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New Azola Bugbass pickup retrofit

Discussion in 'Electric Upright Basses (EUB's) [DB]' started by basss, Mar 25, 2006.

  1. basss

    basss Supporting Member

    Aug 27, 2001
    After reading my comments from this thread Steve Azola kindly offered to retrofit his latest pickup model to my Bugbass. The new pickup is embedded in the bridge and connets to an external preamp via a short RCA cable that is attached to the foot of the bridge. I had to send in a tracing of my old bridge for Steve to build the new one.

    Since it is a new system the Azolas kindly offered to send it to me to test before I send payment to them. If you take the time to read my comments in the other thread you will see that I've gone through a lot to try to get the Bugbass to sound to my liking. Honestly I was very skeptical about this new system after trying the many different preamp, pickup and string combinations that I have. I was all set to not like the new system and send it back - it ain't cheap after all. $250 is a lot for a pickup but considering that Steve built a new bridge and the preamp is included it seems fair.

    After initial testing I think its going to be a keeper. The following comparisons will assume that you have read my post in the above linked thread. The midrange is much more natural sounding than any of the other pickups that I tried on this bass. Compared to the original bass max and to lesser extent the Rev Solo the midrange is less "plastic" sounding and the exaggerated low end thump that these other pickups had is gone. It has a much more natural and less hollow sounding midrange than the Fishman and DBT. Overall it sounds a lot more like a good amplified DB sound rather than some strange approximation.

    Steve recommends that the preamp be attached to the bass via velcro or two sided tape. I'm thinking the best place for it would be just above the bridge. I could leave it attached all the time but I'll have to remove the volume knob for the old pickup. If I mount it on the back I will have to take it on and off every time I use it because the end pin when retracted would run into it. It is not the smallest box - just slightly bigger than my Sansamp ADI. It seems very well constructed and has a classy looking fake wood shell that matches the natural ash of my bass. A short RCA cable that is hard wired to the bridge attaches to the preamp. There are volume, bass, mid, and treble knobs which are voiced great for the Bugbass.

    I just received the new system today and I am reserving final judgment until I can use it in a rehearsal/gig situation (probably later next week) but so far it sounds great. I'll try to post pics and possibly some sound clips if anyone is interested.
  2. basss

    basss Supporting Member

    Aug 27, 2001
    Jill Azola PMed me and I'd thought I'd include some of what she said:

    Hello Robert,

    Thanks for giving us your initial impressions of the pickup/preamp upgrade. We can always install it in the bass if you decide you're completely happy with it, at some point in the future.

    A couple of clarifications -

    You could remove the endpin and put it in the front pocket of the gig bag for transport. I think that's what Steve envisioned.

    And Steve made your preamp box from the same Ash from which we fashion our basses. It's real, solid wood. At first he had put the preamp in a generic black box ... but it didn't seem like "the Azola way" ... so he decided to make a custom wooden box. Even though this was just sort of a test scenario. That was one of the reasons the package took longer than I anticipated. He kept forgetting to include your little custom box when he was doing finish work on instruments ... *finally* put finish on it early this week along with a MiniBass he was working on. The box is pretty much as small as it can be, while being able to accommodate the necessary electronics and battery compartment that would normally be inside the instrument itself.

    If you have any questions about anything, please let us know. We look forward to the gig/rehearsal "test drive" report : )


    I think Steve designed the preamp to be mounted on the back but I have it mounted on the front.

    Some pics:

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