1. Mats Eriksson
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  3. Monday, 06 February 2012
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I wonder where's the "logic" behind placing pickups at a different slant on different models. From an aesthetic point only, this Super J 5-string bass has its pickups aligned up "properly" against the bridges slant.

[img:7vqw22sj]http://i.ebayimg.com/t/Used-Dingwall-2009-Super-J-5-String-Bass-/00/s/MTYwMFgxMTky/$(KGrHqJ,!gwE8NWumGjnBPLB36NpOg~~60_3.JPG[/img:7vqw22sj]

But as you can see on all basses behind, hanging on the wall, all pickups are slanted a bit differently. My opinion is that each and every pickup should follow the fanned fret scale accordingly to pick up the harmonics at the same point on each string. Maybe moreso on single coils than on others. Also they don't seem to align up side to side with the neck joint either. Some basses do, but some don't. Some, even are placed straight like a straight scale neck bass. I've not seen anywhere where the pickups are "over-slanted" either, that the low b-strings pickup are the closes to b-string bridge, and then the rest of the pickup is further away as you go up the strings.

What's the deal behind this?
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Grand Wazoo Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
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Ok this is a pure assumption and I might be wrong but perhaps the different pickup slanted position is dictacted by the same way that the fanned frets slant differently, ideally you have to imagine that if the fretboard was fretted all the way to the bridge that the slants would represent different inclinations for the purpose of correct harmonics and pitch and therefore it makes sense that the pickups too must follow those various slants.
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FletchOnBass Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
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Well the bridge pickup on a Stratocaster is slanted, but the other way. So perhaps the reasons for slanting that one are the same as the reasons for less-slanting the ones on the background basses.
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Bocete Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
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By following that reasoning to a bit furrher extent, P basses wouldn't work.

In my opinion, aligning against harmonic points is wrong as a concept because fretting a note moves those points - therefore, if they were that important, you'd expect each fret to sound differently, no? It's only about where you put a coil as % of string length. That's why slanting may be a good idea: it allows you to further fix how higher string behave vs lower strings.

Also note that all Dingwall soapbars are actually P pickups underneath. The coils underneath are more slanted then the shells.
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Sheldon Dingwall Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
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Slight clarification to what Bocete said. The coils of FD-3 pickups are reverse P. So if you draw a line from corner to corner of the pickup it lines up with the harmonics of the outside strings.
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Mats Eriksson Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
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I know very well that they have to be slanted and why. But on some, they don't seem slanted enough, according to the fanned fret slant, they are knocked a bit forward at the lowest strings. Towards the neck, or "up". And not "fully" slanted, in lack of a better description.

Also regarding harmonics, on both basses and guitars with single coils and visible pole pieces it's favorable to put it right under the 8th harmonic from the bridge, or something like that, on/of each string. If one had these old basses (was it Hohner? Cort?) with one pickup on a rail which you could move from neck position to bridge, there always was a sweet spot when everything started to jump out of the amp, i e placed under some crucial harmonic of course.

Aesthetically, sometimes you just look at a Dingwall and you want to turn the pickups a bit counterclockwise so they line up with everything else. Maybe it's just to have something solid to rest your thumb on while playing ? :)

If you should play harmonics a la Jaco, and go way up... all of a sudden those artificial harmonics disappear because you happen to pluck them out of the pickups range.

So, another question to go with this: Since most pickups are completely covered, are there pole pieces or rails under Dingwall pickups? Or it depends on which bass?
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Bocete Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
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All Dingwall soapbars are reverse P pickups underneath. At least all FD-3s are, not sure FD-1s but they've been deprecated for a long time. Anyway, three strings are covered by one side of the shell, two are covered by the other. The resulting slant is in line with harmonic points.
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All of our pickups use pole pieces. It might help to visualize the FD3 pickups as a single coil mounted in the shell at an angle. Even though the coil is at an angle lined up with the harmonics, the shell will be at a lesser angle.
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[quote="Sheldon Dingwall":bd70cw9x]All of our pickups use pole pieces. It might help to visualize the FD3 pickups as a single coil mounted in the shell at an angle. Even though the coil is at an angle lined up with the harmonics, the shell will be at a lesser angle.[/quote:bd70cw9x]

Ok, that explains it a little bit more. Thank you.
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Since we're on the topic, and not that significant since you use pole pieces, but could it be fair to say that pickups on your 4 string basses really has to be as long as regular straight fret 5-string basses p-ups, and so on, so you can slant them?

Of course, trying to use YOUR 4-string pickups on a regular 5-string bass (straight frets, not slanted) would sure make the pole pieces mis-align.
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Sheldon, I have a general question about pickup placement. Do you choose the pickup placement and orientation by ear, perhaps sliding a pickup around on a test bass? I think this is how Leo Fender did it. Or do you use mathematical formulas?

Wouldn't one want to avoid placing a pole piece directly under a specific harmonic? Because those are nodes, where the strings have less amplitude.

I'll check my basses later to see if there are harmonics over the pole pieces. I know that my Strat is completely dead for a certain harmonic when the neck pickup is solo.
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Harmonics on guitar tends to come too close to each other ON GUITARS up at the bridge. I know there's a big debate about 24 fret guitars and 22 fret. The neck pickup is placed right under where the 24th fret would be. Which means, if you have the neck pickup on, on a 22 fret guitar, any "above" 5th fret harmonic (natural) is going to be muted and cancelled out. You have to change to bridge PU. Doing the same thing on a 24 fret guitar with neck pickup on, the "above" 5th fret harmonic rings out clear.

One probably don't hunt or chase harmonics at all on Dingwalls, but say, if you have single coils, you place them "in between" harmonics. As fast as you have humbuckers with WIDE aperture, so to speak, I think the harmonic thing is too wide to be of any significance. Although I know that when two pickups are used together, you can get unpleasant "faux" phase (!?) and weird comb filter effects if they're misplaced relative to each other. BUT! That's only when combined, i e using both pickups at once.

I just think that when playing artifical harmonics 12 or 24th frets from the fretted note up there (a la Jaco) they seem to pop out better on bridge single coil pickups.
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I'll try to answer the last three posts with this one.

I've never compared the length of our coils/pole piece spacing to other pickups as they've been designed for our basses. They are longer/wider than parallel fret pickups though.

We used our ears for the Z2. The rest we copied traditional positions.

The neck pickup on a strat is right under a harmonic node (same node as the 5th fret harmonic). You can move the pickup back slightly so that it will pickup that harmonic but the traditional guys will poo poo it :roll:
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