thoughts on barcus berry
Thoughts on the barcus berry
First the reasons I wanted to try this pickupÖ I have a full circle on one of my basses and I absolutely love the sound. Warm and full. My other basses have wing mounted pickups. They sound ok, but I think in general, that pickup placement, closer to the strings, doesnít give as warm a tone as something mounted further down, like the full circle or the realist. I was recently considering getting the full circle on my other basses as well, but didnít feel like dealing with the hassle of dropping my bass off at a luthier and then going back to pick it up a few days later. I wanted a more convenient, non invasive solution that could be mounted further down the bridge leg, away from the strings. I tried clamping a few of my wing pickups to the bridge legs with a C clamp and a spring clamp. There was potential, but the clamps themselves had a resonance that was also getting picked up, but I could tell that the placement would get me closer to the sound that I wanted, provided I could get rid of the resonance of the clamp. My next thought was the realist sound clip. At first I was against putting such a heavy contraption on my bass, but now I think I understand what the weights are for, to dampen the resonances on the clamp itself, but also, I really didnít want to spend that kind of money. That brought me to the barcus berry. I read the reviews all over talkbass that donít like the pickup, but I figured for $70 (without preamp) its worth a shot. The pickup arrived today and I have some initial thoughts and ideas. First ill say, I think the pickup has real potential. It was developed in a time when buffering preamps were not as popular as they are today, so already owning and loving the radial PZ Pre, I decided to see how it worked with that and not the barcus berry preamp. So anyway, I clamped it to the bass with the full circle first so I could see how it stacked up to it. The first thing I wanted to do was clamp it to the bridge leg, just above the adjuster. No go, not big enough. I think this is a huge design flaw. If they just made it a hair bigger you would have so many more mounting options. Back when it was developed, pickups that sat anywhere other than the wing or at the strings didnít exist yet, but judging from how it sounds mounted where it was designed to go, I think I can predict that further down the leg would work really well. Next I mounted it where its supposed to go, on the E side with one clamp on the leg and one on the wing. Actually its not bad. It requires a lot of eqing, but I feel most pickups do anyway. I rolled the highs all the way off, boosted the lows and low mids for fullness and then put on a mild high pass filter to get rid of the ultra lows. Its really not bad at all once you dial it in. slightly more prone to feedback than the full circle, but I could get plenty loud with a really nice tone (with heavy eq). next I wanted to try under the bridge, in the U between the feet. Another design flaw. One of the clamps is bigger than the other. One would fit, and the other wouldnít. Im sure barcus berry would say thatís because youíre supposed to attach it to the leg and the wing, which are different sizes therefore you need different size clamps, but I think they are severely limiting your options by doing it this way. I tried it with just the side that would fit attached and the other side off, and I could tell that there would be a really nice sound there, but since one side was hanging off, it was vibrating kind of like a tuning fork and that sound was coming through. If they would make both clamps big enough to fit here I think this pickup would be a huge winner. Next I tried it on the G string side because on the E side the low strings were noticeably louder than the higher ones. Mounting on the other side fixed this, except now the wire is protruding upwards and it gets a severe bend on it where it leaves the pickup. Im afraid that over time the stress at that point might damage the connection. Next I wanted to try to eliminate the wing of the pickup as much as possible so I could focus mostly on the sound coming from the bridge leg. I folded up some paper and put it between the bridge and the wing side clamp to try to mute it. I also tried this with some rubber from a rubber band. There was definitely a darkening of the sound, which I think is a good thing, others might not though. So my conclusion, for the money, and the fact that its non invasive and can be used on multiple basses, this is a pretty solid choice provided you have the eq to deal with it. Im going to use it on my other basses without the full circle on the G side and will most likely use some paper to mute the clamp that goes on the wing. Ill post my impressions as time goes by, but my biggest suggestion for barcus berry would be to make another version with clamps big enough to go further down the bridge leg and in the U under the bridge between the legs.