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Help to brighten up my tone

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by kp_funk, Nov 17, 2004.

  1. kp_funk


    Jun 9, 2003
    Hi all,

    I'm just looking for a little advice on how to get a brighter sound out of my bass. I play a custom made 5 string bass made of Zebrawood. I have installed some bartolini 72M45C (deep Tone) pickups into it (I replaced EMGs b/c I wanted more colour in my tone), and also have the Bartolini NTMB preamp in it. I LOVE the tonal characterists of my bass now that I did that. I do not want to change that. I do however want to get a brighter and less warm attack out of it when necessary and cleaner sound. I know that using brighter stainless steele strings will help with brightening my tone. I just want to know of any other suggestions anybody may have.
    Any suggestions??
  2. Did you try fiddlin' with your amp controls?
    Or get an EQ pedal if you don't have any EQ controls on yer preamp.
  3. JPJ


    Apr 21, 2001
    Chicago, IL
    Unfortunatley, part of what makes your bass sound so good (the Bart pickups and pre) may also be contributing to the lack of perceived treble in your tone. Bart electronics packages are notorious for their wark, round, DARK tone. It's one of those "love it or hate it" scenarios, it seems. Short of changing your pickups and/or preamp (which seem to be working very well for you, except for the treble issue), stainless steel strings might help, cranking the treble on your preamp should help (but will introduce noise into your signal), changing the nut to brass might help (if it isn't already), boosting the level of the tweeter on your cab might help, and trying to EQ at the amp/head rather than on your bass might also be a way to go. And...you could always try playing with a pick if you don't already. Hope that helps, and good luck with trying to get things straightened out. ;) :bassist:
  4. kp_funk


    Jun 9, 2003
    Thanks JPJ, I do get noise in my signal when I crank the treble on my preamp. I REALLY want to get rid of that. I'm going to try changing the nut to brass if it isn't brass already. I don't like playing with a pick. The tweeter is going up. I have the treble in my amp already fairly high (getting the loud hiss). I really hope that helps.

    It's funny because when I had my EMGs in my bass before I didn't like to use stainless steele strings b/c they were too bright (at the beginning). Now my bass is not bright enough.
  5. McHack


    Jul 29, 2003
    Central Ohio!
    What kinda strings are you using now?
  6. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    as jay said, bart pickups and pres can be muted on the high end. Short of changing pickups, maybe for the equivalent bright wound one, I'm not sure what else to do.
  7. PasdaBeer


    Nov 2, 2002
    Santa Rosa California
    SandStorm Designs
    try some of the new Pro Steels strings......pretty bright

    roll on some more trebble on the amp also, contour out the mids
  8. Doug Parent

    Doug Parent Gold Supporting Member

    May 31, 2004
    San Diego, Ca.
    Dealer Nordstrand Pickups.
    I find that my barts are too warm, deep for my tastes as well sometimes. Maybe another manufacturer? when I switch the stacked humbuckers on my Grendel out for the ceramic exposed pole pickups that came with it, I instantly get back the snap on the high end I miss with the stacked pups. It's always a trade off. The barts may have too low of a resonance freq to give you what you want. If you crank the treble and get mostly noise, that may be the case.

    How about basslines stuff?
  9. xyllion

    xyllion Commercial User

    Jan 14, 2003
    San Jose, CA, USA
    Owner, Looperlative Audio Products
    As everyone else has said, Barts are not known as bright pickups. However, you can coax some brightness out of your instrument by boosting your highs elsewhere.

    First thing I would do is change the strings to DR Sunbeams or Rotosound RS66s (or possibly even 99s). There are other bright strings on the market, but either of these two are very bright.

    Boost the high-end on your preamp.
  10. xyllion

    xyllion Commercial User

    Jan 14, 2003
    San Jose, CA, USA
    Owner, Looperlative Audio Products
    BTW, I have Barts in my 6 string and I can get a lot of high end sizzle out of my bass, BUT I have a U Retro preamp in it.
  11. pistoleroace


    Sep 13, 2002
    I can get some high-end sizzle out of my basses with the Bart pickups and NTMB pre but I agree with others that the strings make a huge difference when it comes to getting some sizzle in your tone. Keep in mind that not only the brand and model of strings you are using makes a difference but they also have to be fresh or cleaned often to retain that brightness. In my opinion, strings can make make or break a bass when it comes to tone and is the cheapest thing to change to make a differnce. Playing style also is right up there too, I like to dig in quite a bit becuase I love what I get when I do.
  12. Niskamies


    Jan 13, 2004
    I would put a set of EBS steel strings on it, but I'm not sure are they available in the states. Anyways, try steel strings.
  13. Changing strings is the first thing you should try. I also wouldn’t rule the EMG’s out.

    I always found it easier to roll off the treble with a passive tone control to get a warm, less bright sound. You might have to experiment with different capacitors, but if you know how to solder, it’s easy and cheap. IMO it’s easier to make a bright bass warm than a warm bass bright. But that might be just me.
  14. kp_funk


    Jun 9, 2003
    Sorry I haven't been back in a while. Thank you all so much for your input. It's very useful. I hope the changing of my strings will help a great deal. I just have another question. What if I changed my pre-amp from the bartolini NTMB to the Aguilar OPB-3. Would that make a big difference for a brighter sound? Does the preamp make a big difference? If I do change it, will I still have the same colour from my pickups?

    Please let me know