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Lightwave and anchoring

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Lisa Weiss, Jan 15, 2002.

  1. Guys,

    Not sure if this is the best forum for this question, so please feel free to move it...or kick me if it's in the wrong place! :D

    I know some of the TB Folks have Lightwaves installed. What I'm actually wondering about is the effect of no longer having and anchor. Since you don't have any other pickups, there's no real place to anchor your thumb. Anyone having any difficulty with this?

    I searched through the other threads on Lightwave, but only found one brief mention, so I thought I'd just come out an ask about it. I use a floating anchor, and I'm thinking that it shouldn't be a big problem other than playing my E. What are your experiences?

    Thanks for the help!

  2. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    You are correct, Lisa. Depending on how you hold the bass, you can even anchor your forearm to stabilize it for the lowest string. Sometimes I don't anchor anything when playing the lowest string. Floating for the rest of them is a piece of cake.
  3. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    yeah, lose the anchor, imo. that's the best bet - not only does it free up your hand to move more easily and fluidly, but it also enables you to use your thumb as a muting device for the lower strings.

    my gripe with the lightwaves was that, with every lightwave-equipped bass that i've tried out, the body "knocks" and "pings" of me holding the bass came out through the speaker very clear and pretty loud. it wouldn't be useful for me live - the instruments seemed very micorphonic.
  4. Thanks for the info Brad and John! That was a big concern for me with going the Lightwave route. Now, John's given me another one! :eek:

    John, do you have any idea on where I might check a bass out equipped with Lightwave in the Atlanta area?

    Thanks again guys!

  5. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    uh...actually, none at all. :( i'll keep my eyes peeled, though, but i haven't ever seen one outside of the namm shows.
  6. bassmonkeee

    bassmonkeee Supporting Member

    Sep 13, 2000
    Decatur, GA
    They had a Lightwave equipped Zon at the the Atlanta GC, but that was a couple of months ago. I haven't noticed if it was still there.

    Curbow has a lightwave equipped Cort Curbow at his shop. I didn't play it, though. I noticed it as I was leaving, and didn't have time, unfortunately.

    The Zon was super sweet.
  7. yikes! I hadn't heard anything about the lightwaves being microphonic!

    And all this right before I'm about to order a Lightwave 6 from Zon. Back to the drawing board!

    Edit: I'd like to hear more on this issue from other people that have played basses with Lightwaves.
  8. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    don't just take my word for it - check it out for yourself. might have just been the basses i played.
  9. sadly, I've got no way to really check it out. There's a real lack of quality music stores in this area, and none that I've seen have basses with Lightwaves.

    This is definitely enough of a concern to make me think twice about the matter. I'm definitely glad you brought it up.
  10. bassmonkeee

    bassmonkeee Supporting Member

    Sep 13, 2000
    Decatur, GA
    The Zon that I played had a very 'live' sound, but I wouldn't call it microphonic.

    Granted, if I've told John once, I've told him a thousand times--if you keep the foil wrapped zucchini in your trousers, you're just asking for RF interference!
  11. Thanks guys! I'll try to check out the GC this weekend and see if they still have that Zon. I'll make absolutely sure to leave the foil wrapped Zuccini at home...I'll just bring Joe instead! :D

  12. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    yeah, but it's a _light_ based pickup - that shouldn't matter.

    then again, there is that foil wrapped maglite. do you think that might have something to do with it? :confused:
  13. man, Spinal Tap based humor is always so good:p
  14. Angus

    Angus Supporting Member

    Apr 16, 2000
    Palo Alto, CA
    Da5id, if you plan to order a custom Zon, Joe Zon might send a tester out to you try out. It would probably cost you the shipping, but that's all. Some manufacturers do this, and I THINK Zon does, but you'd have to try. No harm in asking, as long as he knows you're serious!

    Alternatively, lightwave systems might have a tester bass you could try, too.
  15. ahh, thanks for the heads-up Angus!

    That would be the ideal situation for sure.
  16. I have a Zon Lightwave fretless 5. It has actually improved my technique by not having a PU to anchor my thumb. I've been able to adjust my playing style to use my thumb more for muting, which has helped on my fretted playing, especially on a 6 string. I guess I have more control now.

    Regarding the microphonics, I only notice it when the piezo is turned up. But, having played other basses with piezo and traditional pups, this is a common problem, IME. I only use a touch of piezo for more cut, so I've not noticed my basses, including the Lightwave, with piezo being any more noisy than those without. However, if you use the piezo full on, it can be annoying.

  17. Suburban


    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    I relieved myself of thumb anchorage some months ago and my tech improved and my hand strain disappeared.

    Microphonics: in addition to what Jeff said, I have heard somewhere that the LighWaves are so sensitive, that you normally don't play with the volume turned up (which also would take away the effects JT talks about). True?
  18. That has not been my experience. I sent my Zon into Lightwave to get the Mag Emulator and midrange control added. They put in new circuit boards and messed with the gain. The gain is set too high (easily fixed by LW). I don't notice the bass being any more microphonic, but it does have some hiss when turned all the way up. It was dead quiet before I had the mods.

  19. i'm assuming its a lot more expensive to get lightwaves and a mag-emulator put in that just mags ... were you unhappy with the sound or just wanted versatility? and how close to the mag sound does it get?
  20. Lightwave charged me $300 (US) to upgrade my electronics, add the Mag Emulator and the sweepable midrange control. I don't know if it is now incorporated into the base design.

    I upgraded because I was very happy with the sound and just wanted more options. I find the mid control very useful. I use the Mag control when I want more bite - which actually isn't that often. I can see it being very useful for soloing. It get's you closer to a traditional Jazz rear PU sound. I do not know which (if any) particular design they were trying to emulate. I wonder if that could be customized? For example, emulate a Jaco Jazz tone or MM or ???. That could be cool...