The Real McCoy on Alumitone?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by freatles, Jan 18, 2014.


  1. freatles

    freatles

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    I'm looking for pickups for my bass design. Light weight, contemporary, neutral (as in "all of the string sound for me to sculpt in studio setting"), reasonably priced.

    (Warning: ignorance may occur in following text)

    Sooo, I'm thinking "hmm, noiseless single coil soaps might be nice for a 5 string fretless design". Not that I know everything about pickups. I think I want either totally flat response (unlikely) across the audio spectrum or more bassy.

    After some research I hit upon what seems like the holy grail of weight optimization: Lace Alumitone single coil pickups.

    However, the Lace company demo and Scott Grove's demo on youtube leaves me thinking there's not as much buttkick (bottom end) going on as a pickup should have (comparing to basses in his other vids)

    Do you think alumitones have a decent frequency responce? Perhaps it is lacking in "botne" (ie. lowest bass frequencies)? Or maybe it is just the guitar body/design itself?

    Maybe I am looking at the wrong direction altogether? Any input appreciated :cool:

    Links:
    my design in progress http://www.talkbass.com/forum/f57/phutubass-lets-start-spec-1046150/
    Scott Grove's review of Lace Helix
     
  2. freatles

    freatles

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    Found a P-bass pickup comparison recordings here: https://docs.google.com/folderview?id=0B7b88q8uy5hYTFdmcGZNM1hURFE

    I like the "Lace Aluma P", Nordstrand NP4, Villex and Aero. I hope it's not just the playing. Used Victor Vootens bass workshop mp3 as a reference. Will have to rinse and repeat a few times.

    They all are quite similar to me, although some I didn't like. And Fender and Bartolini seem non-bright to me.
     
  3. fjadams

    fjadams Supporting Member

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    I have a set of the Alumitone P&Js in one of my basses. I love the tone, clarity of them. They have all the bottom I want, and I'm one for lots of thump with little top end. Everybody's ears are different, everybody's idea of tone is different, but for me they are good enough that I'm thinking of using them in another project.
     
  4. markanini

    markanini

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    It's pretty entertaining hearing Scott Grove go on about how a guitar sucks with a heavy lisp.
     
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  6. freatles

    freatles

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    fjadams - thanks for your input, appreciate it! Any chance you have 'em in a recording someplace online?

    markanini - Well, it was one of the few recordings of alumitones I found (at that point).
     
  7. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member

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    I played one of those Lace basses that Scott reviewed in that video. My thoughts were pretty much a direct reflection of his.
     
  8. markanini

    markanini

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    Check out Wilde Pickups by Bill Lawrence. Bill had such vast knowledge about predicting the shape and directivity of the magnetic field that he considered magnet materials and wind numbers secondary factors. In other words his pickups would be good candidates for being neutral that you can shape to your tastes. Theyre still regular high impedance pickups though, but you can address that by installing his Q-Filter.
     
  9. freatles

    freatles

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    "direct reflection"? :confused:
     
  10. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member

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    I feel the same way about the bass and pickups as he does
     
  11. Toptube

    Toptube

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    I have a single pickup helix bass. The only truly bad thing about it, in my opinion, is that it neck dives horribly.

    the pickup sounds quite good. Very even, very clean and clear. It's a really good pickup to run through effects.

    If you want that chunky, snarly, passive tone; alumitones are not the correct choice. I'd grab a dimarzio model p for that. *or if you are looking for soapbars, consider some vintage reproduction Thunderbird pickups. They are lightweight. Although if you are looking for an even, neutral tone. maybe not.

    *Alumitones have a unique look, that tends to go well with modern designs. Since you are making a pretty wild bass design, I think these would also look very good.

    I think Scott Grove's review is pretty terrible. I don't doubt he has a lot of great gear and is probably a good player. But he attempts no objectivity at all and does not consider any but his own tastes. (see: if something is not perfect for him, he hates it). He clearly hates it from the first few seconds and reviews it in a way that makes it seem awful the whole time. See: his playing is purposefully sloppy and done in such a way to exacerbate any issues he has.

    Just about every pickup makes noise when you hit the strings on it.

    He also slams the fact that it has a volute, which is hilarious and pretty much sums up his value as a reviewer.
     
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  12. DistortedBass

    DistortedBass Supporting Member

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    I'm pretty familiar with the Lace bass pickups. Some things to consider - The Helix bass in the Scott Grove video is using P90s, not the normal bass series. They sound radically different from bassbars. I did a demo for the bassbars a while back -
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AZ8ks3GiO6E

    You can download some DI's in the description to hear them through your own gear. They have more than enough bottom.
     
  13. brainburst

    brainburst

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    The alumitones for lack of a better word are transparent open very wide range pickups with a very nice articulate un muddy bottom. HOWEVER many people looking for a good bottom end and warmth really are fans of a bit of a hump in the upper low range/lower mid range. The Alumitones WON'T give you that naturally as that sound is usually a function of higher impedence pickups creating a complex LCr network (coil caps potentiometer) Passive higher impedence pickups have something of a high frequency rolloff and subtle variable distortion. (not clipping)
    With fretless one is usually looking for something that suits/enhances the mwah. The alumitones might seem too squeaky clean.
     
  14. freatles

    freatles

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    Hopkins - Had to ask - as you know in a reflection everything is on the opposite side ;)

    markanini - ok thanks for the lead, I will check it out!

    Toptube - yeah, that dude certainly has unique way to approach reviews! Also, I started into how t-bird reissues would sound like.

    DistortedBass - Nice gear and very nice backing track for once! Awesome! :D

    brainburst - yes, evaluating the output that one wishes to be "neutral" while knowing that the ear and the mind are easily fooled is quite taxing really! I see what you mean with the "too squeaky clean" but thats something like the idea I originally had - neutral clean tone - it can then be shaped with tube amps or effects as one wishes.
     
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  15. tubby.twins

    tubby.twins Amateur Pickup Reviewer Gold Supporting Member

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    Brainburst, I actually had a different feeling when I tried Alumitone pickups in my fretless bass. I felt they were almost too bassy, too hot, and too compressed. I never felt like I was able to get a good, clean "neutral" tone out of them. I never heard the wood.

    Villex pickups, on the other hand, had all those qualities for me, and gave the most neutral and natural presentation of all parts of the bass as well as the wood from which it was made.

    This is odd since Villex's pickups are fundamentally not that different from Alumitones in construction and concept, as near as I can tell.
     
  16. brainburst

    brainburst

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    That's interesting. Were they running completely passive or via preamp? Which ones were they?
     
  17. tubby.twins

    tubby.twins Amateur Pickup Reviewer Gold Supporting Member

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    These were the Bassbar soapbar 4.0 models as well as the Jazz version of the same. I ran them passive, without a pre-amp. I have heard reports that they sound better with a pre-amp, but I have not yet tried it.
     
  18. PJSim

    PJSim

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    Got the bassbars in my Ibby iceman , imo they fit the bill for neutral .
    Very Clear sounding , never noticed how big difference there was between string brands till I tried these .
     
  19. RedHotFuzz

    RedHotFuzz

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    Wow, first of all, sweet chops! I wish I could play like that someday (it will never happen).

    For my next Warmoth build I'm aiming for the lightest weight bass I can get without lacking in the tone department. I practice standing (after sitting all day as a cubicle jockey, I really need to stand), but even my 8.5 pound P/J gets a little tiresome over a couple hours of practice. I can definitely feel it the next morning (stupid aging process). Frankly I'm getting tired of having a mildly sore back all the time, so I need to cut some weight for my main practice axe.

    I happened to stumble across these Alumitones and they look very intriguing indeed. Great sound but lightweight? And good looking too? Yes please! I really liked the sound of the neck-only position in particular. I think maybe I'll just do a single Alumitone bass bar in the neck position. Or should that be more of a "sweet spot" position? Would I get everything I need in a passive set up with a simple V/T knob setup?
     
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  20. DistortedBass

    DistortedBass Supporting Member

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    I think you would be good with a V/T setup, but my choice would be more sweet spot if you are going for one pickup, Just my preference. I think you would get better definition and if you have a naturally dark bass a single at the the neck could be a bit much.
     
  21. BlueTalon

    BlueTalon Happy Cynic Supporting Member

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    I had never heard of him before, until I read this thread. I started listening to his review of the Lace Alumitones, and holy crapoli, that guy is a tool! I couldn't listen to him for more than a minute.

    On the other hand, DistortedBass's demonstration was both educational and entertaining. Good chops, and good sound.

    Still trying to wrap my head around "single coil" Alumitones...
     
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