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Electronics replacement?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Alex, Dec 19, 2005.

  1. I bought a TUNE TWB63 (6). The sound is OK, but not as good as my passive 4. This bass is constructed better w/ better woods (Maple neck + Rosewood fingerboard / Ovangkol top + Mahogany back) so I expect a little more out of it. It has TUNE stock pickups and I was thinking of putting EMGs or Barts (or something) in it because I have some extra money. Would this be worth it? There will obviously be some improvement in an upgrade, but how much? Also, I'm kinda worried about installing new electronics into a bass that's already got knob holes/control cavity drilled. What if the system I want to use only uses 4 knobs, does the other hole just sit there open?

    Also, I've heard that passive pups aren't good on 6+ers because the don't capture the full range well. BS?
  2. bumpage
  3. You need to be a little more specific about quantifying what "expect a little more out of it". What about your Tune needs improvement? Do you want more punch? A toothier high-end? To tame some treble harshness? Bowel shaking lows? Mahogany tends to be fairly dark sounding to begin with, usually emphasizing the low-mids.

    I've never played a Tune bass and I don't know anything about their electronics. I can offer you some insight into changing your pups, though.

    1) Try to find pickups with a form-factor as close to the stock pups as possible. Routing your body is a pain in the ass and runs a few risks if you have no idea what you're doing -- plus it can significantly alter the tone, depending on how much wood you cut away.

    2) There's nothing inherently wrong with passive pickups on a 6+ string. I don't like passives with a low B because passive pickups necessitate a stronger magnet. If the gap between your pup and the low-B is too narrow, the pup tends to pull the string slightly out of tune. Actives also capture every little nuance (some would say 'defect') in your technique -- I like it, as it forces me to be a better player. The Ibanez BTB series had a passive pup/active pre-amp setup for 4, 5, and 6 strings.

    3) If your system only uses 4 knobs, you always have the choice of putting in a dummy switch or knob. Completely non-functional, but contributes positively to the aesthetics.

    EMGs are very 'sterile' sounding. I dig 'em. Marcus Miller digs 'em. Lots of people like them. Lots of people despise them, too. For extended range basses, however, they have tons of options: P's, J's, dual coil soapbars. Great selection of electronics, too.

    Barts tend to have a creamier texture. Jeff Ament, before his vintage fetish, used Barts in almost all his instruments. Barts also come in tons of sizes and configurations, but actually getting the pickups themselves is rumored to be a long, painful process, particularly if they're custom jobs. I don't know all that much about their preamps.

    You might also went to look at Seymour-Duncans basslines. P-Nut from 311 uses them in his Warwicks. I've often thought about trying them out in my Spector. Anyone else here have this setup?

    How's the unplugged tone? If you hold your ear up to your bass and pluck, do you like how it speaks? If you don't, an electronics change might not help. I love the way my Spector Euro 5 sounds acoustically, but with that TonePump ("ToneStunk") stock pre, I could never forge a path from the sound at the instrument to my amp that I liked. I ripped it out, threw in an EMG BQC system, and swapped out the bridge pup for an EMG 40CS (the DC's too chirpy there). My Spector is now a tone monster.

    What's the electronic set up on your Tune look like? Bridge and neck pups? Dual coil? P/J style? Single coils? Vol/vol or blend/vol?

    Hope this helps. If you have any more questions, feel free to ask.

  4. jwymore


    Jul 26, 2001
    Portland, OR
    Ever heard of Nordstrand pickups? Great sounding passive pickups and available in 6-string configuration. So, to answer your question

    IMHO, it's BS ... :D
  5. I find that there is a huge volume range from my low B to my high C. Also, the low end is fairly muddy and dead, and the high end is a little thin. This is my first 6 though, so I really don't have much basis for comparison.

    The acoustic tone sort of mirrors the amplified tone, so maybe an electronics job wouldn't be smart.

    I was also thinking that maybe it was the strings. It came with roundwounds that were on it in the showroom. I bet they are crap. I'll get back to you after I throw on some Roto flats

    The knob setup is Volume, Blend, Bass, Mid, Treble/Tone

    here it is
  6. Rodent

    Rodent A Killer Pickup Line™ Commercial User

    Dec 20, 2004
    Upper Left Corner (Seattle)
    Player-Builder-Founder: Honey Badger Pickups & Regenerate Guitar Works
    hey Tater Salad,

    the link you provided only has 4-string basses, but I get the idea of what your bass must be similar to ...

    ... before you head out and spend a lot of money attempting to balance your sound out, have you given the bass a proper set-up which includes correctly setting the p/u heights in relation to the string height? You complain about the original roundwounds being muddy and dead, yet you're heading off to install a set of flats on it? :confused:

    A LOT can be accomplished with a good set-up job, so take your bass to a good local tech and get it set-up properly ... then take the remainder of those extra dollars burning a hole in your pocket and apply them to lessons on advanced playing skills, sight reading (and not sight reading TAB), music theory, and bass maintenence techniques. You'll be FAR, FAR better off towards improving your tone than simply throwing $$$ at trinkets to adorn a new bass format you've not had time to learn properly.

    just my opinion of course, but one with 20+ years of playing experience taken into account.

    All the best,

  7. Ya, you guys talked me out of revamping the electronics fairly quickly. TB is the voice of reason in my life :D

    I actually find my flats to have a lot of clarity and definition, and not be very dead at all.

    I don't have money burning a hole in my pocket, I just was wondering if I should start saving for an electronics replacement. :rollno:

    I do take weekly lessons, and do not use tab.

    I set the bass up myself

    Now that I've completely defended myself...

    I never thought about pickup height, I will look into that.


  8. Rodent

    Rodent A Killer Pickup Line™ Commercial User

    Dec 20, 2004
    Upper Left Corner (Seattle)
    Player-Builder-Founder: Honey Badger Pickups & Regenerate Guitar Works
    hey Alex,

    no need to defend yourself ... just an old guy keep a young whippersnapper on their toes! :D

    All the best,