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Looking for an upgrade

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Alduroth, Apr 19, 2010.

  1. Alduroth


    Mar 3, 2009
    So my girlfriend finally let me spend some money on basses again.
    Instead of getting a new one, I wanna make the one I have better.
    I currently have nameless pups and electronics.
    It's a 7 string bass, so not much option in pickups I've noticed.
    I'm upgrading the bass since I love the looks, and I couldn't stand selling it. The neck feels really awesome. It was a cheapy off of E-bay and I couldn't refuse.

    I'm looking to get a more mid and more brighter sound. Also the low to high volume equality is way out of proportion.

    2 soapbars, been looking at Delano pickups. Some Quad coil stuff, but I read in another thread they aren't really that different unless you're gonna switch between them. But I was just planning to get a balance pot.

    I also need a new preamp and pots etc. So I've been looking into some stuff, but since I don't really know what I need to be looking for in a good preamp and stuff, I'm turning to the general public. What can you recommend?

    My playstyle is mainly tap and fingerstyle btw

    I'm confused here. I know what results I want but not how to get it :help: So anyone can help me here, if more info is required please don't hesitate to ask.
  2. tubby.twins

    tubby.twins Amateur Pickup Reviewer Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 15, 2009
    Hi Alduroth,

    What are the dimensions of your current pickups? There may be brands other than Delano who make pickups that will fit as well.

    I've tried a number of brands of pickups. The Delano "SBC" dual-coil soapbar pickups work really well, at least for a 5-string fretless bass. They have a lot of clarity, especially in the upper midrange, but they are not quite as "transparent" and neutral. But it is a good sound, with lots of interesting details. They really bring out the sound of the strings. Also, the tone of the neck pickup is very similar to the bridge pickup in tone, but it does have a bit more of the warmth that you would expect from a neck pickup location. It's amazing how well they've balanced the tones.

    I am running mine in a fully passive setup, with a rotary switch to select between neck pickup, both in parallel, and bridge pickup. When both pickups' coils are in parallel mode, the neck pickup is a bit louder than the bridge; when the bridge pickup's coils are in series, the bridge pickup is louder. It allows for some interesting possibilities.

    If you are not sure which pre-amp you need, then consider setting up the pickups in an all-passive configuration at first. You can experiment with this before deciding whether you need a pre-amp at all, and if so, which type to get. It's important to understand how the pickups respond to your playing before investing in a pre-amp which can shape their tone. You might not need one at all!

    How far apart are the pickups on your bass? If they're close enough (less than 1" apart) then you can also get some other interesting coil-selection options with a rotary switch.

    The difference between parallel coils and single coils on the quad-coil version of the Delano SBC is indeed subtle. In "single-coil" mode, there is a bit less "fullness" and the treble is a little more crisp and defined than in parallel mode. If you don't need to have these tone switching options, then the standard dual-coil version of the SBC pickups should work just fine for you.

    The other thing to remember about the SBC quad-coil pickups is that they are effectively two "offset coil" pickups, with one offset coil resembling a P-bass pickup and the other resembling a reverse P-bass pickup. This may affect what kinds of tones you can get in either "single-coil" mode. If you're looking for a true dual twin-coil inline pickup, you may want to check other models, shapes or brands.
  3. Alduroth


    Mar 3, 2009
    Hey Tubby Twins,

    thanks for the reply.
    133mm by 28mm
    the pups are 57mm apart.

    Reason I'm trying to upgrade my 7 stringer is cuz I love the feel and look of the bass I dislike the sound and the action is way too high, frets are screwed. So it's upgrading or looking for a good priced Conklin GT7 but I am not really in the position of trying one since I live in Europe and have yet to even see a 7 string in a store here.

    Anyhoo back on the subject.

    I've yet to even own a passive bass (except my crappy first bass). So it's just what I'm used to, but a passive system with tone switches with well a switch could be cool.
    I've got 5 holes and a switch to fill at the moment, so what options could a passive system hold? I'm not that experienced in electronics and such.
    Would save money I guess ^^

    Well if I "need" quad coil is a big iffy question. I'm still looking for a sound that's good for me. I love the sound of Eric Czar and of Jean Baudin (also their style). And that's the sort of way I wanna be going. But I'm trying to avoid anything that has to be custom made with high price.

    I've been googling all day, having a reasonably good time too. Yay for the internet :D
  4. FunkMetalBass


    Aug 5, 2005
    Phoenix, Arizona 85029
    Endorsing Artist: J.C. Basses
    Delano, SGD, Nordstrand, Bartolini, and a handful of other builders will make you a pickup.

    Personally, I believe that the preamp is going to affect your tone considerably more than the pickups (unless they have a terrible natural mid scoop to them). You're in Europe, so Delano may be your best choice for price's sake.

    As far as the preamp is concerned, an Audere 4-band or a Glockenlang 3-band will be a nice addition to your new pickups and will let you dial in the perfect amount of mid/bass that you are lacking.
  5. tubby.twins

    tubby.twins Amateur Pickup Reviewer Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 15, 2009
    Hi Alduroth,

    The Delano SBC7 HE pickups (dual coil or quad coil) are slightly bigger than your existing pickup routes. They measure the same length (133mm) but slightly wider (32mm). You would need to use a router and widen the pickup routes.

    I don't know of any standard pickups which are 28mm wide. I know other manufacturers (Nordstrand, SGD, Delano) may be able to make a custom pickup in the same size, but there may not be enough room inside for a "true" dual-coil or quad-coil pickup. Things are pretty tight inside a 32mm wide pickup already. If you keep the same size, you may need to have a "split-coil" pickup made for you. In this case, string spacing becomes a key factor in determining the size of the split coils inside.

    I think I have seen custom Nordstrand pickups at 32mm width for 7-string basses, but this would also be a custom order.

    It's probably a good idea to resolve any action or fret issues before attempting to change the pickups. This will change how the bass sounds and plays. I've tried putting good pickups in a mediocre quality bass with a bad fret job, and the improvements are hard to notice if the bass still doesn't play properly. This should probably come first, before you order pickups.

    You've got several options. You may wish to have a passive treble tone cut, which uses a capacitor and a potentiometer to roll off the high frequencies in a varying amount. You could also have a midrange bandpass cut, which uses an LCR circuit to cut out certain midrange frequencies for a tone that may resemble an "acoustic" bass guitar. Both of these can be very useful.
  6. Alduroth


    Mar 3, 2009
    Not a problem, a friend of mine has a router and I think he's pretty able with it. It's a cheap-o instrument in which I'm willing to invest in, it turns out like crap, well another lesson learned :ninja:

    I have a string spacing of 17 mm (bridge being 114mm in total)
    Considering a piezo bass bridge to add in the mix, watched a youtube clip of a guy with a MM Sterling H with piezo bridge.
    I dig the sound it has in combo with mags. Maybe could go with 30/70 or, make it adjustable with a pot would be great.

    If a custom order isn't that much more expensive then a standard one, could be doable.

    Am gathering tools and materials as we speak, planning to DIY it, cuz I can't really make it worse. Terrible buzz at 17th fret, almost killing the entire note. Also on the 7th fret, but less moodkiller.

    Could be pretty cool I'd love a more acoustic bass sound when playing with a metal band see how it turns out, any site you can refer to with how to's and such?

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