gage or underwood or fishman

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by bassman49, Jan 26, 2006.

  1. bassman49


    Jan 26, 2006
    i'm looking for that matallic sort of twangy "string on neck" jazz sound with low action.
    what do you recommend as for pickup

  2. DaveAceofBass

    DaveAceofBass Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2004
    Charlotte, NC
    Steer clear of the Fishman BP-100....I can't comment on the Full Circle, I've not tried it. The Underwood would be my choice of the three, more growly.... The Gage is a good pickup, but a bit too boomy sounding for me, not enough presence.

    I've had an Underwood since I bought my first bass, for 13 or so years. It's finally starting to crap out on me, the wires are developing some shorts, and it's losing some tone...but it's been reliable this long.

    So, I'm buying a new pickup, and I'm going to give the B-Band D1 a try...hopefully it will be a bit more natural sounding. If I don't like it, I'll have to sell it and go back to an Underwood.

    When I buy my next bass, I'm going to have a Barbera pickup installed. Then I can put the D1 (or maybe the Underwood) on the new bass and blend the sounds via Fishman Bass Blender.

    Check out this site for more help:
  3. Jeremy Allen

    Jeremy Allen Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2002
    Bloomington, IN
    A well-fitted Underwood is what you seek.
  4. bolo


    May 29, 2005
    Apex, NC
    I know it's not on your original list (sorry), but IMO the K&K Double Big Twin is also good at capturing the type of tone you described.
  5. Lucerne


    Jan 13, 2005

    I have an underwood which is snug but if i put it so that the bridge is very tight around it, it seems to get slightly more middy sounding, and too loose isn't happening at all. You can get a luthier to shave just enough off your bridge to get a good fit. By the way i was using it for a good while with the fishman pro eq preamp. This preamp seems to downgrade the signal somehow both in intensity and tone. It was pretty good with the pickup i had before. I returned then to an older preamp the fishman BII and it's getting a big, chunky, growly sound. It also seems to even out the response across the neck. Even without a preamp this pickup is pretty good.
    I have tried the Rev solo which i had so send back due to an annoying hum and am awaiting it's return but ever since i changed back to the older (and much simpler) preamp the underwood is really doing it now.
  6. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    Why, do you have a time machine that's going to take you back to the 70s?
  7. glivanos

    glivanos Supporting Member

    Jun 24, 2005
    Philadelphia Area
    Underwood, and there just happens to be one for sale in the classified forum:hyper:
  8. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    I borrowed a bass from one of my students that had an Underwood on it for a rehearsal this morning, and I gotta say, it sounded pretty damn good. I may have to buy one just to keep around in case I get disgusted with my Full Circle.
  9. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    San Francisco, CA
    I still say the BP-100 ain't that bad, maybe depending on the bass. I played a bass a couple of days ago thats was coupled with a polytone combo it sounded great!

    The BP might give you the sound your looking for.

    But having said that, as the other guys say, the underwood will def give you that 70's sound.
  10. Mike Carr

    Mike Carr

    Feb 5, 2002
    Hong Kong
    Try the Underwood, I think it will give you the sound you are looking for. Ray Brown, Eddie Gomez and countless other jazz heavyweights had used them quite successfully for years.
    Some may be of the opinion that the sound you are going for is a bit dated. But if that's how you hear it, then more power to you!
    I have owned just about every pickup thats come out in the last few years, yet my Underwood still gets plenty of use. It's simple and it works. Right now the two basses I use most, a Shen carved bass and a Gage Czeck-Ease are sporting both Realist and Underwood pickups. Even the Czeck-Ease, which was designed with the Realist in mind often benefits from using the Underwood in boomy sounding rooms. The thing that's great about Underwoods, is that while they don't give you a 'just like your bass, only louder" tone is that they can almost always give you a sound that works live, even with loud bands. Depending on how you EQ, a sound that's pretty real sounding can be had with a minimum of hassle. In my experiance, it's just a matter of dialing out a little highs and mids, if anything at all. You know, the ear is a funny thing and can often be easily fooled into thinking a bass sound, even one that might be described as 'mid-rangey and compessed", as is often the case in this forum (even by me) can in the real world, a crowded noisy club for example be just the ticket for a great bass sound in the room with a band.
    It's an "if it sounds like a bass, it sounds like a bass" kind of thing. You want to be heard, and you want to be able to hear yourself. I'm no big name star, nowhere near famous. But I manage to work constantly, 6 nights a week, nine months out of every year with terrific players in some of the greatest cities in the world. I wouldn't even think of leaving home without my Underwood!
  11. musicman5string

    musicman5string Banned

    Jan 17, 2006
    Just my opinion, but I have both the Underwood and the Realist installed on my bass. I've previously owned the Fishman, which I would never go back to.
    95% of the time, it's the underwood that gets the call; why? because most of the rooms I play are crap sounding and I need something with some clarity that will cut through. For a very lively and natural sounding room, I'll go with the realist, but I don't get those rooms much.

    So: The Realist sounds great in a natural room, which explains why in Gage's shop, it sounded AMAZING to me, then I went on a gig and it sucked. Good thing I kept the underwood, which sounds kinda crappy on its own, but is essential to me to cut through a band and/or a bad room.

    But for a twangy sound? Go with the Fishman; listen to Marc Johnson's pickup sound: that is the sound you'll get.
  12. Ric Vice

    Ric Vice Supporting Member

    Jul 2, 2005
    Olivette, Missouri
    Good information here, I would also suggest that when you purchase your Underwood, they actually cost less from a second party supplier, than they do from the manufacturer.

    Personally, I don't go for that type of sound, but thats a matter of individual taste. When the Underwood was one of the only transducers avaliable. it was a big improvment over the Polytone, Barcus Berry, and Fishman BP 100.

    There are a lot of options out ther now, and what I like to do try and get the pickup to somewhat faithfully reproduce the timber of the instrument. That said, the Underwood's probably a good choice for your needs. It's fexible enough if you decided to go with a different instrument sound later on.
    Ric Vice