Types of Bass Guitar Pickups

There are various kinds of bass guitar pickups, such as single coil, split coil and humbucker models. Each has their own characteristics that allow for different tones.

Humbucker pickups consist of two single-coil pickups stacked together with their magnets oriented oppositely; this reduces interference without decreasing output.


Two pickups wired in series will increase their output compared to single-coil pickups, as each signal adds onto that of its neighbor without being separated like it would be with parallel wiring. However, the effects can sometimes become overdone or muffled – not an ideal sound for bass guitars with high output pickups! For best results when wiring two pickups in series for your bass guitar it is always advisable to seek advice from an experienced repair technician.

Series-wired pickups produce a fuller and warmer sound. They’re often employed on humbucking bass guitars for their powerful tone, capable of handling higher gain amp settings. Plus, series wiring also has increased sustain and more pronounced midrange than single coil pickups – but may cause an overly muddy tone with high gain amplifiers.

4 String Stingray basses feature humbuckers wired in series for a clean and clear sound that caters to both slap-style and pick style bassists. This disproves any belief that humbuckers create muddiness when used correctly; in addition, these basses allow users to switch them back into single coil mode allowing for the perfect tone in any genre of music.

When using a humbucking bass guitar, the primary concern should be choosing your pickups in series and parallel. While many opt for using single-coils in the bridge position and humbuckers in the neck position simultaneously, this may not always be optimal as humbuckers often produce more prominent midrange response than their single-coil counterparts and could make your bass too harsh or boomy sounding.

For maximum flexibility and cost efficiency, the ideal bass to use is one with a humbucker capable of switching between parallel and series using a push/pull pot. One such example would be diMarzio Model J bass’s unique feature of being switched on or off with just the press of a button – giving users access to all three options without spending additional money.


Though most humbuckers are wired in series, you have the option of switching them over to parallel and altering their sound and tone accordingly. Parallel wiring usually produces clearer sound with lower output levels.

Wiring a humbucker in parallel connects its two coils with their hot and ground wires, increasing DC resistance across both coils for fuller sound production, while changing tone controls on your guitar to adjust differently. Be cautious when employing this technique as it could result in its pickup failing altogether.

Before beginning any modification on your guitar, it is vital that you understand the differences between series and parallel wiring. If you lack experience, seek professional advice to avoid making errors that could damage the instrument.

Typically speaking, wiring your humbucker in series produces darker and fuller sounding tones than parallel wiring; however, this depends on its type and coil arrangement. If you are having difficulties wiring your humbucker correctly please consult your guitar’s owner’s manual or the manufacturer for advice.

When two humbuckers are wired in parallel, their signal travels directly from one pickup’s ground wire to the second one’s hot wire – creating one large pickup that combines their output. It is often employed on LP and SG style guitars as well as modern Fender instruments; Brian May’s Red Special had all three single coil pickups connected in series.

There are various approaches to wiring humbuckers in parallel, but it’s important to keep in mind that they won’t sound exactly the same as two single-coil pickups due to having inner and outer coils of different sizes/shapes interacting differently with one another. You may achieve something close by switching your humbuckers between series and parallel mode or installing a push/pull switch with individual coil selectability.


Tapped bass guitar pickups refer to a type of pickup with one or more coils wired in parallel instead of series, providing noise cancellation properties while producing sound similar to two single-coil pickups used together. Some manufacturers also offer dual-coil versions with this wiring method; these versions tend to be less popular.

Joseph Raymond “Ray” Butts for Gretsch and Seth Lover for Gibson first introduced humbucking pickup design into electric guitar pickup technology during the 1950s. Their creation marked one of the major advances in this area for decades and allowed for much higher output and fuller sound than previous single-coil versions that existed, while eliminating 60Hz hum common across most electronic equipment.

Humbucking pickups employ two sets of six magnetic polepieces with opposing magnetic polarities to cancel out ambient mains hum (unwanted electromagnetic interference from power cables, fluorescent light ballasts and video monitors) while increasing string signal tones.

Some humbucking pickups can be manually split by using either a switch on the guitar or within its pickup selector to switch one coil off and reduce hum production, often known as coil tapping – although there may be differences between these techniques.

Coil splitting involves adding an additional coil winding during manufacturing, giving guitarists the option of either using all windings for fuller, richer tones or tapping them at points below full coil for brighter tones with increased midrange frequencies. Although humbucking pickups with coil taps exist, they typically cost more than their single-coil counterparts.

Some bassists use tape on the edges of their humbucking bass guitar pickups in order to prevent strings from getting caught under the front of the pickup. This method is especially helpful for players using tremolos. There are more elegant and effective methods available such as using epoxy to raise up pickups on Strat-style guitars so as not to catch strings under their pickups, or even shimmed to make them taller so as to less likely catch strings when strumming tremolos.


A quality bass guitar pickup can give your music an impressive and thunderous sound, filling in the low frequencies left unfilled by other instruments and helping keep the mix from becoming overbearing. Unfortunately, not all bass pickups are created equal; some tend to hum and require shielding against interference – although hum-canceling pickups may not be common, they are an effective solution in eliminating unwanted noise from their surrounding environment.

There are various kinds of bass pickups, such as magnetic, split coil and humbuckers. Each has their own individual characteristics but all operate on the same principle: when string vibrations cause changes to magnetic fields which translate to electrical signals which can then be amplified further.

Leo Fender first invented single-coil bass pickups, consisting of magnets encasing a coil of wire. When exposed, these magnets alter how sound is picked up – from fundamental Motown bassist funkiness to the crunchy rock stylings of Mike Dirnt and Nate Mendel from Green Day, these pickups produce various tones.

Dual-coil bass pickups feature two sets of magnets connected by wire coils and are much quieter than their single-coil counterparts, although their output tends to be less powerful. Commonly found on neck-bridge configuration basses but also available for other locations, these pickups can be found across many styles including jazz bass and Danelectro basses.

Traditional single-coil basses suffer from an issue known as “hum”. This occurs because string movement creates a magnetic field around it that causes interference from nearby objects, creating a humming sound not heard by the player but audible to others in a studio or bandstand environment – this effect being amplified when playing bass instruments which produce tones lower than desired tone levels.

Solution to this issue can be found by employing a double-coil pickup. This feature consists of two single coil pickups wired out of phase with one another to cancel out hum and give a fuller tone.