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Why is one pickup louder than the other?

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  • Why is one pickup louder than the other?

    For some odd reason my neck pickup is substantially louder than the bridge pickup. Is there a way I can measure this difference with a multimeter and then fix it? This problem is occurring on my mystery bass which has Bartolini pickups and a three band eq with blend.
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  • #2
    Usually, the neck pickup is hotter. Don't know why, but I suspect that it's the way that they wind them. Like I said, dunno.
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    • #3
      maybe it needs to be re-soldered
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      • #4
        If it needed to be resoldered I would imagine no volume would be more symptomatic than lower volume. I got out the multimeter and cycled through a few resistance selections. I found a the neck to have a resistance of 2.82 and the bridge to have 2.24. Is this where the problem is? I can't see anything that needs to be wound but I imagine that is under the pickup covers.
        Tallest Forum Member at 6'8"
        Basses: Deep Translucent red stingray 4, Fender MIA P-bass deluxe
        Amp: SM-900 into a SWR SOB15"
        FX - Too many
        Minister of Active P-basses
        Winner of Bonoman's Post of the Day Away 4/21/05

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        • #5
          The neck pickup normally has a higher (and deeper) signal because the amplitude of vibration of the strings is higher there for the root tone (fundamental). The neck pickup has a lower signal with more treble because the fundamental has smaller amplitude there, and the upper harmonics have a relatively higher amplitude (much shorter wavelength). This can be addressed either by winding a hotter pickup or positioning the bridge pickup closer to the strings (or both).
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          • #6
            You don't need a multimeter - just reduce the neck pickup's height, or increase the bridge pickup's height.

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            • #7
              You don't need a multimeter - just reduce the neck pickup's height, or increase the bridge pickup's height.


              +1. See if that improves the balance before you do anything else.
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              • #8
                +1. See if that improves the balance before you do anything else.

                I'm pretty sure that would do the trick, but my bass would be less loud if I did that. Since there is a difference of resistance between the pickups, couldn't I just rewind the bridge so its resistance matches the other pickup?
                Tallest Forum Member at 6'8"
                Basses: Deep Translucent red stingray 4, Fender MIA P-bass deluxe
                Amp: SM-900 into a SWR SOB15"
                FX - Too many
                Minister of Active P-basses
                Winner of Bonoman's Post of the Day Away 4/21/05

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                • #9
                  I'm pretty sure that would do the trick, but my bass would be less loud if I did that. Since there is a difference of resistance between the pickups, couldn't I just rewind the bridge so its resistance matches the other pickup?


                  What's the problem with it being less loud?

                  Unless you're already maxing out the input gain on any bit of gear you're using, then is that really a problem?

                  And if you increased the bridge pickup height, then it shouldn't be any quieter anyway, right?

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                  • #10
                    I'm pretty sure that would do the trick, but my bass would be less loud if I did that. Since there is a difference of resistance between the pickups, couldn't I just rewind the bridge so its resistance matches the other pickup?


                    That's a lot of really involved and sensitive work for a simple issue. Adjusting the pickup heights is the answer for all but the most extreme situations.
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                    • #11
                      What's the problem with it being less loud?

                      Unless you're already maxing out the input gain on any bit of gear you're using, then is that really a problem?

                      And if you increased the bridge pickup height, then it shouldn't be any quieter anyway, right?


                      I thought the volume of your bass was directly proportional to the size of your penis?

                      Jokes aside, I'll just adjust the pickup height
                      Tallest Forum Member at 6'8"
                      Basses: Deep Translucent red stingray 4, Fender MIA P-bass deluxe
                      Amp: SM-900 into a SWR SOB15"
                      FX - Too many
                      Minister of Active P-basses
                      Winner of Bonoman's Post of the Day Away 4/21/05

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                      • #12
                        Anyway it's not the neck pickup being hotter but the string moving larger over it than over the bridge pickup.
                        More movement = more energy = higher output.
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