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Krivo Electromagetic Pickup Review

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by PauFerro, Jan 25, 2017.

  1. PauFerro


    Jun 8, 2008
    United States
    I received my Krivo Electromagnetic Pickup a few days ago. It was recommended in an amplification thread here on Talkbass. The electromagnetic pickup allows you to be loud, without feedback, when you need to be "stupid loud". I have a recurring gig where I have to broadcast across a very large retention pond, and my piezo system wasn't cutting it (more on that later, I have a High Pass Filter coming, which is supposed to help reduce feedback and facilitate high volume. this may render the electro magnetic pickup irrelevent, let's see). So, here is my review of the Krivo Electromagnetic pickup. I got it used off eBay. It is also available from Krivo Humbucking Magnetic Upright Bass Pickup (new smaller model, includes free Jack Mount) at Gollihur Music - Double Bass, Upright Bass, String Bass Specialists


    It comes with an allen wrench for adjusting pole pieces, a piece of Velcro-like material for affixing the pickup to the end of the bridge, the pickup and its attached wire and 1/4" output jack, and a clip for attaching the output jack to the tailpiece of the bass.


    Installation is not really easy.

    You have to take the G string off, and then thread what appeared to be a plastic clip that comes with the Krivo, at the ball end of the string. Re-thread the string through the tailpiece, and the clip will flatten against the tailpiece. I had a piece of felt on the ball end of my instrument, so that went closest to the tailpiece.

    You slide the 1/4" output jack into the resulting, round clip after you install it on the G string and tune it to pitch. The output jack points downward, into which you put your 1/4" cable to your amp (not included). You can easily slide the output jack, a tubular thing, in and out of the clip for those times you want to remove the entire pickup system.

    Then you cut a piece of really industrial, strong velcro-like material into the shape of the end of the fingerboard, and stick it on the end of the fingerboard. Press it on really hard and then let it sit for a few hours. The pickup then adheres to the velcro-like material with its own, mated material. It is very strong, not like regular Velcro.

    My bass is a 1/4 size, so the pole pieces did not line up with the strings. I chose to make the E string pole piece line up exactly with the E string, as I heard from Gollihur Music that string would not amplify as well as the other strings (this they say, is only true for Hellicores). The pole pieces, therefore, were offset from the actual strings on the A, D, and G strings. But this did not seem to matter eventually...

    Amplification and Feedback.

    This was the hard part. As Gollihur says on their site, with Hellicore hybrid strings like I use, all the strings but the E string are very loud. The E-string, at first, with my volume on my Ampeg BA-110 combo amp on maximum, barely sounded amplified and lacked definition. I used the 0 Db input jack on the Ampeg BA-110 and it was still too quiet for my liking. I am sure it would have disappeared in the mix. At this point, I was disappointed I'd have to return the pickup.

    But after about 20 minutes of fiddling, I fixed the uneven volume between the strings by angling the treble side of the pickup far away from the G-string. This of course made the E-string end of the pickup very high, and close to the E string. I also raised the pole piece for the E string. This evened out the volume so it was consistent across the four strings. This did reduce the overall volume of the system, but not to the point it made the pickup useless -- it was still much louder than my unamplified bass. I am a bit concerned about this, but I think it's nothing that a more powerful amplifier (I have a couple) or PA can't fix.

    Gollihur indicates other strings (like Corelli's) don't have this problem with the Krivo. Note that you have to have strings with a metal core for this pickup to work.

    On a good note, there was no feedback whatsoever!

    Tailpiece Room

    I have a Pure preamp that goes wtih my K&K Double Twin piezo pickup that is stuck to my bridge. The preamp goes on the underside of the tailpiece, held on by two velcro straps -- one of which loops through the string slots in the tailpiece.

    Happily, the Krivo output jack clip and the Pure preamp did not conflict with each other in terms of position or space. I did make sure the Krivo output jack clip extends on the outside of the tailpiece to make room for the Pure preamp. Space issues for the two systems was not an issue at all, and did not interfere with the 2, 1/4 cables that go in and out of the Pure preamp in that area (not related to the Krivo).


    The tone does sound a bit electric bassish, but not entirely. The G string was the most like an electric bass, but only because that particular string doesn't growl like my E, A, and D strings on this particular bass. The E, A, and D strings sounded reasonably close to the acoustic sound, but not as close as my K&K Double Twin piezo system does. But it still carried the significant growl that my action, technique, and setup provide from my instrument. I was actually happy with the sound given what I'd heard about the loss of upright bass tone you get with electromagnetic pickups.

    I had absolutely no feedback whatsoever with my volume on 11 (to quote Spinal Tap)! (Mission accomplished!).

    Suggested Improvements

    1. With the Hellicore strings I use, and the uneven volume for the E string, I wish it was a divided pickup with some trim pots or little volume controls for each string.

    2. I also wish it was easier to install the output jack clip at the tailpiece -- as someone new to upright bass, I was nervous about taking off the G-string, as I thought it might topple over the bridge, especially when I had to also loosen the D string and move it off the nut to get my G-string on and off properly. Fortunately nothing happened, but I thought a number of times what a hassle it was. I am glad I only have one upright bass and won't have to move the pickup and output jack clip between instruments.

    3. I think a longer pole piece for the E string was in order. When I was fiddling with positioning the pole pieces, I had one position I thought would work, but it meant really adjusting the E string pole piece outwards. It fell out of the pickup because it was too short. So I had to angle the pickup low on the G-string to high on the E-string, as I said earlier, to get the E -string pole piece close enough to the E string for volume balance.

    4. The pickup needs to come with a note telling you where to get the installation manual. I wasn't sure how to install the output jack clip until I did a search online and found the site, and its PDF file for installation. Here is the manual:



    Overall, I give it a 4/5. Pros: Good tone, preserves most of the upright bass sound, loud, no feedback, looks handmade and rustic, which is cool on a raw instrument like the upright. Cons: Tough to install the output jack clip, and the low E volume is too low with Hellicore strings, and requires a lot of tweaking that reduces the volume of the whole system. But it can still make your instrument really loud.

    I will not be returning the pickup, as I now have another tool in my arsenal as I get more and more experience amplifying the upright on various gigs. This ranges from music festivals with hundreds and hundreds of people, to quiet networking gigs. This pickup gives me confidence that I can be ready for any situation that requires loudness, or even modest amplification, without feedback.

    This of course, is until I learn how to play loudly enough to go solely piezo with a High Pass Filter, which I understand is a technique thing which develops over time. In the short term, this pickup facilitates my goal of gigging as soon as possible for motivation reasons.

    Looking forward to my next "stupid loud" gig in three weeks!!!
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2017
  2. Mark Gollihur

    Mark Gollihur Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jul 19, 2000
    Mullica Hill, NJ
    Owner/President, Gollihur Music LLC
    Fwiw, we provide an alternate means for mounting the jack as a freebie when we sell them, so you don't have to remove the e string. I am glad, albeit surprised, that you got the pickup to work reasonably well on a quarter-size bass. It is quite clearly intended for a 3/4 size Bass and the string spacing is not optimal for your application. Decent review, though.
  3. PauFerro


    Jun 8, 2008
    United States
    I am glad you figured out a way of mounting the output jack on the bass, as the existing method is cumbersome on the G string, as they recommend.

    I wasn't worried about the pole piece/string misalignment it when I bought the Krivo, knowing well in advance that the pole pieces would not align with the strings. Back in my electric bass luthier training days, we installed full size pickups on several 30" electric basses I built all the time, and it didn't seem to matter much, particularly since we would always be adjusting the pickup height to create an even response across all strings anyway.

    The uneven pole piece spacing on the Krivo actually may have helped balance out the volume between the three strings, given the pickup's difficulty in transmitting the E string at the same volume as the other stringsm when using Hellicores. With the pole piece directly over the E string this may have boosted that string's volume. With the pole pieces out of alignment with the A, D, and G strings, this may have reduced the A, D and G string volumes, simultaneously, thus making a more even response across the entire pickup.

    So, my experiment suggests that even 1/2 size instruments may not run into difficulties using the Krivo if the string spacing is narrower than the pickup's pole piece spacing. Taken with the ability to adjust pole piece height, and angle the pickup as I did, I think it could work even more easily on a 1/2 size than on a 1/4 size.

    One observation -- on a quarter size (35" scale, mine is), the electromagnetic pickup's pole pieces align with the strings perfectly at the bridge, rather than at the end of the fingerboard position as Krivo recommends. I toyed with the idea of using double sided carpet tape to mount some equivalent 3M high strength velcro I have in my shop on the top the bridge when the instrument is in the playing position. Stick the Krivo on it there... As a test, I laid the Krivo on top of the bridge just to see how it picked up and it wasn't too bad, although I abandoned the idea in favor of trying convention first. Thought i would try to use it as recommended it first, and when it worked, stopped pursuing the bridge mounting idea. I also wondered if a bridge mount on the Krivo would affect the tone of the Big Twin that is on the underside of the bridge, and didn't want to open a can of worms -- in case I experiment with a dual signal (electromagnetic and piezo) amplification in the future.
  4. Yo get less volume from an electromagnetic pickup if it is mounted close to the bridge. The other problem is mounting it there. Doing this at the bridge adds a lot of mass and the bridge cannot move quickly. And the bridge and therefor the pickup moves with the string that sets the bridge in motion which also reduces the output volume and alters the sound. Also the position of the pickup on the vibrating string determines the highest sensitivity of a certain frequency range. That's also a reason why this alters he pickup output sound. Not that this is necessarily bad, but it will sound differently.
  5. Alib8


    Aug 16, 2014
    I use the Krivo with a Helicore Hybrid Light E, and I can confirm that the output is lower compared to Eurosonics and Superflexible Solos I had on A,D and G.

    The solution I found was to stick a small disk shaped neodium magnet on top of the weak pole piece. The pole aligment must be right or it will reduce the output. The pole should be scewed out a little so that if you try to remove the magnet later it won't be stuck inside the hole.

    This video demonstrates the same idea:
    PauFerro likes this.
  6. Totally agree with Alib8. i have done exactly what is shown in the video (but used Rear earth magnets, not sure if they are the same thing as Neodium magnets) Works a treat but i have Blast Cult Low Lifes.
  7. PauFerro


    Jun 8, 2008
    United States
    You have to remove the magnet when not in use though -- right? To avoid demagnetizing the pickup?
  8. I have never removed my rare earth magnets (i only have them on the A and E)
    I would imagine they would increase the magnetic strength of the fixed magnets rather than demagnetising them
    Maybe the science boffins on TB can add some wisdom..
  9. It transfers some of the magnetism into the less strong one and looses a bit itself. Nothing to worry about.
    To reduce magnetism you need to reverse the direction of one magnet, so that they work against each other.
  10. 9Thumbs


    Jul 3, 2013
    I added a Krivo to my bass so that I could crank it up with my Blues/jump band. I had D'addario orchestrals on the bass. The E was loud but sounded like it had a fuzz box on it. I called Gollihur and Mark coached me to through finding that it was the composition of the E that was the problem. He sold me a Jargar medium E. This fixed the problem entirely. The volume from each string is the same. The sound is somewhere between the upright's real sound and that of my fretless Precision, exactly what I was looking for. I made a pine block that fits inside the fingerboard, attached the jack to it and stuck it under the fingerboard with double sided tape. I use a Line 6 G10 wireless. It hides back there too. This system is perfect for Blues and Rock'n'roll. From out front, no hardware is visible, the Krivo itself disappears on the end of the fingerboard. 9Thumbs up to this pickup block. sideview. krivo.
    block. sideview. krivo.
    PauFerro and Chris Fitzgerald like this.
  11. PauFerro


    Jun 8, 2008
    United States
    I love the wireless setup concept, as well as putting the jack right under the fingerboard in the pine block.

    So far, the only success I've had with amplification is with the Krivo. It's partly because I will often carry three basses with me (piccolo, electric, and the upright), plus I run sound, am the Band Leader, etcetera. There is too much to think about, and the Krivo delivers every time with no feedback. The band thinks the sound is fine as well for jazz, so no one is complaining.

    Plus, I find the Double Twin rattles in its jack holder attached to the bridge, and has massive feedback that takes experimentation to control it. Using a Sans Amp Bass Driver helps, but it is still too much to muck around with for me to tackle a piezo based system for now...

    Nice job on your set up above. I like the idea of getting rid of the visible hardware. Brilliant!
  12. All Three

    All Three

    Jun 19, 2012
    Atlanta, GA
    My Krivo report -
    I have experienced some real feedback nightmares on festival stages with large sound systems using various pickups (realist, etc.) and I needed a solution. I remembered playing a festival a couple of years ago that also had several well produced pop acts that had uprights, and they all used Krivos.

    So, I bought one used on TB and used it at an outdoor festival last weekend with positive results. Feedback problem solved! The sound guy did not have a clue about uprights and gave me a compressed bottom-heavy sound, but the Krivo did what I wanted it to in that situation.

    Using it through my amp, I get a good, defined sound, though not a very acoustic one. I will be experimenting with blending it with a mic or contact mic (or my realist) for louder gigs.

    I did experience it "bottoming out" on the E string, so maybe a different string would help that.
    One bad experience was having the Krivo fall off while slapping! There is not much surface area on the end of a fingerboard to attach the heavy Krivo, so I am planning to make an under-fingerboard mount similar to 9thumbs, and I know that will not fall off, and it will also give me more room to adjust the pickup away from the E string.

    Also, you can fix your jack mounting problems with a (TBer) Roger Davis jack mount. No removing of strings, super quick install, secure and noiseless.
  13. damonsmith


    May 10, 2006
    Quincy, MA
    This thread. OOF. Even Squire jazz or P bass would sound better these contexts.
    sevenyearsdown and Seanto like this.
  14. sevenyearsdown

    sevenyearsdown Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    Sanborn, NY
    I have to agree with Damon.

    BTW I use a Rev Solo 2 that was fit at Upton, and I never get feedback. I think it happened once on a stage the size of a postage stamp, but never again. I've played small festivals, theatres, dive bars, clubs.....all with wedges, drum riser monitors, etc. I don't plug the F holes, deaden the afterlength, or stuff my tail piece. My amp runs about 200 watts, and it's usually dimed on the power section. I DI most gigs along with using an amp. Just some food for thought.
    Last edited: May 18, 2017
  15. PauFerro


    Jun 8, 2008
    United States
    Can you give a link to this kind of jack mount? I did an internet search and got Linked In profiles for Roger Davis, and no site where I can learn about such as jack mount, or buy one...
  16. Seanto


    Dec 29, 2005
    Sums up my take on the magnetic pickups for DB. I already own a fretless squier jazz bass and i dont need or want that sound from my DB. Electric bass seems to be accepted enough in a jazz context so if that's the sound your going to get on the DB, just bring the electric and save yourself the backache. IMO of course.
  17. 9Thumbs


    Jul 3, 2013
    I disagree. The tone is different, since you don't hear the wood singing, but the sound is not the same as a fretless Fender. It is somewhere in between. Besides, you can't dance as well with a Fender.
  18. damonsmith


    May 10, 2006
    Quincy, MA
    I don't even double in public but I can get a BETTER sound out of my MIM jazz bass than I have heard ANYONE get with one of these horrible things. Even a cheap BG is better, not different.
  19. damonsmith


    May 10, 2006
    Quincy, MA
    An Underwood is a FAR better solution to the "stupid loud" issue.
    Last edited: May 19, 2017
  20. 9Thumbs


    Jul 3, 2013
    I bought mine from Gollihur Music and it came with this setup. Go to a hardware store and look for a wire organizer and some bits of hardware, The big washer is key. Put the bolt through the G string hole in your tailpiece. Set the jack so that is sticks out the side of the tailpiece. Some foam between the jack and the wood will keep it from rotating. Probably cost you a dollar or two.
    p1. p2.