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Can ceramic pickup Lo-end improve with a nice preamp? Or...

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Ballin'bass, Jul 8, 2014.


  1. Ballin'bass

    Ballin'bass

    Jun 16, 2014
    Madison, WI
    I use an early 2000 EBMM Sterling with the single ceramic pickup. I've been a bit tired of the lack of depth from this thing even though i love the bass:bassist:. I love it's feel and I like the clarity from the ceramic pup vs the alnico ones I've heard in stingrays, but it doesn't really THUMP like i want.

    I am wondering if putting a sick preamp in it (like a John East) could make the bitey-ness/harshness be a bit fatter and chunkier while still keeping the clarity of the ceramic pup. I was thinking the midrange sweep knob on John Easts might offer help there, and i know John East delivers good low-end clarity.... so that's one thought...

    ....OR, am i wrong? is the EBMM 3-band preamp good enough to keep and should I just get a nice, upscale pickup to solve the problem? I just need clear, full range depth without losing mid and high-end clarity, cause i need that stuff:smug:. All-around, full-spectrum fatness:cool:.

    :help:Thoughts on which of these would be better at solving my problem would be VERY APPRECIATED! I just love this bass and i want it to sound as good as it feels!
     
  2. Ballin'bass

    Ballin'bass

    Jun 16, 2014
    Madison, WI
    Anybody? please, i could use some knowledge here...
     
  3. punchdrunk

    punchdrunk Supporting Member

    Jun 22, 2013
    Jacksonville, Fl
    There are a multitude of tonal variations between preamps.... I've had lots of luck from Glock, and from Bart's.... I'd suggest Glock for clarity with warmth and nice depth. Aguilar will also get you there....
     
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  4. miner

    miner

    Oct 26, 2008
    Chicago
    Not having that "thump" is probably part of what gives it that mid and high end clarity. Flatwound strings will give you some thump, but you'll lose a lot of that clarity that you like.

    The preamp in the bass right now is pretty good! If you have recording software, try recording the bass and using a parametric equalizer to see if cutting or boosting any certain frequencies will get you the sound you want (which is all changing the preamp will really be able to do). If you find that adding some of a certain frequency works, then find a preamp that will let you boost that and you should be good!
     
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  5. Grissle

    Grissle

    May 17, 2009
    Ceramic pickups certainly are prone to harsh or brittle highs and sterile low end if not designed and executed right. I agree with Minor^, you have a nice preamp already. Personally I would look to a new pickup.
     
    Ballin'bass likes this.
  6. Ballin'bass

    Ballin'bass

    Jun 16, 2014
    Madison, WI
    Yea i was thinking in that direction myself, the pickup seems to be where i should start. Any recommendations? I was thinkin nordstrand... dunno if i should think about EMG or something else? any and all thoughts to get a fat, even, clear sound from the musicman H style pickup would be sweet!:thumbsup:
     
  7. Ballin'bass

    Ballin'bass

    Jun 16, 2014
    Madison, WI
    Not sure i'm such a fan of EMG for this style pickup... :unsure:
     
  8. Grissle

    Grissle

    May 17, 2009
    Nordstrand and Delano both make really nice MM pickups.
     
    Ballin'bass likes this.
  9. Geri O

    Geri O Supporting Member

    Sep 6, 2013
    Florence, MS
    I'm kinda floored to read this. The stock ceramic pup in my 98 5-string couldn't be more perfect for my style and sound.

    Which, of course, is proof that we are all different and there are choices available to suit those differences...:D

    Sorry, I just caught the fact that you have a Sterling. Were the pups different in those from the Stingrays?
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2014
    Ballin'bass likes this.
  10. Mvilmany

    Mvilmany

    Mar 13, 2013
    Upstate NY
    Replace the pickup with a nice alnico.
     
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  11. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    Owner/Builder @Hopkins Guitars
    The pickup is the obvious answer to me, I really like Seymour Duncan's MM pickups.
     
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  12. Ballin'bass

    Ballin'bass

    Jun 16, 2014
    Madison, WI
    The sterling pups are always ceramic i think, whereas only certain years of stingrays have ceramic and most of them are alnico. I don't think my pickup sounds BAD or anything, it just doesn't really give me the full range of depth. I just got a jazz bass with a sick John East preamp and Nordstrand pups and it sounds like FAT PUNCH MACHINE! super wide tone. I just want my old EB sterling to have that kind of "tonal width". It does seem to be the pickup that'll do what i need. I am definitely lookin at Delano and Nordstrand.
     
  13. Ballin'bass

    Ballin'bass

    Jun 16, 2014
    Madison, WI
    Any thoughts on the EMG MM style pups? Anybody heard/used them?
     
  14. JustForSport

    JustForSport

    Nov 17, 2011
    I don't have one, but from what others have said on TB, the MM sound is as much the tonal bias of the preamp as the pickup.
    Do a little searching before spending $$ on something that won't get you what you want.
     
  15. Grissle

    Grissle

    May 17, 2009
    Safest route will be a quality Alnico traditional/vintage type pickup. Best Bass Gear is a good place to look around.
     
  16. whitedk57

    whitedk57

    May 5, 2005
    Franklin, NC
    I replaced my Sterling's original pickup with a Nordstrand pickup - warmer sound. I'm good now...
     
    Ballin'bass likes this.

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