet to cancel out low end for a clean sound; making this setting perfect for bass guitars that need to be played loudly and with heavy attack.

These pickup rings can be used on either humbucking basses or regular single-coil pickups, featuring a flat design that’s pre-cut to fit the mounting hole spacing of most import pickups. Bone, Cream and Black colors are offered so as to match existing parts; vintage LPs often featured these same rings! There is even the option of both medium height and tall height versions to suit every LP model!

These pickup rings are constructed from butyrate plastic, injection-molded in an ideal mold without cold spots that could crack or split it, then hand duplicated to achieve a vintage appearance and feel. A must have for those restoring or upgrading their LPs!

ThroBak pickup rings are constructed from premium materials and an exclusive proprietary formula to achieve natural, authentic tone. Easy to install onto an LP bass guitar, they allow for quick repairs without spending a fortune in repair shops. Ideal replacements for original Gibson bridge pickup rings as well as repair work on an older Les Paul with split coil pickups; unlike traditional humbucker rings they can even be bent over the top without needing hot water or heat gun heating up an area first!


Modern P Bass pickup rings provide an effective solution to upgrading a vintage style pickup or adding another pickup in the neck position. Their dynamic designs enhance power and clarity for increased dynamic performances in modern genres that demand dynamic bass performance. These seemingly innocuous plastic pieces may seem insignificant, but they play a critical role in connecting your guitar body to its pickups – so making sure they look and feel right is of equal importance. These rings are authentic replicas of the cream P-style rings found on late 1950’s guitars, right down to their scent and appearance. Made using a urethane cast process wherein original parts are put into silicone molds before filling them with liquid urethane resin which hardens into new parts, these reproductions look exactly like their predecessors!

Process produces extremely accurate reproduction parts with meticulous details down to scratch marks and surface textures of the underside of the ring, for an authentic look and feel unlike cast metal reproductions available elsewhere. They make for the ideal upgrade for classic ES-335 or other P-style guitars!

Gibson initially used various sizes and grades of Alnico magnets in its P-90 pickups in the early 1960’s which contributed to their very different tonal qualities. By mid/late ’60’s however, more uniform Alnico 2-5 magnets began being implemented into these pickups helping make their sound more uniform.

Gibson often used sanded down original M-69 pickup rings from their ES-335’s to set their rings apart from counterfeits and distinguish between their authentic parts and counterfeit copies, giving theirs a more worn appearance and making it harder for players to spot the screw boss underneath. Furthermore, dark tan or black stain was commonly applied over any imperfections on these ring.

These reproduction M-69 rings are made of Butyrate to provide the same look and feel of their original counterparts, including being flat so they can easily bend without the use of heat, and their durability guarantees they should fit any number of pickups molded from similar tooling as original M-69s. In addition, they have been sanded and tan stained so as to blend in seamlessly with most pickup colors.