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Make sense to replace Sterling fretless pup?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by rafunk, Dec 10, 2006.

  1. rafunk


    Sep 18, 2005
    Valencia, Spain
    This is, I have a Sterling fretless with piezo. I'm really satisfied with this bass (it's my main bass), but really i'ts a bit harsh, most when I put more treble in the EQ.

    Recently I get a Seymour Duncan MM Alnico SMB4A, and a read here that someone likes more this pickup than the original (ceramic).

    I have too a Stingray fretted (4), and I like very much the tone it have.

    So, thinking that this bass it's fretless, do you will replace the original by this SD Alnico pup?

    And, I also read nice things about the Nordstrand MM pup, it makes sense buy one of this and replace it?

    Thanks in advance.
  2. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    So dont put more treble in the EQ. I would keep the stock pickup. Flatwounds, parallel or series, roll treble down a bit if needed.
  3. depalm


    Apr 22, 2004
    São Paulo
    I replaced my two '93 Sterling PUs for the Nordstrand MM4.3 and couldn't be happier. They now sounds much more like a "real" MM than with the stock PU (funny isn't?) and get nothing but of compliments on studios or stages.

    Definitely ceramic magnets are not for me.

    However I'd try flatwounds and get a little easy on treble knob like Figjam suggested.

    Good Luck
  4. rafunk


    Sep 18, 2005
    Valencia, Spain
    Thanks both!

    But I like to use roundwound (GHS pressurewound), that's don't can be negotiated, by now :D .

    Really I don't use a extreme treble EQ of course, in fretless I prefer a lot of mids. But, when I put a bit of treble in the EQ it sounds harsh and less musical than in my Stingray, for example.
  5. depalm


    Apr 22, 2004
    São Paulo
    Maybe you should get easy on the Mid knob too ;) .
    How do you use to mix the Piezzo and the regular PU?
  6. cut frequency's dont boost, if you want mids cut the treble and the bass, if you want treble cut the mids and bass
  7. rafunk


    Sep 18, 2005
    Valencia, Spain
    Normally I have mids in central position, treble in 20%, and bass in 40%. This is for soul-funk. And 100% pickup setting. No mix with piezo.

    For latin or flamenco (I'm from Spain :D ) I use 100% piezo, wich's very nice. I let the mid pot central too, treble 0%, and bass al 60%. It sounds very "natural".
  8. bdgotoh

    bdgotoh Supporting Member

    Aug 6, 2002
    Pacific NW
    I have a Nordstrand 4.3 in my Sterling and it sounds absolutely great. Super easy to install too.
  9. depalm


    Apr 22, 2004
    São Paulo
    Well, I think you might over EQing. It's difficult to say without hearing but boosting bass and treble this way it's maybe too much!

    With the stock PU I used to boost just a little on bass and about 10% and treble. With Nords I use to leave it flat all the time.

    Anyway, I'd like to listen to some sound clips of flamenco bass:bassist:

    So why don't you try the Basslines you have? Maybe it's all your bass needs. keep the stock PU with you just in case.

  10. JPJ


    Apr 21, 2001
    Chicago, IL
    Because of the different magnets (alnico) and the different voicing of the Nordstrand MM4.3, it will tend to sweeting and fatten things up for you more. The reason why so many people opt to change their stock ceramic magnet pickups out for the 4.3 is primarily related to the issue that you are describing...they don't like the way that the top end sounds. Many people feel that it is too harsh or brittle sounding. The Nordtrand MM4.3 will not only give you more warmth and fatness, but it also delivers a true "classic", vintatge-sounding Music Man tone (even though the Sterling model was not one of the original Leo Fender designed MM models). It really isnt' a question of "better or worse", it really just boils down to what you prefer and what you're looking for. ;)
  11. depalm


    Apr 22, 2004
    São Paulo
    Exactly, when I bought my first Sterling I was looking for the classic MM tone but in a downsized body and neck version.

    I got never completely satisfied with it until I installed the MM4.3. Comparing with my Sting Rays it gets really really close to the classic MM tone.

    However, I saw a video in which Sterling Ball himself is playing on of the new HS Sterling and it sounds just great. I don't know, maybe it's Big Poppa's hands or maybe they did some modifications on those new models but it sounds beautifully on that video!

  12. zazz


    Feb 27, 2004
    the pickup change can easily be reversed and you never really know until you try:bassist:
  13. rafunk


    Sep 18, 2005
    Valencia, Spain
    Thanks to everyone of you. I think I can't loose changing it, and if I don't like, change it back.
  14. BassBuzzRS


    Oct 18, 2005

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