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Best Gospel/R&B pickups...

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by pdao99, May 3, 2005.

  1. pdao99


    May 2, 2005
    i'm getting a custom bass made for me. it's a jon hill elite 5 string nech thru. (walnut core, 7 piece multi-laminate wenge neck, ebony fretboard, flamed maple wings, 2 humbuckers (soapbar)). i'm confident with everything except for the pickups. i mainly play contemporary gospel/R&B, funk, jazz, etc. i'm really looking for that modern gospel/R&B bass tone...i.e. andrew gouche, karen clak-sheard, jill scott, d'angelo, etc. this tone is really rich, thick and tight, with a full bottom that's focused. i also want that dark, organic fingerstlye sound that could transform into that punchy slap tone with the turn of a knob or the flick of a switch. i have a lakland 55-94 with the bartolini's and it sound cool but it's not as focused as i would like it to be. i want to combine the tones of a roscoe, tobias, and a ken smith. is this possible or am i asking for too much? jon hill offered me some kent armstrongs as a possibility...how do these sound? i hear they are hi-fi (non-organic) from some people, but then i hear the opposite from others. can bartolini custom wind me a hybrid b/w the roscoe and tobias pickup styles? what about aero? please help me out fellow bassists...
  2. Trevorus


    Oct 18, 2002
    Urbana, IL
    Get some EMG's with a good pre. That would be very versatile.
  3. burk48237

    burk48237 Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2004
    Oak Park, MI
    I'd check out Ken Smiths and one other possibility is the Sadowsky Soapbar! Both are fairly high-fi but still maintain some of that warmth that is so hard to come by.
  4. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    With the materials you're using I'd recommend Bartolini soapbars with a coil tap for versatility. As far as being able to go from the kind of fingerstyle vibe you described to a punchy slap, I have several basses that do that with ease and all except my F Bass Studio 5 have some type of Bartolini pickup.

    And I don't have to do any tweaks to achieve this. I've been extremely satisfied with the Bart dual and quadcoils I have in some basses, the custom Bart soaps in my MTD 635 and the tabless Bart J pickups in my Elricks.
  5. pdao99


    May 2, 2005
    is it true that kent armstrong winds ken smith's pickups...i heard that somewhere
  6. RevGroove

    RevGroove Commercial User

    Jul 21, 2002
    Burlington ON Canada
    Manager, Account Services: Long & McQuade Ltd. (Burlington); MTD Kingston Basses International Emerging Artist; Bartolini Electronics Emerging Artist
    Another vote for EMGs, they rock!
  7. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    Hey pdao99, I owned a Jon Hill Elite six-string fretless with similar specs (walnut body, ebony board, etc. Have you tried any of his other Elites with Bart soapbars in them? Mine had them, and it was a great sounding bass- very capable of getting the kinds of sounds you want.
  8. pdao99


    May 2, 2005
    yes i have brian. i actually tried a couple down at his shop in cleveland. but i only played one that was actually amped and it had the p/j setup. it sounded great. i'm just torn between using bartolinis vs. kent armstrongs. i hear great thing about the armstrongs but i've never heard them and there's so little info about them here in the u.s.a. i really need to hear them first hand to make a decision. i'm worried that they might sound all hi-fi, sterile, and ultra-clean which is not the sound i'm looking for obviously. so, if there's anybody out there who had had experience with kent armstrong soapbar pickups or know of soapbars that can get me the sound i'm describing, i'm begging for you to post a reply...thanks
  9. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    You can try to get in touch with David Anthony Jackson maybe. He has a custom Hill seven-string with Kent Armstrong soapbars, and I believe he plays gospel/r&b music. He live in Virginia- Jon probably has his number.
  10. FaBu-


    Jan 16, 2004
    I have Kent Armstrong on my custom 5 string. I like the sound a lot! It's not very hi-fi sounding, they are very versatile IMO. You can listen to some clips from our gig, where I used the bass, here: www.mikseri.net/bmh
  11. pdao99


    May 2, 2005
    thanks for the sound samples...they were cool. it gave me general idea of where the kent armstrongs are coming from. i figured out that i need something with a low to low-mid growl that's really rich, thick, and organic. i need that neo-soul sound. i wonder if kent could wind that sound for me. someone also mentioned that nordstrands are pretty good. does he do custom wound sounds and could he get the sound i'm looking for in humbuckers?
  12. pdao99


    May 2, 2005
    also, i need a slap tone that's really punchy and snappy, obviously. thanks, in advance.

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