Resident tone expert Stew McKinsey is back with more information on mixing pickups!
A lot of people ask if it’s okay to combine different kind of pickups from our various sets and the answer to this is like many things we tell people: yes and no. As always the best place to start is with the sound and function you’re going for rather than simply looking at 2 different models and thinking they’d be cool together. I’ve written a bit about this in a couple of other pieces for the site (“Mod My Bass to Sound Like Another Bass” and “I Want That Sound”), but as this question comes up more and more, it seemed like a good time to address the inquiries.
Some designs work better together than others. This has to do with any number of factors, not the least of which is output. Combining a hot pickup with one that’s comparatively weak is just not a good idea.
This is one of the reasons we recommend not combining a Fat Stack with anything but another Fat Stack: the difference in output between single coil and hum canceling mode is significant enough that many designs will just mow over it sonically. It’s also why we suggest both pickups are wired to the same switch so the set is hum canceling or in single coil operation.
I’ve written about how the P-pickups don’t combine well with MM designs, but they pair absolutely beautifully with the Bigman and BigSplitMan models. Similarly the Power Blade and BigBladeMan 4 are a glorious set. You can also combine the NP4a or NP5 with a to get an outrageous P/J pairing.
So if you’re thinking about a nonstandard set, contact the shop and ask if the models work well together. The chances are we know someone who’s tried it and can tell you about their findings! Expect to be asked what you’re going for sonically, though, if it’s an unusual combination. We may even be able to offer you something that will get you there better!