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Compare Underwood with K & K Bass Max

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by D. Matthews, Jul 3, 2001.


  1. D. Matthews

    D. Matthews

    Apr 16, 2001
    Canada
    Can anyone (feel free to jump in Bob!) with experience with both these pickups tell me how they compare. The Underwood I've used for years has started to crap out on occasion so I thought I might replace it with a Bass Max, or maybe even the Bass Max/Golden Trinity mic combo. I should mention that I've tried a Realist(which I still have and will probably sell if anyone is interested) and with my bass it doesn't seem to have enough top end clarity for live gigs even with EQ help from a Fishman Model B preamp. I seem to only get that "old school" thump, although in the studio it works quite well....go fig. I play a 120yr. old Bohemian Flatback and prefer a sound with lots of mwah and clarity to the notes. Thanks in advance for any help you may provide.
     
  2. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    I don't care for the sound of the underwood personally, but I prefer it to the fishman. Currently I'm using a custom version of the Bass Max, which consists of two Bass Max pickups (one on each wing) blended with the Trinity mic. To my ears, the only problem with the Bass Max is that it overbalances the tone toward whichever side of the bridge you put it on. With one on each side (Bob can get you one that's wired for stereo if you want, so you can control the balance from side to side), it's a great pickup, and it absolutely KILLS the Underwood.

    I played on the faculty concert of the Aebersold camp last night using the "Double Bass Max" coupled with the Trinity mic. When our set was over, Lynn Seaton and Rich Armandi (two of the other faculty guys) came up onto the stage trying to find out what I was using, saying that they had never heard a bass sound THAT CLEAN in that room (a boomy recital hall). They also liked the Clarus head I was running through. I can't say enough good things about both. With the Trinity/"DBM" combination (with the preamp/blender) you have so much control over your tone it's ridiculous. I have yet to find a room that I can't get a decent sound in with that setup.
     
  3. I've just tried out a Clarus, courtesy of the local AI dealer, but found it not as good as my GK800RB. I found the Clarus to be too mid rangey, and the controls to be very subtle. The GK, even with all controls set flat, sounded more transparent than the Clarus. I liked the portability, but sound is the bottom line.
     
  4. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Hmmm...what kind of pickup/speaker were you using? I have a GK 400RB that I use for BG, and could never get a decent DB tone with it. I know that the 800RB is a higher end model, and it's capable of bi-amp operation. Are you using it that way, with 2 speakers?
     
  5. Bob Gollihur

    Bob Gollihur GollihurMusic.com

    Mar 22, 2000
    New Joisey Shore
    Big Cheese Emeritus: Gollihur Music
    I have only rarely gotten an unbalanced response from the Bass Max -- it may be slightly different on each side, but the only time I've gotten an uneven response has been when the upper part (above the wings) of a bridge is significantly shorter than the average bridge. It has also happened inexplicably on one other bridge, and the player changed the bridge out and the problem was resolved. No criticism intended, just wanted to mention that it favoring one side over the other is a rare instance.

    While the second one can add some dimension, it isn't always necessary. Steve Azola, who uses the Bass Max on almost all of his electric uprights, adds a second Bass Max in an angled location on the G string on his tombstone style bridges on some of his instruments, to blend with the main one on the E side in a location coincident with a standard bridge's wing.
     
  6. Bob Gollihur

    Bob Gollihur GollihurMusic.com

    Mar 22, 2000
    New Joisey Shore
    Big Cheese Emeritus: Gollihur Music
    Someone else's comment about Underwood vs. Bass Max; his email reproduced with his permission:

    April 17, 2001
    Hey, Bob.
    Just thought I'd let you know I installed the Bass Max this weekend and it sounds fantastic. I was using the Underwood before, and there is no comparison. With the Underwood I always had to compromise between a brittle sound or one that sounded like a fretless bass guitar. The Bass Max sounds like my bass, which is all I've really been after. I can run it with my amp set flat and not feel the need to tweak it. Also, it seems to work just fine at loud volumes, and since I play with an obnoxiously loud guitarist, volume is a pretty big issue for me. Thanks for getting it to me so quickly. Take care.
    Sincerely,
    Matt Sumner
     
  7. richmoore1998

    richmoore1998

    Sep 11, 2006
    Niagara, Canada
    Endorsing Artist: Genz Benz Amps, D'Addario Strings, Planet Waves
    I bought a K&K Double Big Twin from Bob and although I loved the sound of it in very quiet settings it caused huge trouble for me feedback-wise in certain rooms. Believe me, I tested this thing all over but ended up reverting back to my Underwood as it gives me more volume and a bit more punch in certain settings - and no low frequency feedback.

    The K&K is great but the Underwood wins at this particular time in my life as far as rooms and gigs. I will say that the Pure Preamp that came with my pickup is awesome for bass. So I'm using my Underwood into the K&K preamp. Totally happy with it!

    I also tour with a Yamaha SLB200 electric upright and use the K&K preamp for that on my pedalboard going into my switching pedal... just great...

    That's my $.02.
     
  8. AMJBASS

    AMJBASS Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    Ontario, Canada
    Rich! How are things? Agreed about the Double Big Twin. I have one as well and I agree about the sound. Its ok at lower volume, but it tends to get out of control when you start to push it. The Underwood is a great pickup for louder volumes, but IMO the Fullcircle is one of the best piezos I have ever used. Its natural sounding, doesn't feedback easily, and is relatively easy to install if you have adjusters already.
     
  9. Bass

    Bass

    Nov 10, 2003
    Canada
    The Bassmax is more feedback resistant than the Underwood. My feedback trouble disappeared entirely since I switched to Bassmax. And I play pretty loud in a small room.

    I very much prefer the sound of the Bassmax over the Underwood. The Underwood sounds "nasal" and muddy (to me). The Bassmax sounds awesome - lots of bass.

    I used to use a GK800RB as well, and liked it alot. Shouldn't have sold it.
     
  10. richmoore1998

    richmoore1998

    Sep 11, 2006
    Niagara, Canada
    Endorsing Artist: Genz Benz Amps, D'Addario Strings, Planet Waves
    I disagree about the Bassmax feedback. I tried it in as many possible situations as I could and the Underwood wins. No nasal sound but lacking in tone as far as my D and G strings... Also had a Fishman Full Circle for a while and kept my Underwood. Seems to work for me after all this time.... Just my $0.02.
     
  11. Looks like this thread is going to end in the same place most of the pup threads do. You have to do what sounds good on your particular bass with your particular gear setup.

    I'm not super experienced with a lot of different pickups, but every time I've heard an underwood, it sounds like an underwood. Thats not necessarily a bad thing, but, to my ear, it certainly colors the sound (which for some people sounds really good).