Mike Lull M4V: weak acoustically/low output level

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by NeckPickup, Jun 20, 2011.

  1. NeckPickup

    NeckPickup Supporting Member

    Jun 19, 2011
    Boca Raton, FL
    Hi All. This is my first ever post to TalkBass, so please forgive me if this is the wrong forum.

    I bought an ash/maple beauty with Fralin single-coils and Bartolini 2 band almost two years ago, and despite the stellar workmanship, materials and great neck profile, the bass seems dead and never cuts through the mix. I generally have to run the gain on my amp significantly higher than for all my other basses. Played acoustically, it does sounds a bit thin and tinny compared to other basses. Amplified, the tone is great, but is simply not loud enough, and this is low-volume pop music, while my other basses easily cut it in this scenario. I called Mike Lull and talked to him and replaced the battery and upped the trimpot some as he suggested, but still not much success.

    I also had all the electronics checked out by a local respected luthier, who felt that the extreme light weight (7.2 lbs.) could be a factor, plus it could just be a piece of wood that is simply not acoustically responsive.

    Has anyone seen this before with a Lull or other bass, and does anyone have any suggestions? The luthier felt that since it already has good electronics, changing the pickups or pre-amp was not likely to make much difference.

    Thanks for your help!
     
  2. bdgotoh

    bdgotoh Supporting Member

    Aug 6, 2002
    Pacific NW
  3. Arthur U. Poon

    Arthur U. Poon

    Jan 30, 2004
    SLC, Utah -USA-
    Endorsing Artist: Mike Lull Custom Basses
    Also, give the Lull shop a call and give them all the details. They're very helpful and chances are very good that you'll talk directly to Mike Lull himself.

    My ash bodied M5V (Duncan single coils, Aguilar OBP-3 pre)has never had a problem cutting through the mix. In fact, it had so much bite that I called Mike for his suggestion on how to tame it. He ended up swapping it's maple neck with a maple fingerboard for a maple neck with a rosewood neck, which worked very well IMO.

    A few years later I wanted to get a much fatter sound from it and I called Mike for his recommendation for a different brand of pickups. He suggested a specific set of split coil Barts which did the trick quite nicely.

    IMO don't throw in the towel yet, I'm sure the shop will get things sorted out on your M4V.

    Best regards.
     
  4. RS

    RS

    Aug 27, 2000
    Cleveland, OH
    I had a Lull and felt the single coil Fralins did have a lower than average output, FWIW.
     
  5. prd004

    prd004

    Dec 3, 2010
    Hmmmm.........I have an M4V Ash body maple fingerboard with Fralins too. Seems like the only significant difference is mine has a TBT preamp. Plenty of output!!!

    I had one recurring problem with my Lull's pop up battery compartment. I had to replace it twice. When it faltered a third time I had it removed and a hard-wired system installed by Mike.

    I see you have adjusted the trim pot a bit, but if it was way low, then turning it up a bit might not be enough. I'd try turning it all the way up and all the way back just to guage how low or how high the current setting is is. Did you buy yours new or used? Some people turn the trimpot down so low as to match the output levels when switching from active to passive, a previous owner may have done this.
     
  6. NeckPickup

    NeckPickup Supporting Member

    Jun 19, 2011
    Boca Raton, FL
    I am the original owner and called Mike Lull a while back, and you're right, he told me he intentionally sets the preamp to be unity gain with passive mode (is that a good thing?), so that's how I received it. I marked the original setting with a pen and turned the trim pot up maybe 60% and it is somewhat louder, but at a non-loud rehearsal with a 375 watt rig, the difference wasn't significant enough. I will try to set the trim pot successively even louder and see what happens. However, I still go back to the fact that it sounds really tinny and thin acoustically, and wonder if 7.2 lbs. is simply too light - I saw some new M4Vs for sale at Gelb Music on the web that were 8 to just under 9 lbs. If anyone has an M4V who is satisfied with the output level, could you tell me how much it weighs?

    Thanks.
     
  7. Jimmy Stump

    Jimmy Stump Supporting Member

    Jan 27, 2010
    Canada
    I have an M4V with Fralins and an OBP-3 preamp. It weighs 7 lbs 9 oz, light as a feather. No issue with output here.
     
  8. TimothyGroovy

    TimothyGroovy Commercial User

    Aug 3, 2000
    Hong Kong
    Owner: Uni••Sound Endorsing Artist: Sadowsky Guitars, Olinto Bass, LaBella Strings
    To my understanding... the weight don't do "too much" on the thin sounding, I got a 8lbs 5 string Mike Lull Modern, no problem at all.
     
  9. koobie

    koobie Supporting Member

    Jul 11, 2007
    Portland OR
    I've got a V4 and it's anything but thin-sounding. Haven't weighed it but I'd guess it's around 9 pounds. Have you tried adjusting the height of the pickups?
     
  10. NeckPickup

    NeckPickup Supporting Member

    Jun 19, 2011
    Boca Raton, FL
    I called up the factory and am shipping the bass back to Mike for his evaluation. The weight is apparently not an issue - Paul, the manager, says they sell plenty of basses that weigh the same as mine, but also says it sounds like there could be a problem with mine. If nothing else, I hope to upgrade to the Aguilar OBP-3.
     
  11. NWB

    NWB

    Apr 30, 2008
    Kirkland, WA
    That would definitely account for the problem if such is the case.
     
  12. prd004

    prd004

    Dec 3, 2010
    They will undoubtedly take care of it for you.

    On the subject of the trim pot setting, I have to laugh! I live real close to Mike's shop and only have mine serviced there, and every time I get mine back they crank up the trim pot! LOL.
     
  13. chadds

    chadds

    Mar 18, 2000
    Be sure you press down in front and behind the bridge on your strings to get a good witness point. My P-bass will sound listless unplugged or plugged. Do the above and it rings all day.:)
     
  14. vates

    vates

    Nov 15, 2007
    Kyiv, Ukraine
    Please, inform us how it will turn out. Subscribed :)
     
  15. wimpy

    wimpy

    Aug 1, 2004
    Czech Republic
    ...it looks like some technical problem not light wood issue...also these pickups has enough of signal even if you set them all the way down (I think) but they will sound diffrent of course....I had also bad battery holder in mine M5V but I fix that. It made huge noises when I hit battery holder by my belly...I will change that part in future for sure but it works o.k. for now.
    (my tip: leave existing wires on new battery holder. Cut original power wires and solder somewhere inside in preamp area...if you heat new battery holder by soldering-iron you can easly broke it!)
     
  16. nocontrols

    nocontrols

    Apr 2, 2011
    Check pickup height

    What kind of pots do you have? Do they need switched out?

    Try a boomier preamp

    Hope those things help! I've never played a Lull. I play cheap-o Peaveys that pour out fat tone for days. :D
     
  17. NeckPickup

    NeckPickup Supporting Member

    Jun 19, 2011
    Boca Raton, FL
    I got the bass in Mike's hands and he said it is operating normally, although he offered to put in a stronger volume pot, the same as Sadowsky uses. He also said lighter bsses won't always resonate as strongly as heavier ones, but stopped short of saying this was a problem. We talked for as good while, and it became apparent that the tone of the ash/maple is what has really been bugging me. The alder/rosewood has a fuller tone, more like what I was expecting compared to my vintage Jazz, and it may fill out the bottom more to my liking.

    Conclusion: I have put this bass up for consignment sale where I bought it and will order an alder/rosewood one. Dakota Red for me, please. I am not as much into slapping or a trebly tone these days, and actually play over the neck pickup unless I need to play really fast (hence my chosen user name), so I think this is the right choice for me.
     
  18. Arthur U. Poon

    Arthur U. Poon

    Jan 30, 2004
    SLC, Utah -USA-
    Endorsing Artist: Mike Lull Custom Basses
    That sounds like a good plan IMO. Sounds like we have similar tone needs; I'm no slapper and I've found the ash/maple sound really works against my style. Please post back on how you like your alder/rosewood Lull when everything is said and done.
     
  19. bdgotoh

    bdgotoh Supporting Member

    Aug 6, 2002
    Pacific NW
    Congrats, alder/rosewood Lull basses are awesome!
     
  20. vates

    vates

    Nov 15, 2007
    Kyiv, Ukraine
    +1!