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LightWave Optical Pickups

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Smith373, Oct 6, 2000.

  1. Has anyone played a BG or ABG with this pickup system? I haven't but I'm in a very slow market location. If it's half as good as the ads say, it is sure to genuinely change sound, tone, dynamic possibilities for electric and acoustic or even uprights. As I dream and save up for a 6er (Okay John, maybe a 7 :), I'm looking at this new thang and wondering if it may have b-i-g- influences in manufacturing. Y'all mind if I open up the floor for technical comments maybe from the luthiers or electro-wizards? Are there things we should be cautious of? This does seem to be a true innovation and not a fad, right? Compare Optical with Fishman? Just thought I'd start something new here. Cheers, all.
  2. The new system is like a dream. I played one once before, it sounds just as good as the ads say and some. At the moment i am in the works of getting specs made with Bill Conklin in order for him to make me a 5 stringed conklin with the Lightwave system on it. The lightwave has undergone much work inorder to insure that it will work in all conditions so that other lights wouldn't interfere with the system. The sound is incredible and when it comes to recording, good look finding something that works better in the studio than a lightwave equiped bass. I hope that helps you out.
  3. theJello


    Apr 12, 2000
    I think its alot of hype. I was very intrested in these when I first heard of them.

    The guy that makes my basses(im not going to say his name)
    is is a VERY well known luthier and makes some of the finest instrument in the world and he said they are not that great if you want a modern tone.

    He said they have potential. He thought they would work best WITH magnetic pickups so you could blend they two. NOT by themselves.
    By themselves they make your bass sound like an upright bass. Kind of tubby with not alot of punch or sizzle.
    He said the notes really swell. Just not lots of punch or highs.
    You cant get that modern high fi sound with these.

    All in all he sees their potential.
    BUT, they will NEVER replace magenetics.

    I wouldnt be swayed by their marketing. They try to make them sound like the next best thing to sliced bread.

  4. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    One thing I would worry about is the tremendous amount of routing these pickups bridges and their electronics seem to require. I think some miniaturization would be required before the Lightwave becomes a standard retrofit. Also, the Lightwave is a battery hog compared with the standard active setup, so rechargeables and/or phantom power seem to be requisite if you gig a lot. In short, the technology is promising, but like any new technology, I'd wait a while for the kinks to come out.
  5. True, it would definatly be a whole deal better with a magnetic extra that could be turned on and off. Though since the majority of companies you would get a lightwave from are all done custom, you could i'm sure get them to add a magnetic on there for you. :D
  6. you're wrong on the battery thing. It runs off of a rechargable battery that works for 21-22 hours all play time. It has an indicator light to tell you when it is low. you plug it in to recharge. you can play the bass as it recharges and it will indeed recharge and play well too. But not gig requires 21-22 hours of energy anyway. :D:D:D:D
  7. Phat Ham

    Phat Ham

    Feb 13, 2000
    Isn't one of the reasons the lightwave pups are supposed to be better than magnetic pups the elimination of magnets, which can dampen string vibration. If this is true the addition of magnetic pups to the lightwave system would seem like it defeated the purpose of lightwave pups.
  8. That's true, i thought about it later on and i relized it would be a bad idea anyway. Also, the only arguement against the lightwaves would be, "can you slap and pop?" Well, i can tell you now that they actually can and that the slap and pop is tremendously incredible as well.:D
  9. I would love to add it to my bass.. and also have my current pickups... and just add some 3-way knob so I could change from lightwave-both-magnetic... that would be cool :cool: :)

    I wonder when I´ll be able to do that... :)
  10. I agree, The_Bass - a toggle switch would be ideal for the slap-happies, funkgroovers and the rest of us, too. It could be worked in to conventional designs and allow a lot more flexibility. We hope. Any luthiers listening??
  11. Well if you want that down, talk to Bill Conklin of Conklin guitars. He can do that for you if you to. The thing is, i don't really think that the magnetic pickups are nessecary. So i know, what is it that you think the magnetic pickup would be usefull for?
  12. the toggle switch thing is evidently, appealing to those who want it, or maybe to capture the aspects os sound reproduction, resonance, that a LW cannot or maybe does not(but, hey, I'm not the expert so that is why we're getting multiple views).
  13. theJello


    Apr 12, 2000
    What do you like about the lightwaves?
    What do you see as the advantage?

    Just what I have heard of them I dont see why anybody would want to use them by themselves.
    UNLESS you want your bass to sound more like an upright and have less definition and punch.
    This does not sound very desirable to me.
    But it might be to some people.
  14. john turner

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

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    oh, and just in case anybody is wondering, MrFortuneCookie is not me, nor is he related :D

    on, topic, however, bill called me on monday to tell me that he was finally making some progress on one of my basses - the hollowbody 7 - and we talked about the lightwave system.

    check this link out...


    this is one of the basses that bill has been working on with the lightwave system. he also told me that they are working on a mono-lithic bridge, which means that it would be able to handle any number of strings - right now they are working on the 6 string circuit board, and he thinks that the 7 wouldn't be far behind.

    for synth nuts, he told me that they are seeing a 30% increase in performance (synth tracking) with the lightwave over standard piezos, which are the best currently available for synth conversion.

    i'm interested in watching these things develop.
  15. One of the things I like about LW is the flexibility in string type that can be used - acc. to the LW website anyway. See, I play electric and an upright and a nylon string acoustic (no pups) so I'm kinda into the string sound of those things. DB, nylons, flats and rounds at my house. I really like the DB thump and the resonance of the whole bass body. My acoustic is a big deep mother with nice full sound too. It is fun as hell to play. I started playing basss when garage rock was new! That was the 60's with flats - still love 'em but rounds ARE more fun. I'm not a slapper or popper tho I do percussive things on the electric with rounds.Bass and drummer should be close, real close on the groove. I relate to drummers. I like folk, acoustic, bluegrass (remember the Stones did acoustic and Led Zep too- ancient history). I'm tuned into reproducing the whole sound of theses things, including the resonance. Sooo, for BG lightwaves seem to bring out more of the string sound and acc to some on TB they are also great at the slap and pop too. Not so good maybe on doghouse resonance, which is a BIG part of the DB sound. Sometimes when I play I don't want accurate sound, esp if I screw up!! BUT - I ain't no technical wiz so I'm just tryin' to keep up and see what the possibilities are. Some of you guys amaze me on your knowledge of tech stuff and I learn a lot from reading here. The mags have the ads, but TB has the real facts. No BS, just wanting to discover a new thing and what it is. I'm also wanting a 6 and deciding if I should go LW or magnetic or a hundred other options. Hey, for 1700 bucks I can take my time and see what's comin' up. Always interested in others' sayso, too. End of confession.
  16. basslax


    Apr 20, 2000
    Washington, DC
    i feel a little behind here, but what is a lightwave pu? ive never heard of them

  17. For starters, who thought that me and John were the same person, first i heard of it.

    Also, Smith, you said $1700, who gave you that estimate? I am asking so you know for my own knowledge, nothing bad or nothin, i just am curious.

    also, i think that the lightwave tech is great, great advancment and for the type of sound that it provides, if you are playing music with that type of sound, then the lightwave by far wins in that type of sound hands down as being the best.

    Lastly, this is more of a personal note, John, I think i'm gonna get my Lightwave done as a 7 string so i will wait for that mono-lithic bridge to make it's appearance.
  18. Flatwound

    Flatwound Supporting Member

    Sep 9, 2000
    San Diego
    Dann Glenn's new signature bass (Modulus) has the LightWave as its sole pickup. He says it's great, and as far as I can tell, Dann Glenn knows something about tone. I mean I haven't heard him do any Flea-type stuff, but after all, if that's what you want, you can buy a Flea bass. The DG Signature isn't for sale yet, but should be in a few weeks. I'll be interested to see what it costs. I think he recorded his new album, _Subharmonia_, or at least parts of it with the lightwave. I hope to hear that soon.
  19. MFC, on the $1700 bucks, I came up with that one because I want something nice but not so sure I want to go the high end like 2,500 or more. Its just a WAG for now but I've been looking. I like cool woodgrain, not spray paint and I'm pretty picky about the balance and appearance of the whole thing. I can tell the difference in hollow body sound instruments 'cause I have some folk stuff, but I swear, I can't tell much difference at all from decent pickups. The pup size has to be in proportion to the BG body and not too flashy or clunky. I kinda go by rep on the maker and learn a little more as I go. On my BGs woods, colors, hardware, all have to flow, if I can be a bit poetic, (that would be "poetic" not "pathetic"). Don't care too much for mismatched woods - too distracting to the eyes. Some luthier, can't remember, had a wood covered pickup that was identical to the wood on the body so you couldn't see it. It was in BG not too long ago - a sea blue/green thing,maple neck, I think Canadian luthier. I really like that. Like Fishmans too cause they show the wood not the hardware. Lots of pickup options, most decent. I'm in no rush; just cruisin for a new toy and scopin' out the newcomers. LW is new and intriguing.
  20. theJello


    Apr 12, 2000
    The bass you are describing is an F bass.
    I dig those pick-up covers also.

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