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Passive 5-string humbucker for metal

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Rosin41, Apr 18, 2019.


  1. Rosin41

    Rosin41

    Jun 28, 2018
    Cedar Hill, Texas
    I bought myself this lovely cheap used Ibanez because I wanted a fully-passive 5-string, and overall, I'm very happy with it.

    20190324_191649.

    My only complaints are that some of the upper frets have some rough ends (I can take care of that), and that the pickup is pretty weak. My main bass is a P-bass clone with a GFS (GuitarFetish) pickup. GFS says this is their "hot" pickup, and I believe them. It measures about 16kΩ and sounds mighty. I plug it into my Hartke KB15, turn it up to 2-1/2 dots, and it shakes the room. I plug the Ibanez into the same equipment, and I have to turn the amp up twice as loud to get similar volume, and even then, the low end sounds thin.

    So what I need is a passive 5-string humbucker with great industrial-sized buckets of output, and it needs to be a drop-in replacement for this one here:

    20190414_123700.

    I mostly use this bass for metal, with heavy distortion, so top-quality tone is not a priority here, but I would like something with nice, even frequency response. I know this might be a tall order, but I also know that if the pickup I'm looking for exists, somebody on this wonderful forum will know about it. So, what do you recommend?
     
  2. Heavy Metal players don't require good timbre?

    It would be prudent to post the dimensions of the pickup.
     
    Rosin41 likes this.
  3. Dean N

    Dean N

    Jul 4, 2006
    Pittsburgh, PA
    You'll get good suggestions, but first you'll need to post the specs of that pickup. Is is a standard shape? If you don't know, measure, and post accurate dimensions. Also, the model of the bass might help as well to determine drop-in replacements.

    Edit: Beaten to the punch by KBD. He knows his stuff, especially all things Ibanez.
     
    Killed_by_Death likes this.
  4. Rosin41

    Rosin41

    Jun 28, 2018
    Cedar Hill, Texas
    I'm not saying, "I don't want it to sound good;" just that it doesn't have to be some super-special ivory bobbin wound with unicorn hair or anything like that. The pickup dimensions are 4" X 1-1/2".
     
  5. Rosin41

    Rosin41

    Jun 28, 2018
    Cedar Hill, Texas
    The bass model number appears to be GSR105EX, but it also says 1P-01 under that.
     
    Killed_by_Death likes this.
  6. Rosin41

    Rosin41

    Jun 28, 2018
    Cedar Hill, Texas
    Another option I'm considering is trying to boost and EQ the signal in my digital effects processor, but I'd really rather go with the pickup swap. That just seems like a better solution.
     
  7. I seriously considered picking up one of these a couple of years ago, when they were new on the market.
    My thoughts were that I would immediately change the pickup, so I measured the pickup & went home from the Ibáñez dealer to look for a replacement.

    IIRC the only suitable size that fit was an EMG & I loathe EMG with a passion.
    I dislike them almost as much as I dislike Ampeg products.

    You may have better luck with the 5-string version.
    It is better to have a pickup you like the sound of than it is to EQ it into something you like.
     
    Rosin41 likes this.
  8. Rosin41

    Rosin41

    Jun 28, 2018
    Cedar Hill, Texas
    It looks to me like the Seymour-Duncan SSB-5NYC would fit. Anybody used one of those?

    NYC-Bass-bridge-5-strg_BEAUTY-700x477@2x.
     
  9. Rosin41

    Rosin41

    Jun 28, 2018
    Cedar Hill, Texas
    I think I will go with the NYC. I have enough room in my budget for the $145 price tag, which is about what I spent on the bass itself, but I'd love to save a little money if anybody knows of a good place to get a discount on these. I'm gonna wire it up with a 3-way toggle switch for series/parallel/single coil sounds, plus upgraded pots, caps, and wiring while I'm in there.
     
  10. ctmullins

    ctmullins fueled by beer and coconut Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 18, 2008
    MS Gulf Coast
    I'm highly opinionated and extremely self-assured
    Rosin41 likes this.
  11. Rosin41

    Rosin41

    Jun 28, 2018
    Cedar Hill, Texas
    An intriguing option, but why did you suggest a guitar pickup instead of one of their bass pickups? Also, any idea where I can find dimensions?
     
  12. ctmullins

    ctmullins fueled by beer and coconut Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 18, 2008
    MS Gulf Coast
    I'm highly opinionated and extremely self-assured
    Guitar pickups and bass (guitar) pickups work on exactly the same principles. The only major differences are the form factors and the marketing copy.

    You said you value output over tone, so I linked the high-output option.

    I’m 99% certain that your pickup measures 4 inches by 1.5 inches. This is one of the standard soap bar shapes established by EMG decades ago. Many (many) companies make aftermarket pickups that match these dimensions, such as Lace.
     
    Rosin41 likes this.
  13. Rosin41

    Rosin41

    Jun 28, 2018
    Cedar Hill, Texas
    Update: the SSB-5NYC is installed, but all is not well. I had to chisel out the corners of the pickup rout a little bit, but that part at least was successful. The problem is that I am a doofus and forgot to check the string spacing. So the G string is so far away from the polepieces that it barely makes any sound. However, I have to say, the rest of the strings sound amazing, and I wish I could keep this pickup.

    So, anybody want to buy a slightly-used Seymour-Duncan SSB-5NYC for the bridge position? I didn't even cut the leads; I just stripped back about an inch of the outer sheathing so I could get to the wires inside. So it's practically brand new. I'd like to get close to what I paid for it, but any offer is better than none. I'm checking to see if I can return it for a refund, but I don't think the seller would take it back after it's been installed.

    If I can get at least some of my money back for this, I think I will go with one of those fancy Lace pickups. Can't get the string spacing wrong if your pickups have rails, right?
     
  14. mmbongo

    mmbongo Five Time World Champion Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2009
    Carolinas
    That seems odd. From what I can tell just from your pics, the poles for both pickups look to be in roughly the same place. And the Duncan has so many pole it acts like a rail basically. Are you saying the G string does not pass over any of the poles, or the string is far away from the poles....like a lot of space between the string and the pickup?
     
    Rosin41 likes this.
  15. ctmullins

    ctmullins fueled by beer and coconut Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 18, 2008
    MS Gulf Coast
    I'm highly opinionated and extremely self-assured
    Agree - can you post a photo or two?
     
  16. Rosin41

    Rosin41

    Jun 28, 2018
    Cedar Hill, Texas
    It is odd, but I'll post a picture later to show you what I mean. The G string is in between the G and D polepieces.
     
  17. mmbongo

    mmbongo Five Time World Champion Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2009
    Carolinas
    Rosin41 likes this.
  18. sikamikanico

    sikamikanico

    Mar 17, 2004
    That shouldn’t matter, although it’s a controversial topic. In principle, as long as all the strings are between the outside poles, it should sound ok. But some report hearing differences if there’s misalignment... who knows...

    Just to be sure, check the entire bass to make sure it’s not something else causing the problem. Setup etc... Does the bass sound even across the strings unplugged?

    If nothing else, change the strings before selling the pickup and taking a loss...

    If you do make another swap, look for rail/blade pickups. Also check the the pickup radius vs fretboard radius, you don’t want those to be too different
     
    Rosin41 likes this.
  19. Rosin41

    Rosin41

    Jun 28, 2018
    Cedar Hill, Texas
    OK, hopefully you can see what I'm talking about now. You might say, "It's close enough; it shouldn't make a difference." But I can tell a difference.

    I've confirmed that returning it for a refund is not an option, so I would like to sell it. This would be a great pickup for somebody out there, I'm sure. Make me a good offer and we'll work something out. If you bring your money and your bass to my house in Cedar Hill, Texas, I'll even install the pickup for you.

    20190509_213234.
     
  20. ctmullins

    ctmullins fueled by beer and coconut Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 18, 2008
    MS Gulf Coast
    I'm highly opinionated and extremely self-assured
    Yep, that’s a problem. It’s apparent to me that
    1. The stock Ibanez bridge has quite narrow spacing (not unusual for Ibanez), and
    2. The stock Ibanez bridge was installed slightly off-center.
    A rail pickup is probably the easiest fix.
     
    Rosin41 likes this.

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