What kind of bass pickup should I get?
There are four main things to consider when you're looking for bass pickups: First, you want to consider basic compatibility - will the new pickups fit your bass? Second, you need to consider if you want a single-coil pickup or a humbucker. Third, you need to consider the overall tone you're after. Finally, you need to decide between active or passive pickups.
What sizes do bass pickups come in?
The most common sizes for bass pickups are:
- Jazz Bass single coils
- Split-single-coil precision bass model
- Humbucker dual-coil pickup
Bass pickups can also come in mini humbucker and soap bar sizes, so you do need to be aware of sizing as you make your choices.
What is the difference between single-coil and humbucker bass pickups?
Most single-coil pickups give the player an open and organic sound. Many people describe these pickups as giving a bright and clear sound. Single-coil bass pickups tend to be highly dynamic, with complex overtones. One of the downsides to single-coil pickups is greater susceptibility to noise and RF interference.
J (Jazz) bass pickups are the most common single coil pickup. A popular combination of single-coil pickups for a bass guitar is a P Bass pickup in the middle and a J bass pickup at the bridge.
Humbuckers are darker, rounder, and give an old school vintage sound. Humbuckers have less noise and interference. The most common type of dual-coil humbuckers is a side-by-side configuration. This type of configuration requires your bass to have a wider mounting cavity.
There are also some stacked humbuckers that will give you a single-coil sound, so if you have a smaller mounting cavity but want a humbucking pickup that is an option you will want to consider. Stacked humbuckers are available in P and J sizes so they will fit in P and J bass routings.
What is the difference between an active and passive bass pickup?
Passive pickups are warmer and more dynamic. They do not require a battery.
Active bass pickups have extra gain a more limited sound. Active pickups are preferred by players who use tube amps as they give you the ability to modify the extra gain.
Are Jazz bass pickups the same size?
Four string jazz bass pickups are standard for neck and bridge positions. Five string jazz bass pickups have variance based on the model.