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Thread: 4 Pickups on a Bass? Help?

  1. #1

    Exclamation 4 Pickups on a Bass? Help?

    I have a pair of P bass pickups lying about and was wanting to add them to my current PBass, any wiring diagrams / help? I have no clue. Sort of like this one here: Click image for larger version. 

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  2. #2
    Depending on your control layout a standard Jazz bass diagram might work. What controls are you having? Volume and tone, or something more ornate?
    "Music is in the air; it's my job to pull it out."- Jaco Pastorius

  3. #3
    Just Tone and Volume, perhaps a pickup set selector.

  4. #4
    Then a standard Tele wiring diagram would work, methinks 😊😊
    "Music is in the air; it's my job to pull it out."- Jaco Pastorius

  5. #5
    Member fender3x's Avatar
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    It depends a little on what you want. To keep it pretty stock you'd probably want a concentric (stacked) volume pot, and a tone pot. That would be just like this...

    http://members.ziggo.nl/s.k.wiersma/...d_p_j_bass.jpg

    ...except that the "top" pot would be the neck pickup and the "bottom" pot would be the bridge pickup.

    You can roll the volume of either pickup all the way off, so you don't need a pickup selector switch unless you want one.

    You will want dual volume controls, because if the pickups are identical, the neck pickup will not be as sensitive (loud) as the bridge pickup. That's because the strings naturally vibrate less in the neck position than in the bridge position. You can compensate for this by rolling the volume back a bit on the neck pickup if you have two controls.

    I really like having concentric volume controls, because once you have the pups balanced the way you like you can turn both up or down together.

    Of course there are lots of other ways...

  6. #6
    Overlord of Music WeirdBits's Avatar
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    if you want to stick with just a volume and tone control then any switched two pickup layout will be fine (2 pickups, vol, tone and 3-way toggle switch). Individual volumes for each pickup (with or without a switch) or a master volume and balance pot would give you more flexibility, but that's up to you.

    You could go more complicated and have options to split the coil pairs so you can mix them between positions (bridge bass coil with neck treble coil etc.) but that would require a few more switches and custom layouts.
    Scott.

  7. #7
    Member fender3x's Avatar
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    I'd probably go with the dual volume or master-blend/balance approach if it were me. I'd only use the single V/T circuit if the bridge pickup is hotter than the neck. Pickup mfgs often refer to this as a "balanced set."

    There are more complex circuits that could add with switches as WeirdBits suggests. A common one is a parallel/series switch for one or both pickups. With P-bass pickups, though, I think you are likely to get diminished returns petty quickly. P-bass pickups sound great in series, similar but weaker in parallel (not really an improvement IMHO).

    I think the main reason that people add a bridge pickup to a p-bass is to get some growl out of it, and I am guessing you'll find that totally worth it. A jazz pickup is generally a bit weak, which is why nowadays people often put a humbucker there. A p-bass pickup should be fine. Lee Sklar used a bass with two p-bass pickups a lot for recording. They are close enough that you can balance them manually without much trouble.

  8. #8
    Moderator Brendan's Avatar
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    Ultimately the PBass pickup is a set, so it's really just a two pickup setup... Simplest would be a Jazz - 2 x vol (one for each pickup) and one tone. Other than that if you do want only one tone / volume & a switch, Bass Guy's right - simple tele setup would do fine.

  9. #9
    Overlord of Music wazkelly's Avatar
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    Had some P Bass style Basses in the past, 2 with J Bass PUP at Bridge with a 3 way selector and mostly ended up using the bridge PUP only as it sounded better than split P in the middle or both at the same time.

    On my Yammy fretless it had P Bass style in the middle and a Blade type at the bridge which sounded awesome. Not a huge fan of the split P's and see negligible benefit running a twin setup like that shown in the photos of your 1st post on this thread.

    On the EX-5 I have just finished it has J bass configuration with 2 Volume & 1 Tone and seriously considering substituting a Volume for a 3 way switch and run just a master volume instead as there is still lots of the other PUP in the mix even after backing one off in volume.

  10. #10
    Member Hobastard's Avatar
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    I would definitely go with 2 Volume Knobs instead of a selector switch so you can get a Blend of the two pickups. Also bear in mind that the output is much lower as you get closer to the bridge so if you want to use both pickups, you may need to turn the bridge one down a little to get the right mix.
    I would also be inclined to reverse the Bridge pup configuration to the one in the pic, as the Bridge sound (Jaco sound ) needs to be quite close to the bridge to be effective, and it is most suited to the higher strings.
    Realistically, a Jazz pup would do a much better job. I remember playing a couple of Basses configured with 2 P pups and it didn't do it for me at all........ Maybe I'm just biased towards Jazz Bases.
    If you do go with 2 Vol and 1 Tone pot, you can mount the third pot in the hole for the Jack, and mount the jack on the underside of the end.

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