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Changing pickup on my musicman

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by zeppfan90, Jan 26, 2014.

  1. zeppfan90


    Mar 27, 2013
    I have a Sterling by Music Man Ray34 active 4 string. It has the classic Ray34 pickup. I am kind of a noob when it comes to knowledge of pickups. But I have been thinking instead of buying a new bass one day(just for fun, not that my sterling isn't good) to maybe "upgrade" my Sterling. I'm just not sure what types of tones each different pickup would give and if I'm going to change the pickup I want to choose the right one the first time. I guess it would be helpful to mention as well the tone I am looking for. I really like to be able to cross between great fingerstyle/slap funk sound and the old classic rock fingerstyle/pick rock sound, like that old wooden sound from having a hard attack.

  2. rojo412

    rojo412 MARK IT ZERO! Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2000
    Cleveland, OH.
    From what I can tell by reading about a lot of MM pickups is, you have to know whether you want to stick with the "Musicman" sound... or abandon it.

    In other words, you can get pickups from Nordstrand that are very true to Musicman sounds through the ages. They will give you a similar tonality, but with improved response.
    The other side of the coin is pickups like Bartolini or EMG, etc. They basically change the tonality more, getting you away from what many may call the "Musicman" tone.

    Have you considered changing strings to flatwounds? On a MM bass, there's a huge difference between the sound with Flats vs Rounds. Flats will get you an old-school thump, which sounds like what you're after.
  3. zeppfan90


    Mar 27, 2013
    Actually, I do have flats on it haha. Black Diamonds to be exact. From what you said, it looks like checking into Nordstrand might be what I want. But I also have seen EMG and Bartolini pickups made specifically for MusicMan basses. I think what I am really looking to do is keep the same sound, but just improve the bass tone itself.
  4. zeppfan90


    Mar 27, 2013
    Checking out the Nordstrand pickups. The MM4.4 sounds like what I am aiming for since it mentions it is better for a darker sound. Might be the way to go for me. Thanks for the input!
  5. rojo412

    rojo412 MARK IT ZERO! Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2000
    Cleveland, OH.
    I had an SBMM SB14 with the Nordy pickup in it and was very impressed. I A/B'd it against an EBMM Sterling (which was one of the best I've ever seen) and it was as good, if not better in certain aspects.

    I also A/B'd my 2 band EBMM from 93 against an SBMM Ray 34CA and they were pretty close. The 93 is all stock, as was the 34CA, but the 93 had a bit more oomph and articulation.

    So the stock pickups are good, but the Nordys give a little more edge where it counts.
    There's a video of an OLP going from stock to Nordy Pickup and Pre on youtube... what a transformation!
  6. svtb15

    svtb15 Commercial User

    Mar 22, 2004
    Austin,TX - McKinney,TX - NY,NY, - Nashville,TN
    I play it all. Whatever works for the gig
    Ive replaces the PuPs in my MM basses over and over And i always go back to the originals that came in the bass. i've tried the Nordys, Bartolinis, Duncans and some OEM.. The Nordys were my Least favorite of all.. Very brittle sounding up top... The Duncans sounded closest to my '77 Stingray.. Bartolini completely different thing all together..
    Save yourself money and just work with the original pickups, unless they have failed for some reason. Just my .02