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Fishman adjustment wheel pickup

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by Tim Skaggs, Jan 6, 2003.

  1. Tim Skaggs

    Tim Skaggs

    Sep 28, 2002
  2. A friend has one fitted to his 1940s Kay, and it sounds pretty darned good - as good as any piezo-electric I've ever heard - however, there's something about the natural acoustic sound which can only really be obtained with a microphone, either mounted on the bass, or on a stand a few inches away, which a piezo-electric just can't seem to capture, particularly when playing arco...

    - Wil
  3. Hey Wil,

    Were you familiar with this friend's sound and/or pickup and amp setup before he installed the new Fishman? I would be extremely interested to know how you would compare/contrast this friend's sound before and after the new Fishman. Also, if you can provide a quick comparison between the new Fishman and some of the other popular piezo pickups (e.g., Realist, K&K, Underwood, etc.), that would be fantastic. I realize I am asking for a lot of analysis, but I for one am very intrigued by this new design.

  4. I'm familiar with how my setup sounds - I use the K & K Bass-Max plus Golden Trinity - I have to turn the Bass-Max down, and use only the Golden Trinity when I play arco, else the sound is very "scratchy", something which isn't there when I use a microphone. I tried my friend's new Fishman setup for about 5 mins, but in that short time, the most striking thing I noticed was that the arco playing on his bass sounded more like I was using a microphone, rather than a piezo-electric pickup.

    I've not used the Realist or Underwood, but I've heard players who have, and I've been mightily impressed by their sound, but of course the question is am I being impressed by their sound or the sound of what they're using for a pickup? ;)

    Hope this helps -

    - Wil
  5. Thanks, Wil! Those positive arco comments seem to bode well for the pickup overall. Of course, I'll never really know until I see or hear it for myself. If I ever do, I'll make sure to post opinions here.

    Thanks again,
  6. arnoldschnitzer

    arnoldschnitzer AES Fine Instruments

    Feb 16, 2002
    Brewster, NY, USA
    I installed one of these just today. The player and myself were both pretty impressed. Output was hot with a lot of bite. Tone fairly natural, but a bit overemphasized on both highs and deep lows. Nothing he couldn't EQ out, though. Compared to the Realist, which I install a lot of, sound was a bit less acoustic but more even with more pop at the beginning of the note. Sounds like the drummer will definately know you're in town. Sorry, did not try it arco. My only gripe is that I don't like 1/4" adjuster shafts. I use 5/16" (better sound and less stripping out, IMHO), and so this pickup won't retrofit into my bridges. The pickup sounded best to me when we threaded a small piece of foam thru the afterlength of the strings to shut down noise and dirt from the tailpiece.
  7. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    As different pickups work for different things:

    How would you characterize the sound the guy gets out of the bass acoustically?

    What kind of strings was he using? Were they new, fresh or played to death?

    Wood or ply bass?

    What kind of amp/cabinet?
  8. arnoldschnitzer

    arnoldschnitzer AES Fine Instruments

    Feb 16, 2002
    Brewster, NY, USA
    Moderate attack, fat sound. Newish Spirocores. Brand new New Standard ply bass. AI Coda amp.
  9. Arnold,
    If the Realist can be characterized as having more body in the sound and the Underwood can be described as having more bridge, would it be accurate to say that this new Fishman sits somewhere between the two? If so, can you describe where the Fishman sits on that spectrum? For example, if the Realist = 100%, Underwood = 0%, and the Fishman was dead between the two (in terms of bridge/body sound tradeoff), then Fishman = 50%. Using that system, how would you describe the new Fishman?

    Sorry for the overly geeky question. Thanks for offering your input!

  10. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    Another question, while we're at it. My main complaint with the Underwood is the fact that it compresses the soun so much. Other than that it really does sound great. (To prove this to yourself, record your bass with a mic, a realtively close mic so that you have a clear sound. Add some compression to your recording and, voila!, the Underwood sound.)

    How is the new Fishy as far as this?
  11. B String

    B String Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
    Ray... Just had a good long talk
    with Don Underwood about this.
    From what he says, will install our
    pickups too tightly. If you install the
    pickup loosely, it will give a bigger sound
    with more bass. See what you think.
    I've been mixing the underwood and
    the realist through a ravenslab blender.
    Seems to be a good mix of old school
    thump with more center of note string
    sound. Good sustain.
  12. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    I've fooled with this before, but it's been a while. I'll try it again. Thanks.
  13. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Not to hijack the thread, but how would you go about doing this as an experiment without widening your wing slots? I've been wondering about this in regard to both Underwood and K&K Bass Max pickups, but if you widen the slots and it makes the sound worse, you're screwed.
  14. Not being very well versed in these matters, I am trying to understand which slots you are referring to. Are these the slots in the tailpiece?

    This also brings up a question that I have had that should probably be posted in the string forum. What purpose do the felt washers/dampers have that are supplied with some strings and is there any benifit pro or con to them when you play amplified?
  15. arnoldschnitzer

    arnoldschnitzer AES Fine Instruments

    Feb 16, 2002
    Brewster, NY, USA
    I respectfully submit that's a pretty silly idea, that after one short hearing I could assign a judgement as to the exact percentage of bridge vs. body sound in this particular pickup on this particular bass. To me it sounded like a good, amplified bass. There was good body to the sound with a fair amount of string noise as well, and lots of snap. As I mentioned, putting a small foam "mute" on the strings below the bridge cleaned it up a lot. I don't think it sounds like other bridge pickups I've heard, nor does it sound like the "Realist". Maybe a Barcus-Berry on steroids...
  16. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Can't answer that, but as Arnold points out, it is often a good thing to find a way to deaden the afterlength of the string when amplifying to remove boominess. I like to use felt wrapped around the strings between the bridge and tailpiece for this, as it cleans up the sound a good deal.
  17. B String

    B String Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
    I've never had a bridge that I
    didn't have to use at least one
    shim on. But if you take a little off
    the wing (not the bridge leg) and
    its too wide, just use a shim with
    the material provided. Don says
    he likes this because it absorbes
    the pressure through the year as
    the weather changes. BUT!!!!
    The fit can really change the sound.
  18. nicklloyd

    nicklloyd Supporting Member/Luthier

    Jan 27, 2002
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    About this Full Circle pickup-
    Pete Tilitson called me a couple of weeks ago. He's part of the design team over at Fishman. (word got to him that I didn't like the new pickup, whatever!) Pete is a very smart cat, a player, and loves to get feedback about the product. I should tell him to get hip to TB.
    I agree with Arnold 'bout the thread size. It will retrofit into existing 1/4 20 adjusters, and that's fine. But, I don't install those little bastards, and thought it a bit limiting of Fishman to not offer a bigger size, or another design that was more universal. Pete also swears that the pickup must be installed on the "dead center" of the foot. In other words, you shouldn't install them like most every luthier does and has been doing for the last 50 years. I doubt the pickup knows that it is sitting 90 degrees or 87 degress in the leg.

    Friends have commented that they sound very clean, and warm, even with the bow. They are definitely a high quality pickup. I still like the Realist, though...