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Magnetic pickup for me?

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by FlatNate, Oct 5, 2001.

  1. Hi guys,
    I figure I will give a little about myself before I set up my question (sorry in advance if I am long winded). I must say that this is my first time posting in the DB section of Talk bass. I originally started bass on an upright in fifth grade. I am now twenty years old and play in a rock band at my college. Unfortunately, I couldn't afford to or gain access to an upright to play after graduating from high school (and orchestra). Well fate has it that my little brother just started on the upright in a marvelous effort to follow in my footseps. (Muahahahah.... this means there will be an upright for me to borrow and use!!). My chops on the upright aren't what they used to be, but we'll remedy that soon. Currently, my band plays the local pub on campus and unfortunately the PA isn't big enough to handle the bass. So really only drums and vocals are ran through the PA, and I am really left to hold my own. This means I play REALLY loud!! I own a SWR SM-900 and Goliath III. Now, I really want to bring the upright into the act and do some Rockabilly and maybe even some more progressve underground type stuff with it. I will probably need to borrow my little bro's rental bass for some time (we are talking of going in on something together in a year or so).

    Okay... well here it is. I am really interested in the magnetic pickups due to the high volume level I am in. A local bass tech in town recently let me borrow his Pierre Joeseph string charger and it sounds great. However I would be open to other brands (I have heard of Biesele as well) I am also interested in any advice in adding a Piezo conductor onto the fingerboard or bridge. Do you guys have any suggestions on what has worked well for you? What kind of set up do you use? Would using a "homemade P-bass pickup set up" rather than the String Charger be worth the effort in savings? Any thoughts and ideas would be really great!! Sorry if I rambled. Have a great day guys. Thanks. :oops:

  2. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    How loud is REALLY LOUD? If we're talking "Jazz" REALLY LOUD, you may be able to get by with a DB pickup of some sort. If we're talking "Rock" REALLY LOUD, your best bet may be to use an EUB, which can cut through more without feeding back.
  3. I have tried many pickup types, including conventional magnetic ones, piezos in the bridge wings etc, but the Barbera I now have is the best by far for tone and for loud volume without feedback. I have played some pretty loud jump blues/ rockabilly with that sucker. Do a Web search for Barbera and you'll find their site easy.
  4. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    I use a String Charger in conjunction with a Gage Realist piezo; I have a tiny K&K mixer/preamp attached to my tailpiece. I keep just a bit dialed in with the piezo to get a bit more definition as I get above D on the G string, but in rooms from hell I'll dial it in almost 100%.

    The String Charger sounds really nice in the upper registers (kinda like Ron Carter's metallic growl) but in lower registers it sounds thin compared to a piezo.

    You can't use gut strings and rockabilly slapping doesn't translate well because the pickup won't pick up any of the fingerboard noise like a piezo will. It also doesn't work well for bowing. The pickup does come with an input jack (RCA!!!) for a piezo pickup but it doesn't let you balance the two in volume, so I found it pretty useless.

    The main reason I use it is feedback control, while it's not perfect it still is much less susceptible to feedback than any piezo will ever be. Most of the guys who use DB in arena rock settings (like Lee Rocker, the guy with Big Bad Voodoo Daddies, etc.) use magnetics for this reason. For playing DB in a loud rock band situation, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it.

    The P bass pickup off the end of the fingerboard is a common trick (this is what Lee Rocker uses) and might save you significant money over the String Charger. On the other hand, it will require some experimentation to get right; the S.C is fine out of the box. It costs $$$$$$ because it's handmade in small quantities, I'd bet if it was mass produced it would cost about $75.
  5. Bob Gollihur

    Bob Gollihur GollihurMusic.com

    Mar 22, 2000
    Cape of New Jersey
    Big Cheese Emeritus: Gollihur Music (retired)
    There is a new magnetic pickup, made by Lace for Moses:


    I got one a while back (that's my pickup above, on the dining room table), and now have some on order, and expect them any day. They do handle arco well. They come with a lengthy wire, no unconnector; I'll have string jack mounts available to solder to them soon.
  6. Don Higdon

    Don Higdon In Memoriam

    Dec 11, 1999
    Princeton Junction, NJ
    Barbera is an impractical choice in this situation. You're talking about a custom-made bridge with the piezos inlaid, at a cost of $600+. The bridge, and, therefore, the entire system, is unusable on another bass unless you're extremely lucky. This is a rental bass, and I assume entry-level quality.

    I used Barbera for many years. It's great. But over-priced and non-transferable between basses.

    My custom K&K, courtesy of (All Hail) Bob Gollihur beats the Barbera hands down, at a fraction of the cost. Tranfer from bass to bass takes about 10 seconds.
  7. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    This I gotta hear!

    The reason I always figured arco works poorly with a magnetic is the bow keeps the string from moving a lot...compare the amount of string motion when bowing to when playing pizz. Less motion over the pickup means less signal. How does Lace get around that?

    Bob, how about a ballpark price...both Bisele and String Charger are in the $300 range!

    How does it mount to the fingerboard?
  8. Thanks for the info guys. I apologize for not having been able to check the forum for a while. The String Charger that I used attatched the to the back of the fingerboard using some adhesive velcro. It worked really well and I later found myself actually having a tough time getting it off. The adhesive actually came off the fingerboard before the velcro released.

    As far as playing arco, you are most certainly correct in saying that it does not work well using a bow with a magnetic pick-up such as the String Charger. I tried, and didn't get really anything for sound. However, like I said before, I am doing the rock bass thing, and probably won't be using the bow on stage really ever.

    I know the String Charger was around $260 or so, and the transducer that you can order with it now brings the price slightly higher. I guess I don't know what the prices are like on the Biesele.

    Once again thank you all for the help!! :D
  9. Bob Gollihur

    Bob Gollihur GollihurMusic.com

    Mar 22, 2000
    Cape of New Jersey
    Big Cheese Emeritus: Gollihur Music (retired)
    I am not certain that the amount of string motion is the problem - I can tell you that I got good arco response from the Linear pickups I first had on my EUB, and was very surprised - first time I ever got decent arco response from any magnetic pickup. This pickup can be attached by Velcro according to Moses; I haven't tried that yet but will shortly.

    I believe I willing be selling it at the discounted price of $133.
  10. I've mounted a p-bass p\u on a upright to eliminate feedback...and while it did that job pretty well,it made my urb sound like a giant p-bass(but thinner on some notes..due to pole piece location) and no slap sound for the rock-a-billy stuff(BTW..I own a K&K rock-a-billy p\u)..I was just wondering how this Moses p\u sounded?...is it p-bass like or is it more "natural sounding" like a piezo..(if Bob G. sells it...it must be pretty darn good)this p\u looks like the answer to all feedback problems,and at $135 I could saved myself a lot of headaches when building a mounting bracket for the p-bass p\u.I ask you all to give me your input on this p\u..thank you in advance
  11. Bob Gollihur

    Bob Gollihur GollihurMusic.com

    Mar 22, 2000
    Cape of New Jersey
    Big Cheese Emeritus: Gollihur Music (retired)
    To my ears the Moses seems more transparent than the two p-bass pickups I've experimented with. The precision bass pickups seemed thicker and a little muddy in comparison. The Moses has very clear and uncompressed sound - doesn't sound like a bass guitar, but it isn't a piezo type of sound, either. I temporarily mounted it on my homebuilt EUB and played one gig with it, and liked the clarity and how it did capture the full length character of the string. This was with my EUB, the Moses pickup about three inches from the bridge, run through a K&K Dual Channel preamp. I plan to permanently mount it to my EUB as soon as I slice some wood and prepare it to cover the holes left by my Linear Pickups experiment.

    BTW, while I'm sure it's probably not a Rockabilly concern, the Moses does great arco - it's just about the same level as the pizz. I'll be making up a seat of the pants technical drawing with specs of the pickup and posting it on my site.
  12. membluz


    Sep 3, 2001
    Winnipeg Canada
    I supplemented my bridge mounted K & K Double Big Twin with a pair of EMG Select P-Bass (passive)pickups at the base (bottom) of the fingerboard. I chose the EMGs because they employ blades rather than pole pieces and therefore eliminate dead spots. The sound from the EMGs is very good for Blues and other songs where an 'Electric Bass' tone is preferred. The EMGs and the K & Ks are run through a mixer that facilitates the 'sound' selection. If I knew how to send some pictures to this site I would gladly do so.
  13. the Moses mag p\u sounds like it's right up my alley..now I just need some scratch to get one...would like to hear it mixed with my K&K rockabilly p\u...best of both worlds :)

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