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MM pickup in a smaller soapbar?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by MajesticFrog, Mar 6, 2006.

  1. MajesticFrog


    Feb 22, 2006
    My bass (an ibanez BTB405) is has a pair of soapbar pickups (p2 or MK size, not sure exactly). I was wondering if there is anyway to make a pickup (I assume the bridge) this size that has that really aggressive, punchy sound of the stringray?
  2. 4Mal

    4Mal Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    There are a number of pickup vendors who will basically do anything for a price. The price is generally the deal breaker ... If you really want to do that, here are two options

    1. Areo - will pretty much do whatever the heck you want and they make damn fine pickups

    2. Any decent luthier can do the route for a standard stingray pickup and if necessary, make you a trim ring to cover any excess space. You would have to pay attention to the string width, pole pieces or use something like a Bart without individual pole pieces.

    If your Ibby has Stingray like string spacing, I can highly recommend the Nordstrand MM4.2 which is his clone of the original Stingray 2 coil. I just dropped one into a Lakland 44-02 and it is a very nice pickup. It actually blends well with the Bart J which is a suprise.

    $99 delivered from John Wymore at Wymore Guitars. John also handles Duncan and they have a couple of replacement pickups as well.

    John hangs over at The Dudepit so you can reach him there via PM if you are so inclined.

    You would need
  3. The BTB has 19mm string spacing, and i cant remember what a stingray is, think it might be 17mm? im not sure at all

    Sorry, cant really help here, you might want to try getting a set of the pickups that are in the ibanez SRX series basses put in there, im sure they are the same size of soapbar and they are much more aggressive, which will be cheaper than custom made pups, on saying that, i love my BTB pups
  4. MajesticFrog


    Feb 22, 2006
    Yeah, the pickups on the BTB I have sound sorta hollow. The preamp (oh god what a great preamp!) can make them sound pretty good, but they can't give them that 'whump' type of feel that I get from a stingray. So, I am basically trying to recreate that. I wonder if putting in a Bart or an Areo as suggested would work. Non custom pickups are always cheaper than custom. All the same, I will go check out the SRX series.
  5. MajesticFrog


    Feb 22, 2006
    Actually, on this note, can anyone point me to a discussion of the different 'signature sounds' of pickups by Seymour duncan, Bartolini, EMG, etc?

    Trying to get an idea of which brands I should try.
  6. Don't forget that the positioning of the pickup, and the width of its aperture, has a huge amount to do with the sound.

    My FBB's neck pickup, a Bartolini M55C, is about a quarter-inch closer to the neck than the standard MM pickup. Despite being on a neck-through-body bass with a bubinga fingerboard, it has something of that Stingray "whump" when soloed.

    I suspect that on the BTB, which has its pickups roughly in the position of those on a Jazz, it would be very difficult to get that MM "whump."
  7. MajesticFrog


    Feb 22, 2006
    I suppose I could always have the thing routed to accomodate a MM style pickup at the bridge. I wonder how much that would cost?
  8. The MM pickup isn't actually at the bridge, though. It's a good bit closer to the neck than people think.

    I'm really not sure that a BTB could be modded in this fashion, or if it would be worthwhile--especially not on a BTB405. After the routing, wood-filling, and rewiring, you might be looking at way more in parts and labor costs than the bass is worth. At that point, why not buy a Music Man S.U.B. 5-string?
  9. MajesticFrog


    Feb 22, 2006
    Actually,at that point I would probably pick up a SRX 505. Those have MM style pickups, but two of them. I would compare the sound first.

    As for why this bass....well, its because I have it. And it only cost me 350 with a hard case. And I really like the feel/action/etc. The only thing I don't like about it is the sound of the pickups, they seem sorta hollow and don't have the percussive/aggressive sound I would like. So, I am trying to make up for that.
  10. fookgub


    Jun 5, 2005
    Houston, TX
    I used to own a BTB405, and I've played the SRX series. To my ears, the SRX basses are quite a bit more agressive and punchy. I liked their sound a lot, but they don't sound much like a 'ray. I believe the 'ray sound has a lot to do with the pickup placement and the wide aperture.

    Anyway, if you're looking of agressive and punchy, the ray's got it, but it's not the only tone mecca for in-your-face sound. If you like the BTB, it would be worthwhile to check into some replacement pickups. There are some very hot soapbars out there (beware that the BTB uses odd sized pickups, though, and that may limit your options).

    You could probably sell the BTB and break even on a used SRX if you decide to go that way. I'd play the SRX first, though, because it's a very different feel from the BTB. I also think the BTB has a better preamp.
  11. MajesticFrog


    Feb 22, 2006
    Yeah, the pickups on mine are p2 or mk bart size, I didn't have an accurate measuring tool, but those are only 2mm different size.

    Reallly, I want to aggression and punch, it doesn't have to really sound exactly like a music man. It just needs a more percussive, throaty, aggressive feel.

    Any suggestions on replacement pickups for the job?
  12. jwymore


    Jul 26, 2001
    Portland, OR
  13. MajesticFrog


    Feb 22, 2006
    thanks, I am looking them over.