5 string soapbar recommendations

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Gecko 5, Nov 21, 2005.

  1. Gecko 5

    Gecko 5 Inactive Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jul 11, 2005
    South Milwaukee , Wisconsin
    Gecko Leatherworks
    Several years ago I bought a used Warmoth Gecko 5 string .
    I came equipt with two soapbar pickups made by Gotoh , yeah the tuning gear people .
    I'v grown to greatly dislike them .
    They seem to have a very thin sound with a lot of mids .
    I really like the bass and hate to part with it .
    How much will changing the pickups , change the sound of my bass ?
    Anyone have any suggestions ?
    Is anyone familiar with the EMG active soapbars ?
    The guy I bought the bass from got these Gotohs through Warmoth several years ago , and I know Stew-Mac used to sell them .
    I'm just not digging them .
  2. chrisp2u

    chrisp2u Supporting Member

    Aug 15, 2005
    Buffalo, NY
    I know Warmoth seems to push the SD BassLines PU's quite a bit now. I've never heard them though. I bought a used Gecko5 myself not too long ago which has Villex soapbars installed. They sound great, only problem with the ones I have is that they're single-coil (which William Villex informed me that he hasn't made too many of those), so they pickup RF hum/buzz interference which wouldn't be a prob if they were humbuckers.

    The Villex's are passive, but seem nearly as hot as any of the active basses I have and their mid tone control is great-- I think I actually like the tone as much, if not more than my Lakland 55-02 with the Bartolini's and Bart NTMB pre. Maybe that's just the passive thing though, I dunno-- it never seemed to make that much of a difference to me before.

    I was considering upgrading the Villex's to humbuckers to get rid of that single-coil buzz, or maybe pickup (no pun intended) some Nordstrand Signature Dual-coils possibly... I'm still on the fence though. Also thought about trying something a bit more on the budget side comparably (but still decent) like Kent Armstrong soaps. We'll see... I probably won't do anything til after the first ofthe year.
  3. DavidRavenMoon

    DavidRavenMoon Inactive

    Oct 20, 2004
    I have EMG soapbars in my basses. I always wondered what those Gotoh pickups sounded like... I remember StewMac used to sell them. I'm surprised they are thin sounding... wonder if they are wired up the right way? Almost sounds like they are out of phase... Do they have 4 conductor wiring? The two coils might be wired up wrong.

    Changing the pickup will make a huge difference.

    EMG makes a few pickups that would fit. I'm guessing those would be EMG 40 size. I have a 40P5 (neck), 40DC (middle), and 40J (bridge). They also make the 40CS and 40TW, which is a CS and J in the same case, so you can switch between humbucker and single coil.

    I love the 40P5 in the neck position, and the 40J sounds great... gives you a nice P/J setup. The DC sounds best in the MM sweet spot, but I'm not crazy about it elsewhere. If you like a lot of bite, then it's a great pickup for the bridge position. I think a CS would be better in the bridge. The CS is a much warmer sounding pickup than the DC and would probably work fine in all positions.

    Duncan also makes soapbars that size, in both dual coil humbucker,and split coil humbuckers. And Bartolini makes some too.

    Here's my bass with the EMG's. This is mostly the 40J which is much closer to the bridge than a Jazz bass, with some of the DC mixed in and a little of the 40P. This is a very bright tone I'm using, but that was intentional. I usually use a fatter sound. This was recorded to demonstrate the difference in tone between plucking soft and hard.

    Solo bass
  4. Gecko 5

    Gecko 5 Inactive Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jul 11, 2005
    South Milwaukee , Wisconsin
    Gecko Leatherworks
    Thanks for the reply.
    Yes these are the same pickups Stew-Mac used to sell .
    I suppose it is possible they may be wired wrong .
    I don't know anything about wiring pickups .
    They are split coils , and I would like to stay with that sort of set-up .
    The Gotohs were quite expensive I remember that much .
    I would prefer to go with EMGs , only because I've used their stuff before and have had nothing but good luck with them .
    I would appreciate any other input .
  5. First thing that I think of for a thin sound is a phasing issue, which is pretty good news for you. Its mostly a matter of systematically swapping wires around till you have them in phase properly, which means its free if you're prepared to have a fiddle with a soldering iron.

    If it is the pups, your options are really immense, just about any pickup manufacturer worth their salt makes a pup in the EMG40 shape (exception to that is DiMarzio but I'm told their J's and P's are the shizzle), and as Dave alluded to, you can fit just about anything you want under that cover.

    Tonewise, the world is your oyster (so be prepared to shuck it, cover it in tobasco and slurp it down your cakehole...).

    Josh D
  6. Gecko 5

    Gecko 5 Inactive Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jul 11, 2005
    South Milwaukee , Wisconsin
    Gecko Leatherworks
    Davidraven , your input is pretty much what I'm looking for .
    I can get an incredible deal on a DC from my local Guitar Center . But I don't know , neck or bridge position ?
    I guess what I want is something with a lot of punch , but some good bottom end .
    My Gecko has two mini-toggles for splitiing the coils on the Gotohs . Being able to split the coils gives you so many tonal options .Can you split the coils on the DC ?
  7. Gecko 5

    Gecko 5 Inactive Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jul 11, 2005
    South Milwaukee , Wisconsin
    Gecko Leatherworks
    After checking out the EMG website , I am thinking DC in the bridge position and 40P5 in neck .
    Any thoughts ?
  8. DavidRavenMoon

    DavidRavenMoon Inactive

    Oct 20, 2004
    I'm not nuts about the DC in the bridge position... but you might like it. It has a real sharp high end... so if you want something warmer I'd use the CS instead. The only way I could describe the DC in the bridge position was it had a "chirpy" high end... this might also be due to my bass having a phenolic (ebonol) fingerboard... But I couldn't tame the top end. In the Music Man position is sounds great.

    The CS is warmer sounding, but as I said you might like the DC, especialy if you are looking for a bright tone from the bridge pup.

    The DC is not splitable, but they make the TW which is a CS and J in the same case. You can switch between them, which is like having a splitable humbucker. or you can even use them both at the same time.

    This would give you a P/HB and P/J setup on the same bass.