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Nastier alternative for EMG DC/J soapbars.

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by mrelwood, Mar 23, 2005.

  1. mrelwood


    Dec 15, 2004
    Hello. I've got EMG soapbars in my bass, model J in the neck, and DC in the bridge. They both have a lot of treble, but the treble is at very high frequencies. Most amps I play with don't have any reproduction in those frequencies, so a regular P-bass sounds a lot brighter than my EMG equipped neck-thru!

    I think the J in the neck would have the sound I want if I could adjust it a LOT closer to the strings. Problem is, it's almost touching them already! What I want is a honky funky sound usually found in the 70's soul and funk music, although perhaps a bit brighter. EMG P soapbar had a good output, but the sound is even more distant. The DC in the bridge is decent for the Adam Nitti / Alain Caron -type sound, and it is possible I could live with that. This time I'm not aiming for the MM sound I love so very much, because my next bass will be very Stingrayish.

    The Bartolinis I've tried so far have more or less the same problem, and they have less treble. I think the new Bartolini Classic Bass would be good, but I need two very different sounding pickups, for the neck and the bridge. I would hesitate trying EMG CS or TW unless someone clearly tells me that they have more hi-mids than J, P and DC.

    Reading what I've written so far, makes me think I want a very unsoapbarish sound from the neck pu. And I think that's true. So what should I try? My bass is a 5-string, maple neck-thru, mahogany body, ovangkol top, ebony fretboard. The pickups are pretty much in the J-bass locations.

  2. bass-shy


    Jan 11, 2005
    Is the J pickup a soapbar or a traditional J?
  3. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY

    Aki, I don't have any specific recommendations for you. But if you're trying to get a funky 70s Jazz Bass sound, I think you should be thinking more about the bridge pickup.

    Also, I know Seymour Duncan are now making passive soapbars in the EMG shape. Haven't tried them yet, but they could be worth checking out.
  4. RevGroove

    RevGroove Commercial User

    Jul 21, 2002
    Burlington ON Canada
    Manager, Account Services: Long & McQuade Ltd. (Burlington); MTD Kingston Basses International Emerging Artist; Bartolini Electronics Emerging Artist
    I replaced the DC at the bridge with a CS, and am MUCH happier with it. the DC at the neck was awesome, but I also found the treble to be a bit much at the bridge.
  5. mrelwood


    Dec 15, 2004
    Both pickups in my bass are Soapbars.

    I think I didn't succeed in explaining the sound I have in mind. Instead of anything Jaco related, think of those farting burps when someone is kicking the living guts out of J neck PU. Can't get that with a Some tracks that get a long way in the right direction:

    Salsoul Orchestra - Salsoul Hustle
    Salsoul Orchestra - Getaway
    Nils Landgren Funk Unit - Fred

    And actually, a cheapie Eko J-bass (279€) did the job spectacularly well. Passive pickups ofcourse.

    I know that this bass is constructed for a completely different range of sounds, and I am in a quest for a passive bolt-on bass with MM/J pickups. But for this neck-thru I want something (anything) original from the neck pu, and so far even the best $3000 soapbar equipped basses I've played have a very boring neck pu sound that I would never use. Therefore I need something very unorthodox for the neck, and the J clone seems like the best bet.

    I bet I'd like them in the bridge, but for the neck I don't want anything being advertised as "warm". I think a Soapbar J from someone else would be the closest bet. Or perhaps the EMG TW would be a bit punchier J than the Soapbar J?

  6. xyllion

    xyllion Commercial User

    Jan 14, 2003
    San Jose, CA, USA
    Owner, Looperlative Audio Products
    I think David is correct. The sound you are describing comes from the bridge pickup. The neck pickup tends to give you a warm and soothing tone.
  7. Tedintheshed

    Tedintheshed Banned

    Oct 8, 2004
    Columbus, Ohio
    If you want a jazzy honk, they are right- that usually comes from a solo'ed bridge pup, usually passive. Sometimes people roll the treble off a bit too. Sorry, but I have never heard of the examples you listed.

    However, I think your problem is in your pick up selection also- I play EMG's because I simply love the clarity they lend my sound. I think they are an "honest" pick up, and convey how your bass sounds. It is equated with a more modern sound. That high end will always be there in some form.

    I would look at other basses similar to yours, but with different pick up. I think barts are a good place to start and even though I have no personal experience with them I hear that SD Antiguities are good also.
  8. mrelwood


    Dec 15, 2004
    No it does not. I have played several J's and I am more than familiar with the sounds it can produce. It is the neck pu soloed that I always use when playing the certain kind of funk. My neck-thru does go to the right direction with the EMG J soapbar, but I hope something else would take me further. I know, this bass is not good for that kind of stuff, but I need to get the best out of this one also. I love this bass, and both pup's on is where this excels. I am getting myself a passive bolt-on MM/J for more authentic passive sounds, but as I said, I need to find a good pup combination for this neck-thru also.

    Not the ones I like.