Wiring a Music Man type bass pickup

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Wiring a Music Man type bass pickup

Postby Peter Wilcox » Fri Nov 09, 2018 2:54 pm

I have no experience with these. I'm putting a Chinese MM type PU in a 5 string bass (just because I have it). It will be passive - the coils are 6.5k apiece. I can wire it as a single pickup, or split the coils and wire it with 2 volumes like jazz pickups (or with a switch like a tele). I have 2 questions.

First, is there any point in splitting the coils - is there enough distance between them to make a significant difference in their timbre to want to control each separately?

Second, I see that at least for active installations, the pickup is placed way up near the bridge. I assume this is because the preamp needs increased treble input. I'm going to place mine essentially in the P-bass position. Any reason not to do this?

Thanks for any opinions.
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Re: Wiring a Music Man type bass pickup

Postby Beate Ritzert » Fri Nov 09, 2018 5:27 pm

On my bass with 80 cm (32") scale, there is a noticeable difference between the two coils as single coils. In the original position of centerline at 90% of the scale length. The difference should become the less important the further away from the bridge the pickup is mounted.

And yes, the MM style pickup will work nicely closer to the neck. Musicman themselves do this in their two PU models.

A IMHO very interesting and easy setup of such a pickup is switching between SC, parallel and serial humbucking. In the bass i mentioned above i use a really simple passive setup consisting only of this switch and an additional kill switch. Nothing else, no vol pot, no tone control. Sounds great.

BTW. if You mount an MM style PU closer to the neck so that the bridge coil row is in the position of the neck coil row in MMs original position, the coild facing toward the neck will be in a typical position of the bridge/treble part of the split coil.
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Re: Wiring a Music Man type bass pickup

Postby Peter Wilcox » Sun Nov 11, 2018 4:42 pm

Thanks for your input Beate - some interesting relationships. I think I'm going to place the PU at the P-bass position - I'm just a "thump thump" bass player, and this will give me lots of thump. :)

I know that far from the bridge there might not be much difference in tone, but I've got lots of pots, so I might as well split the coils and see what it sounds like. I can always turn both pots to max, though they will still bleed off some signal to ground.
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Re: Wiring a Music Man type bass pickup

Postby Rob Kidd » Fri May 24, 2019 12:46 am

The OLP stingrays had two volumes and a tone for the one humbucker. TBH, I think it was more for looks than practicality. The difference between coils is very subtle.

I agree with Beate, a series-parallel-single switch would be a useful feature.

As for pickup placement. Well, ask about stingray pickup location in talkbass and you'll be swamped! It's known as the "sweet spot". If you see a PJ bass, it's right about halfway between. In fact, it's centre line is right where the back edge of a P pickguard lies. But honestly, an inch or so forward will still sound nice.

You can (sort of) test pickup placement before you route, by setting it upside down above the strings with blutac. This can give an idea of how the mids and bass will sound, but the treble will be more a function of the pots and the capacitance of your guitar lead, plus whether it's in series or parallel mode.
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Re: Wiring a Music Man type bass pickup

Postby David King » Tue May 28, 2019 5:59 pm

If you decide against 2 volumes you can try another, even easier switch layout. [Neck coil-series-bridge coil].
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Re: Wiring a Music Man type bass pickup

Postby Peter Wilcox » Wed May 29, 2019 1:30 pm

Here's how I wired it:

music-man-5-string-pickup-w.jpg


I put the pickup in the P-bass position. It sounded pretty good in the series configuration.

bass1a.jpg
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Re: Wiring a Music Man type bass pickup

Postby David King » Thu May 30, 2019 3:15 pm

You might try series/single i.e.coil splitter just to see what the rear coil or front coil alone gives. A single coil will often get you to a deeper low and certainly a snappier high end.
Never mind, you have the 2 volumes for that...
A purist would tell you you already have 3 times too many knobs on that bass. <g>
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Re: Wiring a Music Man type bass pickup

Postby Mark Wybierala » Sat Jun 15, 2019 10:37 am

I also find that a series/parallel switch works to provide two usable settings. Using just one single coil of a humbucker is often disappointing and ends up being a selection that is never used. There have been one or two exceptions and I believe they were both PRS guitars. With guitars and basses, simple is always the best way to wire one.
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Re: Wiring a Music Man type bass pickup

Postby Beate Ritzert » Sat Jun 15, 2019 4:34 pm

David King wrote:Y
A purist would tell you you already have 3 times too many knobs on that bass. <g>


Indeed, well actually infenitesimally times too many...
The right numer pot pots on such a bass is that - just a kill switch and a selector for parallel, single coil, and parallel ("alarm mode"):

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