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Fishman pickups...good or bad?

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by kik4adog, Feb 1, 2002.

  1. kik4adog


    Jan 3, 2002
    I am looking for a pickup for my upright bass.
    I've never played upright through a pickup before..Someone had recommended the K&K brand to me and I was looking at the Bass Max.

    However...I learned that one of my favorite double bassists plays with the Fishman BP-100.

    I want the traditional double bass sound but also the warm tone that is present in more Rock oriented music.

    Also...Is it absolutely necessary to use the Fishman B-II preamp with the Fishman pickup for a DECENT sound?
  2. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    To the best of my knowledge, the terms "Fishman" and "Warm" have never before been used in the same sentence. Fishman pickups are infamous for a particular emphasis on string noise and high end as well as feedback. The Bass Max is prone to neither. If you price a Bass Max, I'd make sure to allow for the preamp (or look at the Trinity upgrade), since it gives you lots of different tone shaping options.
  3. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    One of the best amplified sounds that I ever heard was Jay Anderson when he played in Toledo, OH with Red Rodney (yes, a long time ago). He played a Fishman through a Walter Woods and a single Bose. It sounded absolutely natural, and went I went up on stage to bug him, he played a bit acoustically and it sounded exactly the same!

    What pickup actually works for you depends on your setup, your sound, and what you're able to do with it. I've come to the determination of a couple of things. 1) a dark sound amplifies more easily. 2) All amplification setups stink, it's just a matter of which type of stink you're able to tolerate.
  4. rablack


    Mar 9, 2000
    Houston, Texas
    Just because your favorite player uses a Fishman doesn't mean a Fishman is gonna sound good on your bass. It will probably take some experimentation on your part. You can't go wrong with the K&K stuff. Most folks I've seen posting are trying to ditch the Fishman for something better.
  5. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    I agree. I've tried the Fishman a number of times over the years. I've never had any luck with it. I met Fishman in a bar a few years back and talked to him about them. A nice guy. One thing I can say about the Fishman is that it gets a woodier quality than most of the pickups that I've tried. It's negatives, though, seem to defeat this one advantage.

    I tried one of the K&K's, the one that goes under one wing of the bridge a la the Underwood. Didn't work for me at all. Back to the Underwood went I. The Underwood bloweth, but I've used it long enough to know how to get out of it what is possible...

    My best solution thus far has been the Underwood in conjunction with my AMT mic, through a Walter Woods and one of a number of cabinets (10", 15", Bose 800) depending on the room. I played most of the last month in a large, dry room back home using only the AMT through the PA system, with some bottom added to offset the close mic placement, and ran acoustically on stage. I was yanking my brains out to hear myself, but the rest of the quintet was happy with the stage volume and bystanders out front that know me said that it 'sounded like my bass'.
  6. hillbilly


    Aug 10, 2001
    what size room is this and what kind of band?
    Bobby D.
  7. 4inabar


    Feb 15, 2002
    Medway, Kent, UK.
  9. Here's my fishman story:
    I've used one of these for about two years. Recently I blended it with my Biesele pickup. Although the wood sound did come out, the extreme fingrrr noise made it unbearable. After consulting with numerous gurus, Bob Gollihur sent me the sollution...attach the fishman to the bridge in the wing slots, the more pressure the better. Had I done this when I got the darned thing in teh first place, my sound would have been so much more enjoyable. I suggest this to anybody looking to improve upon the scratchy fishman sound.
  10. erik II

    erik II

    Jul 11, 2000
    Oslo, Norway
  11. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    Naw -- it's an Underfish!

    Yeah -- I know -- I'm a crotch-ety old SOB, so instead of 'stringing' you all along, I'll let the 'crack' team of wise-guys pun-t from here.
  12. bassy18


    Oct 30, 2001
    Although I don't know that much about this kinda stuff, I have had two fishman picks ups. I loved them both. I like the natural sound of my fingers on the strings an such. I have had a pre amp and I do like it although it is not neccesary if you have a decent amp. Also I only had a problem feedback when I had a bad amp. So personally i would recommend a fishman, but i was told to get a fishman by two different proffesionals, one a professional bass player(jazz) and one an instructor of mine. Just to let you know:oops:
  13. 05/01/02 Well, last Saturday I enjoyed the sound of my fishman piezo -it seemed woody and I never have feedback problems-Well am I still compromising or is this fishman really ok? I use it with the fishman pre-amp as the sans amp bass driver was not as "natural" sounding. Any other fans out there?
  14. Ray Gardner

    Ray Gardner

    Apr 29, 2002
    I dont like the Fishman sound and I hate the clamp mutes. The Bass Max I got from Gollihur is much more like my basses acoustic sound.
  15. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Al, I'm not a Fishman fan, but I think you're answering your own question. If you're happy with the sound you're getting, let it be.
  16. cabooke


    Jan 26, 2002
    Orange County, CA
    I have heard that the David Gauge pick-ups are very hip. Do any of you know anything about these???
  17. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
  18. I've used a BP 100 & preamp for the past 12yrs.
    I can say its only adequate. At the time it was about all that was available. Theres definatly better stuff out ther now. I havn't upgrade cause I play totally acoustic or into a mic most of the time, and the Fishman hasn't quit on me. Soon as it does, I'll be looking into probably some type of K&K system.
    BTW, it eats batteries. If you leave a cord pluged in it overnight, its dead. Otherwise a battery will last 10 or 20 hrs of use.

    I play mosty bluegrass, on an old Kay. I use Supernils and high action. To make the BP100 accteptable thru the PA, I took the piezos off the bridge and mount them on the treble side f holes. Cut the highs some still on the pre. Run bass abut even, same kind of eq on the board, cut highs slightly, bass and mids straight up. Not the best, but It'll get you by.
  19. mje


    Aug 1, 2002
    Southeast Michigan
    The Fishman works *much* better if you glue it to the bridge. Their web site recommends hot glue, but Dan O'Brien, who tells me he worked for Larry Fishman when he was making his first pickups, told me to *superglue* the p/u to the bridge.
  20. I recently bought a 25 yr old German plywood, with what looks like an equally old Fisman. When I first tried to amplify it, it sounded crappy, but after reading the tips on placement on this and some other threads, it was easily improved to something very close to the acoustic sound. Thank you, TB'ers!

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