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Educate me on pickups. (help me choose)

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by OOZMAN, Aug 11, 2012.



    Jun 16, 2010
    So basically I have a Rogue 5 string (cheap-ish bass) that I would like to get a better sound out of. I love everything about this bass except for the tone. I'm not sure how to describe it, but... it just doesnt feel.. 'alive' enough. It just feels flat and energy-less.

    The bass has what I believe to be a MusicMan style humbucker and a jazz-style single coil... (see pic)


    First of all, I apologise for my lack of knowledge on bass pickups, :bag: I've been off the bass for a while playing guitar... if it helps, I put EMG 81/60s into my guitar and I am quite fond of the tone it produces, you could say I'm a bit of an EMG fanboy. :bag:

    I'm not sure how to describe the tone I'm after. I basically want as much clarity, punch and cut through the mix as possible. Most likely this means pickups with a tight low end, possibly elevated mids and highs(?), and most importantly, very sharp attack. I have read that EMG's bass pickups have that kind of tightness to them, perhaps that is an option? I'm also curious about Seymour Duncan pickups, in the guitar world, many people would say their humbuckers have a more 'organic' tone to them, but not quite transparent as EMGs. Is this the case with their bass pickups?

    I usually play metal and hard rock, which is why I need that clarity and cut. I loooooove mids (my guitarist is always fighting me for mids :spit: ) and my Rogue has plenty of mids, but not the attack or clarity I want. My other bass (Ibanez SR406) has quite a good tone, it cuts through quite well without raping the guitarist's sonic airspace. But I dont need/want a six string for this band.

    Oh yeah, almost forgot, I very much prefer active pickups.

    Thanks in advance!
  2. LemmyLicious


    Sep 27, 2010
    Well, you could take a look at the actual MusicMan pickups and active electronics by SDuncan. That's where I'm possibly going for my cheapie Wolf.
  3. kesh


    Jul 9, 2012
    Brighton, England
    That isn't really a Jazz pickup. You could put an actual Jazz in the neck position. There is a big choice.

    Not sure what to put in the bridge as I don't like Musicman pickups, genuine or otherwise. If it was a four string I'd put a Wizard Combo in.

  4. GroovinOnFunk

    GroovinOnFunk Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2008
    San Diego, CA
    Endorses Cleartone and SIT Strings
    Replace those pups with Delano. They make jazz pickups with huge pole pieces as well as those MM style pups (they also have a hybrid pup that is one row large MM type pole pieces and one row small jazz type pole pieces within one MM humbucker.
    The tone from Delano pups are anything but lifeless. I put a matching set of JMVC 4 FE/M2 and am in love with them
  5. Staccato

    Staccato Low End Advocate

    Aug 14, 2009
    I guess you've put your bass through the paces of bridge pickup only, neck pickup only, blend set on more bridge, some neck pickup, and a variety of other settings?
  6. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    What kind of strings are on the bass? Have you tried something different? That's the cheapest way to get a new tone.

    I'm sure the pickups are not all that great though. That's one of the first places they skimp on cheap basses.


    Jun 16, 2010
    Yes, the neck pickup (jazz) seems to have more character to it, but being a neck pickup, it doesnt quite have that clarity/attack, and vice versa for the bridge MM pickup.

    Ive tried a few sets of strings, including Elixirs, d'addario ProSteels, and DR Black Beauties etc, but the tone is still not good enough.

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