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Thread: Pole piece design question

  1. #1

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    Pole piece design question

    I'm a new Stingray owner, simply in love with my new bass I've been wanting a 'Ray for the past 20 years and finally got one and I've been staying up way too late every night playing it - just can't keep my hands off of it.

    I'm curious about a design element on the Musicman basses, I did some searching but didn't come up with an answer. I notice that the pole pieces don't line up under the strings, the outer two strings on a 4 string are over the inner edge of the pole piece, the A and D are more or less centered. It's a bit more pronounced on my SLO neck (and I guess the Sterling) with the more narrow string spacing. This is obviously by design, and it doesn't affect much at all unless I really bend the G string at the higher frets, but I'm wondering why it's made that way?

    Here's my guess - the size of the pole pieces requires them to be a certain distance apart, so the A and D strings are centered and the others are placed an equal distance a part. Rather than make the pole pieces smaller which could change the sound, they are left larger and line up the way they do.

    Again, just curious.

    Thanks.

  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zenrad View Post
    I'm a new Stingray owner, simply in love with my new bass I've been wanting a 'Ray for the past 20 years and finally got one and I've been staying up way too late every night playing it - just can't keep my hands off of it.

    I'm curious about a design element on the Musicman basses, I did some searching but didn't come up with an answer. I notice that the pole pieces don't line up under the strings, the outer two strings on a 4 string are over the inner edge of the pole piece, the A and D are more or less centered. It's a bit more pronounced on my SLO neck (and I guess the Sterling) with the more narrow string spacing. This is obviously by design, and it doesn't affect much at all unless I really bend the G string at the higher frets, but I'm wondering why it's made that way?

    Here's my guess - the size of the pole pieces requires them to be a certain distance apart, so the A and D strings are centered and the others are placed an equal distance a part. Rather than make the pole pieces smaller which could change the sound, they are left larger and line up the way they do.

    Again, just curious.

    Thanks.
    I've noticed this on my basses too, but to me it really doesn't matter how or why it's like that because they look & sound killer!
    In an endless quest to find a white Reflex 5H...

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by ivbenaplayin View Post
    I've noticed this on my basses too, but to me it really doesn't matter how or why it's like that because they look & sound killer!
    Yes, but just like there was a reason for changing to a compensated nut there must be some kind of reasoning behind leaving the pole pieces misaligned.

  4. #4

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    Since magnets create a "field" and not a "beam", it really doesn't make any difference whether or not the strings are directly above the pole pieces.

    This is an illustration of a guitar pickup, but it gives you an idea of what the magnetic field over a pickup looks like.



    There are hot spots and cold spots close to the pole pieces, but if your strings were that close there would be other problems. At the distance where the strings would be, the field is pretty constant.
    ...Bryan

    194-59-21-01 Sterling Silver Sterling5 HH Rosewood MHS F28514 3/14/11

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by mynan View Post
    Since magnets create a "field" and not a "beam", it really doesn't make any difference whether or not the strings are directly above the pole pieces.

    This is an illustration of a guitar pickup, but it gives you an idea of what the magnetic field over a pickup looks like.



    There are hot spots and cold spots close to the pole pieces, but if your strings were that close there would be other problems. At the distance where the strings would be, the field is pretty constant.
    At the factory specified 6/32" away from the underside of the G string measured from the top of the pickup cover as stated in the FAQ (4/32" from the top of the pole piece), the G string will clearly fade in volume when bending a note in the upper frets, say above the 12th fret. The magnetic field isn't broad enough to produce the same amount of output once the string moves away from the area over the pole piece. In another area of the FAQ it's stated that the distance should be 6/32" away from the top of the pole piece. That gives less of the fading effect during a bend but it's still there.

    Not the biggest deal to me because I don't often bend notes that far, but I'm still curious, from at least a design standpoint, why this remains unchanged over the years on an instrument so well built and thought out. G&L pulls it off with the L-2000 and other basses.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zenrad View Post
    <snip>...but I'm still curious, from at least a design standpoint, why this remains unchanged over the years on an instrument so well built and thought out. G&L pulls it off with the L-2000 and other basses.
    I would imagine doing it differently either makes no difference in sound or simply does not sound as good.

    If you look at the illustration you see that the magnetic field is slightly stronger directly over, and just outside of the outer pole pieces. I imagine the designers wanted to keeping the E and G sting outside of this area to make the sound more even. Especially with the neck pickup as the string moves more the closer you get to the neck.


    Just my 2 cents. As long as my EBMM sounds as goog as it does I'm happy.
    -Matt
    .
    Bongo 4H, Black Sugar, Roasted Neck, Ebony
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  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zenrad View Post
    At the factory specified 6/32" away from the underside of the G string measured from the top of the pickup cover as stated in the FAQ (4/32" from the top of the pole piece), the G string will clearly fade in volume when bending a note in the upper frets, say above the 12th fret. The magnetic field isn't broad enough to produce the same amount of output once the string moves away from the area over the pole piece. In another area of the FAQ it's stated that the distance should be 6/32" away from the top of the pole piece. That gives less of the fading effect during a bend but it's still there.

    Not the biggest deal to me because I don't often bend notes that far, but I'm still curious, from at least a design standpoint, why this remains unchanged over the years on an instrument so well built and thought out. G&L pulls it off with the L-2000 and other basses.
    all that from the drawing, huh?
    -Tom
    Fret more, worry less.

    Bongo only bass in Tom's life.

    Blank-Plank Egyptian Smoke Bongo4H "Nefertiti"

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by maddog View Post
    all that from the drawing, huh?
    No, all that from working on MY BASS.

    If you read my first post you'll see I just bought one.

    With all of the posts everywhere about weak G strings and then having to do a bit of experimenting on my bass to get it to even out, and then noticing the fade in volume if I do aggressive bends I thought I'd ask a question.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zenrad View Post
    Yes, but just like there was a reason for changing to a compensated nut there must be some kind of reasoning behind leaving the pole pieces misaligned.
    Whether or not it makes a sonic difference is one point but looks is another.
    No doubt that Leo Fender changed the spacing in the Sabre and "fixed" the alignment issue. The EBMM Sabre, with covered pickups, had a 16 pole piece neck pickup. Was it for sound or looks alone? Only BP could answer that.

    FWIW my Sabre does not have a weak D or G.



    Compared to an HH EBMM



    The Sabre was a commercial failure and EBMM dropped it. Years later when the HH, HS came out EBMM did not use the "fixed" spacing or their 16 pole piece rendition. Even though especially in the HH Sterling it looks farthest off.

    Why? Only BP could answer that.

    Jim
    Last edited by spideyjg; 03-07-2010 at 04:08 PM.

  10. #10

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    You guys are over analizing.

    I 100% doubt the put the g and d off center, I never noticed g on any of my ernieballs. (10)

    ithink it's more of a factor of keeping the saddles uniform and the magnet spacing uniform and the nut string spaceing uniform with strings that are un uniform I lt just aligns that way.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zenrad View Post
    With all of the posts everywhere about weak G strings and then having to do a bit of experimenting on my bass to get it to even out
    Sorry, I've never experienced this "weak G" phenomena that everyone posts about. Maybe I just pluck harder to make up for it or something.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zenrad View Post
    , and then noticing the fade in volume if I do aggressive bends I thought I'd ask a question.
    Dunno. I thought the fade was from moving the string, changing the clamping force and the overall string tension.

    But what do I know. I just PLAY 'em.
    Last edited by maddog; 03-07-2010 at 08:04 PM.
    -Tom
    Fret more, worry less.

    Bongo only bass in Tom's life.

    Blank-Plank Egyptian Smoke Bongo4H "Nefertiti"

  12. #12

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    I sincerely hope that the pickup alligment on my classic will be better than spideyjg 2nd picture.

    Not to offend anyone but really, it's not right...even if it don't change anything to the sound, it's the least to expect from a so well-made instrument to have the pole pieces allign under the strings.

    Making an instrument is art and the visual aspect is important just as the usual aspect.
    SR4 Classic deluxe - sunburst/birdseye maple

  13. #13

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    art is in the eye of the beholder.

    play more, worry less.
    -Tom
    Fret more, worry less.

    Bongo only bass in Tom's life.

    Blank-Plank Egyptian Smoke Bongo4H "Nefertiti"

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by mynan View Post
    Thanks for posting this. The mangentic field characteristices and response are the reason why I always tell players to move the pickups away from the strings if they have any sort of loudness or balance or sound problems.
    Have bass. Will play.
    Looking for Sessions in Switzerland. Area: Züri/Winti/Rappi


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  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by maddog View Post
    i thought the fade was from moving the string, changing the clamping force and the overall string tension.

    But what do i know. I just play 'em.
    +1
    ...Bryan

    194-59-21-01 Sterling Silver Sterling5 HH Rosewood MHS F28514 3/14/11

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