#1
I'm a guitar player and I know very little about basses. I know guitars have either single coil pickups or humbuckers, and they are either passive or active. Bass pickups confuse me. Theres like split-coil, single coil, humbucker, soapbar, j pickups, p pickups, etc.

Will someone please explain all these to me and what the pros and cons of each are? Also, what type are best for 80's thrash/death metal (Death, Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer, Testament, Morbid Angel, etc.)

And do most metal bassist use their fingers or a pick? Whats the difference in sound?
#2
emgs!!!
The diff between pick and no pick is pick will give u a much tinnier sound. and its 50/50 for most
#3
thank you but I wasn't looking for the brand of pickups, I mean the type... single coil, split coil, humbuckers, etc. And can someone explain the different types to me?
#4
Split coil-punchy mids
single coil-warm, mostly used for jazz basses but not just for jazz music
humbuckers-used for metal kind of lowish I guess?

you can have several diffrent combonations of diffrent types of pckups to suit your needs.
...it was bright as the sun, but with ten times the heat
#5
okay, what about j pickups and p pickups i keep hearing about.... whats that? also, would split coils be good for metal with punchy mids
#6
A lot of your questions touched upon in the FAQ (link in my sig), but since I'm in a generous mood I'll add my own thoughts...

P pickups are basically two small single coil pickups, one under the E and A strings and the other under the D and G strings. They are wired so as to be humbucking (ie one is reverse would reverse polarity with respect to the other) and have been on all Fender P basses since 1957. Prior to that they had a single coil pickup.

J pickups are single coil pickups with a bi-polar magnet which means it also is "noise free" though it's not a conventional humbucker. You can get ordinarily polarised J pickups which have a dummy coil to eliminate hum. They're brighter sounding than P pickups.

The pickup normally called a bass humbucker is a Music Man type pickup. Their construction is similar to a guitar humbucker. Warwicks have similar pickups. They have a high output and so work great with effects, active pre-amps etc.

Soapbar pickups are smaller than MM style humbuckers and are usually used on active basses. They're humbucking pickups of a standard size. They're usually found on Peavey style basses. There are many different makers of them so it's hard to say what they generally sound like, unlike the other pickups mentioned which do have characteristic sounds.

There's no typical way to play bass in a metal band. Geezer (Black Sabbath), Cliff (Metallica) and whatever he's called from Iron Maiden (okay, okay, I know Steve Harris' name really) all use their fingers but many use picks. Fingers generally have a mellower and bassier sound and picks a quick attack and more treble but you can get a range of sounds either way. It's more personal preference than tonal to be honest.
#7
I find this strange... the only bass pickup that doesn't have a very accurate guitar pickup equivalent is the split coil Precision pickup, which I always equated to a p90 (or 2 p90s). Everything else has a very good tonal approximation to it's guitar counterpart.

And smb, wait a sec... you're saying that J pickups are noise-free? Only when multiples of 2 pickups are on.
Quote by Cody_Grey102
I was looking at a used Warwick Vampyre LTD 5'er for about $200. I went home to grab my wallet and came back and some jerk with an epic beard got it already..
#8
Yea basically a p is a split coil and a Jazz is a single coil.
...it was bright as the sun, but with ten times the heat
#11
well, i don't know if it was just the bass, cos i've only played one bass with a humbucker, but i found the humbucker much more treble-y than i expected, it made the bass sound like a guitar, it was a kind of hollow sound, completely contrasting what thier effect is on a guitar. i was quite surprised.
#12
Quote by jimRH7
well, i don't know if it was just the bass, cos i've only played one bass with a humbucker, but i found the humbucker much more treble-y than i expected, it made the bass sound like a guitar, it was a kind of hollow sound, completely contrasting what thier effect is on a guitar. i was quite surprised.



It was probably the way you EQ'd the bass, or you played a bass with really ****ty pickups.
#13
Quote by Charlatan_001
It was probably the way you EQ'd the bass, or you played a bass with really ****ty pickups.


yes, that could be a possibility, it was An entry level ibanez, and the guy who owned it didn't know which knob was which.

not saying Ibanez's pickups are ****e, by the way.