Warming up a Spector Legend with pre and/or Pups
Been lurking around for a bit, first post here. I recently bought a new Spector Legend 4 Classic. I love the look, feel, playability, and acoustic tone of it, but as seems to be somewhat common around here, I'm not crazy about the combo of the Tonepump Jr. preamp and EMG SSDs (Basically HZs with a bit more mid).
Specifically, I'm looking for something to add to the instruments tonal versatility, and in particular "warm" up the sound a bit (or at least give me the option to).
I play with a couple different groups right now, but my main group is a pretty dynamically layered five piece that features a violin instead of a second guitar. We're pretty melodically oriented, and the bass typically does more filling out this end than percussive slap-and-pop stuff. Since both the violin and guitar do a lot of lead stuff on their own, I'm often expected to fill the role of a rhythm guitar in live situations to a certain extent, but at other times also to add a layer of melody on the bottom end as well. We also do a lot of pace shifting on both the rhythmic and melodic side, sometimes abruptly, from soft/slow dynamics to fast/heavy.
The popular upgrade for Euro and Korean Spectors around here seems to be the EMG BQC preamp with the 35DC pups, but I'm not sure if that's right for me. My initial instinct was to go with the BQC pre and either 35CS or TWs, but I'm also wondering if I should move away from EMGs a bit more, since they seem to have a rep of creating a more glassy/brittle tone. I'm not looking for anything TOO vintage sounding, but a bit more in that direction than what I have--warmer but still a bit punchy and more dynamic on the low end. Is this something I'd get with an EMG preamp with a CS and/or TW, or would I be better off looking into something like Bart pups and maybe an Aguilar OBP-3? Anyone have any other suggestions?
Any advice would be much appreciated. Thanks!
What different strings have you tried? That would, of course, be the least expensive change you could make.
Pickup wise, I would think that Bartolini would be worth a look.
I believe the stock strings were steel rounds, and I just put a pair of Fender 7150s (pure nickel rounds, seemed reasonably priced and I wanted to try nickel rounds) on it, and they seemed to help a bit but I haven't had much chance to play on them yet and let them settle (I do like the sound better than new steel rounds), so tough to tell.
Think I should try flats? I've actually never played flats before (as far as I know), but I suppose that would be worth a try.
Rotosound flats warmed this spector up.
Thanks, I may try some flats eventually just to experiment. The Fenders actually seemed to be helping a bit, but on a friend's recommendation, I put on some Sadowsky Blue Nickel rounds and so far it's quite an improvement. They had the typical new-string twang out of the package, but they're settling down fast and are much less brittle sounding than the original steels were.
I do think I'm going to upgrade the preamp eventually, and I'll probably go with the EMG, mostly for its mid frequency selector. I definitely want to be able to enhance the punch of high-mids sometimes, and at other times decrease the boom of low mids. I'll probably save pup upgrades for down the road when I have a bit more cash.
Honestly, part of what I'm doing is a reward incentive system for quitting smoking, putting the extra money towards presents for myself. I think the first thing, after about five weeks, is going to be to upgrade the preamp. Then after another five weeks I might get a cheap SX bass. After that, maybe I'll do more upgrades on either or both. I'm not going to do any upgrades on the Spector myself, I'll have a luthier do them, but the SX I may turn into a project bass. I know some people say they really like them stock, but I figure, even if I don't at least the wood is decent, which obviously is the one thing that can't be enhanced (at least in terms of playability). I did frankenstein a guitar once, but that was a while back and under the guidance of someone who really knew what they were doing.
I have the same bass and the same opinion of it: excellent build quality, good acoustic tone, lame amplified sound. I changed out the steels for a set of Sunbeams and it didn't improve noticeably. These preamp/pup combo's just plain suck imo.
Please let us know what you drop in there and how it works for you. I'm taking my time about the pups on mine, and wiring up a G&B 3-band I've had laying around in the meantime. Will chime in if it's a big improvement or not.
I dropped a set of EMG 40DCs and a BQC pre in my Rebop 5 and couldn't be happier. The p'ups are a bit bright and edgy, but I can shape that out with the EQ. If you want something mellower, try a set of 40CS.
I'll definitely update the thread as I make upgrades. Pretty sure I'm leaning back towards the EMG BQC EQ, just debating if I want to switch over to Vol/Blend or stick with Vol/Vol. I have one other bass with active EQ (just a cheap Ibanez SR300) and it's Vol/Vol, so that's more what I'm used to, but when I was shopping around I did like the ability to make a quick, sweeping shift with the blend pot.
Update: I installed that 3band pre, and weak as it is, it's an improvement. I also put in an active/passive switch and suprise! -this bass sounds pretty good passive.
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