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comparison: Stringcharger vs Biesele, Anyone?

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by bobyoung53, Nov 13, 2004.

  1. I've only been playing upright at this point for about 4 months after playing electric for 38 years, I've picked it up quickly (stilll have a long way to go though) and am getting a lot of work, all kinds including LOUD rock, and rock a billy. To get to the point (I've got the K&K stereo set up and like it but I'm tired of feedback) I tried a Stringcharger last night, it sounded good after I EQ'ed it right and I could get as loud as I wanted to and then some (sounded like an electric with no EQ) but I was wondering if anyone here has tried the Biesele magnetic PU, I am after the most natural sounding one and realize I will have to add a piezo for slap. (is a lot cheaper to do with the stringcharger I think) These things are not cheap and I want to make the right choice, if anyone here has any experience I'd appreciate any feedback or advice, thanks,
  2. Simplified, does anyone here have experience with both the stringcharger and the Biesele magnetic pickups, if so please compare the differences and similarities in them especially the sound and difference in it if any, thanks :help:
  3. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    I am curious where you can get the Biesele pickup, since I have heard about it but have never seen a dealer. Right now I am using a homemade magnetic pickup, literally some stepping motor coils around rare earth magnets. So I am going to watch this thread and see what sorts of opinions amerge.
  4. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
  5. Hi! I'm new here,but I've also used a home made magnetic pickup on my 58 Kay.I've now experence with these two pickups either but here's what comes to mind.

    1.How are they mounted? If you are playing rockabilly slap(tough to do on steel anyway),then your neck my bounce a bit with the slaps.

    2.How are they wired? If memory serves,one of these pickups has a plug in to blend a a second pickup in.(bridge or maybe a neck for the rockabilly slap sound?)

    3.Does the pickup match the location of the string.One problem I have with my rig is that I use bass guitar pickups.Some sections of the pickup are stonger than others,so I need to match that spot with where my strings are.At first my A string was really loud,and the E much quieter.I shifted the pickups a bit to fix the problem.I think both pickups are rounded to match the fingerboard,but do the elements inside the pickup line up with with where your strings are.

    Just some things to think about,I too will watch this post to see if anyone has experence with these two pickups.(Although I play guts now!)
  6. I have a borrowed stringcharger on my bass right now. It is even across all strings and can be brought up and down and shifted to accent G or E side etc. It's a nice sounding pickup. There is an RCA jack on it to plug in an optional piezo pickup for the slap which I haven't tried yet. The Beisele also has a preamp that has an input for either a neck or tailpiece mounted piezo. I like the stringcharger, straight into my amp without EQ it sounds almost like a jazz bass pickup with more bottom, maybe a P pickup is closer to the sound, but can be EQ'ed to sound like piezo pretty much. It's much better for the high notes than a piezo though, it really booms them out, it's not thin sounding up high like piezos. I use an SVT with two channels so whichever pickup I buy I'm going to just run a stereo cord and and use one in each channel with a preamp for the piezo. And it looks like no one here has any experience with either so I'm probably going to go with the stringcharger since I know what it is and what it does. I'll tell you one thing if you play loud these are pickups for you, I was on a small stage the other night about 5' or less from my amp and was shaking the place and the only feedback I got was the strings themselves vibrating, no body feedback at all. For slap you will definitely need a neck mounted piezo though they do not pick it up at all. I was told the Beisele had a scooped sound and the stringcharger was more like a P pickup but wanted more opinions.
  7. Oh, the stringcharger is mounted with some kind of really industrial velcro but it ain't going anywhere, it's solid on there, my friend has owned it for years and said the same thing, the Beisele is mounted with two thumbscrews on the side of the neck, and each string is individually controlled for volume by little trimmers.
  8. jonas


    Dec 9, 2003
    Frankfurt am Main/Germany
    Kontrabass-Atelier, Lando Music (Germany)
  9. Mike Carr

    Mike Carr

    Feb 5, 2002
    Hong Kong
    I tried a Beisele for a couple weeks a while back.
    It gives a great fretless Fender sound, if that's what you are after. It's pretty much feedback proof too.
    One of the big reasons that I gave up on it was that I found that even with the trimpots for each string, it was still very difficult for me to get a balanced output level. Here's why, on my basses, the strings get closer to the end of the fingerboard when played in the higher positions. This of course brings the pickup closer to the strings the higher up the neck you play. So more often than not, certain notes would really jump out unevenly. When I'd get a good balance low on the bass, it wouldn't be right in thumb postion, and visa-versa. I spent a lot of time trying to get it right, but had to give it up.
    This might not be a problem for roots music/ rockabilly cats, but I play all over the range of the bass and found the uneven output unsatisfactory for the musical situations I find myself in most often.
    It's no fault of the Beisele's design, nor are there any quality issuses, because it's a very well made pickup. I think it's more to do with the physics of double basses. There is a much greater distance in string height, going from lets say an open note, to a note played very high on a string bass than the distance between the same two notes played on the same string of a properly setup electric bass.
    Anyway, my two cents worth.
    I'm now wondering, do any of you Stringcharger users have any sort of similar experiances regarding balance, both string to string and low to high? Does NHOP still use one, he plays all over his bass, never heard him live, but at least at some point he was into the Stringcharger?
  10. mikjans


    Dec 17, 2003
    Uppsala, Sweden
    He may have changed the setup, but the last time I saw NHOP he didn´t have the String Charger on his favorite bass, although he appears in the ads.
    NHOP uses a Wilson and still has an old Elkit electromagnetic pickup on that bass. The latter is an unusual contraption with poles drilled into the end of the fingerboard. It´s a Danish design, but the man who built them died many years ago. A similar concept is used in the StringAmp setup for violin, I think.

    NHOP mostly relies on the Wilson, though, with a dash of magnetic pickup for that extra "ooomph".

    He also has an extremely low setup and light gauge strings (a mix of Corellis and Spirocores).

  11. Hey how are you doing Brian? haha! I just noticed your name there. I find on some electric basses you get more volume the farther down the neck you go too as the strings get closer to the pickup just like on an upright. The same with the stringcharger, but it is not a huge difference in my limited experience.
  12. Mike Carr

    Mike Carr

    Feb 5, 2002
    Hong Kong
    Mikjans, thanks for the NHOP gear update!
  13. B String

    B String Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
    Hey Mike. How did things work out with that Clevinger
    pickup you were trying a while back? Did you like it?
  14. Mike Carr

    Mike Carr

    Feb 5, 2002
    Hong Kong
    Bruce, I still have it. Funny you asked because I had packed it away a couple years ago before I left town on one of my long trips. When I returned, months later I tore the house up looking for it yet was unable to find it! I finally stumbled across it two weeks ago, neatly packed and put away, right where I had left it, only now covered by a bunch of magazines and crap that had gotten piled up on the desk that I had left it on! Tried it on my Kay and it sounded pretty good even though it's not the perfect fit for it's bridge. It was originaly fit for a Lisa bridge on a bass I still have but don't use very often anymore....hum...you have a Lisa bridge too, don't you?
    P.M. or e-mail me, I might want to sell the pickup. But be fast, because I'm going to Hong Kong in two weeks and won't be back in town for a long time.
  15. LarryR


    Feb 2, 2003
    Los Angeles
    When will you be in HK? I'm flying there 12/8 for a gig on the 11th. Let me know ehh? Answer me offline: l.rott@att.net.

    p.s. to the Forum re: Biesele
    I'm happy with mine. My need was to GUARANTEE I can cut through any band IF needed. I do a weekly Jazz/Blues jam. Some of those guys have no idea how to play with an upright. What can you do??

    So, I got tired of having to overplay to be heard, enter Biesele. Alone, yes it sounds like a 10' Fretless Slab. Dialed in with a natural sounding pickup.... you can retain an URB sound but with clean, feedback-free volume.

    If I ever get my thumb position in order, I'll understand what Mike went through. :meh:
  16. Mike Carr

    Mike Carr

    Feb 5, 2002
    Hong Kong
    Dude that rocks, congrats! I'm sure they will hear you all over the PRC (Peoples Republic of China) with that Biesele, with no feedback too!
    Check your e-mail, I'm over there from Dec 2 onwards.
  17. shwashwa


    Aug 30, 2003
    i blend the string charger with a piezo. as we all know the piezos are weaker at the high end of the fingerboard... i set the string charger further away from the strings so that when i go into the upper positions the notes are balanced with the volume of the lower notes due to the string getting closer to the pick up. works very well for me

  18. Mike Carr

    Mike Carr

    Feb 5, 2002
    Hong Kong

    Glad to hear that you have found a way around the balance problem.
    Makes me wonder if I might be trying a Stringcharger out myself at some point.
  19. A little update on the Stringcharger. I'm still waiting for mine to come and am borrowing one from a friend who also belongs here. My main complaint with it was the fact (I thought) that it had one shape and that was it which left some strings louder than others. I have now found out you can take the coil part off and physically bend it to the curvature of the fingerboard. (I think my friend mentioned this but being his I didn't want to fool with it too much) I tried this and the response is nice and even from string to string. I have no idea what the magnetic materail is but it can be bent which is really nice. I'm playing a lot of loud rock and use this along with a K&K bridge pickup, with both I get exactly the sound I want, it sounds like an URB but you can get all the volume you want. I mix the two pickups, one in each channel of an old SVT head along with a preamp for the K&K. It's kind of a cumbersome set up with two cords but plan on making a stereo cord etc. to cut down on the wires.
  20. schmiffy


    Aug 26, 2004
    Hey - I've been using a Beisele for a few months now, and I really like it--for certain situations. It definitely sounds very "electric", but that is the price you pay for extreme volume without feedback ! I find it works well blended with my Gage pickup, the louder the gig, the more I lean on the Beisele. The Beisele is also very good for boosting volume in thumb position. I hope this helps !