Pickup pole pieces not lining up properly on SB-2

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Pickup pole pieces not lining up properly on SB-2

Postby dhgleaves » Fri May 17, 2019 3:21 am

Hello. So I recently picked up a Tribute SB-2 bass. I like the way it feels, sounds, and plays. However, a previous owner switched out the pickups with Duncan Basslines and I noticed that the pickup pole pieces don't line up exactly with the strings as they should. I'll try to attach a picture of my bass along with another with correct alignment. They're not off by a tremendous margin, but you can see for example that, on the jazz bass pickup, the low E string sits completely over one of the poles rather than between the two. The D string also sits over one of the poles (on the precision bass pickup) rather than between the two as it should. I assume that the pole spacing on the Duncan pickups is just slightly different from the original G&L MFD pickups. So my question is if this really matters much. In terms of sound, I can't directly compare it to anything except my SB-1 bass, which has much high output but I don't know if that's just because of the different pickups or the alignment being better, or both. If it's not big deal, I'll just ignore it and play it. I'd probably prefer to have the original pickups, but they would be hard to get where I am.
Image

above is my bass; below is more or less correct alignment on another SB-2

Image
Last edited by dhgleaves on Fri May 17, 2019 5:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Pickup pole pieces not lining up properly on SB-2

Postby Ken Baker » Fri May 17, 2019 9:16 am

The Basslines pickups, while reasonably good as Alinco pickups go, are no match for the originals. The poor alignment does not help because the strings are outside of the magnetic fields set up by the poles. You could shuffle them around a bit and it may help, but the spacing will still be off. They're pickups designed for Fender basses. The thing is, if the previous owner had actually used Fender brand pickups alignment would be better; perhaps not perfect but better.

The G&L store has the pickups for $80 US each (so $160 US for the set). I just checked and they do ship internationally, though I do not know what the charges would be. You might also contact the Australian dealer listed on G&L's website to see if they can help.

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TEL: +61-2-4952-9222
Email: info@jacksmusic.com.au
Website: http://www.jacksmusic.com.au

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Re: Pickup pole pieces not lining up properly on SB-2

Postby dhgleaves » Fri May 17, 2019 5:39 pm

Thanks for the reply. So to get to the core of my question, you reckon the pole non-alignment is a fairly significant issue?

And do only G&L pickups line up properly with G&L basses, if the majority of jazz or precision style pickups are designed for Fender basses and they don't line up?

I had already looked into buying the original pickups from the G&L store. When you consider the exchange rate and their international shipping price (which recently went up massively), it would cost me a little over $300 to get a new set, and that's close to what the bass is worth (although I could hopefully sell the Duncans to make up a little). I'll check with Jack's Music (which is their only distributor in Australia) and I may post something on the G&L buy/sell/group. The current pickups actually sound good, but quite different from my SB-1. At least it gives me variety.

David
Last edited by dhgleaves on Fri May 17, 2019 6:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Pickup pole pieces not lining up properly on SB-2

Postby Ken Baker » Fri May 17, 2019 6:27 pm

dhgleaves wrote:Thanks for the reply. So to get to the core of my question, you reckon the pole non-alignment is a fairly significant issue?


It's an issue. How much of an issue is in the ears of the beholder. Getting the strings lined up as close as possible to the poles (and therefore their magnetic fields) can only improve the sound.

And do only G&L pickups line up properly with G&L basses, if the majority of jazz or precision style pickups are designed for Fender basses and they don't line up?


For the most part G&L and Fender split pickups for the Precision and SB-1/SB-2 are interchangeable with maybe some filing on the pickguard. Jazz and JB-2/JB pickups are drop-in interchangeable, depending on length. The ones that are not interchangeable would be the bridge pickup for the SB-2 and anyone else's pickup. I have Basslines Quarter Pounders on an old Jazz and they lined up fairly well, but that's on an early CIJ Fender Squier bass. What you have here is off by quite a bit. The previous owner should have left well enough alone or at least eyeballed the thing before changing them out.

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Re: Pickup pole pieces not lining up properly on SB-2

Postby Basscase » Wed May 22, 2019 3:48 pm

Is it possible that the neck is a little out of alignment? A slight shift to the left might help with alignment. It also looks as if the bridge pickup could be shifted ever so slightly to the right.
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Re: Pickup pole pieces not lining up properly on SB-2

Postby Ken Baker » Wed May 22, 2019 4:13 pm

Basscase wrote:Is it possible that the neck is a little out of alignment? A slight shift to the left might help with alignment. It also looks as if the bridge pickup could be shifted ever so slightly to the right.


Yes, it's possible. Especially after shipping.

In this case it might help a little with the split neck pickup, but the bridge pickup will still be off.

If dhgleaves wants to try shifting the neck, here's how:

    Slack off most, but not all, of the string tension.
    Loosen the neck screws just enough to allow a little lateral movement. Not fully loose, just enough to allow some wiggle.
    Carefully move the headstock to help align the strings and pickup.
    Read this, then carefully retighten the neck screws just snug enough to hold the neck in place.
    Retune to pitch and see how it looks and sounds.

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