The Basics of Bass Guitar Pickups

bass guitar pickups uk

Pickups are transducers that turn vibration of your bass string into an electrical signal for transmission to an amplifier, creating an open and transparent tone from your instrument. A great pickup will enhance its sound.

No matter your bass guitar pickup needs – whether that means finding something with single coil, split single coil or even hum-eliminating humbuckers – we offer an impressive range of pickups that will suit them all.


If your cheap bass lacks essential frequencies, installing a better pickup could be the solution. A quality pickup will send more precise signals to your amplifier for enhanced tone with reduced dullness or brittleness; furthermore it can have a profound impact on overall sound and frequency spectrum.

Pickups come in all sorts of different shapes and sizes, allowing players to position them anywhere on a guitar. Different varieties will produce differing tonal qualities so it is wise to explore all your options prior to making any decisions about purchase.

Single-coil pickups are the most widely used type of bass pickup. Composed of a coil of wire wound around a bobbin with pole pieces underneath each string, various winding patterns (‘overwound’ or underwound) and types of magnets can alter its tone, but typically a single-coil has an open sound with rich top end notes.

Humbuckers are another form of bass guitar pickup, employing two separate coils to produce more full and balanced tones than single-coils and less likely to feedback than their single-coil counterparts. Therefore, these pickups have become a favorite choice among players who use their basses heavily distorted.

Other types of bass guitar pickups may include piezo pickups, which use vibration from string vibration to produce an electrical signal; and optical pickups, which use light sensors to sense string vibrations. Although less frequently found on basses (particularly acoustic models), piezo and optical pickups may still be found on some models.

Black Angel Soundboard Transducers provide another great option for acoustic basses. Mountable on any flat surface of an acoustic bass, they are an ideal solution for players incorporating percussive techniques into their style, as well as magnetic or undersaddle pickups; some players such as Mike Dawes use dual outputs on their instruments so as to blend different pickup sounds together seamlessly.


Bass pickups have come a long way since their humble origins as large acoustic guitar microphones with limited electronics to sleek thunderous music machines. Their versatility also means they can accommodate various styles and pickup types; all you need to find a great sound is finding one or more suitable pickups that fits with what music style you play, experimenting with each until finding what fits perfectly for your music and playing styles.

These pickups are among the most sought-after on electric basses, providing tonal variation and output regulation via tone control, EQ balance adjustment and output adjustments. Each type of bass pickup, its number of magnets and pole pieces in its coil, its insulation type on bobbins and thickness/number of turns on wire results in different tones for its sound produced.

A P bass pickup utilizes an electromagnet to focus the vibrations from strings onto its polepieces, producing its signature tone. Alnico V magnets typically make up these pickups, with staggered or not staggered polepieces available to further alter its tonal properties and alter its overall tone characteristics.

The J pickup uses a similar technique to focus the sound of string vibration on its polepieces, but is more versatile and powerful than its counterpart, the P. It works particularly well when playing heavier gauge strings or open tunings; many users find it works especially well when used with heavier gauge strings or open tunings. Most J pickups come equipped with single coil wiring; however some versions feature split or coil tap capabilities which give more tonal flexibility than single coil mode alone.

Humbucker pickups have long been a cornerstone of modern bass guitars from EMG and Seymour Duncan, and can be found on some of their most sought-after models. Offering powerful yet full sound with great harmonic response and plenty of dynamic range, they are widely used on metal and heavy rock models alike.


Bass guitar pickups are an essential component in creating the sound and tone of any bass instrument. Their primary function is capturing vibrations of strings and transmitting them to amplifiers; therefore it is crucial that you choose one suitable to your style and tastes. Metal players might prefer using humbuckers with their warm tone and excellent sustain; however, single coil bass pickups also produce similar tones.

Are You Searching for an Active Bass Pickup? Explore EMG Pickups Our range of EMGs offer high output pickups which can boost frequencies as well as cut them, providing flexibility to shape sound and create your own signature tone. Furthermore, their wider dynamic range makes them capable of withstanding higher input levels without distortion or noise issues.

Piezo pickups have also grown increasingly popular among metal players, and operate differently to magnetic ones. Piezos utilize a set of crystals embedded within their pickup that generate energy upon being exposed to mechanical stress such as string vibrations; this energy then generates an electric current picked up by coil of copper wire in order to be transmitted directly into an amplifier’s signal chain. Piezos tend to produce warm tones with excellent definition and clarity – they’re often placed in bridge positions on bass guitars.

No matter which bass pickups you opt for, it is crucial that you conduct extensive experiments so as to select the one most suited to your musical style and preferences. While some people may favor single-coil pickups’ brighter, twangier sound, others might prefer darker, thicker tones of humbuckers’ darker tone – ultimately it comes down to personal taste – so try both styles out and see which best matches up with your music!

Single Coil

Single-coil pickups are the simplest form of bass pickups, consisting of a magnet enclosing copper wire coils coiled around it. As strings vibrate, their vibration disturbs the magnetic field and creates small voltage fluctuations within the coil that are detected by the pickup, amplified, and translated into sound by it. There are various variations on this design including coil length variations as well as magnet type and pole pieces which all play an essential part in its tone and resonance.

The result of using single coil pickups on bass guitar is a pickup with a bright and snappy tone, ideal for players seeking crispness with plenty of clarity. Though, unlike humbuckers, single coils don’t produce warm tones suitable for blues or classic rock music.

EMG SA single-coil pickup is one of our most beloved bass models for good reason: featuring internal shielding to eliminate noise pollution and an Alnico V bar magnet providing that classic Strat(tm) sound with big bottom end and plenty of clarity, it makes an excellent choice for blues, rock and metal music genres alike.

We also carry a selection of single-coil pickups from other manufacturers that feature true single coil technology, often referred to as soapbar pickups due to their shape (though they’re not quite as wide). They’re great options for anyone wanting a hybrid approach between traditional design and modern tech – perfect for adding modern twists with traditional aesthetics! Known for their versatility.

McNelly Pickups offer a comprehensive range of bass pickups that you can buy in sets for both bridge and neck positions, including black or white options with mounting kits included. Furthermore, we provide a complete pre-wired harness so you can install McNellys along with replacing existing wiring – be sure to grab headphones when doing this as it will truly transform the sound!