Despite the fact that almost every Rockabilly Bass player I know uses pickups... it is surprisingly hard to find any decent info about them on the internet (or I'm just terrible at looking). I couldn't even find a sticky with info about slap bass pickups.
So I present my question to all of you, what have you though of Rockabilly/slap pickups that you've seen or used in the past? I'm long overdue for a nice set and don't really know what's better or worse than anything.
In my hunting, I've only been able to find two big contenders, the K&K Rockabilly and the Full Circle. I'm sure there's some better options out there and wanted to hear some good ideas from you fine folks.
The K&K Rockabilly I had got sold off pretty quick. The click pickup you mount under the fingerboard is fragile and introduces a lot of noise because it's microphonic, even if you tape the cable to the back of your fingerboard to immobilize it. The preamp is even fussier, and mounting it to the back of your tailpiece is clunky in my opinion.
If you want something simple that picks up the clicks well, consider the Revolution Solo. It's a bit shy on the low end, at least on my basses, and it's fussy about how it's set in the bridge wing but it has a fairly transparent and natural sound. I haven't tried the Full Circle yet. If you play really loud and don't mind sounding like a Fender bass you might want a magnetic pickup.
I find the Full Circle picks up the click sound fine, and I love how it sounds. Not the most robust thing, mine lasted just over a year before I had to do some "tweaking" with some pliers, but I love the sound enough that I just bought another for my other bass.
Underwood is easiest to use, most faithful sound reproduction, and gets plenty of click for my taste (not psychobilly though).
For more posts about pickups than you can ever read check www.doublebasschat.com
I agree with the underwood for a nice woody tone. I have seen most guys just use it in the E side with the G hanging out. I have found the K&K to be really helpful in getting your Click in various volume situations though. I started using the K&K about the time they started selling them. Always tapped the click p/u wire to the back of the fingerboard and have had zero problems with noise. It just needs to be placed in the right spot for your bass and the sound you want and eq'ed properly. After that just adjust the gain. I have never been a fan of mounting the preamp to the bass. That's a lot of vibration going into that preamp.
Ok so... after looking around, I think I've more or less decided on pairing together a Revolution Solo II and a Fishman B-II. I have an SVT4 Pro I'm running my bass into so I don't really need all the bells and whistles of the Fishman Platinum, that is unless it's just a better sounding preamp...
Finding a good "click" pickup is what's been troubling me the most, specifically because I do play in a psychobilly band most of the time and have 3 other instruments I'd prefer to not be drowned out by. I'm thinking that between the head I use and the Fishman I should be able to get all the lows I need, but not sure if the click will speak as much as I want.
Just wondering if anyone had any experience with the B-II or a psychobilly situation without the click pickup?
From my experience , even in a trio setting at modest volume. I would highly recommend a clicky p/u under the fingerboard. The minute that drums are added to the situation ( with sticks ) I myself would not attempt it without. The amount of eq' ing that is required to get both the click and the bass sound from one p/u usually makes one or both suffer in the tone you are looking to achieve . But that is just my .02.
Where can I find a decent clicky p/u? I've been searching to the best of my abilities and all I can find is a $40 Shadow transducer and the piece from K&K's rockabilly system sold separately. I'm really curious about the Shadow SH 2500e, but it seems damn near impossible to get it anywhere in the US.
Then there's also the fact that I feel like I should be able to find more than 3 options for "clicky" pickups...
Edit: The Shadow SH-2001 seems to be a viable option as well, still poking around to try to find some more variety. Now onto 2 channel preamps with decent tone control, this hunt looks easier already... The K&K Trinity seems like a good option at the moment.
I'm not a rockabilly player, but this guy is and he makes a pickup that I love on my bass.
Have you looked into the Blast Cult Channel Blaster? http://www.blastcult.com/pickups--pedals.html
After doing more research on the RSII I'm leaning more and more away from it for psychobilly playing. Seems to be very feedback prone, and from what I can tell used to be $100 which for some reason now I can only find it for $195.
Current rig is looking to be the K&K Golden Trinity Preamp, Shadow SH-2000 (only $3 more than the SH-2001 on amazon and 2 knobs for tone control) for a slap pickup, and (very tentatively) the Hurley for my bridge pickup. Still want to read more about the Hurly before I decide on that but it looks very promising so far.
Blast Cult looks interesting, but the reviews are pretty mixed. Hurley has more positive reviews despite being a fraction of the price. Not to mention, I'm not going for an "electric" bass tone that the Blast Cult seems to achieve. I'm hoping the SH-2001 is able to pick up some nice woody tones along with the slap to be able to help with that, though an authentic sounding bridge pickup is a must, and a good price for it is preferred. only worry is going to be phase issues but with careful placement I can (hopefully) get around that.
So I've finally got all the pieces and got to try it at home for the first time today...
Using a Hurley Virtuoso in the bridge, the Shadow SH-2000 for the neck (mounted right up at the top) and the K&K Dual Channel Preamp to bring it all together.
The EQ on the preamp still needs some finetuning I think, but with only 30 minutes of messing around I got this thing sounding awesome! The SH-2000 does a phenomenal job of picking up the click in my slaps. Its output level is substantially lower than my bridge pickup, unfortunately, but tweaking the gain controls on the preamp were able to solve this problem easily.
Probably my favorite thing about the SH-2000 is that even after scooping out the bass, it has a great high mid sound that adds a nice color to the bass heavy tone of the Hurley pickup.
In hindsight though, the tone controls are virtually unusable in a bass situation. The controls knock the frequency center from treble to bass without much happening in between the two extremes. SH-2001 would've served just fine, but hey at least it was only $3.
Not to be disrespectful, but have you actually tried any of this gear or just read about it?
I don't play psycho but I slap a LOT, on DB and EUB, and the RS1 is arguably the best pickup I've tried. Decent lows, nice detail and clear slap without the bother of a clicky. I've also never had a problem with feedback, even at volumes that helped me find the resonant frequency of the town I was playing in. Sidewalks shaking, etc.
My rig for those gigs was RS -> Fishman B2 -> Countryman -> PA. $100 rig that lets an ancient carved bass that's worth more than my truck sound like itself. Even with a rock drummer.
I'd love to have an opportunity to try this stuff out, but I wanted to do my fair share of research before dropping money on *anything*.
I may be curious to try the RSI or RSII in the future, they sounded very appealing if not for the feedback issues that turned up in more than a few of the reviews I read.
Just played a gig last week with the Hurley/Shadow combo I picked up and it served me very well. Virtually no feedback, big punchy bass to cut through the mix, a prominent click, and a nice high-mid color from both pickups that gives a little more depth to the sound. Sounds great jazz style too, and arco is manageable if I change the EQ on my head.
All that said, on this particular bass I'm not sure I even want it to sound like itself. This is definitely a beater bass, and I won't be in the market for a fully carved bass for at least another year. Between the SVT-4 EQ controls and the controls on the K&K itself, I'm doing a ton of work on the tone to get it to cut through the way I want it.
IMO playing a carved bass loud through an SVT would be a waste of money and a hurricane of feedback. I really don't think you lose that much playing a plywood bass if you need to be loud.
I'm loving my K&K Rockabilly system. 2 pickups and very nice little preamp/mixer. As to the complaints (above):
Fasten the fingerboard pickup securely, and the extra wire too, and no noise gets through. You may need to try more than one location to mount it until you find the "sweet spot".
The preamp is a little clunky to fasten under the tailpiece, but I made a little black soft case for mine and it can't really be seen unless you are looking for it. That also eliminates any rattles or noise from the preamp.
Also, the preamp is very well thought-out. It has mini-pots inside for Hi-Mid-Low-Gain for both inputs, so you can dial-in both the main bridge pickup sound as well as the click suond you want from the fingerboard pickup. Dial that one in or out as needed.
Battery life is very good if you remember to unplug your guitar cord between uses.
Lots of compliments on my bass sound - even with a clunky old 60s Kay.
A rather expensive system, but a top choice in my experience.
I'd have to go with the Blast Cult or the Underwood out of everything mentioned. I'm not really a psychobilly, but i do have some very loud bands I play in (Legendary ShackShakers, Mark Collie, Eskimo Brothers). I disagree with the comment about the BC not sounding natural enough, depending on how you define that :) I play em, as does Geoff Firebaugh, Jimbo Wallace, Kevin Smith and a bunch of others
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