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Fishman BP-100

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by timidbassist, May 5, 2006.

  1. Hey guys,

    When I stated I was looking for a cheap mic/pickup you guys recomended that K&K and RevSolo. How does the Fishman BP-100 compare to these? I got an email from someone telling me they were offering one for 70 bucks. Is this a good deal? Is it a good mic?

    Thanks a lot!
  2. nicklloyd

    nicklloyd Supporting Member/Luthier

    Jan 27, 2002
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    I would not buy a bp-100 for any price. They have very little low end... the bass ends up sounding like a slab. There are bassists that get a usable sound out of them, but you would be better off with another pickup.
  3. mje


    Aug 1, 2002
    Southeast Michigan
    What Nick said. I've found that you can improve the response of a BP-100 by gluing it to the bridge and adding a high-Z buffer as close as possible to the pickup, but with so many better pickups around it's not worth it. The basic K&K is much better, and cheaper, too.
  4. I've just gotten by with one for 13yrs.
    BP 100 with the old Fishman bass preamp.
    Old technology.
    Much better options out nowadays.
    Don't do it.
    Get a Rev solo or K&K for not much more.
    Whatever you get, get a pre amp reccommended for it as well.
    I plan on upgrading most likely to a K&K/Trinity mic combo soon as my budge allows.
  5. pat.p


    Nov 20, 2004
    Poland, Poznań
  6. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    I saw Buster Williams this week and he had a BP100 mounted between the D and G strings =^ | going straight into an AI head on an SWR 4x10 cabinet. Spirocore Reds. Wow, that's a very specific sound. No problems with clarity.
  7. groovlow


    Oct 12, 2006
    nashville tn
    thanks to bolo for good links on bp100

    my bass came with a bp100 mounted on the fingerboard side
    sounded fingery. by the time you eq the finger noise there was
    not much to work with.

    so on to TB for reseach. i remounted the pu on the tail side of the bridge wow what a difference very useable.

    here's the rig
    chrissy plywood --setup jim ferguson
    svt ii pro all tube "you gotta say 'ToOO00o B E S' when you lift it"
    acme b2 attenuators horn off... mid all the way
    on the amp roll off some bass mid 12:oops:o roll treble to taste eq out

    sounds like a big ass double bass
    not too electric
    not too wimpy

  8. bolo


    May 29, 2005
    Apex, NC
    I get good results with the Rev Solo w/out a preamp, FWIW. Might depend some on the amp you feed it into, input impedance and such.
  9. bolo


    May 29, 2005
    Apex, NC
    Er ... huh?

    If you mean this, then thank the original contributors. I never even touched a BP 100. I seen one though.

    Hehe, that Johnny Atomic, he shore cracks me up.
  10. What did i do now???:bag:

    I really don't understand how a otherwise GREAT company can continue to sell such a product. I've had LOTS and LOTS of great sounding fishman stuff and sold their stuff for YEARS. I love the Acoustic Matrix for acoustic guitar, I'm really wanting to get a Platinum bass EQ, I've had practically every product they have made including their amps, preamps, blenders, etc. But due to their being the largest pickup company in the US and that being their cheapest DB pickup, practically every music store that has a bass PU instock has that one!

    The ones I've tried have had no low end, and HUGE HUGE feedback issues. Granted I play a much louder more agressive style of DB than most folks around here, but I still don't understand why any INFORMED buyer would choose a BP100 over a RS2 or Bassmax. All are similarly priced, yet performance ain't even close in my experience. The only reason the Bp100 is still around and is so discussed is because for so long Fishman was the only game in town in the MI store scene. I've sold lots of BP100s in the past before there the internet was so prevalent, and information was harder to gain. When somebody wanted a DB pickup, you went "here ya go, it's the only thing we got". But now that's not the new reality.

    The BP100 was so wrong for what I was doing, that it was maddening, I would go see bands w/ upright basses w/ great tone at loud volumes, and mine wasn't even in the same league. I tried moving it around, mounting it in the wings, stuffing my f-holes w/ foam, on and on and on. Then people here and on Rockabilly bass told me to ditch the BP100, and I haven't looked back, 90%+ of my problems were solved instantly.

    The bad news is if they if discontinue it, people will immediately demand a reissue. Because working music retail i found out people want what they cannot have, and as soon as someone discontinues something, it immediately is preceived that somehow it must have been better????:eyebrow: Imagine the Vintage Reissue BP100 Classic.:)

    I sold my personal BP100 on ebay, and it's the first time in 10 years of music retail that I ever felt GUILTY about selling something. I've always believed even when there is something that wasn't right for me, that it could be PERFECT for someone else. The age old "one man's trash is another's treasure" but this one was so WRONG I couldn't feel this way.

    Although NUMEROUS times I've seen amazing music being created on complete trash instruments and equipment. It's a bad carpenter that blames his tools, but it's a DUMB carpenter that uses a broken hammer.

    My appologies to Larry Fishman, but I don't how they can sell that product in good conscience.
  11. bolo


    May 29, 2005
    Apex, NC
    Hey pal. I was referring to this here. Esp. the "RUN AWAY" part. Like from a skunk facin' you with their posterior, an' a twitch in their tail.
    Thar, see .. you done it again.
  12. At least you know where i stand on the issue.:D
  13. Bob Gollihur

    Bob Gollihur GollihurMusic.com

    Mar 22, 2000
    Cape of New Jersey
    Big Cheese Emeritus: Gollihur Music (retired)
    You have to go back to the time when the BP100 first saw the light of day, around 25-30 years ago.

    First, volumes were much lower back then in most cases; hell, a lot of my gigs were completely acoustic! Pickups, such as the Polytone I had back then, produced a bass sound, but it was a pretty dark, generic sound.

    Second, most URB players carried small amps that were seldom over 100 watts. My first amp was an Ampeg SB-12 -- 22 thunderous watts of tube power driving a twelve. Then there was my Polytone that was about 80 watts, and a MusicMan that was 120 watts into a fifteen, and I seldom used much of it. And most of the time your amp had a dark sounding fifteen inch speaker with no tweeter.

    What feedback?? :p

    When the BP100 came out it was a breath of fresh air. Holy smokes, you could actually hear some string detail, and it almost sounded like my bass, not just a bass. And since we were all playing through dark-sounding amps with no highs, we didn't hear the painfully accurate details that the amps of today deliver.

    My primary gripe with Fishman is that they did not strongly emphasize the need for a proper impedance match, either by an appropriate preamp or proper amplifier. But then, nobody else did, either -- and that's why most everyone complained about 'piezo quack', myself included, until we all learned how to improve the signal by properly managing it.

    And yes, I hate the damn clips, especially since a properly shaped bridge means they can't get a firm grip and pop off all the time.

    Fishman has since come out with the Full Circle, which coincidentally runs circles around the BP100 and a lot of other pickups. But as a major power in pickups and one vendor that sells a helluva lot of other gear to every music store, when a non-URB-knowledgeable dealer needs to stock an URB pickup, it will likely be a BP100. It continues to be successful because it is so widely available. And it can sound good in many cases (that said, in spite of being a Fishman dealer, I don't carry it because of the many better alternatives) Should Fishman discontinue one of their main moneymakers??

    Just some perspective.
  14. Ric Vice

    Ric Vice Supporting Member

    Jul 2, 2005
    Olivette, Missouri
    Bob very elloquently covered all the problems with a BP-100. You would be far better off with a Full Circle, Revolution Solo, K&K, or even a Realist. I used to use a BP-100 with the Fishman Bass Blender setup. I disliked the sound of the pickup up so much that I pulled the BP-100 out of the system and installed an Underwood.
    I think that Ron Carter was right on the money when he stated that the Bridge Clips, in effect, mute the bridge and dampen the sound of the instrument significantly. The only person that I have heard use a BP-100 with success is Viktor Krauss. His sound and technique seem to overcome the failings of the pickup.

  15. robgrow

    robgrow Supporting Member

    May 1, 2004
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    Bob is of course right on. I go back far enough to remember the DeArmond and Polytone pickups and other such medieval devices, which were all pretty bad. The Fishman BP-100 was a vast improvement over just about everything else available when it came out. While it amazes me how many great players still use the BP-100, I agree that there are better pickups available now.
  16. bolo


    May 29, 2005
    Apex, NC
    I've enjoyed the added perspective too. I understood the basic pickup progression Bob outlined, but it means more to me now, thinking for example about the parallel progression in terms of the quality of bass amps.

    Another perspective ... I think, although I could be wrong, that many of the pickups that are the most popular today (at least among the people that frequent this forum) have only become publicly available within the last 10 years or thereabouts, and in some cases even less.
  17. bribass


    Jan 25, 2006
    Northern NJ
    Endorsing Artist; Arnold Schnitzer/ Wil DeSola New Standard RN DB
    That's right. I used the BP-100 for years and years on my German bass. W/ the right eq (even better w/ a pre amp) it sounded quite good on this bass for some reason. In fact when the Realist came out I had it installed and tweaked by David Gage himself on this same bass. Ofcourse it sounded great and much more natural the the BP-100, but it never really got the girth of the E string sound that the BP-100 did. So much so that for years I blended the two p/u's on that bass to great effect.

    I think the BP-100 is sensitive to the bridge set up. When I was a student I used it on my plywood Juzek and it was fine. Years later Arnold Schnitzer did a neck reset and beautiful new bridge set up on this bass greatly improving its acoustic sound. All of a sudden the BP-100 sounded terrible on the same bass.
    Later when I lucky enough to procure my Prescott the BP-100 on that bass was awful. The Realist was the only p/u
    that sounded great on that bass. Even, warm, but w/ detail as well.

    So you never know what will sound good on a particular instrument until you try it and even then the bridge set up and I'm sure other factors as well will vary the sound and response greatly. When I rent basses for gigs out of town I always bring along a BP-100 as well as a Bass Max. If the bridge wing slot is too narrow for the Bass Max I always have the BP-100 to fall back on. At least I know I can fit it to the bridge w/o any modifications to an instrument that is not mine.
    So Johnny Atomic, don't feel guilty about selling yours on Ebay. Like the old saying goes, "There's an ass for every pot" :bag:.

  18. Ric Vice

    Ric Vice Supporting Member

    Jul 2, 2005
    Olivette, Missouri
    For a little while I had one of those Barcus Berry "silver bar" transducers ,that stuck to the underside of the bridge with this tack white silly putty. Even with their "preamp" it sounded very nasal. So by comparison the BP-100 is a gem I supose.
    Interestingly enough, Don Underwood once told me that Fishman had to use that clamped wafer design, because his pattens for the Underwood have the dual element bridge wing pickup "locked up."
    My guess is that the reason the Full Circle is not a dual element pickup is to avoid the same issue with the Yamahiko that was on the market before the Full Circle, but I'm not certian about this since it's of Japaneese origin.

  19. bolo


    May 29, 2005
    Apex, NC
    Bit of a tangent - But are you saying the Yamahiko v. FC thing was a patent / copyright issue, or Fishman didn't want to be a look-alike, or maybe a phase cancellation thing?

    Never seen or heard one of the Yama's on a DB myself, in person that is. I have seen the little testimonial clip featuring Eddie Gomez.
  20. Ric Vice

    Ric Vice Supporting Member

    Jul 2, 2005
    Olivette, Missouri
    It's just supposition on my part, actually. Since the Yamahiko's are a Japaneese product, I don't actually know if they have U.S. pattens or not for their transducers. On the other hand, at least as far as I know, they were the first to mount transducers inside bridge adjusters many years before the Full Circle arrived on the market.
    There was also a rumor floating around several years ago that the original "Blender" unit was designed for Bela Fleck, but not developed as a "production unit" until Fishman brought it to the market. But, once agian it's just a rumor. Incidentally, the Yamahiko dual sensor system costs $600.00 so it's up there with the Schertler Dyna B.


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