Bass pickups might not seem like a big deal, but if you are a musician focused on producing the best sound, they can make a world of difference. These pickups produce their sound through an amplifier to capture the string vibration and pick up the tone of your bass more clearly than without. They are perfect for bassists who want to impress an audience with a crisp, professional sound, or even beginners who want to understand the mechanics of their sound better than before. Finding the best bass pickups for beginners in 2021 can be a challenging task. We’ve made a list of the best for you to choose from.
In this buying guide, we’ll show you what you need to know about the bass guitar and its pickups, and why you ll find it a valuable addition to your guitar collection. Bass guitar pickups have been around for quite some time, but you may not be familiar with the range of models available, or how to pick the best one for your playing style. In addition, you might notice that the price of bass guitar pickups varies quite a bit, which can be a little intimidating. We're here to help you get an idea of what to expect, how much to spend, as well as how the different models stack up to one another.
What are tips for finding the right bass guitar pickups?
Pickup size and style are important features to consider, so before you shop, take a moment to think about your intended use. If you plan to use the bass guitar as your main bass, you want a pickup that can be easily plugged into any amp, whether you have a PA system or not. Also, if you will primarily be playing on stage, consider a smaller, more compact pickup for your instrument. For the most part, small pickups are better for performing, while larger ones are best for recording. It’s also important to buy a quality pickup, even if it‘s just to save you some money. Pickups usually cost between $10 and $50 a piece, with the price mostly dependent on the quality of the materials and construction. The most common pickup materials are ceramic (usually aluminum or titanium), plastic, and steel. Anodized aluminum pickups tend to be the cheapest, followed by ceramic. Plastic pickups typically cost a bit more, but they are durable and long-lasting.
What are things to consider when buying a bass guitar pickup?
With so many of these options to choose from, how do you decide which one is best for your sound? Here are a few features to look for.
These pickups are designed for bright, full chords with a tonal balance between treble and bass.
The mids are the high frequencies that you need to cover in a bass guitar, especially if you play at a higher pitch than most people.
A high-five bass pickup is designed to work well with high notes, such as those played on the F to F# degree in common bass playing.
In addition to these basic measurements, you should also consider the style of pickups they work best with. Electric bass guitars are traditionally played in the open position, so you want a pickup that can do its job when you’re playing in full scale. If you mainly want to play other types of music, for instance jazz, then a hollow-body bass will be better for you. Hollow-bodied basses are hollow, which means they have more space between the body and the pickups. They also have a thinner top plate, making them easier to get a clean signal from. This is ideal for low-volume playing, and because the gaps in between them let the strings breathe. The downside to hollow bass pickups is that they can be noisy.
Pickups that are close together have less distortion. Pickup placement is an especially important feature for high F and E notes. Bassists who play high E can put quite a bit of distortion on their bass, particularly in higher-pitched notes.
How expensive are bass guitar pickups?
$20 to $50 in this price range, you’ll find a simple single-coil pickup in a number of sizes and materials. There are some quality options in this range.
$100 to about $150 in this price range, If you need a quality bass pickup, the closer to the $200 mark you get, it will probably be a dual coil model. These are the most popular pickups for beginners. They will be made from quality materials and feature good build quality.
How do we chose our selection of bass guitar pickups?
As always, when compiling our Best Of guides, we like to make sure we select a wide range of products to include, so you can find the perfect option to suit your unique style. As with our top pick of the best electric guitars, you’ll notice we‘ve selected a range from a variety of price points, with a healthy cross-buy opportunity to help you save even more money. Our aim is to bring you the honest, unbiased reviews you need to find your perfect products and this means we always take a look at what other customers have to say. We also check out other expert reviews to see what features and other considerations others are having. While we dont always believe what we think, it's better to err on the side of caution and trust customer reviews, especially when it comes to a product as personal as your bass guitar.
If you want to spend less, bass guitar pickups are often on sale for a much lower price. However, there's a decent chance you could find a brand new, unused and undamaged one. This means there are likely to be quality components in the box. Some products from lesser known brands also have good reviews.
As we said at the start of this article, most of our selection are from high-quality brands that have been in business for years. You can expect to pay a little more for these brands, but that s part of what makes them so good. That said, if you have a smaller or less expensive investment to invest, some of these bass pickups could be a good fit for you.
There's nothing more frustrating than rushing off to buy something only to discover it doesn't live up to expectations the day you buy it. To make your shopping easier, reviews are a fantastic way of gauging the quality of a new purchase. When product information is poorly worded or misleading, customers can be left feeling let down. By reading reviews of previous customers, and looking at some high quality reviews as well as consumer reviews from reputable sellers, shoppers can get a better idea about the performance of their new product.
What are features to look for in bass pickups?
Before you go off and invest in your very first bass pickup, check the following essential features to ensure you find one that suits your style and style of playing.
The intonations of your pickups determine which strings you pick. If your strings are tuned differently to standard, then you will need different pickups. For example, an E string with an open E will produce a treble bass sound than an F string will.
Different materials are used to construct pickguards. The most common are ceramic, which is extremely durable and will last for many years; and plastic, though it isn't as durable but it is more versatile and easy to work with.
You will find two different types of connectors for bass pickups: traditional string bypass and split-coil. Traditional string-pass bypass pickups will require an additional cable to connect them, while split coil pickups require you to remove and replace the pickups separately.
About Bass Guitar Pickup
The term “guitar pickup” has been used informally for decades, although it didn’t really enter common parlance until the late 1980s, when some companies began marketing high-end electrics with individually wrapped coils. An individual coil is a metal bundle of wire (much like the wire wrapping around your guitar strings) that has three terminals. The three-terminal design is an improvement over the single-wire designs of the past, as it allows the coil to be wound in three different ways, giving you the choice of different pickup types. However, the three-, four-, or six-layer designs were still considered niche products by most companies, and most people preferred the two- or four-pole (single coil) designs.The two basic types of pickup are diaphragm (the sound you hear when you press down on a guitar's strings and hold a vacuum) and ceramic (which produces a closer, warmer sound). The amount of gain you get from a pickup depends on the materials used in its construction. Solid-state pickups are the most common, but you can also find ceramic and combination pickups. Diaphram pickups have a single coil wrapped around a thin metal shell, while ceramic pickups use three thin wires wrapped in a ring. While diatonics are known for their clarity and treble, ceramic models are better for tackling higher frequencies.
Bass Guitar Pickup FAQ
Q: What are the benefits of using a bass guitar pickup?
A: The main reason to use a guitar with a pickup is to add a nice, warm tone to your music. With that warm, clean tone, you’ll be able to play bright, raunchy, distorted, aggressive, or anything in between, and you won‘t be missing out on any of those characteristics by using an ordinary lead guitar. Pickups are also great for when you want to be subtle, for instance, adding a little grit to a pop song or metal song. If you play loud enough, picking up a clean sound can sound robotic and unnatural, whereas picking it up through a pick allows for a more dynamic, thumpin' sound. You can also use the pickup to create a warm and mellow harmonica sound, which is great if you like to sound like you're from the 80s! Pickguards are another thing that add to the sound of your bass. They make the bass feel more solid and give it that vintage, 1970s vibe that makes it so good to pick up.
Q: What is the difference between a humbucker and a single coil pickup?
A: The difference is really down to personal preference. A humbucker pickup has a coil that works with coil tapping, where the coil is placed inside a chamber and has to work hard to generate a tone. This is much more prone to picking and strumming noises and can get a bit distorted when overworked. Single Coils are a better choice for playing clean and are often a cheaper option.
Jack has been a touring guitarist for almost 20 years, playing in a number of country music and rock bands. Jack loves the road and defines himself as a never-ending student of the guitar and other important instruments or tools that make a musician.