Bass coil

Bass coil DEFAULT

This page to try answering some of the most often asked questions about which coils to use in crossover networks. Basically I don't think you get much better coils than those perfectly wound from round copper wire. Foil coils may be marginally better when wound very hard and soaked in wax.
Wire must be baked to reduce microphony. "Baked" means the coils have been heated after winding to soften the lacquer covering the wire so the windings will stick together. Heating can be done in an oven or applying heavy low-voltage current for a short period of time.
If you wind your coils yourself, you made submerge the coils in lacquer - preferably under vacuum to make the lacquer penetrate all the windings, making a rock-solid coil.

Bass section:
Usually you should use coils with as low DCR as possible*. DCR = the resistance of the coil in ohms. If you only have one single coil in series with the bass driver, you may get good results from DCR = 0.3 - 0.4 ohms. The lower the better. Usually I use coils wound from 1.2-1.8 mm wire.
The cored coils should be made from non-ferrit material and I like them a lot. They have high power handling; they are small and they have very low DCR resistance, thus do not ruin the damping factor of the bass driver and provides very low loss in sound level. The higher resistance in series with the bass driver, the more power is converted to heat rather than sound.
*: If you want to up-grade an old crossover with new coils, measure the DCR (Ohmic resistance) of the coils you intend to replace. Sometimes, even for bass, relatively high DCR of the coil is intentional in tuning the system. The lower the better is not always true.

Coils in series with the middriver can well have a DCR of 0.2-0.5 ohms. Quite often the middriver has series resistors for attenuation and sometimes a series coil can have a very high DCR to provide attenuation. However, unless you have proper measuring equipment, keep coil DCR below 0.5 ohm and use resistors for attenuation. I suggest air-cored coils wound from 0.8-1.0 mm wire.

Most often we have a single coil in parallel with the tweeter, e.g. 2nd and 3rd order filters, and anything from 0.2-0.5 ohms usually goes goes well here. However, these coils are usually small and getting 0.15-0.30 ohms coils is no problem. I suggest coils wound from 0.5-0.8 mm wire.

Notch-filters = LCR circuits
These filters consist of a coil, a resistor and a capacitor and are usually placed in parallel to the driver. As a resistor is usually included, the DCR of the coil can be quite high. If the resistor is e.g. 5-8 ohms or above, the coil DCR can well be 0.5-1.0 ohm. No need to buy humongous air cored coils for LCR circuits. It's a serious waste of money. I suggest cored coils wound from 0.8-1.0 mm wire.

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P Bass - '58 Split Coil P

From its introduction in 1951, the Precision bass transformed the world of bass playing with its unique look, feel and tone. The Bare Knuckle P Bass range captures that ground breaking tone in both original 'Tele' bass single coil and later humbucking split coil designs.

P'58 Split Coil

As the Precision bass evolved, the early Tele bass single coil was replaced with a split-coil humbucking design in 1957. The '58 Split Coil P is based on the slightly later split coil design with flat profile, hand bevelled, Alnico V magnets arranged across two coils with opposing wind direction and magnetic polarity to cancel out hum. Scatter-wound by hand with 42AWG plain enamel wire, the tone is stronger in the bass with a more controlled high end and slightly scooped mid compared to the earlier single coil. Characteristic of the later '50s P basses, there's more output on tap for a muscular performance with exceptional punch.


P Bass - '58 Split Coil PQuick Buy


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  • Position: Bass
  • DC Resistance: 11.6 kΩ
  • Magnet: Alnico 5

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What is coil tapping?

Most of the time when someone says “coil tap,” they are actually referring a coil split. Actual coil tapping is remarkably rare these days.

The idea with a coil tap is when winding a single coil pickup, you stop the winder part way through the winding process, attach a new lead wire directly to the magnet coil wire at that spot, then continue winding; this new lead wire is the “tap” for your single coil pickup, giving you access to multiple pickup impedances. Les Paul went crazy with this idea. His “recording guitar” and low end counterpart “Triumph” bass had pickups that where “impedance variable” accomplished through the use of multiple coil taps on each coil and a rotary selector switch.

What is coil splitting?

Coil splitting most commonly refers to dual coil pickups, but four-coil quad-coil pickups can be split as well. This basically means you are shutting half of the pickup off. If you have a dual-coil and split, you get a true single coil. If you have a quad-coil and split, you are left with a humbucking dual-coil.

Can a “split-coil” pickup be split?


As counterintuitive as it might seem, a “split-coil” pickup cannot be split. A split-coil pickup is where you have two shorter coils that each cover only half of the strings. On a 4 string bass, one coil senses the E (4) and A (3) string, while the other handles the D (2) and G (1).

If you were to turn off half of a split-coil pickup, you would “lose” two of those strings. A classic example of a split-coil configuration is the Fender Precision Bass, but there are also many humbucking Jazz bass split-coil pickups. Despite all of these designs being dual-coil, they cannot be split.

There are two types of coil splitting?

We have established that you have to start with dual or quad-coil humbucking pickup to be able to implement a coil split. There are essentially two completely and fundamentally different ways it could be accomplished.

Some humbuckers are wired in series and some are wired in parallel, and coil split wiring for each of them is different.

Type 1: Series humbucking / Split single-coil

This is the more common type. The vast majority of humbuckers are designed for and are typically used in series operation; it is fairly easy to spot inside a control cavity.

Humbuckers are typically four-conductor wiring, and that gives you access to both sides of each coil.

When a humbucker is wired in series it means the two of the four conductors are soldered together and to nothing else. Typically, this connection is insulated with a piece of heat shrink tubing; this is the series link of the two coils.

Many humbuckers ship from their factories with this connection already made as a courtesy indication of which two wires should be linked for series. However, not all pickup manufacturers use the same color coding, so this is actually valuable information.

Most of the time when we coil split a series humbucker, what we are doing is taking that heat shrink tubing off and both of the wires in the series link and that gets wired into a toggle switch or push pull pot. The switch connects (or doesn’t connect) the series link to ground, which shorts out the bridge coil and enables the neck coil.

There is also an alternate version of this wiring that enables bridge coil and disables the neck coil instead.

Type 2: Parallel humbucking / Split single-coil

Some examples of factory wired parallel humbuckers would be a traditional Music Man pickup and some of the other dual coil designs made by Nordstrand and Aero.

More than a few pickup companies actually make alternate series and parallel versions of particular pickups. It is important to note that despite the fact that the four-conductor wiring gives you option to wire a humbucker in either fashion, each pickup is designed with one or the other in mind, and generally sound better when you stick with the designer’s plan for it.

If you are wiring a humbucker for parallel and the manufacturer has made the courtesy “series link” connection, that connection needs to get broken apart. At this point one of the two wires previously used in the series link becomes a separate output wire for its coil, and the other gets grounded. Now each coil has its own output, and one output wire goes direct to signal, while the other is brought to a switch or push-pull pot where the switch then connects (or doesn’t connect) this output wire to signal, which is usually the blend pot, but wherever the other output wire goes next is where this goes too.

FAQ section

“This sounds very complicated. Will you perform the work for me?”

No, because it would require physically being at your workbench to help you that much, and we probably don’t live in the same place.

“What about Mike Pope Flexcore preamp systems, as they seem to offer an integrated coil split and they are calling it a coil tap?

Mike calls it a “tap” despite the fact that “coil-split” would fit more conveniently into our glossary. He is talking about a coil split, and is VERY IMPORTANT to note that it is configured as a parallel humbucking to single-coil type. This is because the flexcore was designed with Fodera Instruments in mind which are always set up as parallel/split. It is very nicely integrated into his preamp system. It makes it easy as there are no soldered connections.

Unfortunately, it does not help you very much if you desire the series/split type of functionality. If you want a series humbucker and a split coil you will have to wire a traditional soldered connection switch in front of the preamp, the same as you would for any other brand of preamp. If you want parallel humbucking and split order his “coil tap” switch, but only order 1 of them, as only one is supported by the system, and affects both pickups simultaneously. If you want separate parallel humbucking/split switches for each pickup you will have to wire that up yourself with the hardwired soldered switches.

“How would I perform the work myself?”

When looking at the diagrams, remember that everywhere marked as “ground” means you need to tie that into the grounding system of the instrument. Usually, this means the back of a potentiometer, but it is just as common to be dealing with potentiometers on bodies that cannot be soldered to because they are made of plastic. In that case, you will need to find other ways to sum all the grounds together. There are grounding strategies out there, such as “star grounding,” but for most practical purposes, ground is ground. Just make sure that all “grounds” are interconnected together someway somehow. Where it is marked “output,” that means off to the next thing in the signal chain. Most typically will be the one of the two center tabs of your blend control, or the center tab on a volume control in a dual volume system.

Important note: Every manufacturer uses a different color coding for wiring. Consult the documentation for proper color coding for your particular brand pickups.

Have more questions? Email us at [email protected] and we will do our best to answer.

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How to make a voice coil for extreme BASS

Quarter Pound™


High Output P Bass Pickups 11402 08


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High output true single coil (SCPB-3) for Tele P bass that delivers an added growl and aggressive attack with it’s quarter-inch diameter pole pieces.


DCR – Short for DC Resistance, is measured in Ohms and is the total resistance of the copper wire wound around a coil form. The length of the coil form, the number of turns and the gauge of wire all affect the DCR reading. DCR is often used as a gauge of output because as the turns increase, so does the output, though magnet type and the coil geometry also influence output.
Magnet – We use several different magnet formulations: Alnico 2, Alnico 3, Alnico 4, Alnico 5, Alnico 6, Alnico 8 and Ceramic 5/8. In the case of pickups, the most significant characteristic is the gauss strength, which is a measure of the density of the magnetic field. Of the magnets we use, Alnico 3 has the lowest gauss strength. From there in order of ascending strength you have A2, A4, A5, A6, Ceramic and A8. As the gauss strength goes up, so does the output. The magnets at the lower end of the scale tend to produce a softer attack and a degree of “bloom” to the envelope of the note. Ceramic magnets should be considered as an individual case because they do not contain any nickel or iron. This has the effect of decreasing the inductance of the pickup and significantly raising the resonant frequency. It is for this reason that many consider ceramic magnets to have a brittle sound, not their gauss strength. Looking at this from another point of view, ceramic magnets can be said to produce increased clarity, better note definition and faster response to picking.
Output – The overall output of a passive pickup is influenced by several design factors: number of turns of wire on the coil(s), strength of the magnet, coil geometry and magnetic circuit geometry.The output of an active pickup is influenced by the same factors but is predominantly determined by the design of the onboard preamp.


Cable: PVC Lead Wire

Type: Passive

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The vintage single-coil bass tone of this high output P bass pickup gets a push with more string sensitivity than the Hot model, and a more articulate treble response. The high output coil and quarter-inch diameter pole pieces give you aggressive attack with strong bottom end and lots of mids. It supercharges the traditional single coil with more tonal flexibility. This pickup is a drop-in replacement for any American Standard Single Coil Precision bass.


Hand built in Santa Barbara, CA, the Quarter Pound for Single Coil P-Bass uses diameter alnico 5 rod magnets, Forbon flatwork, and is vacuum wax potted for squeal free performance.

The E.Q. chart gives you a general idea as to the bass, mids and treble of each pickup position

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Our team of master builders have been with us for an average of 21 years—they take pride in crafting our products to create the most amazing sound possible.

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If you’re not 100% pleased with the sound of your Seymour Duncan pickups, you can exchange them for up to 21 days after purchase. This offer applies to any pickups bought from an authorized Seymour Duncan dealer in the USA.

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Coil bass

Types of Bass Guitar Pickups

Now that we’ve established the difference between active and passive pickups, let’s look at different types of pickups that can fall into either the active or passive category.

Pickups consist of a magnet around which a copper wire is coiled. When the vibrations of a bass string disturb the magnetic field of the magnet, small voltage fluctuations in the copper coil are produced. These fluctuations are then transmitted to the bass amp, amplified and translated into sound.

There are two prominent pickup designs based on the number of coils used in a pickup’s construction – single-coil and double-coil.

Single-Coil Pickups

Single-coil pickups have one coil wrapped around the pickup’s magnet. Single-coil pickups are often bright and clear sounding. A drawback is they can pickup external noise and give off a humming sound. Radio waves, computer monitors, and florescent lighting can all cause this humming/buzzing. If two single-coil pickups are used (as on a Fender Jazz bass) and the pickup volumes are set equally, the noise will get cancelled out. If you just use one of the pickups, you may pickup some noise.

Double-Coil - Humbuckers

Just as two single-coil pickups can be put together to cancel hum, a double-coil pickup can be created to cancel the hum within one pickup. These pickups are often called humbuckers or humbucking pickups for their hum-reducing qualities.

Humbuckers tend to roll off some of the tonal highs when they cancel the hum and they usually have more output than single-coils.

Split-Coil Pickups

Split-coil pickups are basically double coil pickups split apart. This is what you see on Fender Precision basses. Instead of one double-coil underneath all 4 strings, the pickups are split in two  — each under one pair of strings.

Piezo Pickups

Piezo pickups are less common on electric basses, but you may run into them. A piezo pickup senses the actual vibration of the string through contact with the string at the bridge contact point. These are often found in acoustic bass guitars. Since piezos don’t rely on magnets it is possible to use non-metal strings such as nylon strings. Piezos, without the right kind of pre-amp, can sound brittle and thin.

Optical Pickups

The newest kind of pickup available is the optical pickup. Optical pickups use light to sense the vibrations of the strings instead of magnets. These are still very uncommon, but may catch on.

Other Pickup Terminology:

Soapbar pickups refers to the shape of the pickup housing. They look like bars of black soap. Often found on 5- and 6-string bass guitars.

An MM-style pickup refers to pickups created by and used on MusicMan basses.

Next: Bass Pickup Placement

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How To Make Subwoofer Bass Coil / Electronic Lokaya

The MM52CBJD3 is the Music Man® StingRay® bass replacement pickup. The quad coil design is splittable and offers deep tone, with strong lows.

The "Classic Bass" series bass pickups are passive designs featuring an extended and more resonant frequency range. They have far more "air" and definition at the top without sacrificing lows and low mids. They are cast in epoxy to remove unwanted feedback and microphonics.

Please check the physical size of the pickups you want to replace to make sure the replacements fit properly.


  • Length = 3.50"(88.90mm) Width = 1.90"(48.13mm)

Please Note:Bartolini does not provide screws with their pickups. If you need pickup screws, you can get them on the Pickup Screws page.

Click Here for Pickup Screws.

  • Bartolini MM52CBJD3 5 String MusicMan Size Bright Tone Quad Coil Pickup

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