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bentstavanger

Solid Body Tenor Guitar: Pickups & Pots

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Hello everyone!

I want to do some modding on the electronics of one of my guitars. It's a solid body tenor, 4 strings, tuned as 1st to 4th string on a regular guitar, sometimes tuned as 2nd to 5th string. But I'm completely new to this, so there's is a lot I need to find out before I get started. Here are my most urgent questions, I hope someone out there knows the answers:

1) There's a volume and a tone control on the guitar, but I rarely use them. 99% of the time, they are both set on 10, as I control the volume and tone on different gear (volume pedal etc.). What would happen if I simply removed the two pots and let the wires run straight to the output jack? Would I notice any change in sound quality, output level etc.? Would there be any argument for leaving the pots, even though I don't use them?

2) What are the differences between bass pickups and guitar pickups, aside from the string spacing? The guitar I wish to mod has a quite wide string spacing, closer to that of a bass than a guitar. I wish to know, if I can use a bass pickup.

3) What happens when two or more pickups are sent simultanousely to one output? Are the signals simply summed together, or are there impedance and output issues I need to be aware of? E.g. is there a risk that one pickup can ruin or cancel the sound of another if they don't "fit" together (e.g. a bass PU together with a guitar PU)?

Thanks to all! :-D

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On 25/07/2017 at 7:30 PM, bentstavanger said:

What would happen if I simply removed the two pots and let the wires run straight to the output jack? Would I notice any change in sound quality, output level etc.?

The output would be a bit hotter and a bit brighter compared to running the pickups through volume/tone pots set to 10.

 

On 25/07/2017 at 7:30 PM, bentstavanger said:

What are the differences between bass pickups and guitar pickups, aside from the string spacing? The guitar I wish to mod has a quite wide string spacing, closer to that of a bass than a guitar. I wish to know, if I can use a bass pickup.

I would've said that a bass pickup is voiced for bass frequencies, but I suspect there's actually not much special sauce going on inside that would preclude their use on a guitar. Maybe it would sound a bit warmer? It'd be worth a try at the very least.

 

On 25/07/2017 at 7:30 PM, bentstavanger said:

What happens when two or more pickups are sent simultanousely to one output? Are the signals simply summed together, or are there impedance and output issues I need to be aware of? E.g. is there a risk that one pickup can ruin or cancel the sound of another if they don't "fit" together (e.g. a bass PU together with a guitar PU)?

The impedances used in passive bass pickups aren't that different to those used in guitar pickups, so you're unlikely to come up against anything untoward running a bass pickup and guitar pickup in the same instrument, any moreso than running two different guitar pickups.

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On 28/7/2017 at 9:49 AM, curtisa said:

I would've said that a bass pickup is voiced for bass frequencies, but I suspect there's actually not much special sauce going on inside that would preclude their use on a guitar. Maybe it would sound a bit warmer? It'd be worth a try at the very least.

Hello curtisa,

Thanks for your answer. That's good news! I actually prefer a warm tone, so if the bass pickups could give me that, it would just be a bonus for me. I'll probably leave in the pots, just wanted to know what would happen if I took them out.

If I choose a pickup with individually wound poles, do you think it would be possible to "split" them into four individual single pole pickups? The idea would be to route the signals differently to a stereo output using either toggles or selector switches, or maybe even a fixed routing. :-)

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3 hours ago, bentstavanger said:

If I choose a pickup with individually wound poles, do you think it would be possible to "split" them into four individual single pole pickups? The idea would be to route the signals differently to a stereo output using either toggles or selector switches, or maybe even a fixed routing. :-)

If you can find a pickup that is wired this way, it should be possible to split each pole and wire to individual outputs. Don't expect perfect isolation of each string though, as there will be a degree of cross-bleed between each string.

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On 31/7/2017 at 1:22 AM, curtisa said:

Don't expect perfect isolation of each string though, as there will be a degree of cross-bleed between each string.

Is that because the poles are physically close together? Or is it the proximity of the strings? I recently bought a Little Torpedo pickup from Ubertar that I use for picking up only the bass string(s). With my old Rock'n'Roll ears, I don't hear any bleed at all. So maybe the bleed is so little as to be insignificant in a live setting? :-)

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6 hours ago, bentstavanger said:

Is that because the poles are physically close together? Or is it the proximity of the strings?

Both. Although, as you say, it may be insignificant enough to get by with. 100% perfect separation is unlikely with a magnetic pickup with normal string spacings, but you'll probably get close enough to satisfy your requirements.

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On 2/8/2017 at 11:10 PM, curtisa said:

100% perfect separation is unlikely with a magnetic pickup with normal string spacings, but you'll probably get close enough to satisfy your requirements.

That sounds good. My tenor guitar has wider string spacing than an electric guitar. Approximately 10mm at the saddle and considerably more at the bridge, because the strings "fan out" quite a lot. So the bleed will probably be negligent then.

Thanks for your answers! :-)

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