Help, tough decision..

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by ninkompoop, Oct 11, 2003.

  1. ninkompoop


    Apr 20, 2003
    About a month ago I purchased a used SR800.. More rescently, after playing it straight for about a month, I plugged in my other bass, just to compare, and discovered, I really dont like the sound that the Soundgear puts out! Although I was warned about the apparent ****ty pickups and preamp..but I couldnt resist the nice neck and small body, so I brought it home, as it was suggested on this site, if I had tone issues, I could just drop in new pickups, and maybe a new preamp to correct the problem.

    Anyway, I just called the store I bought it from to see what can be done about this..this..tone. They said new pickups probably wouldnt help all that much, and they "may" take the bass back for an exchange. Problem is, their bass selection pretty much sucks, they only really sell used stuff, and they wont give a cash refund.

    I like the shape and feel of this bass, alot, and I am definetly comfortable playing it. The tone just..well.. stinks. its very metallic sounding, definetly not that 'smooth, heavy' bassy sound that my other bass puts out. I'm assuming the tone generally comes from the bass itself, the wood its made of, and such, and not so much from the electronics..but am not sure.

    I'd just like some advice, as I am still fairly new to this type of stuff, and really dont know what I should do at this point. Would anyone say it would be worth it to replace the preamp, and maybe toss some emg's in there? This is what was suggested to me here, when I posted about my new purchase.. I mean, I could 'hopefully' exchange this bass for a different one, if nessesary.. but like I said, this store doesnt carry much at all for bassists. I do like this bass and would love to keep it. Is there anyway I can get that nice smooth heavy, non metallic, sound out of it?
  2. it has a basswood body which some people say is not that great but I don't think basswood is that bad for tone quality. I think if you were to put some new pickups in there mabey some EMG's or Bartolini's it would really improve your sound. I wouldn't worry about the preamp at first just put some new pups in there and see what it does. EMG have a little more edge and bite to them and Bartolini pups area little smoother and growly.
  3. Steve


    Aug 10, 2001
    Anybody that tells you changing pickups or preamps won't effect the sound of your instrument is either:
    A. A moron
    B. Only intertested in selling you another POS
    C. All of the above
  4. LA


    Oct 17, 2001
    Pickups are designed to amplify the native sound of the bass. If the native sound is crapola, good pickups will get you louder crapola. That's why people don't put Bartolinis in a Hondo...or do they?
  5. Stingray4Christ


    Jan 28, 2003
    Michael Tobias would agree with you there. A different preamp could definately help though.
  6. i dont really agree with this statement. Isn't the function of pickups to "pick up" the vibrations and stuff of the strings and convert them into a signal which can afterwards be amplified...such as with an amplifier? So if you change the pickups, you could get a totally new sound. If you've ever changed the pickups in a bass/guitar before, you'd know that it's usually a very noticeable difference. But yeah, I agree that you should try changing the preamp first
  7. "You can't polish a turd."

    Good pickups in a bass that is acoustically poor sounding will just make the good pickups sound bad. Talk with Mike Tobias, Joe Zon, Rob Elrick, Ken Smith, Dan Lakin, Sheldon Dingwall, Stuart Spector, Keith Roscoe.......

    ....keep going for a few hours....

    ....and every single one of them will tell you the same thing.

    If the thing sounds like crusty 2-day old dog poop with the pickups in it now, it is VERY likely it still will with better pickups in it. If the thing sounds like that ACOUSTICALLY, it will DEFINITELY still sound the same with better pickups in it.

    Bottom line: If the bass sounds good acoustically, it is probably not a bad investment to upgrade the pickups and/or electronics; if it sounds like the proverbial crusty dog excrement, you're wasting time and money.
  8. There's been some great art made from fossilized feces. I can't find the link right now, but i remember seeing some looked pretty nice :D
    Anyways, I was just assuming that since he couldnt tell that the tone was bad until he did a side by side comparison, maybe the bass isnt terrible, but just not as great as he would like. Hm.. but then it might just mean that he prefers the sound of the other bass due to personal preference, which would mean that this bass just isnt suited for him...anyways, hI
  9. Oh yeah, coprolites! I've seen those polished, and they do look cool...

    ...but they still sound like...well...y'know! ;)

    My point is that if the bass sounds BAD acoustically, it won't get better by doing any electronic "slight of hand". If the bass sounds pretty good acoustically, then it's very likely that an electronics transplant may save the patient. The bottom line is that the pickups will send the tone of the bass to the amp, not just the strings - the strings + the body/neck/fingerboard are a system that feed each other and essentially affect the overall tone equally.

  10. notabob


    Sep 20, 2003
    cincinnati ohio
    i think that this debate is senseless. its an ibanez, not a hondo. it cant be that bad of a bass. if you dont like the tone, but love the shape, then expirement w/ new pickups or a new preamp. basswood isnt a bad wood. i think you'll be fine with some new electronics.
  11. LA


    Oct 17, 2001
    Good wood+good pickups=good bass, Maynard.
  12. seansbrew


    Oct 23, 2000
    Mesa AZ.
    See if they will give you credit. If they will do this, take the bass back, get a credit an then go try out basses you like at other stores until you find one that you like. Then go back to the store that you have credit with and see if they will order a bass for you. Good luck
  13. mgood


    Sep 29, 2001
    Levelland, Texas
    That's the best advice I see in this thread. Listen to it, unplugged, in a quiet room. Like the sound? Try new p'ups and/or preamp. Don't like the sound? Move along.

    Pickups are somewhat like microphones. (Both are transducers.) A different mic might get you closer to the sound you're looking for. But if the sound is not there, no mic in the world will pick it up. Same for pickups. If the sound you want is not in the bass, it's not in the bass. If it is in there, then your quest is to bring it out with the proper electronics.
  14. ninkompoop


    Apr 20, 2003
    Hey, thanks for all the suggestions & comments everyone :)

    I gave both basses a little acoustic 'test' as suggested, and the soundgear definetly has a way more 'metallic' sounding tone than my other 5 string 'EXpress'. I dont know how to put this exactly, but it seems like it may be the frets that are contributing to this 'annoying' sound. The 'sound' is very obvious when I do a slide, or hammer on, and is even more obvious when "wobbling" the string for that wavy effect.. appologies, I'm not entirely sure of the proper terminology.. hehe..

    Anyway, could it be the strings? I mean.. when I slide up a string with my 5, generally, its a nice smooth bassy *insert sliding sound here* ... But when I slide up with the Soundgear, every fret my finger passes over, creates a noticible "ting" ... type sound.. basically the sound you get when metal touches metal. appologies for my choice of words, I really dont know what words I should use to describe it.. so I'm guessing this 'ting' sound is what could be affecting the over all tone. Of course, I get this sound with the 5 string aswell, but the soundgear seems to exaggerate it quite a bit.

    It seems possible the thin light neck could also be contributing to the sound. It could be a number of things, I guess.

    Anyway.. I do have an extra set of light strings, though they have been laying around for a good few years.. should they still be good?

    Thanks again.
  15. Geoff St. Germaine

    Geoff St. Germaine Commercial User

    IMO, even if the pickups change the sound significantly, it may turn into a bit of a crap shoot. It might cost quite a bit of money to find a configuration that works for you. IMO, it would be easier to try out basses and find one that already has the sound you are looking for.

  16. Danny R.

    Danny R. Supporting Member

    Sounds like your bass needs a proper set up, try raising the action a little bit and I bet that the fret buzz (the annoying metalic sound) will go away.
  17. It sounds to me as if your SR needs a good setup job, done by someone who knows what they're doing, not just the guitar salesman at your local store. Then and only then are you in a position to make a call on the situation. I think you will find that with a really good setup job, your SR will improve out of sight. I also agree with SMASH that new pickups will be a major help. The stock Ibanez pickups are just rebadged Mighty Mites from Cort. If you want some in yer face rock pups, the DiMarzio ones or Seymour Duncan 1/4 pounders will do it. A crappy sounding bass is a result of many factors, not just pups and preamp, so all the angles need to be examined. Also keep in mind that, with all due respect to Gard, if you're a rock player in a loud band, a Hondo is gonna sound as good or possibly better than a highend Smith, Pedulla, Lakland etc. However, if you're into recording, playing jazz, or any other style that's not so full on, then the highend basses WILL carveup a Hondo.
  18. also, i'm wondering if you have the same brand/type of strings on both basses, cuz strings make a big big difference. In my experience, the stock ibanez strings are usually terrible. You might want to try a nice set of nickel wounds.
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