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Looking for a change in sound

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by badboy1984, Sep 9, 2008.

  1. badboy1984


    Mar 27, 2007
    United Kingdom
    I want to have a change in sound on my 4 String Warwick corvette Standard. Currently the bass using a set of EMG Jazz Set and a 2 Band Bartolini Preamp. The bass string with DR Fatbeam 40-100.

    The sound is agressive but it lean towards the trebly sight. I think this is because the EMG pickups are trebly. I'm looking for something that give more low mid and fat but keeps the agressive modern sound.

    Any pickup recommended? I was thinking about putting 2 humbucker to replace the 2 EMG Jazz, but then i will encounter length problem on the bridge pickup. Unless i keep the jazz on the bridge but replace the neck pickup with humbucker.

    Also I'm interest on the big pole piece pickups for more beef on the sound.
  2. Hi, well most people when they replace the Warwick pickups they use Bartolini or Basslines,i still have the stock MECs on mine since 97'.
  3. kyral210


    Sep 14, 2007


    If EMG's aren't for you, then I strongly recommend basslines! Personally I would do that, and then go buy a Line 6 Bass Pod Xt to give your sound a really diverse range!
  4. jacobmyers


    Aug 28, 2007
    Jackson, MI
    Seriously. I don't recall ever hearing a bass preamp that didn't sound abrasively bright to me. The Bart's 10kHz "treble" control is, frankly, far too high for bass guitar.

    I know there are upper-end harmonics to consider, but if you're looking for a "darker" sounding bass, drop the preamp. Get an assortment of 0.056-0.1uF bi-polar (or non-polar) capacitors to audition and build a completely passive circuit. Wire a set of jumpers (with alligator clips) in place of the tone capacitor and run them out the back of the control cavity. Try each capacitor out for a few minutes (and if you get duplicates of the "same" capacitor, try them all) with the bass set up and tuned.

    The differences may be subtle but a capacitor's value in uF, it's mechanical and chemical composition, it's voltage rating, the tolerances to which it was manufactured, and even it's age will have a noticeable effect on the "tone" of the instrument's electronics. Since you're looking to "darken" your tone while maintaining that "modern" edge, a film capacitor (such as Mullard's "tropical fish" or the infamous "orange drop") may be just what you're looking for. Generally, "higher" (value in uF) equals "lower" (in terms of frequency). 0.1uF is probably the highest you'll want to go and you probably won't be interested in the sound of paper-in-oil capacitors.

    I may stir up some flames by saying this, but even when the tone control (in a passive circuit) is turned "off", the capacitor will still shape the "tone" of the circuit. I'm not entirely sure "why" this happens but I do know what I've heard. I also "know" that a good capacitor can make even "junk" pickups sound like a million bucks.

    You may want to experiment with capacitors of different values (or even compositions) wired in parallel. I tried a .1uF poly film in parallel with a .051uF paper/oil cap and the bass sounded like I was playing underwater; no highs at all. My point is that you'll probably want to play around with it a little until you find something you like (especially if you're doing the soldering yourself). These capacitors also tend to hold their value, so resale of the ones you don't use generally isn't a problem.

    I had a lot of fun trying different things out but I ended up soldering a .056uF Mullard "tropical fish" into my Ibanez AGB140. It sounds just like I wanted it to now; fat (but not tubby) low end with just a touch of "zing" from the Rotosound flats. I hated how it sounded and was ready to sell it before I tried changing the capacitor...

    You may also want to go to medium-light strings (or even medium) instead of the lights. Light gauge strings are inherently more "trebly" than heavier strings. I'd think that the Corvette's neck can take the added tension. Try that before gutting the bass. You may also want to try flats or "half rounds" instead of round-wound strings. The Fatbeam's Marcus Miller Signature Edition runs 45-105 and is supposedly "fatter, deeper, and smoother" than whatever strings he's comparing them to. Whatever. I only play flats (even on my g****r). That's sound you can take a bite of!

    Whatever you choose to do, good luck and gawdspeed in your quest for "tone"!
  5. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I've never been a big fan of pickup changes because I've been very underwhelmed by the difference, but I must say that I bought a Duncan Quarter Pounder and a DiMarzio Ultrajazz to make a weak sounding P Lyte sound more like a regular PJ, and it worked. Definitely a beefier low mid and a slight treble cut, which was what that bass needed. Would it work on your bass? Don't know.

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