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What humbucker for a short scale Fender Squier Bronco bass?

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  • What humbucker for a short scale Fender Squier Bronco bass?

    I picked up a somewhat beaten up Squier Bronco bass - which had a terrible 6 pole ceramic magnet single coil pickup mounted in it. Probably the worst tone I have heard from a bass ever. However, the NECK on this bass is maybe the best neck I have felt on any sub $1000 bass I have played. It's my only short-scale, so I know some of that is magical, but seriously the fretwork and finish on this solid maple neck is worth the price of the bass new, easily. I'm making it my main 4 string axe.

    I currently have a 1/4 pounder that I pulled from my main 4 string, and I've fitted it to this short scale. Tone for days. However, mounted traditionally, I'm getting some 'warble' in notes that I attribute to the dual pole pieces per string not being centered to each side of each string because of the slightly closer string spacing for the short sca

    I see two options going forward:

    A: I'm considering re-mounting each of the splits at an angle so that the dual pole pieces are centered to each side of each string; I have to make my own pickguard regardless, and I really don't care what the end result looks like. I included a link to a picture I just took (a little bit of parallax so perfect centering isn't in the photo)

    B: trying to locate a split or normal humbucker with the spacing I need, designed for short-scale string spacing.

    At tension, the spacing from the center of the E string to the center of the G string is 2.09".

    Looking to see if someone has faced and conquered this dilemma before. If so, what was your solution?

    BTW - I did find a relevant discussion in the talkbass forums and there the SD SRB-1N was recommended.

    Wondering if the SD Passive Soapbar 4 string would work as well - can't tell if this uses bar magnets or not.

    -Scott
    Discover the magic of the internet at Imgur, a community powered entertainment destination. Lift your spirits with funny jokes, trending memes, entertaining gifs, inspiring stories, viral videos, and so much more.
    Last edited by rockstar_not; 06-14-2021, 10:36 AM.

  • #2
    longcat and I have a bridge position Cool Rails for Strat in ours:


    It's strung with La Bella flats and gets a pretty good motown-style P-bass tone.

    I saw several threads on other forums about the Hot Rails being too hot and mid-rangey, so I decided to give the Cool Rails a shot since I really like it in a Stratocaster. The bridge position Cool Rails has enough output to avoid sounding weak, but isn't overly muddy like I'd heard the Hot Rails can be.
    Last edited by dystrust; 06-14-2021, 11:42 AM.
    Originally posted by crusty philtrum
    And that's probably because most people with electric guitars seem more interested in their own performance rather than the effect on the listener ... in fact i don't think many people who own electric guitars even give a poop about the effect on a listener. Which is why many people play electric guitars but very very few of them are actually musicians.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by dystrust View Post
      longcat and I have a bridge position Cool Rails for Strat in ours:


      It's strung with La Bella flats and gets a pretty good motown-style P-bass tone.

      I saw several threads on other forums about the Hot Rails being too hot and mid-rangey, so I decided to give the Cool Rails a shot since I really like it in a Stratocaster. The bridge position Cool Rails has enough output to avoid sounding weak, but isn't overly muddy like I'd heard the Hot Rails can be.
      Nice Pickguard! I actually just pulled the trigger on a Lace Alumatone humbucker - after realizing rails are the key and it will make my pickguard construction much simpler!

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      • #4
        i always wanted to put a dimebucker in a bass. betcha it would sound awesome

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        • #5
          Bill Lawrence makes a great humbucker size bass pickup - the EB-50. I've used it in several of my basses and my solidbody mandocello.

          Bill Lawrence EB-50PC Blade Style Humbucking Pickup for Electric Bass Guitars (pitbullaudio.com)
          aka Chris Pile, formerly of Six String Fever

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          • #6
            I put a Bill Lawrence 500 XL in mine but it tended to fart out when played too hard. Then a cheapo Bellcat hotrails style pickup which was surprisingly good. It now has an EMG SA which is the best it has ever sounded. If I had to do it over I would probably put a GFS Red Active in it for $35. https://www.guitarfetish.com/REDacti...eg_p_6682.html
            Last edited by idsnowdog; 06-14-2021, 04:42 PM.

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            • #7
              I was going to suggest a Cool Rails!

              But also any rails-based pickup might be good to look at, as it will have no trouble with the string spacing.
              Dave, Ambassador/Writer/Artist for Seymour Duncan

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              • #8
                Broncos rock! It looks like the cavity is big so if you're fine to cut the pickguard then you have tons of options. If not, any single coil size humbucker will do. Cool Rails gets talked about on here, as do a variety of other made-for-guitar single coil pickups. The stock pickup is basically a Strat pickup but I dig mine and gigged it many times in my reggae/dub band. Even A/B'ed it against my Fender P on one of our recorded shows (one set with the Bronco, the second set with the P) and it was about 85% of the way there. A little duller, but pretty dang good. Close enough for a live situation, that's for sure. The reason I bought a Bronco in the first place was I heard a band while on vacation and dug the bassist's tone - lo and behold, he was playing a Bronco. They're cool basses. No worries if it gets bashed by drunks and it gets the job done.

                The warble sounds maybe like the pickup is too close to the strings. I've never had an issue with polepiece alignment affecting the tone negatively on guitar or bass. I definitely considered putting a P pickup in it, but opted to try some made-for-short-scale strings first which helped even out the string tension and made it feel more normal. The tone I'm getting on mine is somewhere between a P and the neck pickup of a J. I also do A LOT of palm-muting and thumb playing on my Bronco - sounds absolutely massive. Like I said, for me it works great for live situations where supporting the group's sound is more important than the nuance of tone. I wouldn't record with it or pick it up to hear a beautiful sound.
                Last edited by alex1fly; 06-15-2021, 10:53 AM.
                Originally posted by crusty philtrum
                Anyone who *sings* at me through their teeth deserves to have a bus drive through their face
                http://www.youtube.com/alexiansounds

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                • #9
                  I replaced the EMG SA in my Bronco with a Dragonfire SA today and it's just as good despite being slightly noisier. I replaced the EMG not because the Dragonfire is superior but because the EMG is worth more than the Dragonfire and the bass isn't a high priority. I would rather have a spare EMG SA worth $40 used than a spare Dragonfire SA worth $10 used.

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