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HELP! Replacing Warwick's stock MEC pickups Aguilar DCB D2

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Cyril Yabroudi, Jun 4, 2017.

  1. Cyril Yabroudi

    Cyril Yabroudi

    Jul 9, 2013
    Hey there,

    I had decided around December last year to replace the stock MEC pickups on my 5-string Warwick Streamer Stage I with Aguilar's DCB D2, noting that I had replaced around 4 years ago Warwick's stock preamp with Aguilar's OBP 3.

    Having finalized installing the new pickups, something weird occurred: the B string sounded 30 or 40% lower in volume than all the other strings. What came to my mind first was that it might have its core twisted and consequently lost its ringing, so I replaced the B string with another one. Same exact result: all 4 strings sounded delicious with the DCBs, except the B string. To eliminate all doubts regarding the possibility of having still a twisted core, I again replaced the B string with an older one, and still the same result came out. Weirdly enough, unplugged, all strings sounded and rang exactly the same.

    The only explanation I could come up was the following:
    My Warwick is equipped with a broad neck bridge, and I set up my string spacing at the bridge saddles to 19 mm, so the strings start wide at the bridge and narrow down along the neck up to the nut, so they have a trapezoidal shape if you look at the bass facing up, contrary to normal bridges where the strings shape is rectangular. So given this information, i concluded that the B string oscillates slightly outside the limit of the optimal magnetic field of the pickups, although straight above the bridge pickup, the total width of the strings is about 74.5 mm, and the Aguilar DCBs package box indicates ''max string width 74.5 mm'', which didn't really make sense to me why the B string wouldn't be picked up by the DCBs even if it falls at the limit of the strings width.

    Any opinion on the above is highly appreciated!

    Thanks :)
  2. Cyril Yabroudi

    Cyril Yabroudi

    Jul 9, 2013
  3. ctmullins

    ctmullins fueled by beer and coconut Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 18, 2008
    MS Gulf Coast
    I'm highly opinionated and extremely self-assured
    How are you evaluating? If through your amp/cabinet, are you sure that they are flat down to low B? Best is to record into a DAW and then look at the amplitude response, to make sure your ears or your rig aren’t fooling you.

    Other things to try:
    • Move a different string - E string for instance - to the B string position and see if it sounds the same as it does in its usual spot.
    • Since the pickups are symmetrical, flip them around and see if anything changes.
    • Experiment with pickup height.
    Good luck!
    NKBassman likes this.
  4. Slidlow

    Slidlow Supporting Member

    Apr 15, 2009
    Oshawa, Canada
    Your string spacing it at 74.5 and the pickup max sensing is 74.5. Hmmmm? I expect you need pickups with wider sensing window. Your "B" is right at the edge (if the pickups are positioned correctly) and probably is why the volume loss.
  5. NKBassman

    NKBassman Lvl 10 Nerd Supporting Member

    Jun 16, 2009
    Winnipeg, MB, Canada
    Do you have the same problem playing with up strokes and down strokes? Is the volume drop only on the initial attack of the note (ie. if you let the string ring out, does the volume seem to rise back up after the string vibration settles down)?

    I had a similar problem on my Supro Huntington bass, but the issue was much more pronounced when pulling the string up (towards me, away from the center of the pickup) VS down (towards the floor, as played with a pick). Based on this I determined it was an issue with the pickup sensing area. Lowering the pickups made a big enough difference that I don't really notice it any more. Raising the pickups closer to the strings didn't help at all.

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