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bass max experience

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by shwashwa, May 4, 2004.

  1. shwashwa


    Aug 30, 2003
    i tried a bass max for the first time yesterday on a gig. i liked the sound of it when i was warming up, but when the band came in it was immediately drown out. i didnt want to turn up because i was pretty loud already, so i tried to tweak the eq till i could cut through more, but to no avail. i know this can vary in every room so i'm not too upset about that. the one thing i did notice that bothered me alot was that i really needed to pull the strings harder, even when playing unaccompanied. can it be that the pickup is somehow less responsive? with my other pickup, a shadow copy of an underwood, i can play with a really light touch, but with the bass max i needed to pull really hard, and somehow i dont think it's a volume issue. i just dont feel the strings are speaking with the bass max. can anyone make sense of this? (also, i had it installed on the g string side because the other side was too wide. i did notice a significant drop in volume of the e string compared to the other strings and compared to the e string volume of the shadow. would 2 bass maxes help this?)
  2. JonB


    May 27, 2003
    a few suggestions:
    Make sure the bridge surfaces are flat at the pickup. Also that the pickup is wedged in fairly tight.
    Mine worked better on the E side. Maybe you could use a thick wedge?
    I made a "double bass max" by soldering 2 together. This worked well.
    Boosting the mids helps cut through the mix.
    A good preamp makes a big difference.
    Good luck!
  3. shwashwa


    Aug 30, 2003
    thanks... the pickup is fitting pretty nicely on the side that it's on now (g string) what would i use for a wedge if i wanted to put it in the e string side? also, i use a raven labs blender/preamp into a baby blue, so i'm sure that the equipment isnt the problem...
  4. Geoff Firebaugh

    Geoff Firebaugh

    Apr 1, 2004
    Nashville TN
    Endorsing artist:Blast Cult, BNA Audio, Fender, Innovation Stings, K&K
    I've found that the Bassmax simply requires more gain in the pre stage to get the response out of that you are looking for. I use one with the K&K quantum blender, and get all the volume I need. The Bassmax does have a higher impedance than the underwood, therefore, it requires a different gain structure to really get the most out of it.

  5. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY

    On my carved bass, my Double Bass Max sounds like a million dollars. On my ply, it sounded like about 50 cents at first because it wasn't fitted correctly. One I started shimming it on the ply, it sounded fine. The best shims I've found so far are old sax reeds. I remember the first time I discovered this, I was on a crappy outdoor gig with my ply, and the pickup actually started to fall out from the vibration. The sax player gave me an old reed to use to help hold it in, and *caCHINGGGG* all of a sudden the pickup put out about five times as much sound. It's worth a shot, anyway.

    Hope this helps.
  6. I've also just peeled thin strips of maple off pieces of firewood, then sized with a pocketknife. Nice and thin, did the job perfectly on my bridge. Made a huge difference too.
  7. shwashwa


    Aug 30, 2003
    awesome, i'll try it and let you know... thanks
  8. tornadobass

    tornadobass Supporting Member

    Nov 20, 2000
    Iowa City, Iowa
    Endorsing Artist: Black Diamond & SuperSensitive strings
    Can you use new sax reeds, too? I've always seen the recommendation to use an "old sax reed." Would I need break in a new sax reed before shimming a BassMax? :)

    Actually, my BugBass with a BassMax has lots of output and cuts through my blues band nicely without a lot of effort. I was told that if the fit was just a tiny bit loose, a layer or two of masking tape could be used. Makes sense considering the pickup is already covered with rubber.
  9. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    You can only use new ones if the sax player on the gig happens to be very wealthy, very generous, or both. :)
  10. ArenW


    Jan 14, 2004
    Cocoa, FL
    I get tons of volume with my Bass Max, going through a cheap, 1x10" combo. It's not the perfect, wood, air, and string sound, but if you can't hear yourself--- turn up!
  11. mcbosler


    May 12, 2000
    Plano, TX
    I'm pretty convinced that it's just more quiet than the pickup you're used to. I sat in with a friend's jazz quartet at a coffee gig and we shared his rig, just brought our separate db's. He played first, I second. We didn't really have to tweak the eq, but his Realist was just simply louder than my bass max. Turned it up a bit, no problems.

    Both of our basses are 3/4 and fully carved, so I don't think that was the reason for the volume difference.

    I agree with the others that you should get it back on the E side of the bridge though.
  12. Nah, sax players throw away at least half the reeds of every box they buy after one blow.

    Reminds me of a story of Bill Crow's Jazz Anecdotes where an alto sax player, Jimmy Ford, asked a baritone player for a reed. The bari player couldn't imagine what an alto player would use it for, but he handed Jimmy a brand new Rico. Jimmy takes the reed, whips out a Dixie cup and starts eating his ice cream using the reed as a spoon!
  13. Bob Gollihur

    Bob Gollihur GollihurMusic.com

    Mar 22, 2000
    New Joisey Shore
    Big Cheese Emeritus: Gollihur Music
    I chatted with a guy the other day, said he had varying thickness guitar picks, seems like a good idea for a precise shim.
  14. dvmweb


    Apr 20, 2002
    Atlanta MI 49709
    Get yourself a nice pre amp. I use a Fishman pro. It works well. But as soon as I save up a few nickels I am going to buy the Fishman Bass Pro Eq from Bob G. The impedance matches better and you can control the eq.
  15. shwashwa


    Aug 30, 2003
    i use the raven labs blender. a very nice preamp. that's not the problem
  16. atunbridge


    Apr 23, 2002
    Devon UK
    I found exactly the same loss of response that you described when I experimented with a Bass Max instead of my Underwood. I tried everything - sax reeds, different preamps, two Bass Maxes - none of it made any difference. It sounded fine in the front room but on a gig turned into a dull thumper. It is not so much a tone issue as a responsiveness issue. My conclusion was that the Bass Max just doesn't work with my Bass! I went back to the Underwood and, with careful adjustment of the eq on a Fishman Platinum Pro I get a very nice sound through an AI Contra.
  17. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Wow, I find the volume issue some are having very odd. I've played in some festivals at very nearly rock-concert sound levels, and the Bass Max drove the whole band with nary a hint of feedback. I can't imagine another pickup doing it better.

    That said, it doesn't produce the same effect on my plywood (not that I've ever tried to play that bass that loud...). Hmm... :meh:
  18. shwashwa


    Aug 30, 2003
    yes, its quite interesteng. i have a nice kolstien bass, it's a 7/8 size. i dont know if that makes a difference or not, but the only way i can describe it is that the pickup isnt responsive... i have to pull harder, even with the volume up, to get the sound out. i feel like that pickup cant be played with a soft touch for some reason. that's not the case with my underwood copy, but the underwood copy is prone to feedback too. maybe that's the key?
  19. FidgetStone


    Jun 30, 2002
    Allen, TX
    My experience concurs with the posts above regarding fit. It makes a big difference. Not just snugness but flatness. The first bridge I tried a BassMax with had very rounded edges where you place the pick-up and the sound was thin with too much mid-range.

    My current bridge provides for more surface contact and flatter surface contact, and it makes a lot of difference. A better overall sound and lots less feedback. The BassMax, however still has a bit more mid-range than some.

    This past Sunday I played though a Baggs Paracoustic DI preamp straight to the board with no amplifier at all for the first time and it sounded better than ever. I think that with a little tweaking I can get to a more natural sound.

    The Baggs preamp has a lot of tone control that is helpful, but you can still tell that the BassMax has its own character that only gives you so much room to play with. That being said, I still think that you would have to spend triple the money to beat the BassMax.

    Good luck . . .
  20. I treated my Bass Max like a baby for about a year, kept it on the UB all the time. One day, all of a sudden it, it sounds like it's shorting out, buzz and crackle. I took it off and plugged it in holding it in my hand and wiggled it and thought that that there was a break somewhere just above the jack. The mic seems to be fine. I unscrewed the cover and didn't see anything, took it in to the local music store, they couldn't find anything, got it home and it was OK for 15 mins. and then buzz and crackle. I guess I need to send it back to K&K, and I may have just gone over the 1 year warranty (sshhh) O course, I have a bunch of gigs all at once coming up, and I'll probably use the Shure 58 wrapped in the sponge because I'll never get around to sending it back to K&K. Anyone else experienced this? Any suggestions? I'm quite anal when it comes to wires and solder, but maybe the problem has been in the troubleshooting?