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Lace Aluma Stealth Soap Bars not as hot as my Lace Aluma-P. What's up?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Monterey Bay-ss, Dec 10, 2018.


  1. Monterey Bay-ss

    Monterey Bay-ss Supporting Member

    IMG_E0870[1].JPG
    I swapped out the stock EMG-HZs (in my Spector Legend 5 w/Tone Pump Jr.) for Lace Aluma Stealth Bass Soap Bar 5s. The tone definitely comes closer to what I want (warm and aggressive), but even after raising the pickups as high as they could go, I don't seem to get a ton of output from these relative to the HZs I took out—or especially to the (non-stealth) Aluma-P I have in one of my passive four-strings. According to Lace's own specs, these should be hotter than the Aluma-P. Any idea what's going on?

    These do have splittable coils, and I wonder if the tech installed them in single coil mode. How would I find out? I also haven't experimented with these active tone controls much; I've generally kept the highs all the way down and the lows up a bit (more when using a pick, less when using fingers). Seems to me like keeping both of those low should emphasize the mids more, but if I'm getting that wrong, please let me know. I'll twiddle knobs more tomorrow.

    Thank you for any input. There's plenty of room left on the gain and volume knobs on my Mesa Buster, so it's not really a problem, but it just seems like this bass should be at least as hot as my passive four-string ('80s MIJ Electra, but also rosewood board/bolt-on maple neck/maple body) ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
     
  2. cataract

    cataract Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2007
    Richmond, VA
    If you paid someone money to install your pickups, they should be able to tell you exactly how they’re wired.
    Does your bass have a toggle switch for coil switching?
    Also, IMO those pickups are close enough to the strings that they could be negatively affecting their vibration (string pull is a thing, and could definitely be a culprit.)
     
    bigboy99 and Monterey Bay-ss like this.
  3. Bozendoka

    Bozendoka

    Mar 13, 2011
    Minnesota
    The coil switch is controlled by two white-with-stripe wires (at least that's how it is on my non-stealth bassbars) coming off of each pickup. One should be grounded and the other just taped off. Unfortunately, I have no idea which is which, but you could try switching them. I have mine on a toggle switch and while there is a noticeable difference in tone I wouldn't say there's more than a slight drop in output between the two.
     
    Monterey Bay-ss likes this.
  4. Slidlow

    Slidlow Supporting Member

    Apr 15, 2009
    Oshawa, Canada
    If no coil switch is used (either for coil splitting or series/parallel wiring) then I would check to see if they were wired with the coils in parallel instead of in series. Series wiring of the coils will give highest output.
     
    SirMjac28 and Monterey Bay-ss like this.
  5. ctmullins

    ctmullins fueled by beer and coconut Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 18, 2008
    MS Gulf Coast
    I'm highly opinionated and extremely self-assured
    That’s great advice for most soapbars, but not these. Lace Alumitones don’t come with four-conductor wiring. In fact, the wiring diagram for BassBars doesn’t show a split wire at all...

    Because the Stealths have that plastic cover, it’s possible that you can’t get them quite as close to the strings as your Aluma-P.

    Another thought: perhaps the preamp gain is set low (if adjustable), or is inherently low (if not)?
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2018
    Monterey Bay-ss likes this.
  6. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Is there a trim pot in your control cavity somewhere?
     
  7. Monterey Bay-ss

    Monterey Bay-ss Supporting Member

    Thanks for the reply. No toggle switch on the bass; just volume for each pickup and one knob each for highs and lows (some sources say these are boost only, others say there's some ability to cut; I suspect the former scenario). I will bring it back to the tech.

    I raised the pickups to the height pictured and got some increase in output, but not much. Certain notes on the lowest string (B in standard tuning, but I tune GCGCF) lack the sustain the stock pickups had. I wonder if string pull has anything to do with that.

    I tapped on the neck and bridge sides of the pickups while plugged in and only got sound through the amplifier on the bridge side on either pickup, so I suspect they were installed essentially as single coils. I will look for a trim pot again, but didn't find one when I first bought the instrument.
     
    ctmullins and cataract like this.
  8. Bozendoka

    Bozendoka

    Mar 13, 2011
    Minnesota
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  9. ctmullins

    ctmullins fueled by beer and coconut Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 18, 2008
    MS Gulf Coast
    I'm highly opinionated and extremely self-assured
    Ah - true, those are four wires. But they’re not the typical “North start/North finish/South start/South finish” that many conventional dual-coil pickups have, so there’s no way AFAIK to wire the pickup in parallel.
     
    Monterey Bay-ss likes this.
  10. Slidlow

    Slidlow Supporting Member

    Apr 15, 2009
    Oshawa, Canada
    I see they have a choice of white or white/black routed to ground. I wonder wht the output difference is. How was yours wired and maybe the tech put both white and white/black to ground by error? I am not familiar with these so am just speculating. I think your wiring needs to be verified against the manufacturers instructions.
     
    Monterey Bay-ss and ctmullins like this.
  11. Slidlow

    Slidlow Supporting Member

    Apr 15, 2009
    Oshawa, Canada
    What is the wiring for the Alumatone Stealth soap bar pickups? Is it similar to the Alumitone Splits? I checked their site and no diagram is offered for the soapbar Stealth version.
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2018
  12. Slidlow

    Slidlow Supporting Member

    Apr 15, 2009
    Oshawa, Canada
    I will go out on a limb and say that if tapping on the neck side and got no sound they must have two parallel coils and possibly the tech has wired it shorting the neck side coil? Really would be helpful to see the installation instructions.
     
    Monterey Bay-ss likes this.
  13. ctmullins

    ctmullins fueled by beer and coconut Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 18, 2008
    MS Gulf Coast
    I'm highly opinionated and extremely self-assured
    @Monterey Bay-ss : can you crack open the control cavity and let us know whether the white wire or the white/black wire (or possibly both) is connected to ground?
     
    Monterey Bay-ss likes this.
  14. Monterey Bay-ss

    Monterey Bay-ss Supporting Member

    Here’s what I see: 27C68FB6-9589-4FEA-B4D7-C3FA04501535. D1AE55FC-FD89-40D6-AE9A-99967F239553.
     
  15. Bozendoka

    Bozendoka

    Mar 13, 2011
    Minnesota
    Hard to tell with the heat shrink but it looks to me like they're both grounded, which they shouldn't be. I'd have your tech desolder the white wire and just tape it off. He can refer to the diagram I posted earlier if there are any questions.
     
    Monterey Bay-ss and ctmullins like this.
  16. ctmullins

    ctmullins fueled by beer and coconut Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 18, 2008
    MS Gulf Coast
    I'm highly opinionated and extremely self-assured
    I agree. :thumbsup:
     
    Monterey Bay-ss likes this.
  17. micguy

    micguy

    May 17, 2011
    Those Alumintones have a higher impedance than other pickups. How that plays with the preamp on your bass is a wild card - may or may not have to do with what you’re experiencing.
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2018
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  18. RumblinThunder

    RumblinThunder

    Aug 11, 2009
    Stealth - You are not supposed to hear them at all !
     
    SirMjac28 and Monterey Bay-ss like this.
  19. fhm555

    fhm555 So FOS my eyes are brown Supporting Member

    Feb 16, 2011
    Don’t know if this even applies but i’ve got a bass with Fender lace sensors and a Kubicki 2 band pre and when i have both tone knobs rolled off they sound really thin and not so loud. When i turn the bass on i’ve got both tones rolled off and the blend on center detent. I roll the blend forward to bring in an initial balance, then roll on the bass until i like it, and the high usually winds up about half the bass. Once i get my balance and tone i usually have to roll off some volume as it get’s much louder when i bring in the tone controls.
     
    Monterey Bay-ss likes this.
  20. Clark Dark

    Clark Dark

    Mar 3, 2005
    earth
    what about the pots?
     
    Monterey Bay-ss likes this.

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