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Lightwave Pickups

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by fivesecondzero, Feb 10, 2005.

  1. Hey all you out there. I just heard of that new (or at least i hope im not that far behind) Lightwave pickup system and I wonder if any of you out there have heard it or current own a bass with it. I just want to know if its as good as advertised.
  2. mheintz


    Nov 18, 2004
    Lots of posts on this. I recommend a search.

    If you are interested in the Lightwave, try a bass with it. The sound is different. Jauqo III X is an endorser, fellow-talkbasser, and a hell of a musician. He may have some recordings that he could point you to. fhodshon has quite a collection of basses (although he is apparently selling many of them now), and he swears by his lightwave zon. There is a recording of his zon somewhere around here...

    As for my own impressions, the lightwave pickup sounds different than a magnetic pickup. I haven't personally been able to get the magnetic pickup emulator to sound much like a magnetic pickup. That being said, great bass response, a lot of harmonics. Very clear. Very nice fretless tone, at least on my bass. I haven't had as much luck with slapping; I get a phasey tone, but I've become accustomed to it now. Very quiet. There are also some nice features, which I don't use: each string has separate gain and midi for each string is possible. If you are interested in midi, from what I hear, this pickup is for you.

    As compared to a magnetic pickup in general, I suppose that you'll just have to AB two basses with it.

    JAUQO III-X Banned

    Jan 4, 2002
    Endorsing artist:see profile.
    I play a 5 string (tuned E-C)Fretless Lightwave Bass and I have to say I really dig the sounds I get from it.it has a very strong Lyrical presence to it and most people that hear it give major compliments in regards to the overall sound.one would be surprised at the Thick Bass tone that can come from this Bass.overall the Bass is very versatile with the tonal options it can provide.the best thing you can do is play one for youself and take it from there.
  4. luknfur


    Jan 14, 2004

    To my knowledge Lightwave optical system debuted at NAMM around 2000. Initially marketed on a myriad of boutique basses. I first saw one on a Zon that peaked my interest. At that time they had just started making their own basses.

    I ended up buying a Saber C fretted 4. The tone is nothing like a magnetic pup and the mag emulator is more accurately like a pup select switch. I spoke to Keith (engineer, bass player, and designer of the optical system) at length early on trying to figure out if this was what the bass was supposed to sound like (since I'd never heard one and the closest was in Atlanta at the time). The bass developed a short and ended up back at the factory and was repaired, recieved some upgrades, but sounded the same on return.

    Mine has spent 99% of the time on the wall. I pull it down periodically but it doesn't stay down long. I keep thinking eventually I'll find a fit with it. It's different but, to date, I'll take a mag any day.

    The bass itself is not bad. Light, comfortable, well balanced, plays well. A real looker.
  5. mheintz


    Nov 18, 2004
    That's a good way of describing it. I don't use the switch. In fact, now I just use my preamp EQ. (Why I ever bother with active, I'll never know.)

    I play mine quite a bit, but I have the liberty of playing whatever suits me at the time. Probably not what you want to bring to the Blue Note. Just my opinion. They have a nice fingerstyle, low-end, so come to think of it, country might be a possibility. With the right EQ, they can also sound very punchy. Someone once described it as a P-bass on steroids. You can definitely cut through with them. For now, I'm just trying to make the most music with it that I can.
  6. I have a LightWave Sabre C fretless. The sound is (as the others have explained) different from a magnetic pickup. Fundamentals and harmonics are rich, with many tonal variations available due to the extensive eq. It took me several months to find an eq setting that seems to fit my style and my ear (how I think I should sound anyway).

    It is revolutionary technology, and different sounding. I believe it will not necessarily appeal to the masses, nor is it so great that it is going to be an option on every manufacturer's bass.

    I enjoy my Lightwave, and play it at gigs whenever I feel it 'fits the mood'.
  7. luknfur


    Jan 14, 2004

    yep, would agree it's closer to a P-like tone than any other mag, at least mine with TI flats through my rigging is. I have gotten some decent tones with it, one of the reasons I've kept it. The peizo can be a nice touch sometimes.

    But I'll start playing to music and it seems to work at first and the more I play the less it works till I've had my fill of tweaking knobs. There's no point in playing if it's not enjoyable - especially when there are basses on the wall just waiting for the fun to begin.

    Maybe I'll pull it down later and give it a go. It hasn't been maybe a week or two since the last bout - typically it's months between attempts.
  8. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol Supporting Member

    I own a JAF bass with a Lightwave system.
    The tone is to die for with loads of clean lows and woody mediums. The piezos are great and add a fair amount of higher harmonics that enhance the general tone.

    I love it but you really want to try at least one Lightwave equipped bass before ordering anything. They're different from anything else, as said.
    I think it was a poor marketing choice to market half decent basses with their system installed. It really doesn't do them justice.
    The system depends a lot on the bass on which you install it. I've tried 5 or 6 Lightwave instruments and none of them sounded alike.
  9. luknfur


    Jan 14, 2004

    Pulled the Wave down and it's not totally out of range. The tone is not unuseable by any means. The recurrent issue I experience with it is that the tone always sounds muffled to me, like eq'ing is off - but it occurs at any setting. I'm basically a bridge J tone guy and I like a fairly defined tone with some edge and rawness to it, adequate bottom/flexible midrange/and top that is useable but doesn't get in the way.

    Although you can get thump and punch out of the wave, especially a P-like thump, and it will play to various styles, it basically makes me think of a smooth jazz bass.

    But it's spent more time off the wall the last 36 hours or so than it has the last year and I'm inspired enough to do a review on the optical system and stick it under a pup experiment. Maybe consciously analyzing will help me get a better fix.
  10. mheintz


    Nov 18, 2004
    I too have noticed the muffled tone. On it's warmest, and I think, most usable tone, it sounds a bit like playing underwater. That being said, they pick up every little detail of your fingers. This isn't a pickup for sloppy players. A bit of compression might bring out a better tone without loosing the detail.

    I look forward to it.