Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by luknfur, Apr 13, 2004.

  1. luknfur


    Jan 14, 2004
    Primarily Jazz pups but also the overflow category for single coil pups. Unless noted otherwise, all trials are fingerpick using the bass described strung with TI JF 344's run true stereo direct out (no pots) from each pup into seperate channels of a 2000 Polytone Mini Brute V, adjusted as worked to tunes. I've ran pups through various rigging and the charactistics of the pup follow it just as the acoustic tone inherent in a bass follows it. My standard pup setting is as high as they'll go without distorting and driving the strings into them. Pups mounted in standard Fender J neck and bridge position. Also all are played to the same tunes in the following styles: Reggae, blues, country, Rock - some Jazz, 60's R&B, and Latin, with a few Stanley Clarke riffs thrown in solo.

    In alphabetical order by manufacture with ==== marking latest pup, Have run:

    "MY Ideal Pups" (Pg.2)

    Aero J's Type I (Pg.4)


    Bartolini 9K set(Pg. 1)
    Bart 9K-L J bridge & Gibson EBO HB neck (Pg. 1)
    Bartolini multiple J placement (Pg.1)
    Bartolini 9V's (Pg.2)
    Bartolini 9CBJD (Pg.2)
    Bartolini 94J's (Pg.2)
    Bartolini active 9E J's (Pg.4)
    Bartolini 9JS Set (Pg.4)
    Bartolini 9W4 Quad neck (Pg.4)

    Bill Lawrence J45 Short (Pg.4)

    Carvin H50N HBs (Pg. 1)

    Dimarzio Ultra Jazz neck/DP 147 - parallel (Pg.4)
    Dimarzio Ultra Jazz neck/DP 147 - series (Pg.4)
    Dimarzio Model J neck/DP 123 - series (Pg.4)

    Duncan Active Lightnin Rods AJJ-2 (Pg. 1)
    Duncan Vintage Jazz SJB-1 (Pg. 1)
    Duncan Antiquity II's -acoustically bright bass (Pg.3)
    Duncan Antiquity II's -acoustically midrange bass (Pg.3)
    Duncan Classic Stack J's STK-J1n/STKJ1-b (Pg.3)
    Duncan Active Jazz JB-3aSB - Steve Bailey Fundamental Fretless (Pg.3)

    EMG Active JV's (Pg. 1)
    EMG Active LJ-5 Mid Position (Pg. 1)
    EMG active Jazz (Pg. 1)

    Fender Lace Sensors (Pg. 1)
    Fender '62 re-issue Geddy Lee's (Pg.2)
    Fender US Hi Way 1 (Pg.2)
    Fender Marcus Millers - Fender vintage? (Pg.2)
    Fender Marcus Miller - Comparison Sets 1 and 2 (Pg.2)
    Fender MIJ's - from '95 Japanese '62 re-issue fretless (Pg.3)
    Fender MIA's - from 2001 MIA Jazz (Pg.3)
    Fender Noiseless J (Primarily Bridge) (Pg.4)
    Fender Samarium Cobalt Noiseless (SCN5’s) (Pg.5)=======

    Gibson EBO "HB" & Bart 9K-L "J" (Pg. 1)


    Ken Smith J45's (Pg.2)
    Ken Smith Stacked HB J's - 80's/90's EMG Style housing (Pg.3)

    Lindy Fralin J bridge - mid position (Pg.2)
    Lindy Fralin J's - 2% underwound/plain enamel wire (Pg.3)

    Rickenbacker 70's Original 4001 (Pg. 4)

    Shur (of Pensa Shur) Noiseless J (Primarily Bridge) (Pg.4)

    - so far.

    CARVIN H50N's

    Played the Carvins tonight, making this the second playing. I was fairly impressed the first time and even more so tonight. I recalled the BP J shootout as well as their '98 LB 70 review and was confused as to why the contradiction in their reviews. In looking them over again, I realized the shootout was H50 pups and the 70 review was on H50N's, so they're apparently different pups and my experience paralleled their findings on the LB 70.

    Good lows and mids and the highs are pleasantly rounded so you don't get that through the roof treble that's hell to deal with. Better than average output. Nice J tone, some growl. Maybe a little above average in clarity - definitely not like Barts. Played well to a broad range of musical styles - Reggae, blues, country, Rock - some Jazz, 60's R&B, and Latin. The only thing of slight annoyance was they picked up my fingers some in the attack, but it's not a pronounced out of bounds transfer. Good enough to be keepers until I run across something similar that does a better job and I'd say not likely a pair of pups most players would cast aside without second thoughts.

    I didn't run it through an outboard preamp and usually don't unless I can't get the pups to work passively. All the outboard will do is boost or cut the signal the pups put out anyway. I've got an incoming Aggie OBP 3 to ad to the collection to check pups out with as well (but I really got it to confirm some thoughts about the Aggie).
  2. you are doing the bass world a great favour with your experiments. Keep it up!
    Pat Mahoney
  3. luknfur


    Jan 14, 2004
    Thanks Pat. This is subjective stuff but maybe will be of some use to someone. Main thing I was hoping for is folks to jump in and give feedback on their findings on some of this stuff, especially if they're slappers or some other aspect I didn't cover that would be of use to someone. To me, what one person says no matter who they are is not of much use. But if you get a number of people that have a similar perception, then you've got something to work with a little.

    As much as anything, it's fun and I would encourage anybody that plays bass to go beyond the playing aspect itself. It's just as rewarding and adds a whole new dimention - and it changes the way you play bass and how you think of and feel about your gear.
  4. luknfur


    Jan 14, 2004
    Fender passive 3 wire Lace Sensor Jazz. Tested as were the Carvin H50N's.


    Better than average output. Some growl. Could get an average Fender tone - good low mids with some quality sounds on the E & A strings but noticeably dull on the D & G . Could get a very good Bart J sound - some sweet clear tones across the board but a bit bright on the G string. Played well to pretty much everything but Reggae. Sounded like J's no matter what, at least I didn't get anything like a P sound out of the neck. Noticeable vintage flavor. Fairly broad range of application - better at some tunes than the Carvins but not as good across the board. Personal impression was almost a boarder-line keeper pup - which I suspect could easily crossover with more playing time.

    The Whole Enchilada

    I initially started off with them in a bass that acoustically is a thumper, and it just wasn't working so swapped them over to the bright bass. They just had no color and weren't responding to adjustments. I also gave a go at preamps running Bart NTMBs for each pup, but with different mid setups. I was trying to go for a qaulity Fender tone that I wasn't getting passive and the preamps didn't help. The tone was decent and played well to music but the nuances just were gone - like listening to an URB with no buzz or string slap. I try to incorporate the preamps periodically but keep getting the same results, they muddy the tone and just don't seem to ad anything I can't get without them.

    Like the Carvins, this was the second round with Sensors as well. The first time they struck me as having a Fender tone but not quite there in terms of quality with below average output. This time I raised them just out of reach of driving the strings into them and it was a different experience.

    Better than average output - even up with the Carvins or close enough. The Fender tone thing was a bit wierd. As a rule, using more neck pup and less bridge to darken the tone made it sound more like a Fender. Fairly pronounced low mids and could get boomy on the E string but was easily tapered to a pleasant kind of bulge, if that makes any sense - a thump with sustain? Whoa! In the process the D & G strings would go noticeably colorless but not useless, just lacking some balance in tone.

    Using more bridge and less neck would dial in a damn good Bart J sound of all things. Could pull some sweet Jazz tones. The G string tended to be a bit bright but nothing than couldn't be worked around using the fat of the finger, moving up the neck a bit, and probably cutting some treble (which I avoid and didn't do to keep the settings flat).

    A brief step into the Twilight Zone when the Bart sound spontaneously became a Fender sound for one song. Which I suppose is not too crazy since sounds obviously interact to create something different then they are independently. But wierd nevertheless.

    Sensors did okay to most music but never got something together through 5 Reggae tunes. The Sensors sounded like J's no matter what I did and although I actually like some J in Reggae for some variety, couldn't get it to work with these in the time alloted.

    Compared to the Cavins they were more of a vintage tone/less hi-fi and more inclined to be better at some tunes but not as good overall.

    Will have a flatpick bass set up shortly so will be able to incorporate that into the mix for the 20% or so of the flatpickers out there.
  5. luknfur


    Jan 14, 2004
    EMG Active JVs (EMG's idea of vintage Js):

    Run as previously noted except loaded into the thumper bass (dark acoustically) with the addition of the battery (no preamp - that is, outside of the one that's built into the pups). Until it's recent routing, this bass had a pair of active EMG PJs w/BTC preamp for a couple years - so I figured why not.


    Let's just say without the outboard preamps, these pups sucked. With two Bart NTMBs with different mid switching, the preamps brought the bass to life. Both preamps roughly set with bass @ 3, mids 6, treble at detent (5), and mid switches center position. As reflected by these settings, mid heavy but I was having too much fun to wander off. The bass became bright yet maintained thump on the E string and the A at lower registers. The pups sounded like active EMGs and the bass sounded like a J bass - and had some growl.

    Not my idea of a vintage tone but some sweet sounds that were pure J - and a J tone we've all heard. Still on the hi-fi side but with smooth edges without brittle highs - though not rounded either. Nice woody tones across the board with good clarity that could get too bright on the G but that was easily and effectively adjusted out as needed. Fat of the finger or hand position sufficed for most adjustment. Was half way through before I got the combination right but played well to country, blues, Jazz, Latin (with some crossover tunes in there), and I suspect would do well with a broad spectrum.

    Off the cuff I'd say boarderline keepers. They were fun to play tonight and, like the King's Jesters, as long as they keep me smiling, they keep their heads.

    The Whole Enchilada:

    Output was average when fired up where the amp was left off from the Sensors yesterday, maybe even a little below but the more the volume was increased the more these pups seemed to catch up with the others at the same setting - in other words, they may seem relatively cool at practice level but may not at playing level. I don't even know that this is possible but that's what seemed to be going on.

    Noticeably more of a felt sound with these pups compared to the others. J tone but not pronounced, in fact the neck pup sounded more like a P even with very little neck in the mix. No growl. Definetly dark, fairly lifeless tone in general that really wasn't quite cutting it to music. Dinked with this setup through half the session - and it was "okay"... and I was bored. Took a break and decided to give the preamps a go.

    Again, two Bart NTMBs with different mid switching. The preamps brought the bass to life. Just the opposite effect the preamps have had on the passive J's. Both preamps roughly set with bass @ 3, mids 6, treble at detent (5), and mid switches center position. The bass became bright yet maintained thump on the E string and the A at lower registers - and became fun to play. The pups sounded like active EMGs and the bass sounded like a J bass - and had some growl. Not my idea of a vintage tone but some sweet sounds that were pure J. Nice woody tones. Still on the hi-fi side but with smooth edges without the extra crispy brittle tones. Tones were there across the board and could get too bright on the G but that was easily and effectively adjusted out as needed. Also just using more or less fat on the fingers or moving up or down the neck was all the adjustment needed for most tunes. Pretty much just playing to country, blues, Jazz, and Latin by the time I got it working but there were crossover tunes in there and feel the pups would be good to go for most of the rest with exception of maybe the Reggae - but it worked with the previous EMG PJs w/BTC.

    The Aggie OBP 3 showed today so as soon as I decide how I want to wire it, she be a part of the fethstivities (as Letterman might say).
  6. luknfur


    Jan 14, 2004
    Seymour Duncan Active Jazz Lightnin Rods (aka AJJ-2)


    In a nutshell, it took a lot of work to get very little useable tone from these pups - at least through this setup. Lot of trials and knob twisting to get one useable sound that worked with about 15% of the tunes. And even that tone required some delicate technique to keep the G string from being too bright. Very low end heavy pups, lacking clarity in the lows and very easily became a boomy low when boosting bass or easily became too thin in trying to cut down on the bass. Suprisingly couldn't get a decent Reggae tone. Not brittle highs but they easily cut through the mix, much more so on the neck pup than the neck on the other sets. Output was slightly less than average. Pups did respond better to the preamps than without them but not markedly. Noticeably less growl than the other pups except at the one setting where it was about the same. Not much variety of sound. D string had a pronounced tendency to get lost in the mix. Some irritating sound transfer from the fingers but not extreme. In general the pups sounded better solo than playing to music.

    Based on this one trial, I'd say definetly not keepers. But in another bass, it may be another story.

    The Whole Enchilada

    Stuck these in the bright bass. Little less than average output relative to the others. J tone but about as dark as it could get and lacking clarity and simply not quality sounds so went to the NTMB preamps after a couple of tunes - thinking I may get the same response from them as with the EMGs. Helped some but nothing dramatic and still dark/lacking clarity. Some finger noise of slight irritation increasing significantly as treble increased.

    Looking like the EMG transition wasn't forthcoming so I disconnected the preamps hinking maybe if I jacked with amp tone controls I'd get a better response. Dropped the bass on both channels down to 1 to try and lighten the pups up but it just became thin. But it took only a setting of 3 for tone to become boomy. Unlike the other pups, the Duncan neck maintained the brightness of a J in terms of cutting through the mix yet when played solo it pretty much sounded like the rest of the J's at the neck, leaning towards a P tone. So the neck was of no use for darkening the bridge pup when that was attempted. Logically you'd think you'd get a broader range of tones between the two pups as a result but that wasn't the case. Also the D string sounded like it had lower volume but in playing solo it was fine, just wasn't cutting through the mix.

    Went back to the preamps and finally a got a decent J sound, but it was within a very narrow band of adjustment - you could hardly change anything or it degraded the sound. But it was a nice upper mid J tone with some growl. I'd estimate that sound worked well for maybe 15% of the tunes. And it easily became too bright on the G string requiring some finese in technique to get rid of it, play the tune, and keep volume balanced.

    To give you an idea of how lowend these pups are, the following settings were used to get it: Amp flat with Neck preamp with B-1/2, M-6, T-4 with mid switch set brightest; Bridge pup preamp set the same except the mid switch was at the midway frequency. Volumes maxed on the preamps with amp volume set at 2 1/2 at the bridge and 2 at the neck. Typically the volume spread on the pups is more like
    3-1 but, like I said, the neck pup cut through on the upper frequencies.
  7. Flatwound

    Flatwound Supporting Member

    Sep 9, 2000
    San Diego
    luknfur-I have tried to send you a couple of PM's, but for some reason it's not working. The upshot is that I sent you the Duncan SJB-1's yesterday.
  8. luknfur


    Jan 14, 2004


    I wondered what happened to you but I don't push people on stuff cuase there's always more stuff someplace else. I don't know what the deal might be with the PMs but email is a better route to go for me anyway cuase I forget to looks for the PMs. I knew you said it'd be a couple days but I expected contact before lift off so the Sensors are back on ebay in a multiple lishting till Sunday - so they might not go. Something's going cause the reserves met. (and hah, I just realized, this is not an email, this is a post - FUNNY - whatever gets you through the night [Lennon]).

    So I can either, ship you the Sensors Monday if they don't go, ship these back to you, buy them if I like 'em, ship you something else (you can jump in any time here).

    Let me know,

  9. Flatwound

    Flatwound Supporting Member

    Sep 9, 2000
    San Diego
    I tried to e-mail you from here, but I got this:

    I wasn't necessarily dying for the Sensors, just wanted to try something different from what I've already tried. So anyway, the Duncans are on the way, and you can try them out. I don't know what pups you currently have available, but let me know (my e-mail is available here), and we'll go from there.

    Since I hadn't heard from you, I figured we were still on for the swap. However, I know I moved pretty slowly, so no hard feelings on this end. :)
  10. luknfur


    Jan 14, 2004
    Bartolini J's: 9K-s1, 9K-L

    Addendum: I noticed in passing that these pups are mentioned in the Bart price list as being brighter and higher output than 9J's.


    Sounded like Barts.* Distinctive J tone (neck & bridge) that is warm with a Hi-fi quality. Clarity and balance across the board with average or better output.* Noticeably more growl than the other pups, especially low frequency. Noticeable finger transfer through the pups but less so than the other pups tested.* Very responsive to variations in attack/technique but not excessively. No hum.* Clear tone definition at all frequencies and all cut through the mix very well. Good tonal balance and volume across all strings, and tone is there even at very low volume.* Not much variation in sound from neck and bridge pups but very broad range of useable tone from the sound the pups put out. Played well to all styles of music with minor, if any adjustment to balance pup volume - no other adjustment needed.* Good solo sounds.* Preamps did not seem to add or subtract significantly. Not a killer tone by any means but a pure, quaility, low-maintenance sound.

    Definite keepers until that killer jazz set hits the doorstep.

    The Whole Enchilada:

    Fired them up where I left off with the Duncans.* Output was equal or better than the other pups and noticeably more growl, especially at lower frequencies.* Noticeable finger transfer through the pups in open spaces in music and at higher frequencies otherwise, but less so than the other pups.* Good response to variations in attack but not excessively so.* Quiet, no hum.*

    The Barts tended to play themselves - quick, painless, quality, low-maintenance pups.* I was half way through playing and I realized I'd totally forgotten about the preamps and only fired them up for exploratory purposes as opposed to need.* But passively they played very well to different styles of music with slight, if any adjustment, to the volume controls only.* Tones tended to work even when they didn't fit, if that makes any sense. I went from Reggae to country without adjustment initially and aside from being too dark, it worked.* Sort of like a home audio system that's just adjusted differently to suit taste. Such style transitions were typical.

    Bart sound with distinctive J tone neck and bridge. Warm, rounded tones with a Hi-fi quality due to clarity of tone, perhaps why some people don't like Barts - they want one or the other but not both. Not killer tone by any means but pure, quality sound. Not much variety in terms of producing different sounds between the neck and bridge pup but a broad variation of useable tones to the sounds the pups put out.* If there were more flexibility in sounds, these pups would be pretty ideal. Could go from bassie to bright & vice versa without bass becoming boomy or thin and the highs getting brittle or disappearing. Tone and volume evenly balanced across the strings - no sacrificing highs to get lows and vice versa or need for a variation of attack to balance volume. Clear definition of tone across the board and all frequencies cut very well, so much so that I was able to play at a much lower volume than the other pups yet hear the tones more clearly.* Tone is there whether played at very low volume, to music, or solo.

    In plugging up the preamps there was no noticeable change in volume or clarity in using the same settings from passive - typically, with passives in particular, volume drops and tone muddies up. For the most part preamps did not seem to ad or take away anything but I did notice a distinctive positive change in clarity and tone resulting from having the use of an independent preamp for each pup during one adjustment. I also noticed I spent a lot more time jacking with controls and less time playing. Only played through the preamps for a half dozen or so tunes when I was loosing the D string some so unplugged to check to see if it would be that way passively - which it was. That was the only tune with that kind of experience and may have adjusted out with a little more effort but I'd had my fill of fondling controls.

    I've had a half dozen or so pairs of Barts of various design. Hands down, Bartolini is the most consistent, quality manufacturer of useable pups I've run across to date. Today, if I had to pick one set of pups out of a bin blind-folded that I'd be stuck with for the rest of my life - I'd have them lead me over to the Bartolini bin.
  11. luknfur


    Jan 14, 2004
    All Dimento threads will have additions with new incoming pups as they roll in. Done with J's for the time being but I'll run Flatwounds vintage Duncans as soon as they show.
  12. luknfur


    Jan 14, 2004

    SEYMOUR DUNCAN JAZZ ANTIQUITY II (oops, Flatwound just informed -me -actually I think this is the 4th time...I can be rrrrill slow sometimes - these were "Duncan SJB-1 Vintage Jazz pups." There's no markings and I recalled them as being Antiquities. Another quality thing about Bartolini - they etch ID into their pups, not some sticker that can be moved around or lost.)

    Update: I have since learned by swapping amp channels on the neck and bridge pups, I can get a very different response from a set of pups for the better. I wasn't aware of that as of this run and from the sounds of the review and pups I've had a like experience with since, I believe these pups may well have been faired for the better. They're long gone and too late now. Play and learn.


    These are passive 2 wire pups with exposed pole pieces and seperate covers.

    Loaded into the acoustically dark bass. Noticeably better than average volume with moderate hum that was killed by touching strings. After reading the SD site I see these are humbucking when used together but I'm running them independently. They sound like Duncans, not vintage - for something named Vintage. Bottom heavy, thin on the mids, trebles that cut, compressed. Fairly dark for J’s, bridge can stand alone in volume and tone. Not much flexibility in sounds. Noticeably less than average growl. Overall, definition of tone (clarity) average or less. Use of preamp resulted in the usual loss of volume and tone but not muddy, more hi-fi’ish. Overall, tones passive and active were okay but uninspiring. An irritating finger transfer through the pups of varying degrees resulted in cutting the treble on both channels a couple notches to cut it to an acceptable level. I also got some wierd frequency oscillations on the G string above the 8th fret and and all the others above the 12th fret. Dropping the pups made it less apparent but the source was not the pup height.

    Overall, one sweet tone from these pups with a narrow band of flexibility to tone alteration. And it was a sweet tone that worked to better than half the tunes. A mid range J tone with good tone definition and even volume across the board, cut well, and sounded good solo. The trick was to get it I had to play on my fingertips (and I mean right next to the nail). Rest strokes and any fat of the finger were not tolerated otherwise not only would there be corresponding loss of tone but an irritating swish of finger transfer through the pups on all strings.

    I spent as much time trying to get these pups to work as playing. Keepers? I don't think so. But I may try them in the bright bass if they're still around when this experience gets lost in the mix.


    Let’s just say I haven’t experienced frustration like this with a bass since before I resolved issues with my Lightwave. It was brutal and I was glad to be done with it.

    Loaded into the acoustically dark bass. Noticeably better than average volume with moderate hum that was killed by touching strings. They sound like Duncans. Fairly dark for J’s. In fact I had the neck J volume up just enough to hear it kick in – with the bridge pup off it was audible and that’s about it. So you know the bridge pup was putting out some volume. I messed with the neck pup by itself for a few tunes (attempt at some P tone) but it was too dark to be of much use and still sounded like a J. Seems I even raised the mid and trebles but then it just thinned out. I played through ¼ of the tunes and it was okay but uninspiring so I went to the preamps.

    Usual loss of volume and tone but not muddy, more hi-fi’ish. Tried different settings on preamp tones and mid switches and gave it up after four or five tunes and went back to passive. Tones active were just okay. Better than most J’s at Reggae but lacked warm upper mids to get it right. Preamps did seem to help reduce some hum though.

    Overall, one sweet tone from these pups with a narrow band of flexibility to tone alteration. And it was a sweet tone that worked to better than half the tunes. A mid range J tone with good tone definition and even volume across the board, cut well, and sounded good solo. Less than average growl. The trick was to get it I had to play on my fingertips (and I mean right next to the nail). This is not easy to pull off. I haven't trashed tunes like this since first switching to bass. Rest strokes and any fat of the finger were not tolerated otherwise not only would there be corresponding loss of tone but an irritating swish of finger transfer through the pups on all strings – which was apparent regardless of adjustments, just varying degrees starting with the G string and working down. So if any of you want to hone fingertip technique, have I got some pups for you. Also, the further the pups were set from the strings, the more the tone sounded akin to the uninspiring ones.

    There’s no way I could remember all of the gyrations I went through trying to make something of these pups. I knew BP had given these things a top tone award and I figured there must have been a reason (update: this I neglected to delete when I originally thought these were Antiquities). I even rotated the pups 180 degrees thinking pole direction might make a difference. Some day’s a diamond, some day’s a stone.

    As if things weren't bad enough, I also got some wierd frequency oscillations on the G string above the 8th fret and and all the others above the 12th fret. Dropping the pups made it less apparent but the source was not the pup height.

    After writing this I went back and looked at the BP review. Not really much said - but we definitely did not percieve these pups the same way. Shy bottom and mellow highs - just the opposite is what I got. Don't even see the vintage perception. Fender tone of one sort or another is vintage to me, something a bit raw that opens up with warm overtones. Most Duncans to me have a distinctly compressed, fat bottom, thin mid mid upper mid refined hi-fi flavor (update: I've also had different experiences with Duncans since this writing). Well, at least they didn't give it a top tone award and only gave it a 3 value. Definitely closer than would have been to the Antiquities.
  13. Flatwound

    Flatwound Supporting Member

    Sep 9, 2000
    San Diego
    I'll be interested to see what you think of the SJB-1's. Likewise, I'll try to make a sensible evaluation of the Laces.
  14. luknfur


    Jan 14, 2004

    Messing on a rotary switch on the MM's so a filler here for the time being.

    Just picked up these old war horses. Been tied to the whip'n post - couple D & G grooves cut into the bridge pup from nights in the hands of a slapper. If these pups could talk.

    Loaded into the flatpick bass (acoustically mid range) and played with a standard thick tortise shell electric guitar pick. Output better than average with no irritating flatpick transfer or out of control highs. Dead quiet regarding hum. Broad range of useable tones that you could dial in to suit taste. Could really darken up these pups and basically dial out the J sound to more of P or HB tone. In fact, I never really brightened them up cause it was working fine as it was. Pups worked to 90% of the tunes or better including a very useable Reggae.

    Hi-fi tone solo but doesn't show when played to music. Very warm tones for an active. Very convincing Fender Jazz tone (to music, not solo) and, with heavy palming, even got a useable URB immitation that caught me off gaurd. Some growl. Volume, clarity, sensitivity, and cut even on A, D, & G strings but lacking on some settings with the E string. In general it was the E string that I spent most the time working with. Mostly had some trouble trying to fatten it up and at times the E would get lost in the mix. May have been a room acoustics thing but it was something I experienced. Regardless, nice not to have to fight treble tones with J's for a change - which was no problem with these pups whatsoever. Preamps (OPB-3 @ bridge and NTMB @ neck) didn't change anything volume or tonewise that I noticed and didn't seem to make it any easier with the E string adjustments.

    In all, no killer sounds I caught but a very flexible, useable pair of pups to have around - and they'll be staying around for a while.


    Low-end oriented pups that thin out consideably after the mid midrange. No top end of any consequence. Basically solid low mid J tone. Although they did require adjustment from being too bright or a couple of occassions, boosting treble had more of an effect of thinning tone than becoming too sharp.

    Not a broad range of tonal variations available across the frequency spectrum from tweaking knobs or changing technique/position but they lend themselves well to changing tunes/styles. The pups were amazingly flexible for as dark as there are. Variations obtained from lower midrange on down were many and subtle but pretty tastie.

    Some growl. Nice bulge on the E and A strings. The pups have an amazing amount of rawness for active pups. They have a weird sort of active sounding warmth to them that worked great to Reggae (nailed Marley's tone) and some other dark bass tunes. Interesting pups in a deceptive way. For a brighter warmth I'd dial in and I'd think, man that's pretty impressive. Then I'd keep playing and realized something was missing and I was back to tweaking knobs, never quite getting there. Definetly not a Fender warmth but will get you through the night.
  15. Flatwound

    Flatwound Supporting Member

    Sep 9, 2000
    San Diego
    OK then. May as well resurrect this thread, as I just put a set of Lace Sensors (which I got from luknfur) in my Essex. They seem fine to me, with the clarity that Lace says they have. My main discovery has been that I'm really not a Jazz-Bass-type person, more of a P-guy. However, I'll probably leave these pups in the Essex as I really don't like the stockers much, and these sound pretty good. I think that once I finish setting up the Essex (traded my fretless neck for a fretted with another TB'er), it'll be a good back-up bass.
  16. luknfur


    Jan 14, 2004
    I was wondering if you ever got around to installing them. Give 'em a little time. I read one review where the wasn't impressed at first but grew to favor them. To me they were'nt impressive but seemed to have potential. But if you like the bass I know that at least Bart makes a p pup in a J housing. So other manufacturer's may as well.
  17. luknfur


    Jan 14, 2004

    Placed under "HB" experiments
  18. luknfur


    Jan 14, 2004
    MULTIPLE "J" PLACEMENT (bartolini 9J-L1, 9K-L1, 9K-S1)

    Single wire with ground single coils

    Tried a few different positions with these pups.

    1) Mounted a jazz pup parallel (lengthwise) beneath each of the E, A, & D strings (3 pups)

    Month or so ago the idea crossed my mind to mount a J pup in line with the string just to see what sensing a large area of the string would sound like.* Bass pups are made to sense a narrow portion of the string to produce a cleaner punchier sound. So I figured the results would be muddy, which they were - but no worse than some pups. Volume was also up considerably. No distortion to speak of unless slides, hammer-ons, or the like were applied. Didn't give it much of a chance but saw no real potential to produce anything of practical use.

    2) Mounted 3 pups evenly spaced in typical parallel to bridge fashion

    9K-S1 was mounted about an inch from the neck end, one 9J-L1 was mounted about a inch from the bridge, and the other 9K-L1 midway between the two. Neck pup was run to one jack and mid and bridge pup were paired up and ran through the other jack. In retrospect, I may have faired better by pairing the mid and and neck up. At any rate, the neck pup was too dark to be of any use. The mid and bridge paired wasn't much better. Very ordinary sounds also on the too dark side.

    3) Left the 9K-S1 jazz at the neck and moved the mid pup next to the pup at the bridge in humbucker fashion (both pups - 9-L's - still running to same jack)

    The next step since I thought it may brighten the tone - through at least one of the amp channels anyway, which it did. Still relativley dark but actually sounding much like it looked - a humbucker. Full tones with not much top end but little more promising than previous results. But definitely not enough bright to compensate for anything the neck would put out.

    4) Ran only a pair of jazz pups in humbucker fashiion at the bridge with each pup ran to it's own jack.

    For the time being, I concluded that the idea of running more than two jazz pups was not of much practical use - at least in the sense that I figured you could get the same sound from two of some other kind of pup. But I had one more thing I wanted to check out first. And it proved to produce some choice tones. That, I'll write up tomorrow.

    Addendum: I'll have to get the modle numbers straight on the long's when I pull them out (never can remember all these designations). DONE!

  19. luknfur


    Jan 14, 2004

    Single wire w/ground single coils

    Leading edge of the "neck" (9K-L1)pup 13 7/8" from center of 12th fret (That's one skinny pup! 12 7/8")
    Leading edge of the bridge pup (9J-L1) 14 1/8" from center of 12th fret

    (pups pretty much fit in the space of a Music Man style pup)

    I did this primarily to see if I could get the same tone with the pups totally isolated that I got when they were wired together to one jack, or whether previous tone was a result of some interaction between the two pups. Also I wanted to see what kind of tonal range I could get running each pup through seperate channels of the amp.

    Loaded into an acoustically bright bass. Output average, maybe a little less. Minimal hum. Minimal finger transfer on the settings I used, not a problem. Full, warm, humbucking-like tone – good low end and midrange and light on the top end. On the dark side with some punch. A "J" tone common in recordings and professional Jazz bands. J tone shows through but the HB characteristics and even occasional P tone was apparent, depending on setting. This is pretty much a J tone I’ve been looking for and what I expected when I first started experimenting with J’s. But they always seemed on the thin side to me and I just figured I hadn’t run across the right J’s yet. Had them all along, just didn’t have them placed where needed to get the sound.

    Basic setting I worked out of was bridge pup set with bass cut a couple steps, mid and treble both boosted a step. “Neck” set with bass cut a step and a half and treble flat (channel 2 is only 2 band). Volume was the typical bridge 3 neck 1. I could brighten it up, clean it up, muddy it up, darken it up, dial in or out growl, dial in or out some bulge depending on adjustment – all within useable parameters. Through tone adjustment, pup mix, or hand position, I could pretty much get what I was after. I could get a cutting or background tone. Worked to all tunes acceptably or better. Volume, sensitivity, tone, clarity, and cut even across the board. I could get some variations on these (such as boosting bass to decrease clarity) but obtaining balance was not a problem. Nice tones but not typical solo sounds for the most part. Worked good with chords and well with a flat pick what little I used it.

    The preamps (NTMB, OBP-3) tended to produce better solo sounds from tones that worked to music. Preamps produced a usual volume cut but didn’t seem to affect quality of tone with the tunes I played them to. If anything, maybe added a little hi-fi in that suited the tone well. Preamps also cleaned up what little hum there was.

    In all, pretty nice discovery. A J set with useable P, HB, and J tone.

  20. luknfur


    Jan 14, 2004
    SINGLE ACTIVE EMG J-L5 MID POSITION (two wire w/ground)

    This is the J pup out of the Active EMG PJ set I have.

    The bass/pup setup is the one that will be used for the preamp experiment. I thought I’d run it to music and see how it did since the preamp experiment will be side by side solo.

    Loaded in an acoustically midrange bass in roughly mid position – pretty close to where the “neck” pup was in the double J HB fashion of the previous experiment. Flat picked with the usual thick plastic tortoise shell guitar pick. I played around a little with a medium pick and the tone brightened considerably and with no apparent pick transfer through the pups of any significance. I typically use the thick pick because it seems most pups pick up too much of the attack with a lighter gauge pick.

    Output noticeably better than average. No hum. No pick transfer. Good low end and mid range for the tones played to tunes. Worked to all tunes passably or better with little adjustment needed. No solo sounds noted. I often noticed a warm, smooth, vintage tone while playing to tunes. The tone was clean but didn’t strike me as having a hi-fi quality to it. Very little growl. Volume, sensitivity, tone, clarity, and cut even across the board. No outstanding tones but just a good, compliant pup to work with. Not much variety of sound – just adjustments off the same sound but the sound it had was very flexible in application to various musical styles. Struck me as similar in sound, but with a lot less flexibility in terms of tonal options, to the last experiment (Bart double J HB). I wouldn’t be surprised if a single Bart in the “neck” position of that “HB” may do about the same as the EMG – but with less output.

    Ran through the EMG BQS preamp had the usual volume drop but no detectable variation in quality of tone. The preamp seemed to enhance flexibility. Added some punch, little growl, and could dial in some crispness. I explored a little with tones not played to music. Definitely seemed, at minimum, that the preamp didn’t detract from the pup at all. Seems it's pups with a rawness or ample overtones that don't fair well with preamps. The active pups as a rule seem to be enhanced by preamps.

    Overall, an easy pup to work with that had a good tone and was enjoyable to play.