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Active EMGs on Fretless???

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Rhythmbug, Jan 23, 2006.

  1. Rhythmbug


    Jan 22, 2006
    London UK
    Hi Guys

    I have a fernandes fretless 5 that has EMG HZ passive pups and fernandes active pre. (My other bass is a SR5 with a basslines pup)

    I recently got a cheap emg BQS system (not fitted yet) and planned on lumping a 40DC in the neck position and 40TW in the bridge to the fernandes.
    Though after doing a bit of google research, I've seen some negative feedback about active EMGs in fretless, that the sound is too harsh. I wonder whether this is just a personal preference?

    When I started playing bass 12 odd years back I remember seeing the video clip for primus - tommy the cat - and being totally blown away by the tone (amongst everything else of course) - and he uses 40DCs.
    Now I know alot of people wouldn't go for the tone he gets from fretless, that's fine. And obviously there is alot more to his sound that just his pups, don't get me wrong.
    Its just I worry about the negative feedback thing, even anthony vitti says he doesn't use EMGs on his fretless because it doesn't have enough bottom. That's why I think the 40TW might help out.

    The other thing is I see alot of support for Barts on fretless but there are so many different types I don't know where to start.

    Can anyone offer any insight, cheers
  2. elros


    Apr 24, 2004
    Proprietor, Helland Musikk Teknologi
    My old Acacia custom fretless had EMG DC pickups in it, which I later changed to the TW type. They both sounded lovely. The TW didn't quite have the same top end as the DC model, but it had some warmer mids, as well as the coil tap option.
    I'd not hesitate to choose EMGs for fretless again. Very good stuff.
  3. BassyBill

    BassyBill The smooth moderator... Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2005
    West Midlands UK
    Definitely +1. I have the EMG J set on my fretless Jazz, I went for them because one of the things I want most in a fretless tone is clarity. Here's a little clip - what do you think?
  4. TheBrad

    TheBrad Baby step bassist - 90% n00b

    Jan 16, 2006
    Mountain View,CA
    Hello, I have a Fernandes Tremor 4DLX, fretted however. But I recently began to do some research and came up to the same conclusion as you, with going for EMGs. I had the idea of using a CS and a DC, since I have two soapbar sized cavities that would need to be filled. I began talking with Dennis and Lee at The Bass Place (AZ) and they recommended the TW pickups for both neck and bridge positions. As far as preamps, they didn't give any specific recommendations- but if you do decide to go with the TW you will have to use the BQS control or something similar (V-V-B/T-M/M) because of the push-pull volume pots.
    Hope my rant was of some help.
  5. ric426

    ric426 In my defense, I was left unsupervised. Supporting Member

    Mar 27, 2002
    Southeast Michigan
    Sounds really nice! What kind of strings are you using and what kind of fingerboard does your bass have?
  6. Rhythmbug


    Jan 22, 2006
    London UK
    thanks alot guys, that helps alot! bassybill your fretless tone is stunning!
    I agree that clarity is really important on fretless, it's so easy to get lost in the mix or notes sounding muddled together.

    I will stick with my plan for the DC & TW.

  7. Hmmm...I just ordered the Stingray-esque MMTW pickup for the custom fretless I'm working on.

    Wise? :confused: :eyebrow:
  8. BassyBill

    BassyBill The smooth moderator... Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2005
    West Midlands UK
    Okay, thanks for the compliment - and Rhythmbug, too. :D

    BUT it's confession time... although I said the EMGs are great on that bass (they are) a lot of its tone I attribute to the neck. It's a Status graphite replacement Jazz neck with a phenolic fingerboard. The rigidity (and consequent high resonant frequency) of the graphite and the hardness of the board are, I think, major factors in that sound. Not everyone's idea of a great fretless tone perhaps, but I really like it.

    The strings on there are Dean Markley Fretmasters - a nice "compromise" string, they're roundwound, but burnished over the fingerboard section for a smoother feel and less wear. This seems to work as this part of the strings feels pretty much like halfrounds to me.The section over the pickups is left unburnished for the normal roundwound tone. Nice strings, but a bit pricey in the UK (I actually had them shipped from the US). I have a set of Rotosound Solo bass compression wound strings I'm going to try on it next.
  9. BassyBill

    BassyBill The smooth moderator... Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2005
    West Midlands UK
    Time to revive this ancient thread...

    I've just got round to putting those Rotosound Solo strings on this bass (after buying them just two years ago :D). They're a really good choice if you want a fairly bright string but don't want to put rounds on your fretless for whatever reason. I'm very pleased with them, they complement the tone of this bass perfectly.

    I guess I'd best get on over to the strings forum...
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    Nov 30, 2020

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