It is a fact that the pickup is the heart and soul of the electric bass guitar. Without the pickup, the sound of the bass cannot be amplified. The bass pickup is simply a transducer that captures the vibrations of the bass guitar’s strings via what is known as a “magnetic field.”
This magnetic field goes on to fluctuate and then transforms the vibrations picked up by the pickup into an electrical current. This electrical current is then sent to an amplifier that understands the sent electrical current and amplifies it.
That being said, the type of pickup used on any bass guitar will have a tremendous effect on the sound/tone of that bass guitar. Just as with electric guitars, there are basically two construction types for bass pickups.
Pickups are defined by the number of coils used in their construction. We have the single-coil and humbuckers. Humbuckers are also known as double-coil pickups. In terms of mechanics and engineering, humbuckers are direct opposites to single-coil pickups.
Humbuckers are exceptionally great at Suppressing external noise. They are also the pickup of choice when looking for a big, warm, and loud bass sound that contrasts with the snappy, bright sound of several single-coil pickups.
Humbuckers practically “buck” unwanted hums and electrical interferences that would have affected your bass tone.
Because they are built with two coils rather than one, humbucker pickups are great at cancelling those very annoying electrical hums and other unneeded noises that often affect single-coil pickups; they do this while leaving the string signal very much intact.
Properly explaining the physics behind the hum cancellation of humbucker pickups and its opposing polarities will be beyond the context of this article.
That being said, we will proceed to analyse 10 amazing basses with Humbuckers. It doesn’t matter if you are a beginner or a seasoned pro, this article is for you. All you have to do is read on!
Table of Contents
10 Best Basses With Humbuckers
- Sterling by music man Sub Ray5
- Fender Jazz Bass Guitar
- Yamaha TRBX305 Bass Guitar
- Squier Vintage Modified 70s Jazz Bass
- Epiphone Thunderbird Vintage Pro
- Schecter Stiletto Extreme Bass
- G&L Tribute L – 2000
- Ernie Ball Music Man StingRay Special 4 HH
- Ibanez Bass BTB605 MS CEM
- Epiphone Viola Bass
Review of 10 Best Basses With Humbuckers
The Sterling by music man Sub Ray5 produces diverse and unique tones while also managing to be very affordable. This Sub Ray5 Bass guitar offers pop vibes and bright bouncy funk, gut-wrenching rock, and an incredible metal sound.
All these tones make this 5 string bass guitar a real joy to play. It is best for both entry-level bass players and professionals.
The Sub Ray5 also features a Humbucker pickup with an active 9v powered active preamp. This pickup is capable of producing a clean and natural bass tone.
The neck of this 5-string bass is made to stay in position and last a lifetime. It won’t shift, even under heavy load.
The 6-bolt neck joint is made with superiority for stability, strength, and ease of access to the higher end of the fingerboard.
Watch more about the Sterling by music man Ray5 here
|Not as great as the more expensive model
|Regular StingRay tones
|Only two band Eq rather than 3 bands Eq
|Easy to play
Fender Jazz Bass Guitar is one of the best-selling bass guitars with a humbucker in the world of bass guitars.
This Jazz bass guitar was designed by Fender for bass players who will want to play as many genres of music as they would wish.
This bass produces a tone that is bright and rich in the mid and hi frequencies making it ideal for slap bass and fingerstyle playing.
The Jazz bass by Fender also features two pickups. The bridge pickup and neck pickup are at varied placements on the bass guitar. The neck pickup produces a round tone while the bridge pickup enhances the treble.
This humbucker pickup will cancel noises using the RWRP known as Round Wound And Reverse Rolarity. The body of the Fender Jazz bass is made with Ash, maple, alder, poplar, and sometimes basswood.
The Jazz bass is less pricey yet has enough value and quality great for professional playing.
Watch more about the Fender Standard Bass Guitar here
|Easy to use
|The sound may be strange to some players
|Suitable for almost all genre
- Perfectly balanced, ultra-comfortable solid mahogany body provides the optimum tonal foundation
- Solid Mahogany Body
- Five-Piece Maple/Mahogany Neck
- Active Electronics
The Yamaha TRBX305 bass guitar is a roadworthy build bass guitar with an M3 humbucker pickup great for both outdoor and indoor performance. The body style of the TRBX305 bass guitar is a mix combo of the Yamaha TRB and RBX guitar series.
However, the TRBX offers four distinct colours; dark metallic silver, snow white, metallic red, and pewter finishes. The 5-way selector switch features slap, pick, flat, finger, and solo preset. The slap preset digs out the mid for a more percussive tone.
The tones you get while slapping the TRBX bass in a slap preset are clear and great for metal styles. The picks Eq produces a punchy and round sound great for the modern rock style.
The third Eq (flat) helps you mould the sound from your Humbucker using your hi and low frequencies.
These two Yamaha Humbuckers help the TRBX305 to produce a clean and powerful tone that is very easy to control and set up.
The other remaining Eq selector switch, the finger, and the solo preset are great for jazz and classic rock styles.
Watch more about the Yamaha TRBX305 Bass Guitar here
|Easy to play
|May be heavy for some bass players
|Stunning body contour
This Maple body 70s Jazz bass guitar by Squier uses a humbucker pickup designed by Fender. The tone you get from the Squier Vintage Modified 70s Jazz bass guitar is suitable for funk and punk styles.
The neck and the fretboard are also made of Maple. This combines to produce a bright sound and rounded bass sound. Fretting notes in the higher register is smooth and easy because of the one-piece C shape and maple neck feel.
It is very affordable with distinct features and recommended for entry-level bass players. It is also a very excellent option for practice.
Watch more about the Squier Vintage Modified Jazz Bass here
|Incredible low-end response
|It is Heavy
|Great and clean pickups
|Easy and quick transition process
|Great for both newbies and pro bass players
This cool-looking Epiphone Thunderbird Vintage Pro with its dual Humbuckers produces a thumpy bass tone.
The Epiphone is great for rock & roll, blues, and punk. Great bass players like John Entwistle, Kim Gordon, and Krist Novoselic played the Thunder vintage pro bass guitar. Epiphone designed the Thunderbird Vintage Pro with a Probucker #760 Humbucker.
It is easy to swing with this bass guitar during a performance due to its 60s club-looking neck shape. However, it is not a slap bass and some bass players find the reverse body shape of the Epiphone Thunderbird Vintage Pro prone to neck tilt and not very balanced.
Regardless, the Epiphone Thunderbird Vintage Pro bass guitar is very flexible for bass performance on stage.
Watch more about the Epiphone Thunderbird Vintage Pro here
|Not very versatile
|Great tones for rock style
|Not the traditional bass body contour
|Uniquely body build
- 4-string Electric Bass with Mahogany Body
- 2 Humbucking Pickups – Black Cherry
- Rosewood Fingerboard
- Figured Maple Top
The Schecter Stiletto Extreme Bass uses black cherry 2 humbucking pickup. This bass is designed smoothly to produce a contemporary low-end feel. It also features a mahogany body, Rosewood Fingerboard, maple neck, and maple top.
The combination of mahogany and maple does not just make the bass look attractive but also contributes to the tone. This combination allows the Schecter Stiletto Extreme bass to produce smooth high-end tones with enough sustain.
There is also a 2-band Eq and a blend knob that allows you to regulate a precise and crispy tone suitable for music styles such as metal and rock.
The ergonomic design of the Schecter Stiletto Extreme bass makes it comfortable to be played sitting and standing.
Watch more about the Schecter Stiletto Extreme Bass here
|Pickups have the same sound
The G&L Tribute L – 2000 is designed to fit into any musical style and bass performance. It is well-built and very reliable. The L2000 Tribute bass is great for slapping due to its amazing shine in the higher frequency. Great bass guitar for pop players.
It features a G&L MFD humbuckers with two active two-band Eq for exceptional tone production. The MFD humbuckers produce solid articulated desirable tones and a very punchy and clear tone with a mid-bomb.
Bass players can regulate the two bands Eq to their desired sound for effective playability. The G&L Tribute L2000 will sound differently when switched to single coil mode. You have a passable sonic punch tone. Meanwhile, when switched to parallel, the tone mellows out a little.
Watch more about the G&L Tribute L – 2000 here
|Easy to play
|Clumpy neck shape
|Lots of tone options
|May be heavy for some
|Fun to slap
Special 4 HH is designed by Music Man StingRay. One of the most recognizable brands in the market. It features a pair of redesigned Humbuckers, 3 band Eq, and an 18-volt preamp.
This bass guitar allows players to switch between a single coil and a humbucker pickup. The double humbuckers come with a distinct design that is appealing. This pair of twin humbuckers will produce a fat and thumpy sound.
Employing the middle coil alone pockets the sound. However, exploiting the extreme coil gives you an open uncontrollable hollow sound. The 3 Band Eq also allows you to regulate tones making it perfect for any musical style.
Very impressive tonal option. The Ernie Ball Music Man Stingray Special 4 HH produces plumpy tones. It is not possible to have a bad sound with this bass guitar.
Watch more about the Ernie Ball Music Man StingRay Special 4 HH here
|The tone may be weird to some Bass players
|Easy to play
|Great tonal options
|Pickup switch option
The Ibanez Bass BTB605 MS CEM offers a T1 pickup that is a humbucker. It features tons of tone options that are fit for all musical genres. These humbuckers are mounted separately to produce a strong and responsive low-end, punchy mid-range, and clean high frequency.
Ibanez also considered the thumb rest of the players when the BTB series was made. The coils are placed offset. The BTB605 humbuckers also allow players to adjust the tone and also set the height of the pickup individually.
Watch more about the Ibanez Bass BTB605 MS CEM here
|The neck is tilted to one side
|Easy to play
- 30.5″ scale neck
- Okoume fingerboard
- 1.65 inch nut
- 12 inch radius
The Epiphone Viola Bass is a short-scale bass guitar that was made popular by Paul McCartney and his band. The shape of this bass guitar is similar to the shape of the viola bass and cello in the strings family.
However, the Epiphone was made like a German Hofner. They are unique and very strong. It is made with two Humbuckers. NYT in the bridge position and NYR in the neck position.
These humbuckers combine to produce a bright bassy sound. The neck pickup regulates brighter sounds. The Epiphone viola bass is loud enough and capable of even producing sound when unplugged.
Although, you may not get that desired low end sound when it is not plugged into the amplifier. The body material is of top-quality and the finish is excellent. It also features a Soft fret edge.
Even with all of these features and playability, the Epiphone viola bass still manages to be very cheap. This bass is recommended for both newbies and pro bass players.
Watch more about the Epiphone Viola Bass here
|Great for beginners
|Limited tone option
|Easy to play
|Unique body contour
Do Humbuckers “Sound Better” than Single-Coil Pickups?
Humbucker pickups produce a heavy and gritty sound that will always earn it the best low-end option pickup. On the other hand, single-coil pickups produce what we can describe as a twangy and bright sounds.
Deciding which of these two sounds better sometimes is a case of individual preference. Yes, bass with Humbucker pickups sounds fuller and round when compared to the single coil. However, some bass players still prefer bass with single-coil pickups to Humbucker pickups.
Yes, bass with single coil pickups has a crispy and bright sound that will deliver clean tones. But some bass players still prefer the sound of basses with humbuckers.
The straight answer to this question would be that both humbuckers and single-coil pickups have amazing sounds that are both favoured and revered by different bass players.
Watch more about how Humbuckers and single-coil pickups sound here
Pros and Cons of Humbucker Pickups
|Round, heavy, full, and gritty tones
|Notes may not be so clear in the higher frequencies
|Great for Jazz, heavy metal, and hard rock
|A little bit complicated to play harmonics on
Pros and Cons of Single-Coil Pickups
|Bright and crispy tones
|Hums when not played
|Great for surf and country style
Humbuckers vs Mini Humbuckers
Humbuckers are made to buck hum (to stop humming). Humbuckers have two coils. In other words, Humbuckers are two single-coil pickups that are combined to reduce external sound.
They are designed to kill interference and outside distortion in guitars. And also help with less vibration during play.
This makes Basses with Humbucker pickups sound warmer, rounded, and fuller. Mini Humbuckers have two narrower single coils. It is regarded as a mini Humbucker due to its slim coils that are doubled up.
Mini Humbuckers also have the capability to buck hums. However, they will sound quite differently from Humbuckers. The number of iron, size, and content of the core in every pickup will determine the sound quality.
Mini Humbuckers are made with narrower width pickups which in turn sense a shorter length of strings vibration. Basses with Mini Humbuckers will produce a slightly brighter and more focused sound.
Humbuckers are very powerful pickups. They produce heavy tones and are also flexible. More reason you will find a bass with Humbuckers almost everywhere. Humbucker pickups can do everything. This means it can be used for a variety of musical styles.
These ten basses listed here are the few best with Humbuckers from the many in the market with different brands and models. It is also worth mentioning that Humbuckers are broad. Regardless, they are all double coils and have the same wiring.
Listen to different basses with Humbuckers and agree on which model, series, and brand of bass you would love to settle with.
And be rest assured basses with Humbucker pickups are flexible and great for all genres. You just would need to tweak a little control.