Lots of poblems with my new Bass Max pickup

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by SimandlsButt, Apr 24, 2016.

  1. SimandlsButt


    Apr 16, 2016
    I just bought a K&K Bass Max pickup and I am getting a really terrible papery sound from it. The sound between the E/A and D/G is also really uneven. I am not sure if this is due to my strings or the way I installed it. I have a Shen SB-90 with Eurosonic White (Presto Nylonwound) strings. The bridge slot was very tiny, so I had to file it down. I filed a bit too much, but the Bass Max still stays in place when I put it in, it just doesn't pick up very well. I inserted a small piece of cardboard as recommended in the instructions, and this helps with the volume, but the pickup still sounds bad, especially at higher volumes. I am getting a really loud papery sound when I hit the strings and this is present without the cardboard shim, but more so with it. I have tried re-positioning it over and over and I've also tried it with and without a preamp, but nothing has worked. I really don't want to refile the other side and try again only for it to not be any better. Is it possibly my strings that is making that sound? Even aside from the sound, the pickup still sounds really uneven and unclear. Can the cardboard be causing this?
  2. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Installation of a bridge wing pickup is always key to getting an optimal sound out of it. You want to make sure that the bridge wings areas flat as possible on the inside so you are getting even contact. Back when I used the Bass Max, it took me awhile to remove the "lumps" out of the inside of the slots. I also found that an old saxophone reed was a better fit. Obviously, I can't speak to whether the strings are part of the equation as I have never heard your bass. I'm sure others will chime in as well. Good luck!
  3. Jay Corwin

    Jay Corwin Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    Sanborn, NY
    When you say papery sound, are you referring to the friction/scratchy noise that occurs when you contact the string before plucking the note (or even when shifting)? If this is the case, all piezos to a certain degree are going to have this issue. Unfortunately piezos are going to transmit every characteristic of your bass and playing (both good and bad). You will hear things amplified that you likely would never hear in an acoustic situation. It can be maddening if this is your first jump into amplifying upright bass.

    I to had a bassmax on my first bass, a Shen SB80. I believe that it's the same model as your bass, only a different finish. I had my luthier fit it to both wings so I could decide which side I thought sounded better. My recollection was that it favored which ever side it was on with respect to volume output. However if it was installed on the E side, I had to cut a ridiculous amount of bass out on the EQ.

    Try shimming it with something else. Reeds, guitar picks, door shims, etc. Any poorly fit piezo will sound bad. Oh and don't have an expectation that it's going to sound like your bass sounds acoustically.
    SimandlsButt likes this.
  4. Jake deVilliers

    Jake deVilliers Commercial User

    May 24, 2006
    Crescent Beach, BC
    Owner of The Bass Spa, String Repairman at Long & McQuade Vancouver
    Its also important to use an impedance matching pre-amp to get a full sound, preferably something with a phase switch and a high pass filter like the FDeck Pre.
  5. SimandlsButt


    Apr 16, 2016
    I tried a guitar pick and it eliminated the paper sound sound. Great idea! It's sounding a lot better, but still has some issues. I've been mixing with a Pierre Josephs magnetic pickup (which sounds amazing for a magnetic but is still missing body) through a Dual Channel Preamp and I am pretty close to the sound I want, but it's still picking up the E and A a lot stronger than the D and G, even if I cut out a lot of low end. I'm gonna keep fooling with it, but if I can't fix it, then I'll take it to a luthier and have him file down the treble side and try it there. I'll also take a second look at my filing job on the bass side.
    Chris Fitzgerald likes this.
  6. Jay Corwin

    Jay Corwin Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    Sanborn, NY
    Glad the shim idea helped. I sounds like it wasn't making good contact.
  7. Your soundpost might be too close to the bridge. What is the distance between bridge foot and soundpost?
    Trying it at the G side might not help, because then the lower strings might be underrepresented. You can try it, but I would check the soundpost first.
  8. Mark Gollihur

    Mark Gollihur Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jul 19, 2000
    Mullica Hill, NJ
    Owner/President, Gollihur Music LLC
    I'm assuming you didn't get it from us - but if you contact me off the board with your email, I'll send you a sheet full of instructional tips for getting the best installation and sound from the Bass Max.
  9. Primary

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