Should I upgrade pups, electronics, or both?
I just picked up an ibanez edb 605 with a hardcase at a pawn shop for 150 bucks to use as backup bass and want to make it sound a little better. It plays pretty well and sounds ok as it is, but I know it can sound better. It already has a 3 band active eq and has 2 soap bar pups. Am I best to upgrade the pups, the electronics, or both? I don't want to spend a ton of money on it, as it is just a beater bass, but I can justify spending a bit of cash to make it playable. Thanks for the help!
The pickups will probably make a bigger difference, but if you feel like the sound is almost what you are looking for but just can't quite seem to get it 100%, a different pre might help you nail it, otherwise both if you want a total makeover :)
Remove the preamp and listen to the pickups passive. If you like the pickups you can try another preamp with them.
If you think you can have better sound with another set of pickups try them. When you find the right pickups, try the stock preamp with them. If you don't like the stock preamp search for another one that you may like.
I've read on TB that some have had success with keeping the pickups and changing out the preamp. Costwise, a new USA Bartolini preamp will cost around $100 vs $200 for 2 new USA Bartolini pickups. Not saying Bartolini is the only way to go but just an example.
Put all contrrols at flat. Then raise treble and decide it it is increasing treble in a way useful to you. Make note of that. Then do same for midrangle and bass. If the answer is no for one or more then youd be better off with preamp that has different center freqs for the offending ones on current bass.
Then listen to each pup solo and together with tone controls adjsuted for best sound. Is there muddyness, harshness. bleh sound compared to dream tone? If so then pup repalcement may be desireable as well.
A preamps tone control center freqs determine for the player if its useful. I find treble controls with low center freq aka 2.5k or thereabouts worthless to me. I find bass center freqs above 60hz worthless to me. Mid center freq pref can vary some depending on body woods and pup voicing for mids. But added growl and qaulity of richness is the desired effect for boosted mids to me.
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