Soapbar Humbuckers

Staring a new topic here (I began this convo in a thread but want to see if I can get more input).

I have been looking at soapbar humbuckers and associated options for preamp systems.
Trouble is, there is a whole lot less online about various pickups / comparisons / etc. on these guys.

Here is what I want to do:

  1. Modify an existing Harley Benton el cheapo bass with high end electronics and pickups
  2. Soapbars MUST be humbuckers (nor P or J inside a soapbar)
  3. I don’t care about active / passive - if I can have both or just one, great
  4. Tone - a bit dual fold here.
    a. Would like to lean toward making this a metal sounding bass
    b. But, would like to have it be able to be a very percussive, high mids bass on the bridge
  5. Thinking maybe being able to switch the humbuckers between serial and parallel might be a cool thing to get these tones more articulated.

Videos and sound clips are really weak here in showing off these types of pickups.
So far, I am leaning towards a crowded group of pickups…

Seymour Duncan

  • Blackouts
  • Passives


  • DCB

Fishman Fluence

  • ‘standard’

At the moment I am not considering EMG for this build, has not impressed me to date (sorry @Al1885)
What options am I missing?

NO IDEA!!??!
What options do I have on electronics that would give me parallel/serial switching, or do I have to sort this myself?
Other recos?

Aguilar OBP-3?
Fishman (don’t know if I dig their preamp with the voice switch)

Anyone with experience here please chime in.
Tough area to compare online as far as I can tell.

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With most humbuckers on bass you won’t be getting serial/parallel. Really it’s pretty rare (though not unknown). Usually I think you see this on MM’s and some Ibanez.

Same with coil split. You see it but it’s not ubiquitous like it is on guitars.

Frankly I never want either but YMMV. I would suggest whatever you get, go with passive pickups so you can do active/passive.


Based on your Metal requirement, I vote DarkGlass.

There is another preamp builder that does really cool stuff.
Most all their marketing is only available on FB, and I dont have FB, so I cant look at everything so I cant vet them for you, but I beleive they are small enuf to do custom work.
Dont worry tho, should still be big enuf to make it hurt your wallet.

Sorry I cant be much help, the only thing I can remember about their name, is it looks like Luftunsa.

Something like that.

Lobster used one in a Jazz bass. I remember cuz it has an onboard Filter instead of tone, and tgat was pretty damn cool.

I will scroll thru his thumbnails and see if I can find it.
May help, may not, idk?


Lusithand NSP.

Not sure if NSP is the model or part of the brand name? Again, I dont have FB.


Ok, understood.
From what I saw one gives you one preference for tone and the other gives another.
Of course I want both, lol.
So, to decide.


Another thing to keep in mind is not all humbuckers are splittable. Some come with four wires, some with three, some with two…


G&L seems to do this a bit.
Have you thought about some G$L MFD soapbars with one of their preamps?
I am not sure they even sell them, but might be a thing.
With as much greaat things people say about G&L, I dont ever see people using their electronics on builds???


Looks like they do, but not crazy about G&L to begin with.


Man, I love the parallel/single/series switches on my Sire M7! I usually play in series for that nice fat sound.


Which is never “Single” and almost always “Parallel” I am guessing? :slight_smile:

I almost never want to split coils, even on guitar. Too thin, and if I want a strat sound, I’ll use a strat :rofl:

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yeah! now that is an electronics option I can dig for this build.


It’s pretty much always in series mode… I prefer a pbass sort of tone so I almost never use it on single. Series can get a little muddy so I usually just adjust the mids and maybe roll off the bass a bit. I usually find a tone I like and it stays that way for weeks with only minor adjustments until I find some reason I need to change it.

I never slap on my 5 string and I have a jazz bass if I need a single tone… and I haven’t played it in months :-).


Yeah, the only reason I could see to want to split a bass humbucker would be if you were going for a J tone. Which is not a common goal for me.

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Agreed, and, I already have that on my Peavey T-40, lol, and don’t use it.


Yep, that’s pretty much it and I tend to mostly use the neck pup and play near/over the fingerboard for a warm tone but it depends on the genre one likes… I play a lot of pop and jazz sort of stuff so I rarely need that single/bridge sort of sound.

On guitar I always favoured the neck pup for a nice warm tone until I started playing to backing tracks and then I found it didn’t cut through the mix very well and started using the bridge pup more. It’s interesting how different a tone is often required for a mix vs solo. Often what sounds great in a mix sounds pretty bad on its own :slight_smile:

It’s a lot easier to get it “right” on the pbass :smiley:

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Regardless of preamp, looks super easy to wire a phase switch if you liked that on the T-40…

Have not found much use for that phase switch yet, its a very unique sound indeed.
Generally I am happy to find a tone that works on that thing and I run with it, lol.
Seriously though, not as confusign as it looks, just a lot of overkill, but still oddly cool.

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You might look at Delano Quad Coils. They can be parallel, serial, P, or Reverse P all how they are wired, and I would presume on a switch. SBC4 HE/S-4

I would probably go with the Duncans, and a Duncan STC-3A 3band EQ with a slap switch

I saw those but have something like that in the SIMs and don’t want all that P etc with it.
From what I am reading there are benefits to the soapbars with bars vs. poles, etc so still sorting through all that bit.

The odd thing is there are so very few videos on YouTube about this area of pickups.
It’s like the forbidden zone.

This was my first ‘hmmm, I think this is the setup’.
But the Fluence pickups are super intersting too.

Hey @Koldunya - don’t you have the Flueces in a bass?

Do you mean the passives or the blackouts?

And what do you mean by slap switch?