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Help... D and G strings too bright.

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by ::::BASSIST::::, Nov 22, 2005.


  1. ::::BASSIST::::

    ::::BASSIST:::: Progress Not Perfection.

    Sep 2, 2004
    Vancouver, BC Canada
    Currently I am using active EMG p bass pups. I wanted to achieve a tone with great clarity on my sx shortscale p-bass, but I am finding the d and g strings to be too bright. I omitted the tone pot to give greater clarity, but maybe thats adding to the brightness issue? I suppose I could put the tone pot back in, but I would have to drill a hole into my homemade pickguard so I want to make sure its the right thing to do and not regret it. Whats the difference b/n "bright" and "clear" anyway? What I want is no mud but no brashy brightness either. I am using Labella 760FLs and a programmable sabddi as pre. Even lowering the treble on the pre doesnt help me achieve the tone I want.

    Also, would putting in 250k instead of 25k pots help at all? EMG recommends 25k for their active pups.

    Suggestions greatly appreciated!
     
  2. mahrous

    mahrous

    Aug 13, 2005
    Egypt
    try different strings. flatwounds perhaps on the D/G with Roundwounds on the E,A?

    lowering the pickups might add some little tiny help. give it a shot.
     
  3. luknfur

    luknfur

    Jan 14, 2004
    DIXIE
    FWIW:

    Sounds like you're basically looking for a vintage Fender P tone (active EMG's or not). A punchie focused bottom rather than a fat, dark bottom, warm mids, cutting semi-rounded top, with overall clarity and tone you can darken to taste.

    The typical approach I've used is to cut bass rather dealing with the top end. That may seem contradictory but I always cut bass to increase treble and cut treble to increase bass first rather than doing the "obvious" and increasing whatever to get more of whatever. I've found that optimal tone is had from keeping tone controls minimal rather than maxing them. To me doing otherwise is like riding the break while you're accelerating. It doesn't always work but it's my first shot - and it does work most of the time. Cutting bass allows the mids and top to come out and eliminates/minimizes mud yet retains low end punch. Most players don't seem to understand how the different bands interact with each other. Adjusting bass doesn't just affect bass frequencies. Lots of other factors involved but that's the jist.

    Brightness primarily refers to the apparent frequency, higher the brighter. Clarity refers to exactly that, how distinguishable the frequency is. Unclear low end is muddy, unclear top end is airy or whatever thin/weak. A piercing top end would be a fairly high frequency (can't remember exactly but probably about 2k and above) that is VERY clear. Titanium tweeters tend to be piercing.

    I don't think I've ever stuck a 250k volume in with active EMG's but you'd be installing a pot that would decrease treble bleed by 10 times (increase treble in other words) and that doesn't sound like what you're looking for. Yes, eliminating the tone pot would probably increase clarity AND trebles cause you would have eliminated a cap in the process (assuming passive harness). In general, higher frequencies sound clearer cuase they're more audible and don't take as much volume to push them - so if you increase volume to hear more bass, you're increasing whatever setting of higher frequencies you have a lot more than bass.

    I have a pair of active EMG PJ's but it's been too long since I've had them in to remember acurately as far as the muddy aspect but mud is more inherent in P (mid) position than bridge, but mud is not something I associate with active EMGs. There's are review on them in Dimento's P experiment in FAQ part of the forum that should address that. Also the bass tone glossary for definitions.

    I have a Sans Di but not the programmable job. If it's got a presence control like the stooges version, you might want to cut that off. If you can't get what you want through eq, you can try various caps between the volume and jack till you get what you want. Caps are cheap, readily available, and easy to install. Probably start with about a .5 and go up and down about .25 mfds in about 10 mfd increments. The higher the value the bassier the tone. Smash did a good piece on caps so I would recommend you pull that up in a search. It may even be in FAQ.
     
  4. ::::BASSIST::::

    ::::BASSIST:::: Progress Not Perfection.

    Sep 2, 2004
    Vancouver, BC Canada
    thank you very much for your response. it is most helpful. yes, i bought these emg actives as i was told they are some the clearest, least muddy pups one can get. they are great. i just wish they werent active as i dislike the hassle of wondering if the battery is going to die on me. or always having to plug/unplug the cable when i am done practising at home.

    you are very accurate in that the vintage p tone is what i am after with a punchy focused bottom, but perhaps with a tinge of fatness. I do want it to sound like a bass though. one time a friend commented that my tone was just like a low guitar and that it wasnt bassy enough. that was before the sabddi. I like the tube-ishness the sabddi provides. But i only set it at about 1/2 blend b/c i want to maintain punchiness.

    before the labellas i had chromes flats on the bass. the labellas seemed to have helped take some of the zing away. i'll have to try it at band volume level to see if that will do it. If need be i will take your advice and add a tone pot. I will try a .22 and .44 cap and see which one suits my taste. Probably the .22. With the tone pot i may only have to set the knob at "1" or "2" but that may be all that is necessary. I dont want to over-do it. It just means I will have to take that irreversable step of drilling a hole in the pickguard to add the tone pot.

    BTW, are the passive Bartolini p bass pups clear-ish sounding? I may opt for those at some point as I really prefer passive pickups given their practicality.

    thanks again for the assistance!
     
  5. luknfur

    luknfur

    Jan 14, 2004
    DIXIE
    FWIW:

    I didn't say add a tone pot, I said try a cap between the volume and jack then you won't have to poke a hole and add the tone. Not sure but I think that will work. At any rate, all that would be invested would be time and a few bucks for caps (a mix of which is good to have around anyway). I think you'll get a volume pot with the benefit of cap control that way but it may effectively turn the volume into a tone - probably depends on how it's wired. Somebody else will probably know for sure.

    I haven't used any onboard controls for about a year so I don't remember. Not even sure if I've ever done it but won't screw anything up trying it. I'm not a technical guy. I know by doing not getting hung up in the technical aspects - unless I need to for some reason. I can do it and know in a fraction of the time it would take read up and figure out if it's supposed to work or not. Anything I don't do regularly I'd forget so no point in wasting time to relearn cause I don't need to know it.

    Barts made a lot of P's and they vary depending on the pup. But I'd speculate few if any of the Barts would be as clear as the EMG. You could have both active and passive operation with a passive Bart though (they do make active P's).

    A bass will still sound like a bass with bass cut. I would start adjusting my bass to the guitar players taste when he started adjusted his guitar to my taste. That's not to say not to listen, but draw your own conclusion. He may be standing where he doesn't hear the low end for starters. Changing cab position will dramatically alter bass frequencies and may have nothing to do with ANYTHING else (besides the environment the cab is interacting with).

    I'm just talking about cutting bass, how much depends on what you're playing to and what tone you want. If you want the typical darker Motown sound over typical R&B (the real stuff, not rap) you just may have to deal more with a mud issue. Probably just cutting treble would suffice. Depends on a lot of different variables.

    The battery should last for months approaching a year depending on how much you play. You can install a kill switch and you won't have to unplug.

    In my recall active EMG's sounded cleaner, punchier, and more preferable to me in general with an onboard preamp. I had a BTC in a bass with active EMG PJ's for over a year (my first transplant in fact). You can get a used BTC for about $50. When I've installed the PJ's straight to jacks they were noticeably less hi-fi more airy sounding, less defined, less punchy. Probably one of the few pups I prefered with preamp. The LJ-5 to the jack actually sounded amazingly passive in mid position with good tone, output, and generally good stand alone pup there, prefered over bridge position.
     
  6. ::::BASSIST::::

    ::::BASSIST:::: Progress Not Perfection.

    Sep 2, 2004
    Vancouver, BC Canada
    thanks again! I will have to look into that kill switch idea. I play bass about 8hrs per week. I am a little paranoid about having a dead battery during gigs. To change the battery now I have to take the entire pickguard off and then try not to disturb the wiring inside the control cavity. If I decide to just keep the EMG actives (which I am leaning to since you and others have said they are very clear) I will probably do some routing and install a battery box. If i have a battery box installed it will be no problem to just slap in a fresh battery before a gig.

    The kill switch you mention is very intriguing to me. So basically you just install an on/off switch before the battery wires reach the pickups?

    I have a few caps lying around so I will try, as you suggest, just wiring the cap in w/o a tone pot. Will that give me the sound of the pot maxed if I cant attenuate or turn up the tone pot (since it doesnt exist)? Or will the cap only have a moderate effect?

    The fellow who was critical of my tone was one of these guys who thinks the bass should be felt almost as much as heard. I take it with a grain of salt. I know the tone I am after, I am not interested in trying to please everyone else.

    thanks again!
     
  7. luknfur

    luknfur

    Jan 14, 2004
    DIXIE
    FWIW:

    Never installed a kill switch but all you'd have to do is break the circuit, hot between battery and jack would be most logical. There's probably diagrams for it at guitarelectronics.com - won't matter whether it's in a bass or guitar diagram.

    The cap thing don't know, just try it and see what you get. May work, may not. Won't hurt it. For that matter you could even wire in a tone pot with the bay cover off and just let it hang out of the bass (or tape it to the bass to keep it from floppin around) to do a comparison with the volume/cap thing. It's a bit awkward (I've done it) and a bit of a pain but a tone with caps may not get you what you want either so why punch a hole to find that out. You don't know unless you try.
     
  8. ::::BASSIST::::

    ::::BASSIST:::: Progress Not Perfection.

    Sep 2, 2004
    Vancouver, BC Canada
    thanks. I will give both a try.