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pickup question

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by joel kelsey, Dec 9, 2006.

  1. joel kelsey

    joel kelsey

    Aug 1, 2006
    Chicago, IL

    I am looking for a pickup for double bass to be used in non-jazz situations. Right now I have an old realist with really low output. It is the sound I want, my bass but louder. Recently I have been playing in louder situations like funk and heavier stuff and I am not happy with the bass sound (live). I need to cut through more and be louder. While feedback is not a problem, the realist tends to sound kind of mushy at really high volume levels. I don't want to do much with my amp EQ because I double so much on these gigs and I need to switch basses as fast as possible. What pickups do you non-jazz DB players use? Have I given up on my natural sound to fast? With my rig, EA Iamp 800 and Epifani UL 210 the bass sound is wonderful. It really sounds like my bass with a mic. Any help would be great.
  2. lansolut


    Feb 12, 2006
    Take a look at Barbera's pickup. http://www.barberatransducers.com

    You send him your bridge and he installs a pair of piezo's under each string. This arrangement picks up both the sideways and vertical motion of each string making the pickup sound good with a bow.
  3. Greg Clinkingbeard

    Greg Clinkingbeard

    Apr 4, 2005
    Kansas City area
    KC Strings
    Revolution SoloII may be a good bet. I'm certainly a long way from being an expert, but...........it seems that pickups that are mounted closer to the strings would give more definition; RSII, Full Circle , Underwood for example. Of course, the BP100 is the extreme example, with almost nothing but string and no body sounds.
  4. bolo


    May 29, 2005
    Apex, NC

    On my bass, and to my ears, my Rev Solo never sounds mushy, and it speaks / cuts / punches through quite well. IMO I get what I consider to be a pretty natural and pleasing pizz tone for a pickup w/ the Solo on my bass. I know though that the RS doesn't work as well as it has for me on every other bass or for every other player, but you probably know that too. So YMMV.

    When things get REALLY loud, I do get low end feedback if I am standing in a poor position relative to my amp. Part of that has to do with how you fit the pickup in the bridge wing I think, and how resonant your bass is. Those gigs kind of make me cringe anymore anyway.

    Since you have an iAMP 800, I can also add that the RS matches up real well to the inputs and preamp section of my iAMP 200 head, with or without an external preamp IME.

    When I used a K&K Bass Max pickup, I don’t recall having issues with feedback either. The Solo and the Bass Max might be the lowest price and the least installation fuss.

    Can't speak to the Underwood, not from my own experience anyway.

    Maybe the Full Circle would be an option too. I can’t comment on that one myself. I like my hardwood bridge adjusters, for now anyway. I betcha someone will chime in on the FC here for the applications you outlined.

    I guess part of the question is how loud do you need to go? You might be beyond the realm of where piezo p/u’s are practical. Magnetic p/u’s are better suited for that perhaps if you need to go way loud.

    You might could check this out and scroll to the bottom for Pickups too if you haven't already.
  5. dperrott


    Oct 3, 2005
    You can get a realist with or with out a resistor in it. With out the resistor it will provide a very strong signal. It’s a lot higher output. You may actually be able to remove the resistor but I am not positive. I just got one with out a resistor .I have to uses the padded input on my gk or the thing will feedback. It’s very hot. I am actually going to exchange it for one with a resistor. I often play other amps beside my own and if the amp doesn’t have the padded input I will be in trouble. I am worried about the realist with the resistor being too low output. Times I have tried the pick up (on other basses) I have had to crank the amp to get some volume. If you have the money, the Barbara sounds great and has no feedback issues.
  6. mesmithnm


    Dec 10, 2005
    Layton, UT
    I switched from a Realist to a Full Circle on the Kay that I play in a folk/roots rock sort of band. We occasionally get relatively loud (my amp set-up has been an iAmp 600/VL110, so it's not like SVT loud or something). I found the FC to give me the best results I've had so far in that I get more volume before feedback - in fact, I haven't had feedback problems at all with the FC - and the sound seems more defined and clearer. I've also used the Underwood (clear but not much bottom end) and the RS1 (couldn't get much volume before feedback and I didn't like the sensitivity to placement in the wing slot). YMMV

  7. shwashwa


    Aug 30, 2003
    for the ultimate in volume without feedback you need a magnetic pickup, such as the string charger. it makes the bass sound electric though, but if you're playing rock, does it really matter? also, the barbera will get very loud with no feedback.
  8. If you are happy with the realist in other situations( and I am on my bass), when I have to play a louder set of mixed styles of music, I have started using an Avalon U5. It really evens out the instruments sound, and works a treat when you turn the volume up a bit. I use it for RnB , Funk and even Reggae type situations, with good results ie the other members of the band saying I get a great sound.
    If the volume is Rock band loud, a magnetic pickup is probably needed though.
  9. Ric Vice

    Ric Vice Supporting Member

    Jul 2, 2005
    Olivette, Missouri
    That's a very nice rig for sound, so the thing to do is change out the pickup for something that's more discrete. The Realist only works well in low and moderate volume levels. The Barbera and Wilson have the edge in this arena if you don't want to go to a magnetic pickup. Unfortunately, they are
    pretty expensive. I'd try borrowing bass with a Full Circle installed to see if that will "do the trick". I'd hate to see you drilling holes in the bridge or having Barbera install one of those implants if the Fishman would do the trick. Ultimately, If I were in this situation I'd probably just pull the P-Bass out for the funk stuff, although I do like playing funky on the upright.

  10. shwashwa


    Aug 30, 2003
    putting a magnetic on the bass is also less invasive than the other options, and you can take it on and off yourself, no luthier necessary. the string charger isnt all that expensive either.
  11. the beh+ adi-21 solved my problems with the old low output realist pu.
  12. bolo


    May 29, 2005
    Apex, NC
  13. Joel,

    As many have said you can go to a magnetic pickup. But, as you probably know (and with my experience), magnetic pickups will probably give you more of a fretless electric sound..

    Have you considered something like a K&K Dual Channel Pro Preamp ( http://urbbob.com/preamps.html )? I would think it would boost the signal up for the Realist. What else is nice, it has a second channel if you want to use a mic also and mix it in a bit to give you a more natural sound but is adjustable so you can kick it up as much as you can without feedback. Also, it has a built in EQ for each channel. Which means you can keep your amp set flat and adjust the EQ in the preamp for the Realist and Mic separately. That way, you can switch basses quickly without fiddling with the EQ on the amp.

    Ive been using the K&K Preamp with my Bass Max & Double Big Twin pickups and it has worked quite well and its very compact. I usually either clip it onto my music stand or onto my quiver.
  14. bolo


    May 29, 2005
    Apex, NC
    Bobby, the K&K stuff is pretty cool. I have used the Bass Master Pro setup you described myself (Bass Max, Double Big Twin, stereo preamp).

    However, not having used a Realist, I can't say for sure, but like Joel and Ric said many people seem to feel that the Realist really shines best in low- to mid-volume situations. So I guess I am just not sure if Joel sticks with the Realist that a preamp's signal boost is gonna help him eliminate the mush and cut through like he wants. Maybe the additional EQ capabilities you mentioned coupled with the signal boost would do it.

    I think simandlhandle's suggestion about the Avalon takes the preamp thing to a whole 'nuther level. I wish I had experience with the U5 myself. I was actually thinking more like the Fishman preamp tonal Swiss Army knife thing. Maybe a high pass filter would do the trick.

    Joel, like how loud are these gigs? Does your Realist even come close to cutting it, or does it get too mushy way before you get the level up where it needs to be?

    I also thought Ric's idea about borrowing a bass with a Full Circle was a good one. mesmithnm and many others say the FC does the trick for them too. Like I said in another post recently, from what I can gather the FC seems to degrade more gracefully than some of the other types of piezo p/u's in really loud situations.
  15. joel kelsey

    joel kelsey

    Aug 1, 2006
    Chicago, IL

    Here are the two bands in question.

    One is a fusion type instrumental jazz quartet with keyboards, sax, and drums (think Karl Denson sort of). My realist sounds pretty good, but what I think would be best for the music itself is a little more of an electric sound with more low end since we play hip hop andsome rock. I play mostly electric bass with this band but I also play my "nice" upright on some tunes. I think blending a different pickup with the realist would also be an option. The second band is harder to describe. This group plays instrumental with drums, sax, and keyboards. This group also plays with loops and samples. We play everything from techno to free jazz to hard rock ect. This band is LOUD. Right now I have been playing a ply bass that has Animas and an Underwood. This bass sound is terrible and super loud! But, for what ever reason it works really well with this band while I would never do a jazz gigwith that set up. The problem is, I am selling the plybass and I will only have one bass for a while. Now I think I need a "rock pickup" to add one more deminsion to my sound. The pickup has to be removable and easy to deal with. Evryone has given me good suggestions and a lot to think about. Any other input would be great too!
  16. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    Have you tried the afterlength damper that Upton now supplies with the Rev. Solo? It may alleviate that feedback.
  17. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    Well, it seems YMMV. As I stated in an earlier post:

    Here's my $0.02. I never did like the design of the K&K pre-amps. They are prone to overload with signals of normal levels. For me, it was always a delicate dance between the external level control (basically a resistive attenuator) and the internal control that adjusts the gain of the op amp. As one who has designed op-amp circuits, I judged the K&K design to leave much to be desired.
  18. bolo


    May 29, 2005
    Apex, NC
    Yup Doc, I got me one o' them thar Vibramutes a while back when I was ordering some strings from Lemur. I think it works on the same priniciple as the device that Upton provides now.

    There is one room in particular, nearly a perfect square shape w/ high ceilings (maybe a perfect cube?) where I have sometimes experienced the low-end feedback problem. My bass is very resonant also. Moving alongside my amp seems to work better in that room, although I can't hear the highs and mids quite as well from that vantage point.

    Feedback doesn't seem to be on Joel's issue list though. Sounds like he's got an Underwood and a Realist.

    Joel, you mentioned blending a different pickup w/ your Realist. Ever paired it w/ your Underwood?

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