Spectral analysis of surface electromyograms (sEMG) is often used to estimate central and peripheral characteristics of a motor unit (MU) population, such as average conduction velocity, proportion of muscle fiber types, and pattern of MU recruitment. This estimation is based on the assumption that the sEMG adequately reflects the frequency characteristics of the underlying MU action potentials (MUAP). However, sEMG has limitations in this respect, based on physiological and non-physiological factors that influence its frequency content. We present a method to examine characteristics of a MU population more reliably by assessing the distributions of frequency content and amplitude for a collection of individual MUAPs, identified using high-density sEMG decomposition. We demonstrate the use of this approach to examine how MU characteristics differ across muscles and in the post-stroke state by presenting preliminary data from deltoid (DELT), biceps (BIC), and finger flexor (FF) MU populations from 12 post-stroke individuals and 8 able-bodied controls. The results show differences in the magnitude and range of MUAP median frequencies across muscles in both groups. The group median values were higher in the stroke group for the DELT and FF and lower in the stroke group for the BIC. The range of frequencies was larger in the stroke group for all muscles. The distribution of MUAP RMS amplitude in both stroke and control groups had a substantially larger range in FF than in DELT and BIC. The group median values for the FF were twice as large in the stroke group. In addition, there were differences in the frequency and amplitude results between MUAP and global sEMG analyses. The implications of these findings and possible applications of the approach are discussed.