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Brighten Fretless

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by muskyman, Dec 18, 2013.

  1. muskyman

    muskyman

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    Would like to add a bit of sizzle to my 5-string fretless. Already adding a Hipshot/graphtec piezo bridge. Any thoughts on PUPs for brightness? I was thinking Q-tuner or Delano Xtender quad coil. any information would be greatly appreciated.
  2. Grateful

    Grateful Supporting Member

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    What strings are you using?
  3. tylerwylie

    tylerwylie Supporting Member

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    What kind of fingerboard?
  4. muskyman

    muskyman

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    Sorry, more detail would have been nice. I've used assorted roundwound strings over the years (Rotosound, Blue Steel, Elixer...), and the fingerboard is of ebony. I'm not looking for high frequency alone, and not really wanting any on-board treble boost circuitry. I'm starting an overhaul of an old favorite, and wanted a pure (as reasonably possible) full audio spectrum as the signal source. I figure that there is plenty of opportunity to "sculpt" the sound further down the signal chain.

    Thanks in advance.
  5. Dogghouse

    Dogghouse

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    Disclosures:
    Bass Guy @ Seymour Duncan
    What kind of bass and/or pickups?
    For sizzle, I hit a BBE Sonic Maximizer pedal.
    Seymour Duncan Quarter Pounds sizzle...........
  6. ctmullins

    ctmullins Registered 8er Supporting Member

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    "Full audio spectrum" to me implies something in a narrow-aperture sensing, preferably hum-cancelling in nature. Like, an SGD Sidewinder, or a Nordstrand Big Split perhaps, or even the DiMarzio split-coil J pickups. You could run a Delano four-coil pickup in two-coil mode, which should be narrow-aperture/hum-cancelling, and still have the option of switching in the other two coils for a thicker humbucker tone.

    What form factor do you need?
  7. muskyman

    muskyman

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    The guitar in question is an 88 Carvin LB75, maple neck-through with koa body. The current N/B PUPs are the original stacked humbuckers, with many adjustable allen pole pieces (ouch) and cheesy plastic bezels around the perimeter. I'm willing and able to cut wood. In order to eliminate the four bezel mounting holes in the corner, the holes would be rectangular, and a minimum of 98mm long by 22mm wide. I would think that only split-coil form would be excluded.

    This model has the front perforated for switches to allow single coil/humbucking/phase switch functionality. I'm not necessarily committed to using all these functions. However, there's not much I can do about the existing bores through an otherwise lovely koa surface.
  8. tubby.twins

    tubby.twins Amateur Pickup Reviewer Gold Supporting Member

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    So what you're saying is that you're okay with re-routing the bass to handle pickups in a standard soapbar shape, correct? If so, I would route the bass for P2 shape pickups (108mm x 32mm) since there are a lot of nice passive pickups in that shape.

    You can't go wrong with Delano's SBC 5 HE/S pickups for a good starting point. They have a really nice, extended response in the upper midrange and treble, and they give you flexibility for series/parallel switching (if you need it).

    Other good options include Villex, Kent Armstrong, or even Carvin's newer radiused pickups as featured on their Brian Bromberg signature basses.
  9. tylerwylie

    tylerwylie Supporting Member

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    Nordstrand Big Singles, in my opinion.
  10. Grateful

    Grateful Supporting Member

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    +1

    I've got 2 Bromberg 5's: 1 fretted with radiused single coils, the other fretless w/radiused humbuckers. Both can get plenty bright. The singles w/the 'Bromberg Pre" can get insanely bright, but have enough control to tame them.
  11. basspraiser

    basspraiser Jammin for the Lamb! Supporting Member

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    Look into Hanson neo punch or chisonic pickups....they sound GREAT on a fretless....
  12. muskyman

    muskyman

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    All: Thank you much for the valuable feedback. And yes, my intent is to likely use a soapbar form. However, if the Delano Xtender gives me the best sound, I have no problem committing to that strange oversized egg-shapped cutout.

    One point I failed to mention is that my string spacing is quite narrow on this bass (16.5mm at bridge). This is one of the reasons (in addition to tone) that I was drawn to Qtuner. Admittedly, I am also a sucker for a well presented technical argument, and Qtuner has a genuine hi-tech presentation. I saw that Nordstrand also offers a new PUP with Neodymium magnet technology that also does not require accurate pole spacing (product Dual Blade Neo 5). Does anyone have any experience with these?

    Also, I like the idea of the Nordstrand "Big Single", or equivalent. It allowed me to think about the future of my playing. I don't expect to find myself in a studio ever again. For me, it's all about the live experience, so is anyone ever going to notice a little hum? Besides, the guitarists are bound to always make more noise than me. (If I'm wrong about this, please do not hesitate to let me know that I'm a dumbass)

    With this in mind, I'm going to electrically eliminate my "tone" pots. After 30 years, I've never used them. On my passives, they've eternally been set at full. On my actives, the bass/treble have been eternally set at neutral (no boost or cut). I've always used rigs that allowed foot-pedal/MIDI manipulation. If I built an instrument for myself, I think that it would have no knobs or switches. Every switch, potentiometer, or any circuit element (and all the contact points) all add signal degradation. The only problem is all the damn holes in the wood for the knobs and switches. I know this isn't the forum, but are there any woodworkers that have had to hide useless holes in koa?
  13. BassLife77

    BassLife77

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    you can try a simple buffer. on one of my fretless basses I put in jfet buffer for any frequencies that might not make it through the cable. I put in a trimpot to adjust the gain so no extra holes were needed. you can also make a buffer with an op amp

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