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Does covering a pickup reduce tonal qualities?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by PurpleBear, Jan 3, 2012.

  1. PurpleBear


    Sep 30, 2011
    I'm making a second finger ramp for my Peavey Grind BXP6 to replace the first one which i messed up slightly. The only issue I have is that the space between the pick-ups is tiny and doesn't produce sufficient area for my fingers as I often play using a three finger technique. Due to this I was considering making the second ramp in such a way that it overlaps the pick-ups a bit to make it wider. Seeing as the wood will be directly over the pick-up partly and being between them and the strings, would this cause a dampening effect on tone or reduction in over all string detection at all? Bear in mind that the ramp will be made from solid hardwood (which I haven't identified yet as I found it lying around the house, haha)

    I've attached a diagram to show what I mean visually.
    Thanks a lot in advance for any response guys!

    Attached Files:

  2. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol Supporting Member

    Unless you use wood made of metal, it won't change a thing.
  3. PurpleBear


    Sep 30, 2011
    haha nice way to put it. thanks a lot though!
  4. xepher2792


    Oct 7, 2011
    Ventura CA
    Whats the best wood made of metal
    For metal?
  5. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    Covering them with wood wont change the tone, however, if you move the pickups farther than they already are from the strings by using a piece of wood that's too thick, that will alter the tone somewhat.

    From your illustration, the current ramp need to be lower, and on an angle.

    Personally I think relying on your fingers touching anything under the strings is poor technique. They should not extend past the strings.
  6. FunkMetalBass


    Aug 5, 2005
    Phoenix, Arizona 85029
    Endorsing Artist: J.C. Basses
    FWIW, you will have a very hard time making a ramp that will work. For one, your pickups have to be set at a certain height to maintain a balanced volume between them, so you'll have to consider those angles. Second, as previously mentioned, it will have to be quite thin. I tried to make one like that a few years ago and ran into all sorts of problems.
  7. PurpleBear


    Sep 30, 2011
    I'm pretty sure I can make it, I'm just carving it to fit the space that's there, and the drawing's rough it was mainly just to illustrate what I meant by the ramp going over the pick-ups. I'll let you guys know how it goes. I'm not going to change the current setup on the bass anyway, I like it as it is and there's just enough space to fit the ramp in.

    Thanks a lot for the feedback though guys
  8. elgecko


    Apr 30, 2007
    Anasleim, CA
    So you want to make that space even tinier by filling it in with a ramp? I'm confused! :confused:
  9. JonahTheAmazing


    Dec 19, 2010
    I think the space is width, as in the pickups are too thin to provide the necessary space.

    The cover should be fine. No metal, no problems or altering in tone.
  10. PurpleBear


    Sep 30, 2011
    No the issue is that the ramp that's currently installed doesn't have a wide enough area for 3 fingers to benefit from it being there (only 2 fingers), therefore I'd like to make the next one wider to allow for the third finger. It's too narrow because I made it to fit between the pick-ups and in the 1st diagram in the picture and the pick-ups aren't that far apart, so there is not enough space to make the ramp as large as i would like without overlapping the pick-ups.
  11. ricknote


    Aug 3, 2006
    Really...? You have got to go see Gary Willis.
    I've listened to him quite a bit and watched him
    live twice with Alan Holdsworth.
    Absolutely amazing.

    3 finger technique with a huge ramp under the
    strings. Astonishing time and technique.

    To each his own.
  12. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    I have. He plays with the same dynamics all the time. Everything is plucked very softly. You can't really dig in if you want to, so to me it's very limiting. He's a good player, but always came off as a Jaco copy to me.

    Jaco didn't use a ramp. Neither did Stanley Clarke.

    I find no problem with two fingers and no ramp and I can play as fast as I want. Another problem with a ramp is it precludes playing with a pick, which I often do. The whole thing just seems like a crutch and limits your available tones on the bass.

    But then why copy someone else's technique? Find your own voice.
  13. Torque


    Jul 23, 2011
    Completely agre.

    What happens when someone hands you another bass??
  14. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    Me? I sound like me on just about anything. It's funny, because I have a customer I have known for like 25 years, and when I play his Pedula, I don't sound like him, and when he plays my bass, he doesn't sound like me. We sound just like we always do, but on a different bass. A lot of that is the way we pluck the strings. He plays more near the fingerboard, and plays with a soft rolling touch. I pluck more towards the middle/bridge area, and use very firm but short strokes, so I pack a lot of power into a small amount of motion. I want the notes to "pop." So he will play a few notes, hand me the bass, and it sounds like a different bass. We have a laugh over that. :) He's a great player, but he always says "I'm not a soloist like you, I'm a pocket player."

    Conservation of motion is an important thing, and I guess thats what Willis is trying to do, but I'd rather accomplish that with technique than with a mechanical limiter. I trained myself to play on the top of the strings with my finger tips just for that reason. And then, I can turn around and bash them if the song calls for it.
  15. bThumper38

    bThumper38 brian ebert

    I've made ramps that were installed over the pick-ups, which didn't impair the tone or volume, and gave you a wider space for multiple fingers. I also had a bass built with the pickups built into the ramp and countersunk into the body so it was a completely adjustable set-up, also I don't copy anyone else's technique per say, but I can dig in Marcus style or play light touch Willis style with a ramp less than an 1/8 inch under the strings. Ramps work great for me, but I'm sure it's not for everyone. Still not sure why all the fuss over you should play like this, or it's bad technique if you play over the ramp. I've never been able to play over open air on a bass, including double bass, and I'm not sure how that is represented as bad technique. If you can play your instrument for twelve hours a day without feeling any pain than you're in business. Best of luck with your ramp. FYI, check out SKjold's ramp basses. B.
  16. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    If you can' play pizz on a double bass without something under the strings, than that's a technique problem, since that's the way they are played.

    That's a ramp-pickup. And it's a thing of beauty, if I do say so myself.
  17. PurpleBear


    Sep 30, 2011
    Not the best of angles but that's how it turned out. Stuck with doublesided tape so i can adjust it as i need by layering it.

    Attached Files:

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