Need help finding a good pickup.

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by kevinb, Jan 8, 2006.

  1. kevinb


    Dec 6, 2005
    Reno, NV
    I need help! I'm looking for a good pickup in the $200 dollar range. I just started double bass recently but ive been playing bass guitar for a few years now. I'm playing with my high school band, the northern nevada honor jazz band, and a small combo with some friends. Can anyone give me some advice on a good pickup that will suit my needs. Any advice on a preamp would help too if you think i need one.

    I was looking at the realist pickup...
  2. Ric Vice

    Ric Vice Supporting Member

    Jul 2, 2005
    Olivette, Missouri
  3. kevinb


    Dec 6, 2005
    Reno, NV
    Well, reading through those topics, it seems like mics offer the more clear sound. But then i hear that the K&K Bass Max sounds good too.
  4. while the mic is the ideal i would suggest starting out with something like the bass max you mentioned. mics are more feedback prone, and playing with a big band it is likely to get bleeding from the drum kit.

    What amp are you using? What preamp? These are all important factors that will help guide your decision. $200 could get you a nice setup.

    The Underwood has been the standard for years (similair to the bass max).
  5. Tbeers


    Mar 27, 2005
    Chicago, IL
    The Realist is a nice, zero-fuss pickup that will cost you a little less than $200 (last I checked). If you can deal with having a piece of foil under the bridge, it is a nice solution.
  6. kevinb


    Dec 6, 2005
    Reno, NV
    At my school I run through a 100 watt Genz Benz combo, for my combo I'll be using my personal Fender 100 watt combo, and I'm not sure what I'll be using for the honor band. Probably my Fender.

    Yeah i used my teacher's realist before and i liked it except that it had a really electric sound. It didn't really capture the organic sound of the bass. It wasn't very loud either. From what I've read, it sounds like the Bass Max has a higher output volume.
  7. Uncletoad


    May 6, 2003
    Columbus Ohio
    Proprietor Fifth Avenue Fret Shop. Technical Editor Bass Gear Magazine
    The Realist has sounded more "real" than the Bass Max on the instruments I've tried them on. The Bass Max is darker and more string sounding to my ear. I prefer the Full Circle to either of them. If you already have adjusters it's my favorite under $200 pickup. Or you could be like lots of us and try them all. Sell the ones that don't sound good. Each bass/pickup/player is a different matchup. What works for one may not be so good for another. Pickup loudness is not relevant. If it's not enough signal something else is wrong in the signal chain. Install, preamping, inapropriate amp etc.
  8. kevinb


    Dec 6, 2005
    Reno, NV
    That's a good idea. They're pretty easy to get rid of then?
  9. Andy Allen

    Andy Allen "Working Bassist"

    Aug 31, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    I have recently fitted a Realist - I was unhappy with the BassMax due to it's harshness and it's sensitivity to mechanical playing noise.

    I found the Realist to have much better tone than the BassMax, and also a higher output (but make sure it is plugged into a high impedance - at least 10MegOhms - input). As expected the Realist is a much warmer sound, since it's mounted directly to the body of the bass, and I had anticipated having to mix a little of the harder BassMax tone into the signal to improve the Realist's clarity, but so far I've not needed to do this.

    The Realist still sounds like a pick-up, but not so Piezo-ey as a bridge mounted pickup.

    Hope this helps...
  10. i'm sorry to inform you that you will most likely be buying a number of pickups over the next few years to find your favorite. also, each bass has different needs. If you are not interested in purchasing a new amp just yet, or don't have anything else available, a magnetic pickup (ex: string charger) might be a good option because you could achieve a higher output, but you would give up a bit on the tone as they only amplify the vibrating strings. Playing big band gigs with only a 100 watt amp that is really designed for electric bass could pose a problem if the musicians aren't sensative to your volume limitations, however there might be a house system that you could run through as well.
  11. Kevin, if you fill out your profile we may be able to help you better. For example, do you own a bass or are you using the school's? If it's not your bass you might want to stick with something that's easy to put on/take off.

    IMO the advice you've had here is very wide - ranging when you consider that Realist and String Charger are pretty much opposite ends of the spectrum. My suggestion, given your level of experience, is find something that works and then focus your attention on learning to play the instrument. Especially, but not limited to, acoustic sound production. You don't need to be spending your time buying and selling gear.

    I'd have to recommend against a magnetic pu if organic is what you're going for. Bassmax may have the highest output, but it is less natural to my ears than Realist, being closer to the strings. A Realist might be muddy at big band volumes. So for your purposes right now, Bassmax or Underwood might be the easy choice. Of those two, Bassmax has more thump, which might be a good thing. It is also the least expensive of all pu's unless you want to make your own. Given all these considerations, I would say the Bassmax is the place to start. Rev Solo could be another option, but again not as hot a signal as Bassmax.

    Whichever one you choose, make sure you get a good fit - snug and flush but not crammed in. You may have to file your bridge to achieve this. Let us know what you get and how you like it.
  12. Ike Harris

    Ike Harris

    May 16, 2001
    Nashville TN
    Just a gross generalization, but it seems the higher on the bridge your pickup is mounted, the brighter the tone(Fishman BP-100). The opposite position, under the bridge(Realist), would give you a very warm tone. Wing pickups(Underwood, K&K, etc.) would split the difference. There are exceptions, but just a general rule of thumb. Also, you might want to compensate for the way your bass tends to sound. Bright bass = Realist, dark = Underwood, e.g. It takes some experimentation and cost but we've all been there.

  13. kevinb


    Dec 6, 2005
    Reno, NV
    That's all I'm really trying to do right now. I wish i didn't have to fuss with a pickup because i think db sounds awesome by itself and i hate having to waste my time with electronics while im learning. I'm only asking about pickups because i want one that i won't have to worry about. Trust me, the last thing i want to be thinking about while playing is equipment.

    My bass does sound really dark so I'm thinking that the Underwood or Bassmax might work pretty well.

    The bass that i play belongs to my personal teacher. It originally had a realist on it but his bummed out so now he's using the one i had. If there was a pickup that had good on off capabilities that would be helpful because then i would be able to use it on the school's bass too.
  14. about the quickest pick up on the market to switch from one bass to the next. You don't need to use zipties like many people use to hold the underwood on because of the way it clips to the strings, and it only slides into one wing of the bridge. Super quick. This would also allow room in your budget to get a preamp which is a very helpful tool for tone shaping and feedback issues.
  15. kevinb


    Dec 6, 2005
    Reno, NV
    Thanks for the info. I was actually considering doing exactly what you just said. What would you guys suggest for a preamp. I've seen quite a few fishmans that seem like they would work.
  16. kevinb


    Dec 6, 2005
    Reno, NV
    Well, something finally worked out. My teacher had another realist that had been shorting out on him. He let me use that and its been doing just fine for me. It sounds really good too.