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help me workaround a 'character' issue :)

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Zapp, Aug 27, 2013.

  1. Zapp


    Sep 4, 2005
    Gruene Texas
    I need some experienced hands to help me out here.
    I have two squier VMJ basses - love 'em. sold more expensive stuff and just work these over pretty well..

    one characteristic of this bass that seems consistent between the two, and can come in very handy is that they are pretty 'hot' in the range of roughly the 7th to, say, 12th fret. a little more pronounced on the treble strings but that may be my setup/strings. its a great range of tones there, except that sooner or later I gotta move on to the rest of the neck! so the contrast is pretty severe, especially the older the strings get.

    I'm wondering what tweaks I can make to the pups, the neck geometry, the strings, to soften the contrast between that sweet spot and the lest pronounced tones I get from the rest? currently, both are tuned down to D-G-C-F and, barring a detune further, I'll probably leave them there - one with pressurewound [ghs] and one with regular nickels - heavy gauge 50-110.

    ordinarily I am playing with no effects.

    a mistake I may be making is I tend to adjust pickups as close to the strings as I can without interference - I do use almost the whole fretboard so I have to keep a little distance there. plus the strings are a tad flabby on the lower frets due to the tuning

  2. darkstorm


    Oct 13, 2009
    Not quite sure what your after. But if wanting little less treble to the D&G string, eithe lower bridge pup on that side, or raise neck a little on that side. Or if little more treble bite for the E&A string would work better. Then raise the bridge pup a little on that side or lower neck a little on that side. Depending which route makes most sense regards best sound from the two pups for tweaking the both on full sound and overall tonal balance a little between strings.
  3. Zapp


    Sep 4, 2005
    Gruene Texas
    i didn't explain very well... it is hot in that area, as though you flipped a 'gain 1db' switch or something, in all frequencies. I guess the pups just get very excited when the strings are in that range for some reason. or its a sweet spot for the amp? or something other. of course the deader the string the less noticable it is :):p
    now I'm wondering... can I find an audio spectrum app for ipad or my android handset that will show me the frequencies that are 'lighting up' but I doubt that tweaking the EQ will help. its a blunt force weapon and will damage the sound in the quieter spots making them even more obscure
  4. s4001


    Feb 2, 2009
    Compression pedals can even outputs and tone.

    A lot of basses have 'zingy' areas of the neck. They can be used to accent riffs or occasional fills. Play those areas with less attack when just holding the groove. That's why these are instruments and not computers. ;)
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  6. iiipopes


    May 4, 2009
    As you fret up the neck, you are progressively bringing the strings closer to the pickups. Closer strings means more magnetic interaction which means hotter signal. Moreover, at those frets, the octave or double octave node has moved, and you are getting more string excursion over the pickup, being that the middle of the fretted speaking length is directly over the pickup, again, causing a hotter signal. Moving further up the neck beyond that point, even though the string is still getting closer to the pickup, you are shortening the string so that the nodes move on past the pickup, and the string excursion is not as wide, and you're back to the same string interaction with the pickup, and the signal doesn't seem quite so hot.

    I suggest lowering the pickup slightly to help even out the response and adding a touch of compression. Relative strength of the magnetic field varies as the square of the distance away from the pole pieces, so that by lowering the pickup, the differences in the string excursions coming up the neck make less overall difference from fret to fret as compared to having the strings effectively right on the pole pieces.
  7. Zapp


    Sep 4, 2005
    Gruene Texas
    this makes sense. bingo...
    would you suggest lowering the neck pickup first and check results?

  8. iiipopes


    May 4, 2009
    Yes. Lower the pickup about a half turn at a time and keep checking it to get overall volume and see where it starts to balance out up and down the neck, then, if necessary, lower either bass or treble side another half turn or so to get balance, depending on how it sounds and your personal preference through your rig.
  9. Zapp


    Sep 4, 2005
    Gruene Texas
    thanks much

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