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pickup setup

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by lowendtheory, Sep 3, 2003.

  1. lowendtheory

    lowendtheory I like the bass

    Sep 2, 2003
    Australia, Brisbane
    does anyone reckon it's possible (rather easily) to wire up two j's where a p/j would normally go, and stick a three way switch on it. you know how the musicman basses have a 3-way to change the configuration of the pickup. you know, parallel/series thing. that way i could stick a volume know for the j's and a knob for the humbucker, a passive system on the j's and an active H. run a three band sweepable eq for global but be able to bypass it with a switch and run a tone knob. so i'd be looking at a passive j setup, an active H setup, active preamp able to be defeated and replaced with a tone knob. i'd run a 9V for the H and possibly 18V for the preamp. or am i just dreaming?
    it's to be put in to a full custom bass that will be (hopefully) completed sometime next year. building it myself. any takers as to how that'd work?
  2. RobbieK


    Jun 14, 2003
    I may be able to help you, but from your description its hard to understand exactly what you want...

  3. lowendtheory

    lowendtheory I like the bass

    Sep 2, 2003
    Australia, Brisbane
    sorry, i've been trying so hard to think of an easier way to explain. about the best i can come up with is this:

    i want to run in essence, a few preamp stages. in the first stage, the neck stage, i want to put two J's. instead of wiring them up like a normal J-bass, i want to be able to run them series/parallel off a switch. i have a yamaha electric guitar and i can do the swith-thing on that, i'm not sure if that'd be possible with two J's. if not, just say. then i'd run the output of that to a volume pot, pre the preamp. these pickups would be powered by a 9V.

    for the Bridge setup, i want to run a MM style basslines pickup, and any switches that are associated with that. it too would have a volume pot pre the preamp. this pickup would also be 9V.

    i then want to run the output of both the volume pots into a U-Retro/U-retro Delux preamp. i also want to run a RMC piezo bridge into the U-Retro. this too would be 9V. so all up i'd be looking at a 27V, 2J, 1MM, 1 RMC piezo, U-Retro electronics system...

    simple. well, hmmm... that's what i'd like to do but i think i'm even confusing myself typing it out. is the idea of two J's over the top? should i just stick with one? i don't even know if this is possible let alone feasible. i just want a really versatile system.
  4. lowendtheory

    lowendtheory I like the bass

    Sep 2, 2003
    Australia, Brisbane
    matter of fact, the more it think about it, the less i can ever recall seeing 2J's together, cept on a dedicated J-bass setup. i think i'd be saving myself a huge amount of time, and money just using 1 J, maybe a really high end model. i want a real classic jazz sound and i'm willing to do anything to get it. i just want a really versatile instrument. i want to be able to play Primus when i feel like it, then by flicking a few switches, pull out the beefiest Jamerson sound the next minute.

    another thing i forgot to add before is that i want to be able to take the output of the pickups, bypass the preamp and go to a passive tone pot. so the pickups would be running off their own batteries so they'd be constantly active, but the preamp could be bypassed in favour of a passive eq for that particular sound, or in the event of a flat battery. well, i hope that's it for a description! if still unclear, please say so. i can't stop thinking about how to do this, and i'm starting to get tired! i stay up most of the night, most nights, just working out all my plans for this.

  5. RobbieK


    Jun 14, 2003
    Hey Lowend, I just noticed your location...

    GO LIONS!!


    Many of us want a very versatile axe. There's even a guy that has marketed a fretted/fretless swap-fretboard system. Yep, you literally slide off one board and slide in the next one. Personally I'd rather just take 2 basses to gigs!

    There are many things to talk about with your dream setup...

    To blend an active pickup (piezo system, Basslines) with a passive (j's) the j's need to be buffered - in other words they need a little pre amp of their own.

    The series/parallel switch is a cool idea, however when this is done passively, the output of the pickup(s) is different from one to the other (parallel is lower). Stingrays get around this with a network of resistors.

    The classic Jazz bass sound - which one are you talking about! I don't mean to be a smart-arse here, but Jaco?, Marcus Miller? Also, a big part of this sound has to do with the placement of the pickups in relation to the scale. Jaco mostly seemed to used the bridge pickup, and that big slap sound of Marcus's is from combining bridge and neck pickups and running a preamp.

    I think the basslines pickups have their own buffer preamp built into the pickup itself, like EMGs (I don't know Basslines very well - might be wrong on that point). Therefore you can't run them passive.

    One battery can power all the circuits. The reason some people use 18 volt systems is for the headroom. But a whole lot of preamps and filters etc onboard just adds noise and harmonic distortion (ie makes it sound sterile). Personally I like to only have what I need on the bass. How are you gonna fit 6 knobs and 3 switches on the bass anyway? In the heat of the gig, are you gonna remember how to find your fav settings?

    Also don't forget the bass itself has to sound good in the first place. The pickups are only 1 part of the picture. And don't forget your rig, your recording setup, your playing style, your chops! A bloke might have an old P bass with flats on it, but Jamerson had pretty good fingers and ears as well!

    Oh and many pickups means many magnets, which can effect the sound of the bass quite badly.

    Man, I think I (sort of) know what you're chasing, but I'm not sure you heading down quite the right path.

    There are many other issues to talk about. Drop me an email or a PM and I'll give you my number...
  6. Bassmanbob

    Bassmanbob Supporting Member

    I'm no luthier, but I've got a Roscoe bass. It has two Bartolini soapbars with an 18 volt Bartolini preamp. Depending on the knob placement, I've had two independent guitarists tell me that I had and Jaco tone (more bridge pickup) or a great P bass sound (more neck pickup). It's very versitile, but probablly not the most versitile, and it's simple. Think about it, there is probably a good idea why you haven't seen what you've been looking for, for a good reason.

    KISS: keep it simple, stupid.

    I'm not calling you stupid, it's just how the saying goes.
  7. lowendtheory

    lowendtheory I like the bass

    Sep 2, 2003
    Australia, Brisbane
    you're right. if it was such a good, feasible, worthwhile idea, i'm sure someone over the last thirty or so years would have marketed it. i've been thinking about it over the weekend and i'm just going to do a warwick-style setup. J, H and piezo bridge. no individual eq's. no individual passive/active switches (maybe a global one) and a whole lot more simplicity.

    cheers you guys. this is the exact reason i asked. you've set me straight!

    peace out. Lowendtheory

    p.s. anyone suggest an active J that'll produce a Jaco type tone...

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