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Curbow Players- HELP!

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Mongo Slade, Mar 22, 2006.


  1. Mongo Slade

    Mongo Slade Supporting Member

    Dec 1, 2005
    Northern New Jersey
    I have just aquired a Curbow Pettite 5 String and I have to say that this is the best feeling/playing bass that I have ever had the pleasure to pick up, let alone own.
    BUT- I just can't dig on the sound. Very compressed and a little nasal. And it just vanishes in a band setting. Seriously, my Yamaha BB1200S punches right through my 10 piece band, and I could have bought 10 of them for what I paid for this Curbow. That said, I am wondering if any of the other Curbow enthusiasts out there have had similar issues, and how were they dealt with. I will scour the ends of the earth to resolve this as long as it means I don't have to give the bass up. Any preamp, replacement pickup ideas out there? It's got the Bartolini split rail humbuckers(One at a 45 degree angle) and a Bart Preamp. Any info or suggestions will be gratefully accepted, and please feel free to flame me about whining about such an awesome bass.
    Peace
     
  2. bassmonkeee

    bassmonkeee Supporting Member

    Sep 13, 2000
    Decatur, GA
    I've always run any Curbow that I've owned with a bart/bart setup through the passive jack on my amp. That extra 10db of input was usually all I ever needed to open up the pickup/preamp combo.

    But, my old Int'l Petite 5 really turned into a monster when I changed the preamp from a 9V Bart to an 18V EMG with sweepable mids. The EMG preamp/Bart pickup combo was absolutely outstanding.
     
  3. mikezimmerman

    mikezimmerman Supporting Member

    Apr 29, 2001
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Curbows play like nothing else, don't they? :hyper:

    Be aware that there are different Bart preamps, and the older Curbows used the XTCT (I think), which not everyone was crazy about. If you haven't read it, take a look at tombowlus' thread on having Doug at Curbow upgrade his preamp: http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?t=231876&highlight=curbow
    So, you might consider that.

    I'm personally not quite as enthusiastic about the Bart/EMG combination at bassmonkeee is--I sometimes drive the EMG into clipping at extreme settings, and I'm just not a big fan ow sweepable mids--but it does OK. I'd be curious to try something like the Audere ( http://www.audereaudio.com ) pre if I ever decide to do a major electronics upgrade on my 6.

    For what it's worth, the one real complaint I had about some of the Petites I had is that the upper strings seemed to get buried in the mix a little too easily. I'm not at all sure of the cause, except that they had the angled front pickup. I compensated somewhat by going to medium/light strings (heavier on the G and D), and on my custom Curbows had the front pickup straight rather than angled.

    Good luck!
    Mike
     
  4. emjazz

    emjazz Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2003
    Brooklyn, NY
    I'd highly suggest the Audere preamp that was already mentioned. I just got one for my F Bass 6 and it made all the difference in the world.
     
  5. bassmonkeee

    bassmonkeee Supporting Member

    Sep 13, 2000
    Decatur, GA

    I'M NEVER WRONG! :mad:

    :D

    Actually, I had forgotten about the audere preamp. When I am looking for something new, that's what I'm probably going to get for a bass of mine, too.
     
  6. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    You beat me to it, Mike! Thanks, though. Yes, this was a huge improvement, and working with Doug was a pleasure! I strongly encourage that you consider this option.

    [Edit: one thing to consider when looking into preamp upgrades is that the body on the Petite is so thin, than many preamps will not fit. I wanted to try an East or Glockenklang preamp, but they wouldn't fit. I am not sure about the Audere, but darn does it sound like a nice setup!]

    Tom.
     
  7. mikezimmerman

    mikezimmerman Supporting Member

    Apr 29, 2001
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Good point, Tom! However, only the flat-topped Curbows are as thin as yours. The carved-top ones are deeper, with a little more room for a preamp.

    Obviously, we need pictures of Mongo's to know which kind it is! :p (We always need pictures!)

    Mike
     
  8. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    Good point on both counts! :)

    How are you digging that Curbow J-bass, Mike?
     
  9. mikezimmerman

    mikezimmerman Supporting Member

    Apr 29, 2001
    Omaha, Nebraska
    I've gigged with it a couple times and really like it! Like a like of Jazzes, the tone really shines in the mix more than it does solo--my drummer immediately noticed and commented on how much better he could hear me with the Z-Jazz than he could with the Curbow 6 (though the 6 is awesome in a sparser setting). I'm not entirely sold on keeping it strictly passive, but Doug routed out extra space and even included a battery clip if I decided I wanted to add a preamp later...maybe I'll try the above-mentioned Audere.

    Of course, the B is awesome and it plays wonderfully, too. Hey, it's a Curbow!

    Mike
     
  10. emjazz

    emjazz Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2003
    Brooklyn, NY
    The Audere hardly takes up any space in the cavity. The preamp itself is the same size as a 9 volt and the pots that David uses are not the usual pots that everyone else uses. They're extremely small.

    The Audere's are also built to order so you can pretty much get any configuration you'd want.
     
  11. SoComSurfing

    SoComSurfing Mercedes Benz Superdome. S 127. R 22. S 12-13.

    Feb 15, 2002
    Mobile, Al
    I have nothing to add to this conversation, but wanted to mention that the correct URL for the Audere pre is http://audereaudio.com/. Not trying to be a smart-ass, but rather was intrigued by it and decided to investigate.
     
  12. mikezimmerman

    mikezimmerman Supporting Member

    Apr 29, 2001
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Thanks for the correction! I've fixed it....

    Mike
     
  13. bassmonkeee

    bassmonkeee Supporting Member

    Sep 13, 2000
    Decatur, GA
    Hmmm....I think maybe I need to get one of those Audere preamps for my 8 string fretless Curbow. I've come to the conclusion that I don't like the 18V Bart that I currently have in there.

    And, with spots for 5 knobs and two switches, I can get the whole enchilada!


    Jeez....why'd I have to go and open this thread. :meh:
     
  14. emjazz

    emjazz Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2003
    Brooklyn, NY
    Oh man, if you get one you've gotta try the 4 band pre. It's incredible the tones that I can get out of mine.
     
  15. prockenklang

    prockenklang

    May 22, 2003
    Monterey,Ca.
    I just put a set of Glockenklang electronics in one of my carved top 6-string Curbows,and they sound great.They are a little tall for the cavity,but I got them to fit.I put a set of them into one of my older flat Curbows,and they stuck out about 1/4".Doug at Curbow made me an extra thick back plate out of rockwood.He routed part of it,and even though it is not flush to the body,it still looks OK.

    Doug is the best and a pleasure to deal with if you need anything done to your bass!!

    By-the-way,those of you who dig Curbows,check out www.gaonthegroove.org and www.clefund.org It is going to be a blast!!

    John
     
  16. bassmonkeee

    bassmonkeee Supporting Member

    Sep 13, 2000
    Decatur, GA
    Yeah, I love the 4 band EQs on both of my Bongos. If I get the Audere, I'll be going with the full 4 band plus passive treble cut.

    I just spec'd out the master, vol/vol, treble/bass, mid/mid, passive treble, 18V system. I'll probably order it early next week. :hyper:
     
  17. emjazz

    emjazz Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2003
    Brooklyn, NY
    I'd suggest speaking with David Meadows about what you're thinking and see what he says. He really steered me in a great direction. I had something else in mind and what I ended up with is better than what I would have gotten. I really trust David. PM me if you'd like his phone number...actually, it may be on the website already. I really can't say enough about how impressed I am with this pre.
     
  18. emjazz

    emjazz Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2003
    Brooklyn, NY
  19. Mongo Slade

    Mongo Slade Supporting Member

    Dec 1, 2005
    Northern New Jersey
    Wow! I am so pleased with the amount of useful information I've gotten as a result of this post. It just goes to show that the only useless question is the one that isn't asked. Thanks so much for all the help, guys. I'll be contacting Audere on Monday.

    Oh, and Mike I'll be posting a pic for you guys soon, but I'm so bad as a photographer that I could make a Fodera look like a Wish bass, so be careful what you ask for.
    Peace
     
  20. Mongo Slade

    Mongo Slade Supporting Member

    Dec 1, 2005
    Northern New Jersey
    So I finally open the back control panel and what do I find. Not only is the pre-amp the dreaded XCTC-B Bartolini I've heard so much about- but there is another battery in there as well. That makes one in the flip-out compartment and one in the cavity. I didn't even know that Bartolini pre-amps this old could run on 18 volts. So I am now wondering- should I keep the bass at 18 volts for the new audere preamp I'm putting in, or just go with 9. Certainly the nine is easier to change in the flip-out, but I wonder if I'll GAIN(pun intended) anything by going with 18.
    Suggestions please?
    Peace
     

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