Author Topic: Gibson LP Bass pickups  (Read 308 times)

daan

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Gibson LP Bass pickups
« on: December 11, 2017, 08:31:32 PM »
What are the pickups in the Les Paul basses? Are they the same size and construction as "guitar" humbuckers, or are they something completely different? I've only ever really seen pictures of these basses, I've never actually handled one...
I had a Hondo Jazz copy, with humbuckers (sort of mini-HB sized) and I'd kind of like to make something like that again, except this time with good materials. I saw an unrouted J-bass body online, and I could probably get a standard HB routing template and not screw it up too badly... and there are eleventy-billion flavors of guitar HB's, so I'm sure I can find something I like. Unless LP basses are something different, and I'm barking up the wrong tree...
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Dave W

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Re: Gibson LP Bass pickups
« Reply #1 on: December 11, 2017, 09:50:25 PM »
The  TB-Plus pickups used in most of the '92 and later LP basses are guitar humbucker size, with twin blades instead of individual polepieces and  ceramic magnets beneath. There are guitar pickups available with the same construction, e.g Dimarzio X2N. There's at least one guitar HB size bass pickup with polepieces beneath the cover -- the Rio Grande Pitbull. You'd need to check with them to see if the polepiece spacing would fit your particular string spacing.

daan

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Re: Gibson LP Bass pickups
« Reply #2 on: December 12, 2017, 12:12:00 PM »
So are there many different sizes of TB pickups, then? The more I read about this, the more confused I get... (leave the building to the pros, Daan... :))

I thought I read somewhere that the pole pieces don’t necessarily HAVE to be right under the strings, so if I used a 6-pole “guitar” pickup in my bass, it would still work. Again, “I could be wrong”...
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Dave W

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Re: Gibson LP Bass pickups
« Reply #3 on: December 12, 2017, 02:18:41 PM »
So are there many different sizes of TB pickups, then? The more I read about this, the more confused I get... (leave the building to the pros, Daan... :))

I thought I read somewhere that the pole pieces don’t necessarily HAVE to be right under the strings, so if I used a 6-pole “guitar” pickup in my bass, it would still work. Again, “I could be wrong”...

There are three sizes of TB-Plus, the guitar humbucker size in the LP basses, the wider ones in the Thunderbirds, and the neck pickup in the SG basses. All have the same construction, but different size and width bobbins mean the tone won't be identical. And then there's the different placement on the body.

Some 6-pole guitar pickups will work fine with misalignment, but in my experience, the ones that do work have magnets as polepieces rather than steel polepieces with the magnets beneath, e.g. the Ric toaster pickup and the original Fender Musicmaster pickup.

daan

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Re: Gibson LP Bass pickups
« Reply #4 on: December 12, 2017, 03:29:05 PM »
So if I were to search for the guitar sized bass pups, what are they called? Or would it just be easier to wade through whatever "gibson bass pickup" search came up with?
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Grog

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Re: Gibson LP Bass pickups
« Reply #5 on: December 12, 2017, 04:18:28 PM »
The Memphis bass pickups are identical on the outside, but different on the inside.
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lowend1

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Re: Gibson LP Bass pickups
« Reply #6 on: December 12, 2017, 07:44:51 PM »
There are three sizes of TB-Plus, the guitar humbucker size in the LP basses, the wider ones in the Thunderbirds, and the neck pickup in the SG basses. All have the same construction, but different size and width bobbins mean the tone won't be identical. And then there's the different placement on the body.

Some 6-pole guitar pickups will work fine with misalignment, but in my experience, the ones that do work have magnets as polepieces rather than steel polepieces with the magnets beneath, e.g. the Ric toaster pickup and the original Fender Musicmaster pickup.

Dave, didn't the crack research staff here at Der Outpost establish awhile back that the black TB+ and chrome version were the same internally?

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lowend1

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Re: Gibson LP Bass pickups
« Reply #7 on: December 12, 2017, 07:52:25 PM »
What are the pickups in the Les Paul basses? Are they the same size and construction as "guitar" humbuckers, or are they something completely different? I've only ever really seen pictures of these basses, I've never actually handled one...
I had a Hondo Jazz copy, with humbuckers (sort of mini-HB sized) and I'd kind of like to make something like that again, except this time with good materials. I saw an unrouted J-bass body online, and I could probably get a standard HB routing template and not screw it up too badly... and there are eleventy-billion flavors of guitar HB's, so I'm sure I can find something I like. Unless LP basses are something different, and I'm barking up the wrong tree...

I have an Aims MIJ P-Bass type thing here, which came with what sounds like the pickup you are describing (2 rows of screws - not sure if it's a HB, though). I removed it and replaced it with a chrome TB+ that I bought on eBay awhile back. I had to massage the pickguard opening and use a mounting ring, but it fit pretty well. Now I'm considering swapping in a Chinabucker because i found another spot for the chrome TB+.
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veebass

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Re: Gibson LP Bass pickups
« Reply #8 on: December 12, 2017, 08:23:37 PM »
The Memphis bass pickups are identical on the outside, but different on the inside.

So are you saying the pickups in my Memphis ES 335 Bass would be different to those in my Les Paul Basses ( I have a Double Cut LP and an Oversize Body LP)?
The two LPs sound very similar to me and the Es 335 is also similar but a wee bit smoother.

They all sound quite different to the TB+s that were in in my 2008 Gibson TBird (until I replaced them!).

doombass

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Re: Gibson LP Bass pickups
« Reply #9 on: December 13, 2017, 11:04:25 AM »
I bet he's referring to the shortscale semi hollow Memphis LP bass, not the ES-335.

Dave W

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Re: Gibson LP Bass pickups
« Reply #10 on: December 13, 2017, 07:28:36 PM »
So if I were to search for the guitar sized bass pups, what are they called? Or would it just be easier to wade through whatever "gibson bass pickup" search came up with?

If I were you, I'd google guitar humbucker sized bass pickups. You're not likely to find Gibson brand pickups that way since Gibson doesn't sell the TB-Plus separately, but you'll be able to see what's available from other brands, including Bartolini, EMG Select and Rio Grande, off the top of my head.

Dave, didn't the crack research staff here at Der Outpost establish awhile back that the black TB+ and chrome version were the same internally?

Did we? Construction type is the same but IIRC the bobbins of the black version were longer. As always, I could be wrong.

The Memphis bass pickups are identical on the outside, but different on the inside.

Are you sure? That's what Chris P. was told by his Gibson sales contacts but has anyone been able to confirm this?

Grog

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Re: Gibson LP Bass pickups
« Reply #11 on: December 14, 2017, 06:08:28 AM »
They are supposed to be "Scatter Wound" MHS Special Design Bass Humbuckers..............

http://www.gibson.com/Products/Electric-Guitars/2016/Memphis/ES-Les-Paul-Bass.aspx
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the mojo hobo

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Re: Gibson LP Bass pickups
« Reply #12 on: December 14, 2017, 11:51:17 AM »
I hadn't looked closely at the specs, but notice the neck and bridge pickups are quite different. Different winding, magnets, resistance, and capacitor values on the tone controls. Also state that they use CTS pots and Orange Drop caps.

Dave W

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Re: Gibson LP Bass pickups
« Reply #13 on: December 14, 2017, 06:53:31 PM »
They are supposed to be "Scatter Wound" MHS Special Design Bass Humbuckers..............

http://www.gibson.com/Products/Electric-Guitars/2016/Memphis/ES-Les-Paul-Bass.aspx

Now I remember, we had an earlier thread where that was mentioned, maybe when they first came out. Later, I read a discussion about the MHS pickups on the ES-LP guitars. Supposedly the initials mean Memphis Historical Specification, and they are wound in Memphis. Yet another attempt by Gibson to recreate the PAF pickups, which is impossible because they varied so much.

Of course, there never was a historic guitar humbucker sized bass pickup, so there couldn't be any historic specs to reproduce. Still, with alnico magnets, these have to be different from the TB-Plus, and the notation in the specs about the magnet polarities (screw side is the south pole) means that there are screws -- individual polepieces, not blade magnets.

Good to know. Probably won't help daan in his search since Gibson doesn't sell them separately.