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My Gravity's pickups

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by andruca, Sep 22, 2004.


  1. andruca

    andruca

    Mar 31, 2004
    Madrid (Spain)
    I have a Fernandes Gravity 5 deluxe bass, I think of the first models after they changed "APB" for "Gravity". Looking for a backup I decided to buy another, but problem is the new version, despite having the same electronics and pickups (FGI -no problem with stock pickups, in fact I like them over the EMG HZs-) and only some minor construction changes (the truss rod is more easily adjusted at the body now -not anymore at the nut-) has a different sound, a more nasal Warwickish sound (which I hate). The only thing to check out for differences then whas pickup position and I found out that it is way different on both basses. AS I did with mi first Gravity I'll put a pickguard to this one too, because it's more comfortable for me to slap (used to my SR5) so I decided to move the pickups to the exact same position as my first Gravity.

    I need any of you to please confirm that this is due to pickup position. Regarding the modification I have made some routing years ago for adding a J to a P-Bass so I trust my skills, but should I care about something in particular? I atach you photos of the actual bass and the "movement" I want to do with the pickups.

    Thank you so much for any help or coments...

    ANDRUCA
     
  2. andruca

    andruca

    Mar 31, 2004
    Madrid (Spain)
    Here's my first Gravity (the one I like the most)... See the difference in pickup position (I think the one that affects the tone more is the bridge one, in the newer -the pewter one- so close to the bridge = nasal character).
     
  3. luknfur

    luknfur

    Jan 14, 2004
    DIXIE
    FWIW:

    measure from the center of the 12th fret to the center each pup on each bass - if the variation is a J pup width or less, I doubt it's pup location. It's possible but VERY unlikely in my experience. But definitely, the furhter a pup is from the bridge, incrementally the darker, fatter, and less defined tone becomes. What is more likely is the basses have different acoustic properties or there's some other variable unaccounted for - difference in the electronics, strings, whatever.
     
  4. andruca

    andruca

    Mar 31, 2004
    Madrid (Spain)
    luknfur, thanks for your comments. I'm attaching a new picture with a precise comparison of how the pickups are now (left half of the picture) and how they are on my older Gravity (right half of the picture). I'll move the bridge pickup about a J pickup width and the P about a 1 and 2/3 J pickup widths towards the neck. And I'll tell you why I find this logical, and correct me if I'm wrong. I A/Bed both basses again yesterday and the newer one (the pewter coloured) definitely lacks the low end that the old one (the natural finished) has. On the other hand, I checked circuitry and pickups and they're the same exact part numbers so they are basically the same. Pots' resistances are also the same. I have another indicator that the bridge PU is too close to the bridge:
    1) It has way lower output due to it's proximity to the bridge (less string movement)
    2) I play resting my thumb on the bridge PU and being it so close to the bridge it contributes to produce even lower output (and absolutely nasal tone)

    Tell me if I'm in anyway misleaded in my thinking. And thanx so much again...

    ANDRUCA
     
  5. Moo

    Moo Banned

    Dec 14, 2002
    Oakland, CA
    I think you have the right idea, not the easiest to do but it should make the pewter bass sound much closer to the other one. Go for it :)
     
  6. luknfur

    luknfur

    Jan 14, 2004
    DIXIE
    FWIW:

    Okay, more clear now and the pup adjustment sounds logical enough if it's the pups that's the source. You will get more noticeable variation in tone with equal movement on the bridge than the neck pup. And as you mentioned, more output from the pup as it's moved toward the neck.

    Don't know how expendable your bass is or how important it is to get what you're looking for. What I would consider doing is cutting a piece of wood to temporarily shim your bridge up enough to get your pups under it so you can move them anywhere you want to check them out. Then you'll know and you won't have to guess. It won't be the easiest thing to play but you will be able get a more accurate idea of the tone you'll get, and probably very accurate.

    I actually did this once. I had a SD replacement bridge pup that wouldn't fit into the routing cause of that wierd bass plate they use. I knew I could remove that baseplate and adapt it to the routing but I wanted some kind of idea of whehter I'd even be interested in keeping the pup before I did that. I didn't cut a wood shim cause I use Schaller roller bridges and they have ready made baseplates that are available if for whatever the stock bridge needs more elevation. I just happened to have one of those baseplates and it with the saddles maxed rawised the bridge enough to get the pup under the strings with the pup resting on the face of the bass.

    Another thing I would check out if those are identical basses. I swapped necks on identical basses once. Acoustically one was a thudder and the other one was bright. Swapping the neck from the thudder to the bright bass turned it into a thudder. In other words I'd say about 90% of the tone of the bass appeared to be in the neck.

    Another thing I've read but can't say personally, and there's no practical way to test - that is that the finish of a bass alters tone. Sometimes something that alters the harmonics a bass reproduces can make a big difference even if it's minimal variation. As a rule, I'd guess finish would have very little effect on tone.
     
  7. Moo

    Moo Banned

    Dec 14, 2002
    Oakland, CA
    Or get a friend to hold them over the strings while you play ;) Simply unscrew, wiggle them out and find out where they sound best.

    You could even tape little blocks to the edge of the pups to keep the right distance from the strings. then slide them up and down till you find the favored spot.

    But since he's going to make a pickguard to cover the holes he could route a wide pocket and try them in a few places before making the pickguard.
     
  8. andruca

    andruca

    Mar 31, 2004
    Madrid (Spain)
    Thank you so much guys for all the great advice!!! This afternoon I'll work on it and I'll let you know how it came out.

    ANDRUCA
     
  9. andruca

    andruca

    Mar 31, 2004
    Madrid (Spain)
    Ok, so last weekend I did the modifications and this is how it is now. The most dificult part for me was the pickguard. I ended up using a piece of some 4mm thick multi-laminate wood. I had to put the neck pickup in this non-parallel position because I didn't want to carve on the neck too (it would have been necesary to meet the PU distances in the other Gravity. The sound changed radically. It opened completely so no more nasal crap. It has more fullness now, specially un the low end. In a near future I might redo the pickguard but all in all, thats it...

    ANDRUCA
     
  10. luknfur

    luknfur

    Jan 14, 2004
    DIXIE
    FWIW:

    that's not bad at all. A little radical but just enough to be different. Interesting configuration on the pickgaurd. Pickguards are definitely no fun to fashion. Sounds like it worked out all the way around for you.
     
  11. andruca

    andruca

    Mar 31, 2004
    Madrid (Spain)
    I definitely will redo the pickguard. There are some details I don't like. The thing is I need the pickguard 'cause I'm used to my Stingray 5 and I find the distance between strings and body too big for popping. So the pickguard reduces this distance and it's more comfortable for me this way. Anyway, as I said, I'll redo it, probably in black.

    ANDRUCA
     
  12. luknfur

    luknfur

    Jan 14, 2004
    DIXIE
    What was the intended purpose for the laminated wood you used? I used a doorskin that's right at 4mm. How'd you get the pickgaurd color to match the body so well?

    The gaurd I made was for an MM and it was tough to come up with some kind of decent design. If I had known how much work it would take, I'd probably have copied the standard MM since I only covered the routing to sell the bass anyway and an MM style is what people are used to seeing.
     
  13. andruca

    andruca

    Mar 31, 2004
    Madrid (Spain)
    I used the laminated wood cor cutting the pickguard 'cause it was the only thing I had at home that met the 3 or 4mm thickness I needed. I could have certainly used some plastic (I will try with some black plastic for my next version of this pickguard). Colour was matched using some adhesive decorative nylon sheet I also had at home (just pure coincidence). I like the colour too. In fact, if I don't like the new black pickguard I intend to do, I'll "colour it" the same way.

    ANDRUCA