Welcome back! Do you remember when you bought your first bass? When I bought mine, I didn’t really know how it worked. The store staff were helpful, and explained what each control did, but the sheer number of functions and circuits that you find on your average off-the-hook bass today can still be confusing to the average novice. Never fear—I’m here to break down the usual suspects and provide a beginner’s guide.
What is a pickup, anyway?
In technical terms, it’s a transducer: A device that turns physical energy from the movement of a bass string into electrical energy. The various configurations and materials used in pickup manufacture can change its tone dramatically, as we’re about to find out. Coming in various shapes and design, bass pickups can be broken down in to two main types:
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