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Getting a warm and "woody" sound with active pickups

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by DonBorelli, Jan 18, 2016.

  1. DonBorelli


    Feb 1, 2009
    Ok here's the scenario.
    I've recently quit a band that played loud - and I would say relatively modern sounding - rockmusic.

    Now I have joined an outfit that is way different. The drummer has a more relaxed approach and I would describe the sound as being quite "oldschool".
    I recently laid bass tracks on a couple of songs where I borrowed an old Rickenbacker with old rounds and a Höfner with flatwounds. The result was really good.
    I thought these old basses sounded huge. They just had a certain fatness to them...

    Now I am left wondering if I can coax a convincing retro-sound out of my Fender Precision that is equipped with an active Seymour Duncan pickup.
    Unfortunately the inherent sound of the bass is quite hi-fi and the two top strings' treble content sound almost brittle-like if that makes any sense.

    Can I change the sound of the bass by putting on some flats?... I've heard that flats and active pickups isn't an ideal combination. I think John Paul Jones said that in an interview.
    Or should I just bite the bullet and install a passive pickup on my bass?
    ...or maybe it's just an eq-thing?

    Let me know what you people think.
  2. DonBorelli


    Feb 1, 2009
    Ooops...I thought I was in the pickups and electronics forum.
    Moderator, feel free to move my thread to its proper location.
  3. sprag


    Sep 15, 2011
    Melb Australia
    Definitely active pickups and not just preamp?

    1. If active preamp only, push pull pot or switch to disengage the active preamp if you don't already have this option. O
    2. Old rounds or flats like you used already.
    I have flats on all my actives including active p and I don't have a problem with it (I took my active stingray with flats into a bass store a few years back. the stores tech said he was going to put flats on his stingray that night)

    These two options are cheaper than new pickups and you'll probably want to try flats even if you end up with a new pickup
  4. Dave W

    Dave W Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    Start by rolling off the tone knob a little or experiment with EQ.
    ROGI likes this.
  5. GMC


    Jan 1, 2006
    It's the difference between ceramic and alnico magnets...I think the wire used is different too. Bassically, the tone is in the pickups. You can approximately the sound using an intelligent use of EQ, but the attack, clarity / woolliness and sustain cannot be replicated. You would need a different set of pickups.
    Jim C likes this.
  6. DonBorelli


    Feb 1, 2009
    You know what...I think you are right.
    I just bought a used Dimarzio model P. Now I'll just let my rounds age gracefully.

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