1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
     
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

Anyone else still use an Underwood? And like it?

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by Lia_G, May 4, 2006.


  1. Lia_G

    Lia_G

    Oct 27, 2005
    Just wondering, with all the options out there, how many of you still stick with the Underwood. I love mine, by the way. But then, my gigs are more folk / country / bluegrass, although I am just starting with a trio playing some more jazzy/rocky/alternative things (think Dave Matthews Band on acid, if you can imagine it ... I mean the sound! We're not on acid ... ;).

    Anyway, I find that generally I like it using just the treble element. If it's too boomy that way for a room, I cut some bass eq. If the room is just unmanageable that way, I'll use both elements, but I have to really mess with the eq then, to trim the highs and fatten the low mids and bass.

    But usually, the sound with the treble element is just right on, rich and warm. Yes, a bit colored, which is probably why some like it less than some of hte other options. I guess I just really like that sound, and it matches well with my bass and strings, and my playing style.

    For those of you who do use the Underwood, do you go straight to your amp, or do you use a preamp? If a pre, which one? Just curious ... I'm going straight to my amp now, but might consider a pre someday, who knows.

    Cheers,
    Liam
     
  2. Roger Mouton

    Roger Mouton Supporting Member

    Aug 19, 2003
    Southern California
    Yes - I like it. I use both elements all the time. Mostly jazz pizz. Very little arco. Pre-amp (Fishman's older model preamp) was necessary for a Polytone amp until I got a Clarus III playing through a simple 12" PA cab. You didn't say whether a carved or laminated instrument and what amp you use either. I suppose that can make a difference.
     
  3. Lia_G

    Lia_G

    Oct 27, 2005
    Hi, Roger,

    Thanks for the reply. I play a Christopher laminated bass, with Velvet Anima strings, with either a Clarus SL or an iAmp 500 head into one or two Wizzy cabs (almost always one with DB).

    Thanks!
    Liam
     
  4. Sam Sherry

    Sam Sherry Inadvertent Microtonalist Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2001
    Portland, ME
    Euphonic Audio "Player"
    Underwood user since 1978. Every other pickup I've tried doesn't sound as good to my ear. I mix in some AMT mic when the occasion calls for it.

    I run both Underwood elements straight into a 1981 Walter Woods MI-100. I heard this amp was built around the Underwood and it's a very natural-sounding combination, particularly with the Euphonic VL-208 cab.

    Underwood --> WW was the stuff the heavy hitters used when I was learning ... Michael Moore said, "Get an Underwood" and I never looked back.
     
  5. Liam -- I also still use the Underwood. I have far less experience than Sam, so I'm sure I haven't tried all the other equipment that he has tried, but I've tried a few setups and for me, the Underwood still has the best overall sound and the most flexibiliity for use in different situations, types of music, etc.

    Mostly I use it going into the Fishman Platinum/EQ preamp, then into a Gallien-Krueger small combo amp (MB 150E). However, I've recently been trying it without the preamp, going directly into the GK, and getting a better sound than I remembered from before.

    I also have owned and used a Revolution SOLO pickup and the AMT SB25 bass mic, and for me the Underwood beats both of them.
     
  6. Uncletoad

    Uncletoad

    May 6, 2003
    Columbus Ohio
    Proprietor Fifth Avenue Fret Shop. Technical Editor Bass Gear Magazine
    I have an Underwood. On all three basses I've tried it on it sounds thin, treble heavy and honky. In every case the Full Circle was richer and more open with tons more low end and midrange clarity.

    Maybe I don't know how to use it properly?
     
  7. B String

    B String Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
    Try using the Fishman eq directly into the effects return on
    the GK, and using the Fishman as the only preamp. The
    master volume on the GK is still the master volume.
     
  8. winston

    winston

    May 2, 2000
    Berkeley, CA
    When I had Pirastro Jazzers on my laminated NS Cleveland, I felt the Underwood was the best-sounding pickup I own (also have BassMax, Rev Solo, and Schertler Stat-B). It fit perfectly snug and sounded best with both transducers. Even arco, it sounded really good--somehow the phase cancellation between the elements cut out all the scratchy frequencies and evened out the volume. This was through several different amps--SWR WM 12, GK 200MB, and Eden and EA heads into a Wizzy or Bergantino HT-112. I play jazz, Latin, and funk in situations from quiet piano trio to raucous 8-piece bands with electric guitar, keys, several horns, and slammin' drummers.

    Since changing back to Spiro Mittels the Underwood is too loose and doesn't fit right without shims--a bit weird because they're heavier gauge/higher tension than the Jazzers so I would have thought that the wings would have been compressed down further. I haven't found a preamp to be necessary with the Underwood, though I do sometimes use the Fishman Platinum Pro or SansAmp ParaDriver.
     
  9. Bobby King

    Bobby King Supporting Member

    May 3, 2005
    Nashville, TN
    I've used an Underwood for a long time. I use only the bass side. I've found that these pickups sound way better when you only use one element. I go for a gut-like punchy sound and this works great.
     
  10. Lia_G

    Lia_G

    Oct 27, 2005
    Hi, Phil,

    Try using only one of the elements, as Bobby King mentioned. He uses the bass side, I tend to use the treble side. When both elements are in place, there's a phase cancelling effect that happens (so I've been told) that makes for a thinner sound. WIth only one element, even on the treble side like I use, the bass and low mids are much richer and fuller.

    The other side of this, though, is that it can get boomy. However, for me, it's easier to cut some lows if I have to than to try to dial the lows back in if using both elements.

    Cheers,
    Liam
     
  11. Andy Allen

    Andy Allen "Working Bassist"

    Aug 31, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    If this thin sound is caused by phase cancellation, then reversing the phase of one of the elements should make the two elements complement each other, rather than cancel each other out, providing a richer and hotter output. This is probably the set-up for those that swear by it - and, although I don't have any direct experience with this pick-up, I expect that this was the way it was designed to be used. After all, they didn't add the second element for fun, it is there for a purpose.

    You only need to change the phase on one element - either by reversing it's installation (turning it over) or by reversing it's wiring. Ideally it would be nice to have a system that takes both elements to a blender pre-amp that will allow you to adjust level and phase for each element. I think there's a version of the K&K BassMax that does just this.

    Andy
     
  12. That's exactly how it sounds without a preamp.
     
  13. Damon Rondeau

    Damon Rondeau Journeyman Clam Artist Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2002
    Winnipeg, baby
    I use both elements of my Underwood. I've no experience with other pickups, so no comment there.

    This phase cancellation thing interests me, though. I've always taken care to put mine on the bass so that the wires aren't twisted in any way. I kinda thought it was designed that way...

    I've been grumpy with a thinnish kind of sound -- I'm going to try that flip an element / one element idea.
     
  14. Uncletoad

    Uncletoad

    May 6, 2003
    Columbus Ohio
    Proprietor Fifth Avenue Fret Shop. Technical Editor Bass Gear Magazine
    Sorry, didn't mention I used a Raven Labs and a Baggs paracoustic preamp in the mix. I'm going to try the single side thing when I get a minute and report back.

    Probably do it at the Belchfest.
     
  15. musicman5string

    musicman5string Banned

    Jan 17, 2006
    Recently I recorded my Underwood direct into a ProTools MBox to check out the sound; ehh...I definitely see the merits of a pre-amp, as when I used a plug-in eq on above said recording, the sound was alot better.
     
  16. Bobby King

    Bobby King Supporting Member

    May 3, 2005
    Nashville, TN
    I know lots of people that use the treble side. It's not that much different. You can also try using the one intended for the treble side on the bass and vice versa. The point is that one works best. It's true that it gets a little boomy and thumpy, but it's punchy and you can turn it up without feedback. I'm about to try a Revolution solo pickup on this new bass I bought that has a Dresden style bridge. I hope it works and I like it, otherwise I'll have to have a new French bridge made so I can use "Old Faithful".
     
  17. Damon Rondeau

    Damon Rondeau Journeyman Clam Artist Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2002
    Winnipeg, baby
    You one-element guys, do you just let the other element dangle in the air? No microphonic problems with the other element?
     
  18. Bobby King

    Bobby King Supporting Member

    May 3, 2005
    Nashville, TN

    I just let mine dangle in the air ;) and don't get anything picking up throught the other element. I think it really needs to be in contact with the bridge to pickup sound.
     
  19. Damon Rondeau

    Damon Rondeau Journeyman Clam Artist Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2002
    Winnipeg, baby
    Thx Bobby -- I'm gonna give it a go...
     
  20. Lia_G

    Lia_G

    Oct 27, 2005
    I was getting problems with the other element brushing the bridge or the top. I tied it in place with a twist tie, in a way that it can't move, but the loose element doesn't touch the bridge, top, or the wire itself.

    Cheers,
    Liam
     

Share This Page