Author Topic: need education... pick up spacing  (Read 404 times)

goran

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need education... pick up spacing
« on: January 15, 2018, 04:19:37 AM »
Hi everybody, I have a question.
I realize that some alembics have different pickup spacing the others, but same model and same scale lenght.
I'm wondering is that something custom or you is there a name for that (like fender 60s and 70s pickup spacing)?
These are pics from their website Series 1 both short scale.
I wondering that because on some series 1 there is larger space between neck and first pickup for popping with index finger.

I asked that on Facebook club and some people say that pickup spacing is something you can specify if you place a custom order, so as I can see through website and pics I seem to can say what is custom and what is standard for Series 1 basses.

And somebody said: "These days, the Koa bass on the left is an example of the default "standard" pickup placement unless specified otherwise. The Coco Bolo bass on the right is an example of the pickup placement common on both the '70's to mid-'80's instruments as well as Stanley's preferred pickup placement to this day."

So just wondering if there is a difference in sound between two p.u.'s positions?




jazzyvee

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Re: need education... pick up spacing
« Reply #1 on: January 15, 2018, 06:43:03 AM »
Hi Goran, in my experience having the neck pickup closer to the bottom of the fretboard gives you a more pronounced and warmer bottom end. I have two series I basses and the difference is easily noticeable. Whilst both basses have an extremely clean sound that we expect with alembics, the top bass (burl redwood) has more clarity in the notes than the bass in the lower picture (burl maple) and my understanding is that this may be due to the amount ebony in the neck of the redwood bass.





« Last Edit: January 15, 2018, 06:58:32 AM by jazzyvee »
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keith_h

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Re: need education... pick up spacing
« Reply #2 on: January 15, 2018, 07:28:39 AM »
The bass pickup being closer to the next will fuller (more bassy) but makes it harder for slapping and popping. Earlier Alembics tended to have the bass pickup closer to the neck. Over the years it has been moved further away to accommodate playing style. With the instrument filters unless you play a lot with the neck only pickup I'm not sure it would make that big of a difference in the overall tone. I have the current further away from the neck on both of my small body basses and am happy with the sound. As for Stanley I don't know what his custom basses have. I do know he plays a bass I had that has the newer, wider spacing and thinks it is one of the best sounding basses he's played. So I would put more consideration into playing style and comfort than the possible effect on the tone as I think it will have less impact overall on your enjoyment.

jazzyvee

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Re: need education... pick up spacing
« Reply #3 on: January 15, 2018, 09:38:51 AM »
Well there you make a point. Personally most of my playing I do have more of the neck pickup in the mix so I welcome the extra warmth that comes from having the neck pickup closer to the end of the fretboard. As for slapping & popping, I don't do loads of it and even when i do it's not the Louis Johnson or Mark King style super fast stuff so I only have minor adjustments to make to get things working comfortably.
That said I do find doing double thumbing more of a challenging with the small space above the neck pickup, I just have to do it in a different place and with a lighter touch.  But If I needed to do a lot of that on a gig I'd just bring a different bass. If I was going to have a custom shorty series bass or even a signature I'd go for the close to neck option on the neck pickup. For me the string spacing is more of a consideration.
Goran do you have any opportunity to try a bass out with the different pickup spacings to see which would suit you?

The sound of Alembic is medicine for the soul!

gtrguy

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Re: need education... pick up spacing
« Reply #4 on: January 15, 2018, 11:55:41 AM »
I have a SS with the neck PU right up to the fretboard and the thing sounds huge! It has sound all out of relationship to it's size.

goran

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Re: need education... pick up spacing
« Reply #5 on: January 16, 2018, 02:21:48 AM »
So, how many of you guys knew where to put pickups? (mean spacing, or that was Alembics decision?)

adriaan

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Re: need education... pick up spacing
« Reply #6 on: January 16, 2018, 04:07:49 AM »
I left it to the elves. It may be the wood recipe, but even more low end than what the bass in my avatar puts out - really no need.

keith_h

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Re: need education... pick up spacing
« Reply #7 on: January 16, 2018, 04:57:18 AM »
I bought a Brown Bass out of dealer stock which uses the standard pickup positions and has a classic taper neck. I like the way it plays so saw no reason to change that when I ordered a Series I small body. The same goes for my long scale Orion basses. I was happy with the standard pickup position and comfort taper on the dealer stock 5-string so I didn't change those when I ordered my custom 4-string fretless.

Adriaan has a good point about woods. Even though my Brown Bass and Series I use different electronics the main thing that changes the way they sound are the woods used in the their construction. Most of the tone comes from the neck however these characteristics can be shaped with your choice of body, front and back woods. My BB uses a mahogany, birch and walnut neck with myrtle body and walnut veneers. It has a mellow even tone. My Series I uses a maple and purple heart neck with vermilion body and buckeye burl top and back. It is brighter and the fundamental is more pronounced. I don't own any basses with ebony stringers but my understanding is the fundamental is even more pronounced for a deeper more complex sound.

edwardofhuncote

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Re: need education... pick up spacing
« Reply #8 on: January 16, 2018, 07:31:50 AM »
One of the first things we talked about when planning my Custom was pickup location. I can't remember the exact wording Mica used, but we located them further apart, specifically to achieve a wider range. The bridge pickup is offset from the bridge just 5/8", just as the neck pickup is 5/8" from the end of the fingerboard leaving a pretty wide gap between them. To give the bridge pickup a little more oomph, we spec'd an AXY 'FatBoy' for that location, which turned out to be a very good call. One of the things that I really appreciate is how closely the 2017 Custom sounds to its 1981 Distillate counterpart. I can't help but believe the pickup, location, and that classic same-same neck recipe' is responsible for most of that.

On that subject; having played both of Keith's short-scale Alembics, I can attest to the warmth of the Brown Bass mahogany/birch/walnut neck layup over the clarity of the Series I with maple/purpleheart. It's quite a remarkable difference actually... I remember being immediately drawn to the darker tone of the Brown Bass. But shoot, even I would hate choosing between those two!  ;D

5a quilt top

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Re: need education... pick up spacing
« Reply #9 on: January 16, 2018, 07:41:26 AM »
Don't forget about the influence of your playing style. IMO, where you pluck / pick relative to the pickups and how hard you do it will have as much or more influence on your tone than woods, pickup placement and electronics.


For one of my custom builds, I decided to experiment and place the bass pickup immediately under where my hand naturally rests (see photo). I achieved two things by doing this: the increased space between neck and the bass pickup aids my rudimentary pop/slap technique and also provides a more direct translation of what my fingers are doing in that area.


Fortunately, Alembic electronics are very sensitive and quite capable of translating the nuances of one's playing style, so doing this made a difference.

edwin

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Re: need education... pick up spacing
« Reply #10 on: January 23, 2018, 09:54:20 PM »
Hi everybody, I have a question.
I realize that some alembics have different pickup spacing the others, but same model and same scale lenght.
I'm wondering is that something custom or you is there a name for that (like fender 60s and 70s pickup spacing)?
These are pics from their website Series 1 both short scale.
I wondering that because on some series 1 there is larger space between neck and first pickup for popping with index finger.

I asked that on Facebook club and some people say that pickup spacing is something you can specify if you place a custom order, so as I can see through website and pics I seem to can say what is custom and what is standard for Series 1 basses.

And somebody said: "These days, the Koa bass on the left is an example of the default "standard" pickup placement unless specified otherwise. The Coco Bolo bass on the right is an example of the pickup placement common on both the '70's to mid-'80's instruments as well as Stanley's preferred pickup placement to this day."

So just wondering if there is a difference in sound between two p.u.'s positions?






Interesting that you should bring this up with a picture of the bass on the right. That was my bass when it was new and it was because of the pickup placement that I went for it. I really like the pickup as close to the neck as possible, probably because I grew up with basses that were built like that, Gibsons and Guilds. I taught myself how to slap at any portion of the string, not just on the end of the fingerboard, so that freed me up from the problem that people have with this placement. If you don't slap, it should be a non-issue.

I still miss that bass sometimes....

moongerm

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Re: need education... pick up spacing
« Reply #11 on: January 29, 2018, 05:13:41 PM »
Hey Edwin,

   Why on earth did you get let go of that beauty? 



edwin

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Re: need education... pick up spacing
« Reply #12 on: February 02, 2018, 04:48:42 PM »

Hey Edwin,


   Why on earth did you get let go of that beauty? 




I don't know if you were here on the forum back then, but my son was born about a year after I got it and suffered a traumatic brain injury during the birth. Which was a month after I graduated from law school. No job, no time to look for one or to keep it if I could find it. We were with Xander 24/7 for almost two years. Which paid off in terms of his recovery, but was really hard financially (still digging out). He was Bootsy for Halloween and his latest musical obsession is Betty Davis. He's a funky 5 year old!


I'd love to get another, but I'd want a 5 string medium scale SII. Which I definitely can't afford right now!


moongerm

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Re: need education... pick up spacing
« Reply #13 on: February 12, 2018, 07:24:19 PM »
I am sorry to hear Edwin, I did not know. Your son is one funky lil' cat! Continued Blessings to you, Zander and your family! I saw Bootsy at NAMM last month. Here are some photos gathered into a video of my NAMM 2018 musings, including Bootsy https://youtu.be/Y018Ri7N9vs