1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

How to discern cause for low output?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by ThirtyOver, Jan 28, 2013.

  1. ThirtyOver


    Dec 30, 2011
    sorry if this is a brutally obvious question that I haven't thought of. If you can plug several basses into the same rig and all but one thump with unadulterated power, how do you figure out if the wimpy bass is a pickup or tone control issue.

    Is it automatically a pickup issue?
    Are stock 2 band active EQ systems garbage sold to us cause we foam when we see the words "active" and think "power".

    Pretty much close to giving up on this bass when I can see bass after bass with better tone and power output. But if I can easily pinpoint the issue...it might live awhile longer.

    (yes...I have checked the battery)
  2. abemo


    Feb 27, 2012
    Arvada, co
    Did you check the battery or replace it? Sometimes they can be weak but not dead.

    Could be pickup height, try raising them a bit.

    What kind of bass is it? What are you comparing it to?
  3. elgecko


    Apr 30, 2007
    Anasleim, CA
    I'd be looking at pickup height too.
  4. Dave W

    Dave W Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    Who different is it from the others you are comparing it to? Some basses just have a lower output than others.

    I'd check pickup height first.
  5. mystic38


    Dec 4, 2012
    Mystic CT
    really, unless you state which bass you are referring to so that folks can chime in with personal experience, my answer to basses sounding at different volumes would be "i am not suprised"

    not trying to be a dick here, but all pickups have different outputs, not all active eq's have same gain, and even if they did, the pickups are different, and as already pointed out, pup height may be an issue to... but i would NOT go changing pup height unless you know its wrong.
  6. PluckyThump

    PluckyThump Supporting Member

    Jan 4, 2008
    The Hammer
    Clean the output jack with electrical contact cleaner (like DeoxIT).
  7. ThirtyOver


    Dec 30, 2011
    Have ran an Ibanez with bartolinis thru my Acoustic 200h with 4x10 and it was nice and full, lows, warm unpainful highs

    Ran a Rogue 6 string Lx-406 thru the same amp and it has more power and range than anything Ive heard yet. "Serious bordering on what the hell where they thinking amount of power"

    Yamaha RBX ....same thing ...power, tonal variety.

    Schecter Omen Extreme "Active" 5 string.......brittle, Fisher Price grade highs with a low end that gives mud a good name.

    Adjusted action, bridge, intonation, pickups, bought a few pedals even. Nothing has come close to really making this thing sound like the basses I've come to know.

    Have no problem changing the pups wiring or all of it....but would like a better understanding of how to diagnose exactly what it is that's causing this conundrum without the usual..."well buy some pickups and if that fixes it than you know that was it" type of approach.

    (p.s.s ...can we agree that I have checked the battery)

    Being left handed limits my options a bit so if I can get this one in better working order Id be happy....I am saving for a custom made something or other (havent decided who yet) so Id rather not just keep buying basses till I find the one that sounds right. If I can mod this one a bit and get it right Ill be content.
  8. T_Bone_TL


    Jan 10, 2013
    NW Mass/SW VT
    Is it new enough to be under warranty? If so, take it in and have it looked at, rather than tearing into it.

    Sure sounds like a preamp issue, and most preamp issues are battery (or power - perhaps you have a good battery and a bad wire?) related, so it's likely to get some more re-treading. Try with the battery out. Try with a different battery.

    If you are up for tearing into it, and if my understanding of the pickups (that they are passive with an active preamp, rather than "active pickups") is correct, you could unhook the pickups from the preamp and both check them for resistance, and try hooking them each up (in a temporary manner) direct to the amp to take the preamp out of the equation.
  9. ThirtyOver


    Dec 30, 2011
    The bass does not work without a battery. I have been through the wiring a few times and everything looks to be solid, soldering is neat and solid.

    It is not under warranty anymore. Had I known when I bought it that i could of easily taken it back and traded for something else I would have. But thats in the past.

    I have been considering a pickup, tone and preamp swap for awhile now anyways.

    Nature of the online monster as it is...I have read reviews from the "oh this bass is so great" to "Schecter Sucks"

    however this thing is wired it has no real punch unless the volume is all up, the supposed neck control is all up (bridge isn't good for much other than adding brittle uncomfortable highs.

    At the moment I am seriously torn between a few brands of pickups and preamps and such.....mainly cause If put anything in here and end up with this same sound, (low power...edit) and no real tonal variety.....I will probably murder this bass in some sort of newsworthy fashion.
  10. T_Bone_TL


    Jan 10, 2013
    NW Mass/SW VT
    Nature of the online monster will do that for nearly any brand.

    You're in a mood to butcher and not in warranty, so get the pickup wires disconnected and wire them up direct to a jack, or half a cable, or whatever you have handy - see what that's got. No preamp, no volume, no tone, no need for the battery. You can come back to those bits later, once you've established if there's anything there to work with from the pickups...
  11. ThirtyOver


    Dec 30, 2011
    I do have a few old cables I could cut up. Guess we aren't practicing this weekend so that would be a perfect time to do that.
  12. T_Bone_TL


    Jan 10, 2013
    NW Mass/SW VT
    Any luck? From the pictures I've seen those are too cute to be firewood, so I'm hoping you have success.
  13. ThirtyOver


    Dec 30, 2011
    sorry bout the delay...forgot about this particular thread.

    Ran over a couple ideas about how to discern where my issue was. Decided to simply change the set up. Put a EMG P5X in the neck and a DCX in the bridge with a BQC control set.

    Have as of yet not even begun to scratch the surface of what tonal options the stock set up was lacking that I now have to sort through at my leisure. The old set up had either low muddy couldnt cut through a wet tortilla rumble, or make any dog walking down the street bleed from its ears highs. After installing the new set up It took all of maybe 10 minutes of fiddling with the bass and amp to adjust for the new set up and we took a few recordings where the bass sounds just leaps and bounds better than before.