Duncan/EMGS advice sought

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Belka, Dec 23, 2012.


  1. Belka

    Belka

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    Hello all.

    Wanted to pick your brains about something. I have four basses I play regularly. My favorite is a walnut bodied, ebony necked, Bartolini equipped (pickups and preamp) custom 6. Also have a fretless custom; mahogany body, ebony fretboard, Bartolini pickup and preamp, and a mid nineties stingray 5. Fourth bass is a neck through custom 4 with an alder body and tone block, maple fretboard, Duncan active lightning rods JJ pickups and an EMG preamp. All my basses sound good, but I've noticed that to get a good tone out of the latter bass, the custom four, I have to dig in and play hard. The other basses all can deal with a light touch, but the four sounds like a weak, spongy P bass, with very little bass / low mid sound, albeit with a very snappy G string when I play it softly. Dig in and you get the balls though - much more bass response and a harder sound.

    What's going on here? Is it the pickups? Is the it the EMG preamp? Thinking of changing it to a Bart / Bart setup or even Bart pickups / Mike Pope pre if it would give me LESS dynamic range and a bass that can sound good when played with a soft touch.

    Or, might it simply be a question of raising the pickups?

    I've heard bad things about the EMG pre but like I said, when I do dig in it sounds good. Should I just try to get used to a bass I have to play hard?
     
  2. joelb79

    joelb79 Supporting Member

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    Sounds like the pickups may be a bit low, but also you could have a setup issue as well considering you have to dig in hard. Perhaps everything with the setup needs to be looked over, including the pickup height.

    How far away from the fretboard are the strings at the 17th fret? And how far away from the strings are the pickups, both neck and bridge? Also, if you depress the strings with your elbow at the last fret and fret at the first fret; feel the string relief at the 8th fret: Does it feel like a good distance and makes a note when you strum with it depressed as stated; or does it sizzle and rattle against the frets?

    I'm going to guess you probably have a combination of too much relief, perhaps a little higher string action at the 17th and low pickup height as a result of the two. If I'm right its a miracle.. :)
     
  3. Means2nEnd

    Means2nEnd Supporting Member

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    Active Duncans and and an EMG preamp. Which EMG preamp is it? Does it have a balance knob or two volumes? What ohm is the balance pot and or volume pot or pots?

    You could do what was suggested as active pups should be close to the strings to get good output. Maybe a preamp with adjustable gains would help..
     
  4. Kitsapbass

    Kitsapbass A.K.A. Pimp Lucius

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    Could be the preamp. EMG stuff IS designed to work with EMGs...so it's definitely a possibility. Are the pots 25k (which EMG's like) or are they 250k, which I believe the Duncans like? I know that in my Pedulla (which has Duncans) I have 250k....
     
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  6. Means2nEnd

    Means2nEnd Supporting Member

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    No active pickups like 250K volume or balance pots that I'm aware of..25 is standard for active pickups for volume or balance.
     
  7. Kitsapbass

    Kitsapbass A.K.A. Pimp Lucius

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    I just checked the Seymour Duncan website. Apparently it likes 100k pots, at least according to the manufacturers diagram...
     
  8. joelb79

    joelb79 Supporting Member

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    Well I've seen duncans with 50k pots as well.

    There might be some compatibility with using an EMG preamp designed for EMG active pickups (Marked Bxx System) with seymour's active pickups. In those cases, you would want the EMG tone circuit (marked Bxx control) and then use the pots that came with the Lightning Rods to control the pickup volumes. They will likely be 100k or 50k pots, vs the EMG 25k. There is probably an entirely different preamp design in the duncans and this is why.

    FWIW- the pots on active pickups serve a different purpose than that with passive pickups. Its a good idea to use the values the manufacturer recommends.
     
  9. Belka

    Belka

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    Thanks for the responses guys. Just to let you know, the action on the bass isn't especially high. Medium-low I'd say. The pots are all from the EMG harness. I'll have a look at pickup height later today when I practice.

    Just to let you know, the EMG pre is the BQC with the sweepable mid control. Running at 9 volts with a volume / volume setup.

    I had wondered in the past before about a pickup / pot mismatch but I'd kind of assumed that's something the luthier would deal with. Maybe not.
     
  10. joelb79

    joelb79 Supporting Member

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    Well if it's Vol-Vol I can assure you that you are not using the system and just the contorl. It should be a fine setup. It'd be nice to know the pot value of the vol-vol part.
     
  11. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member

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    yup, the EMG "control" and "system" is the same actual preamp, but the "system" includes the 25k volume pot, which other pickups may not like so much.

    also, my impression of the lightnin' rods is that they tended towards the smooth and quiet side.

    with that preamp, actual active pickups might be redundant anyway; maybe some nice passives, run through 250k or even 500k volumes, into that EMG preamp might wake the guitar up. also, running the EMG pre at 18V gives it a little more headroom; not specifically addressing your complaint, but a nice upgrade.
     
  12. bongostealth

    bongostealth Supporting Member

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    I currently have a Seymour Duncan Basslines / EMG BQC combination in my Warwick Thumb 6 BO Broadneck and they work fantastically. I don't have to dig in at all. It sounds like something is off on your preamp. I've never had this problem when I've used EMG preamps, and I've used them many times with several different pickup manufacturers.

    I would also recommend increasing your voltage to 18v. It does improve your EMG's overall tone a bit.
     
  13. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

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    I love the BQC in my P Lyte, but I'm using EMG PJ's. I'd either suspect a mismatch somewhere along the line or maybe the Duncans just aren't hitting your buttons in that bass.
     
  14. uOpt

    uOpt Supporting Member

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    Can you be more specific about which Duncans these are supposed to be?
     
  15. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member

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  16. uOpt

    uOpt Supporting Member

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    OK.

    But these are active pickups with a preamp built in. Why do you add the EMG preamp?
     
  17. wcriley

    wcriley

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  18. uOpt

    uOpt Supporting Member

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    OK, and when you say "Custom 4", "Custom 6" etc you mean the Schecters?

    Well the neck-through bass needs a bit more steam to get the same oomph. You have the weakest pickups in the neck-through. A bolt-on with alder body is quite a bit different. It doesn't surprise me that putting the weakest

    Try some Jazz Quarter-Pounders?
     

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