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Dr DIMENTO'S ONGOING MM PUP EXPERIMENT

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by luknfur, Apr 7, 2004.


  1. luknfur

    luknfur

    Jan 14, 2004
    DIXIE
    Some of this is sloppy and may not make sense but this is where all the experimentation began before any kind of fromat or plan was developed. It's also where much of the learning began. Some after the fact organization is in process.

    Unless noted otherwise, all trials are fingerpick and using the bass specified with TI JF 344's run true stereo direct out (no pots) from each pup (where two pups exist) into seperate channels of a 2000 Polytone Mini Brute V with settings remaining flat unless noted otherwise [and running flat didn't last long in my recollection]. Single pups are ran through a single channel (I is 2 band, II is 3 band) and the amp has a combine switch where channels can be combined.

    Most of these pups were ran series humbucking unless noted otherwise. I did finally fall out of a coma and pick up a switch but series/parallel/single pole switching really doesn't change the sound of the pup and is nothing I couldn't get through amp adjustment. Parallel and single pole switching do significantly reduce output. However, with the addition a neck pup I might find switching to be useful.

    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, though different rigging can diminish or accent different characterics of the pup. My standard pup setting is as high as they'll go without driving the strings into them, maximum 1/8." Pups are appropriately mounted in standard configuration unless noted otherwise. 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 with ==== indicating the lastest, Have run:

    MISCELLANEOUS COMBINATIONS
    INITIAL "PRE-EXPERIEMENT" MEDLEY (Pg.1)

    Side by Sides

    MM STERLING/BART MMC/BART MME - SIDE BY SIDE COMPARISON (Pg.1)
    LANE POOR MODULUS/BARTOLINI MODULUS "SIDE BY SIDE" COMPARISON MEDLEY - SYNOPSIS (Pg.2)
    LANE POOR MODULUS /BARTOLINI MODULUS "SIDE BY SIDE" COMPARISON MEDLEY - COMPLETE (Pg.2)
    MODULUS LANE POOR MM/LANE POOR M3.5W SIDE BY SIDE COMPARISON (Pg.2)
    MODULUS MM LANE POOR/MODULUS SEYMOUR DUNCAN SIDE BY SIDE COMPARISON (Pg.3) ======

    BARTOLINI MMC (Passive 4 wire + ground) (Pg.1)
    BARTOLINI MME Passive 3 COIL (wired South Pole in series and humbucker in parallel) (Pg.1)
    BARTOLINI MMC/MME BASS SWAP (acoustics of bass affect on pup) (Pg.2)
    BARTOLINI MM4 QUAD COIL (from Tobias Growler) (Pg.2)
    BARTOLINI MODULUS MM4 (original pup from 2001 Flea [FB4] Bass) (Pg.2)

    CARVIN (ALNICO 5) 4 STRING MM (acoustically midrange bass) (Pg.2)
    CARVIN (ALNICO 5) 4 STRING MM (acoustically bright bass) (Pg.2)

    Ernie Ball STERLING 3 COIL PASSIVE HB (Pg.1)
    ERNIE BALL ALNICO 5 STINGRAY (Pg.2)
    ERNIE BALL MUSIC MAN BONGO (Pg.2)

    LANE POOR MUSIC MAN (from MODULUS Flea FB4) (Pg.2)
    LANE POOR MODULUS MM BRIDGE/LANE POOR M3.5W SOAP NECK (Pg.2)
    LANE POOR MUSIC MAN 5 (4 lead w/grd) (Pg.3)


    MTD KINGSTON MM (Korean passive 2 wire) (Pg.1)

    NORDSTRAND MM 4.2 Alnico (acoustically midrange and bright bass) (Pg.2)

    SEYMOUR DUNCAN MM (SMB-4d to my knowledge) (Pg.2)
    SEYMOUR DUNCAN MODULUS MUSIC MAN (Pg.3)


    So far:

    ----------------------------------


    INITIAL EXPERIMENT MEDLEY

    This started in another thread and took off on it's own, therefore this posting. Anybody that's had another experience or related thoughts, feel free to jump in. Pup(s) were wired straight to seperate neck and bridge output jacks (no pots) and run to independent amp channels. I have done the following so far:

    1) Bart MMC about 3/4" closer to bridge than standard MM positioning

    2) The same at standard MM bridge position (sp = standard position)

    3) The same at mid position

    4) The same at neck position

    5) Duncan P (SPB 2) neck position with MMC sp

    6) Bart MME neck and MMC sp

    7) MTD Kingston pup at sp

    8) MTD Kingston neck and MMC sp

    9) Bart 9K-S1 (J) neck and MMC sp

    10) Bart MME sp

    Synopsis with the MM is basically the further from the bridge they get, the darker they become and more growl they loose. I could get good tone on bass strings or treble strings with the MMC but not both through my rigging. Moving up the neck or using the fat of my finger helped take some edge off the excessive treble tones. The MME (3 coil) as it was wired was darker with less growl than the MMC and has a warmer tone of it's own which is not bad. The Kingston pup was a deal @ $15 shipped but no Bart. Anything at the neck besides the Bart J took away from the sweet tones of the MMC at the bridge, even at low volume drownded out the MMC, and was generally too dark sounding overall. The MMC solo in sp was the best option except the MMC in combo with the Bart J at the neck which was the ticket. Definitely a keeper combo.

    The J neck was an excellent compliment to the MMC in terms of tone. The J's thin by nature so doesn't drowned out the MMC at the bridge and allows for beefing up the bottom end without taking away the highs from the MMC, depending on adjustment. In addition I could adjust the J volume only so that the biting treble edge of the MMC on the D & G strings was resolved. I could get a tone similar to my Bart PJ setup (or the Duncan PJ - fat bottom/low mid) yet retain the MM sound. Worked very well over a fairly broad range of musical styles.

    I should mention that when I get a setup right, the volumes from each pup produce a broad range of useful tones from slight adjustment (thus no need for tone controls) with very good volume even at low settings. As a result, I'm able to keep the amp EQ flat.

    For more depth and info you can go to the "Bartolini and Stingray / Sterling ?" thread in this forum.
     
  2. luknfur

    luknfur

    Jan 14, 2004
    DIXIE
    Another observation from sticking an MM at the neck is that I was suprised at how much it sounded like a P pup, no more difference than between different Ps. And it sounds like a J at the bridge. Very interesting pup. If I could only have one pup in a bass, it would probably be an MM.

    Anyway, it made me wonder what a P at the bridge would sound like. I'll know before long.
     
  3. luknfur

    luknfur

    Jan 14, 2004
    DIXIE
    Definitely not done here, just a bit stalled out. Soon hope to have a go with a 3 coil MM Sterling pup I have, as welll as other MM's as they trickle in. For the time being, it's onto J's which I've redirected to as of late.
     
  4. Fliptrique

    Fliptrique

    Jul 22, 2002
    Szczecin, Poland
    Endorsing Artist: Mayones Guitars&Basses, Taurus Amplification
    .i`ll be trying this today - i have 2 emg humbuckers, a 45p/45j combo. the p in the neck position is a bit too close (a usual p positioning is somewhere near the midlle, and I have a standard two humbucker positioning...) to the neck, and is a bit too bassy, so i`ll swap it with the j, and see how it sounds in the bridge position :)
     
  5. luknfur

    luknfur

    Jan 14, 2004
    DIXIE

    Yeh, let me know, especially if you've got a seperate volume or means of isolating what the P sounds like by itself. Hung me up a bit when that MM sounded like a P at the typical P position.
     
  6. luknfur

    luknfur

    Jan 14, 2004
    DIXIE
    Will probably get back to doing the MM more in line with the "J" study but I was more interested in MM placement and combinations at the time. I also picked up another Schaller roller but this one had a base plate attatched (first I've seen of those) which may help resolve the MM 3 coil passive Sterling issue so I can run it. All these Dimento threads will have additions with new incoming pups as they roll in.
     
  7. Fliptrique

    Fliptrique

    Jul 22, 2002
    Szczecin, Poland
    Endorsing Artist: Mayones Guitars&Basses, Taurus Amplification
    ok, so I now have a j/p combo - I haven`t tested it in a battle situation yet, but here are my first impressions...

    My bass is big. Made of tiger oak. So it`s heavy. Big and heavy. Big neck. You get the picture.

    Acoustically it has a very focused, clear tone, with loads of sustain. Because of it`s size and wood, it has a lot of bottom end, and with the p pickup in the neck position, it had a bit TOO MUCH bass - i had to raise the brighe pup and run the neck pup at 80% to get rid of that drowning low frequencies. I wasn`t completely satisfied with it, because the bridge pickup, being so close to the strings, was a bit to bright with some annoying high-midrange. Did i mention i use emg`s ? :D

    After replacing the pup... wooow! The sound got much darker, a lot of that high-midrange is gone, replaced with a very warm, pleasent low-midrange growl. The p pup in the bridge position sound`s intresting, great slap tone, i can get a zon-like tone fingerstyle, and chords are very warm and focused.

    I`ll mess with the pickps height, but as for now, im pretty satisfied with the results - i`ll know for sure after my band`s rehersal this week... I`m pretty sure i`ll stick with this j/p setup until i get enough cash to buy two emg-tw`s :)
     
  8. luknfur

    luknfur

    Jan 14, 2004
    DIXIE
    That's interesting. Still haven't stuck a P in at the bridge position but I'll get there. But the P pup in standard position being a bit heavy handed is not uncommon in my experience.

    How does the volume level on the P at the bridge compare to the J pup and the P where it was at the neck? Usually at the bridge is about 1/3 less than the neck in my experience. Is the P any different.
     
  9. Fliptrique

    Fliptrique

    Jul 22, 2002
    Szczecin, Poland
    Endorsing Artist: Mayones Guitars&Basses, Taurus Amplification
    When the pickups were at the same distance from the strings, the p in the neck position was about 1/3 louder than the j at the bridge - it would dominate the sound (especially while slapping), if both were run at full volume. After switching, the p pup in the bridge position is about equal in output (maybe a tiny bit louder - i`ll know for sure when I play it through my rig) to the j in the neck position.
     
  10. luknfur

    luknfur

    Jan 14, 2004
    DIXIE
    The P's are sounding more interesting. Maybe I'll see what I can do about swapping P & J's around while I'm testing the upcoming PJs. Some J's are pretty thin toned for sure.
     
  11. luknfur

    luknfur

    Jan 14, 2004
    DIXIE
    MUSIC MAN STERLING 3 COIL PASSIVE HB


    Installed in the acoustically bright bass at the standard MM position. Make shift arrangement in that I needed a 3 position switch and sent the last one off in a recent bass sale. So this was run with only one of the hot leads (black) which ran the top pair of coils. Got mild hum, killed by touching strings but for the time being attribute hum to my wiring. Will hopefully have it straightened out tomorrow. But this gave me a general idea of what this pup can do so I could at least run it.

    Output seemed slightly above average. Struck me as a slightly dark PJ sound with accent on J tone. Noticeably muddy but good tone nevertheless and something different and not negative to me - sort of vintage flavor. About like standing off to the side of your amp. Nice original touch on something like Pickett's Midnight Hour. Muddy works for some stuff but seems to be the ultimate insult to a lot of players. Regardless, initially I tried numerous adjustments to clear it up with and without preamp but to no avail. Adding treble produced some unappealing string transfer and seemed to thin it out more than clear it up. Also there was noticeable, bit unusual, mid frequency finger transfer which may be a problem for some players but was quite tolerable to me.

    Without preamp, I backed bass and treble off a step to get an optimal tone. The pup responded better to amp controls than preamp, which was a Bart NTMB with mid switch. No detectable change in tone or volume firing up the preamp. Preamp was used for probably 3/4's of the tunes. Tone was much more workeable when darkened down than lightened up but overall better tone flexibility was had from hand position rather than control adjustment. Decent mid/upper mid Jazz bass tone working near the bridge which could be darkened substantially by playing to the neck side of the pup. Worked acceptably to pretty much all the tunes but control adjustments were needed for Reggae (not quite there but close). Very little growl but nice bulge on E string and a little on A up to 3rd fret or so. Volume, clarity, tone, sensitivity, and cut were distinctly more pronounced on E & A strings but as stated previously, clarity distinctly muddy but not useless. Solo it was actually balanced, so more precisely, D & G didn't cut which preceptively affected the other parameters. Optimal tone was a marginal solo sound. Also, dinked with it a little and it sounded like this could be a good pup for flatpicking.

    Definitely a pup worth further exploration and glad to have gotten my paws on one. Thanks Hawk!

    On another vein, should have some incoming: SD Rics, Gib EBO, and couple soap cheapo's - PV Foundation and Epi Thunderbird. And I'm interested in some lipsticks if anybody has some dormant in a drawer.

    Also if anyone has some details on wiring (options, whatever) of this pup, I'd appreciate an email or PM.


    ADDENDUM: Thought enough of this pup to route one bass the additional ~ 1/4" necessary where the 3rd coil is. Read a thread by a guy who was wanting some resolve with the volume variation he was experiencing between E & A and D & G strings on his Stingray. One guy even went so far as to grind the pole pieces level on his. There is noticeable variation in volume, which could potentially pose a problem, but it's a borderline issue to me. Got some growl out of the pup with slight treble boost. Also didn't strike me as being really muddy this round, more soft on the D & G strings and a thin Fender-like to the E & G strings.
     
  12. luknfur

    luknfur

    Jan 14, 2004
    DIXIE
    BARTOLINI MMC (Passive 4 wire + ground)

    Ran the MMC in the acoustically mid range flatpick bass in standard MM position and the pup wired in series. Was due for some flatpicking. Output seemed a little better than overage. Dead quiet in terms of hum. Distinct J flavor. Heavy on the mids. Volume, sensitivity, and tone seemed pretty even across the board. Cut was more pronounced from mid mids up. So clarity seemed not muddy but approaching it from the lower mids down except in more mellow tunes or those with breathing space. Trebles were smooth. Not much growl.

    Hard to get the J tone out and so tonewise would work to anything that would take a J. Worked well to about 25% of the tunes. Marginally to another 60% or so. Real well to Reggae by using the amp treble cut switch (10 db of cut - and independent of the the treble knob) with amp tone settings flat. Finally got that warmth that was lacking. Not so good to country or anything needing accent on other than mids.

    I used the NTMB for at least half the tunes and even with the mid control at zip I could still hear the mids. The amp mid was still flat and probably should have cut it to see if that would produce anything. Passively the pups ran best with amp flat. Not much variety of tone and altering from flat setting seemed to make no marked improvement. With preamp, mid switch was set for low mids, bass, mid, and treble pots were all cut back a couple steps with treble set flat for some tunes. The optimal tone used for music was maybe a little better than marginal solo sound.

    I wasn't that impressed with the pup previously. Fairly narrow application but for a single pup, I like the tone it does have. And it may produce better quality sound through other equipment. Worked real well with in combo with the J neck pup but is probably not a pup I would keep for running it solo.
     
  13. luknfur

    luknfur

    Jan 14, 2004
    DIXIE
    MTD KINGSTON MM (Korean)

    SYNOPSIS:

    Installed in an acoustically mid-bright bass strung with Ibanez rounds. Output was probably 20% better than average, more than the Bart MMC and Sterling for sure. Quiet, no hum. No detectable finger transfer except for the typical sound from rounds, nothing from the attack that I could tell. Noticeably mid mid to upper mid heavy, lacking on the bottom end, with distinct treble but fairly rounded.

    Nice Jazz slap bass sound with amp flat. Clarity, sensitivty, volume, and tone were noticeably less on the E string. Cut was more pronounced on the A string, little less on the D than A, little less on the G than D, and considerably less on the E. And the E I sometimes had to play just to the back of the pup to be able to hear it. Very little growl but some sweet Jazz tones coming from playing to the back side of the pup. Marginal solo tone.

    One thing I've noticed with all these MM's, is they require a lot of adjustment to make them work with different tunes. The MTD was more responsive to adjustment than the Sterling and Bart. Broader range of more workable tones out of it and worked well to about half the tunes and marginally to about another 25%. Pretty decent Reggae. As a rule, better bass tone came from cutting the others rather than boosting bass.

    Got the OBP-3 cranked up finally. The volume dropped a little as usual, some nuance of tone loss, reduction in the piano sound of the rounds and finger tranfer frm the rounds. Tone was pretty much identical as without the preamp.


    In all, probably a good pup to have around and I wouldn't be suprised if some seasoned players wouldn't prefer the Kingston pup to the higher quality MM pups.


    THE WHOLE ENCHILADA

    Bought this pup for $15 shipped when a dude emailed me with the offer. He'd replaced it with a Bart MMC. It was the first MM I ever bought and I was pleasantly suprised. I'd stuck it in Lab Rat I (my route test bass - Ibanez GSR 190 - made a pickgaurd for it when I was done with it) and tossed it on ebay @ $150 - what I had in it. No takers and I wasn't disappointed cause I had second thoughts about giving up the Kingston pup. And I'm still glad I've got the pup. Hanging on the wall and still didn't get the switch so thought I'd run it tonight. Since I stopped buying basses and don't get the complimentary rounds that come with them, it was time to play some.

    I'd guess Lab Rat is mid - bright acoustically (can't tell with the rounds I'm not used to). Cheap Ibanez strings that came with a bass but not in too bad a shape. Regardless, had that nice piano ring to them. Output was probably 20% better than average, more than the Bart MMC and Sterling for sure. Quiet, no hum. No detectable finger transfer except for the typical sound from rounds, nothing from the attack that I could tell. Noticeably mid mid to upper mid heavy, lacking on the bottom end, with distinct treble but fairly rounded.

    Nice Jazz slap bass sound. Clarity, sensitivty, volume, and tone were noticeably less on the E string. Cut was more pronounced on the A string, little less on the D than A, little less on the G than D, and considerably less on the E. And the E I sometimes had to play just to the back of the pup to be able to hear it. Very little growl but some sweet Jazz tones coming from playing to the back side of the pup. With rounds, practically all of them sound good played by themselves to me but what little solo there is in these tunes it was marginal in working.

    One thing I've noticed with all these MM's, is they require a lot of adjustment to make them work with different tunes. The MTD was more responsive to adjustment than the Sterling and Bart. Broader range of more workable tones out of it and worked well to about half the tunes and marginally to about another 25%. Pretty decent Reggae with about 25% cut in mids and treble and 25% boost in bass and the treble cut switch taking another 10% of treble. As a rule, better bass tone came from cutting the others rather than boosting bass.

    Got the OBP-3 cranked up finally. The variable mid is kind of cool on the surface but haven't messed with it enough to see if I like it better than the Bart switch. The volume dropped a little as usual, some nuance of tone loss, reduction in the piano sound of the rounds and finger tranfer frm the rounds. Tone was pretty much identical as without the preamp.

    In all, probably a good pup to have around and I wouldn't be suprised if some seasoned players wouldn't prefer the Kingston pup to the higher quality pups.
     
  14. luknfur

    luknfur

    Jan 14, 2004
    DIXIE
    BARTOLINI MME Passive 3 COIL (wired South Pole in series and humbucker in parallel)


    SYNOPSIS:

    Update: I realized today I'd neglected a note at the bottom of the Bart diagram instructing to ground the wires off the pup not used on the switch. After doing so, changes needing mention occured.

    The parallel mode worked fine with a mild decrease in volume compared to series. If fact no change was needed in volume and for some tunes it cut better than series. Very little hum. Difference in sound parallel was softer and rounder (effectively darker sound) but the sounds were the same otherwise, and for most tunes they both worked well. Often just a matter of preference but in general better for anything you want less bite/edge with - country, whatever. Less bulge on E & A and less apparent growl. Even volume, tone, cut, clarity, and sensitivity across the board. Probably not a solo sound.

    The series tone also improved with the rewiring and was equal to adding the preamp yesterday yet maintaining some rawness, and it struck me as losing some J tone. More upper mids and highs than parallel but the highs were no longer a problem regarding finger transfer, I could just change attack or move up the neck a little. Also the G string joined the others in terms of balance across the board. Nice solo sound to me. The only thing that wasn't improved was there was some pronounced hum that was killed by touching strings (probably my wiring).

    The amp was kept flat except for Reggae (good Reggae tone both modes) and didn't use the preamp cause didn't need it. Also didn't mess with amp controls cause series or parallel or both, worked to all the tunes. More wiring options to play with on this pup so I'll dig into that stuff then.

    This is a single pup sound that doesn't need any help from another pup. It will be interesting to see what the other options produce.

    (Yesterdays)
    This is a 6 lead with ground pup. Loaded in the acoustically dark bass in standard MM position. The added switch was wired for parallel humbucking in one position and the South Pole coil in series in the other. The parallel mode was a bust off the bat with too much hum to be of use, especially since it's parallel output was only about 1/3 of the series. So this was basically a test on roughly one of a dozen tones this pup puts out.

    Volume output was average. Some hum but nothing pronounced. Noticeably dark J sound but not really heavy on the bottom end, more of a lower mid rounded tone. Distinct treble that seemed brightly out of balance with the other strings when tone settings were flat. Some problematic finger transfer on the G string but manageable through cutting treble a step or two as needed for some tunes - which also put this string into balance with the others. Cutting the treble did darken the pup tone overall even more than it already was but it still played to music well but would likely be too dark a tone live. Not a solo tone. No growl I could tell. Volume, sensitivity, clarity, cut, and tone were fairly even across the strings except for the G string as mentioned. Sounds cut but not blatantly.

    Worked well to all the tunes but had some problems on the country side so fired up the OBP-3. Some volume drop and lost some edge but picked up a pleasant soft, hi fi tone that still had a J tone but more like that from a split humbucker. The variable mid adjustment proved a handy piece and I was able to work to some tunes that weren't working passively. Picked up noticeable growl and nice bulge on the E & A strings.

    In all, a narrow band of tones that, with the preamp, would probably cover most tunes acceptably. From what I can tell, I recieved the pup wired in HB series mode - which is as it comes from the factory. This sound was fairly close to that, maybe just not as full sounding. Will try another switch option tomorrow.

    THE WHOLE ENCHILADA


    Still no switch for the Sterling but did have some DPDT switches I could put to use on the triple coil Bart MME, so that's what I did. There's 3 options with the MME available from the same switch pattern so that looked like a good place to start. Took more time that I expected just getting the bass ready so only ran one option tonight played to rock, country, reggae, and some blues.

    Loaded in the acoustically dark bass in standard MM position. The added switch was wired for parallel humbucking in one position and the South Pole coil in series in the other. The parallel mode was a bust off the bat with too much hum to be of use, especially since it's parallel output was only about 1/3 of the series. Keep in mind these installations are just temporarily jeri-rigged to get in some testing in order to pick out desireable combinations for permanent application. That in combination with some unknown variables often make for more hum than is likely with proper installation. As a result, for a while I wasn't even noting the noise level. But you can bet if it's quiet under these conditions - it's a quiet pup configuration. So this was basically a test on roughly one of a dozen tones this pup puts out.

    Remainder same as already mentioned.
     
  15. luknfur

    luknfur

    Jan 14, 2004
    DIXIE
    BARTOLINI MME (North Pole in series Humbucking in Parallel)

    Not much length to add here. Essentially a darker sound with North Pole in series - no suprise there. The North series however seemed to lose cut on the D & G string which I hadn't noticed with South in Series. The parallel HB mode however definitely seemed darker to me than the same from yesterday. But it's not the same wiring pattern from the parallel from yesterday either. So maybe it's wired different to obtain balance cuase the relationship between the two modes today and yesterday is the same for all intents and purpose - just darker. I haven't really made sense of how these pup wires are working yet - just follow the diagrams. But some of the wires are obviously interchangeable.

    Not recalling the formulae to calculate the number of possibilities of this pup, I just started writing some out. I'd say it's more like 24 variations rather than 12 - I stopped at like 18. Definetly not running them all and I've been hoping to get a feel for how these wires are working so I can apply it to Sterling pup - since I have no diagrams for it.
     
  16. luknfur

    luknfur

    Jan 14, 2004
    DIXIE
    MM STERLING/BART MMC/BART MME - SIDE BY SIDE COMPARISON

    Interesting evening. Working on a swap for an MM but not sure which one I want to exit. Sooooooooo.......time for an experiment.

    The Sterling was loaded into the bright bass; the MME into the dark bass; having one in the flatpick bass was not good procedure so I assembled and strung my will someday to be a fretless bass (acoustically bright and still w/frets) and dropped the MMC in it. Haven't laid my hands on the necessary switches so I just wired them all to the MM standard 3 position: series HB, parallel HB, and Bridge Coil hum-cancelling. Played a third of the tunes to each wiring actually playing about a verse of each song for each bass - a tad demented I'd say. That's a lot of plugging and unplugging. The Sterling isn't going anywhere but I was hoping to draw a parallel with it with one of the Barts and, if so, that pup would go. Don't need two of the same thing.

    The Amp was kept flat to expedite the process. This is not an exploration in the capacity of the pups to fit to music but a comparsion between the three for the tone they each put out under as like conditons as I could make it. The basses were stuck wired in the mode they were in which often was not appropriate for the music so to adjust tone would have been pointless anyway.


    SERIES HB

    Sterling (3 coil 4 wire plus ground): Output was probably 33% greater than the Barts. Fat, with plenty of low end. Nice punch on E and A strings (what I've been calling buldge[update: actually not the same but how it must have struck me at the time]). Little bright at times on the D & G strings. Volume, sensitivity, tone, cut, and clairty more on the E & A strings as a rule, Noticeable lack of sustain. Overall, a nice raw sound with some growl.

    MME (3 coil 6 wire + ground): Output little a less than average. Also low end heavy but a much warmer, softer, more refined tone than the Sterling. Noticeable finger tansfer on the D & G strings and they were on the bright side as well at times. Volume, sensitivity, tone, and clarity fairly even most of the time but cut about average. The MME fit the music better overall than the other pups throughout the experiment. Had very little growl. This MME struck me as very much like a warmer rounded version of the Sterling.


    MMC (2 coil 4 wire + ground): Output was probably 15% below average - enough to require volume boosts when switching basses. Mid mid upper mid heavy. Very thin low end. But excluding the E string, definitely the most balanced in volume, sensitivity, tone, clarity, and cut of all the pups throughout the experiment. Most apparent growl of the bunch. Very J tone with little MM. In fact I considered shipping it off just based on thoughts that I've got PJs that can sound like this.

    PARALLEL HB & HC BRIDGE PUP

    Basically the basses in different modes stayed consistent with themselves throughout the experiment with parallel being the typical thinner, softer, darker mood tone. I say typical cause that's what it is to me. I understand that parallel is supposed to be a brighter sound since less resistance creates more high frequencies. But it's a duller, muddier tone to me - although definetly less bass. Series bridge sounded like the brighter half of the series HB, full tones with higher frequencies. In the series bridge mode all three pups had noticeably string transfer that was a bit much on the G, D, and lesser degree A strings. There was neglible if any string transfer for any of the pups in parallel mode and volume loss in parallel was minimal.

    By the end of the experiment I suspected the Barts may very much be reflecting the tone of the basses they are in. Tomorrow I'll swap them into the other bass and I'll know. According to the Bart site, they should have parallel tonal charactertics.

    Also, I did pull down the Kingston pup briefly since it was already loaded into Lab Rat I. Sounded fine during the MTD experiment but when ran next to the big boys, not quite in the same league - BUT approaching the MMC and in combo with a J at the neck, may produce some pretty tastey tones.


    ALWAYS OPEN FOR PUP SWAPS - OR PURCHASE AT A GOOD PRICE!
     
  17. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    Hi luknfur, this thread caught my eye. I'm currently experimenting with an MM StingRay 5 (the newer Ernie Ball version). I'm curious what motivated you to go out and look for a different pickup. Is it the relative lack of bassiness in the stock pickup?
     
  18. luknfur

    luknfur

    Jan 14, 2004
    DIXIE
    I don't own an MM bass. It's started cuase I was tired of being limited by my bass to the pups I could use. When it dawned on me I could route out a few basses, cut inventory in less than half and have a bunch of pups instead of a bunch of basses while increasing flexibility and versatility - I fired up the router and started selling basses and buying pickups, one of which was a Sterling. The pup does not strike me as lacking low end. Throwing the 3rd coil on the bottom was a little over the top in the design department but I personally like the rawness of the pup - although I can see how someone would want something more tame.

    Addendum: oops, was thinking MM and like pups but the pups in the Stingray are not those in the Sterling. So the Rays may be a bit thin but it could possibly be the bass is very bright acoustically with the pup just picking up what the bass is putting out acoustically. Swapped the Barts to opposite basses tonight and BIG difference tonewise. Also you've got controls that enter into the picture and I have not found pots sizes to make a difference worth bothering with but a lower ohm pot on the tone may make a difference - not nearly so much as the basses acoustics. Softer materials at the nut and bridge can alter tone, and strings of course.

    Addendum II: was just on the Duncan site and they mentioned a 3 coil replacement pup for the Sterling and Stingray5. Also a the Bart site lists a cross-reference color code between the Stingray5 and MME so maybe it is the same pup. If so, don't thinks it's the pup unless these pups are as inconsistent in manufacture as the old Fenders.
     
  19. Papersen

    Papersen Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2002
    Hi luknfur. Interesting research.
    I currently own a Bart MMC, and a Bart PJ combo (8S neck - 9J1 bridge). I was gonna sell them but the idea of a custom bass is growing fast.
    Do you think that the MMC combined with 9J1 could make a good combo ? Consider that the 9J1 should be placed in neck position.
     
  20. luknfur

    luknfur

    Jan 14, 2004
    DIXIE

    I haven't messed with moving a J bridge up the neck and I don't know what the difference is in design between a bridge and neck J. For a fact I can tell you it will darken up the further up the neck you go. My guess is they try to fatten up a J bridge some to compensate for the natural thinning that occurs at the bridge position. Seems some J sets are the same pups though. But logically I would think it would be darker at the neck position than the neck J that would accompany it if it were in a J set. I'm guessing it would probably work fine as long as you have a means to thin it down or cut volume or balance at the neck position.


    The J I used with the MMC really was a nice combo and I'm really glad for your post cause I'd forgotten all about that. Another piece that's very useful to throw in my decision making pot as to the Bart pup to go.

    But moving a bridge J up the neck is an interesting thought and fodder for future experimentation. Also a P/MM combo may produce very pleasing results - I'd have to check my own post to see if I already tried that but if I did, I don't remember it.