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Pickup with fundamental, piano like tone. QTuner?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by GentProvocateur, Nov 25, 2018.


  1. GentProvocateur

    GentProvocateur Supporting Member

    I'm planning a build that's all about getting the most low, clear tone possible. Fanned fret - 40.5" to 38". I'm looking for a full frequency pickup for both neck and bridge position to get the most fundamental-laden, piano-like tone.

    The pickups will be angled to follow the fan and I've calculated that with a rectangular pickup, lengths will need to be around 119mm (4.7in) at the bridge. Less so in the neck position. Consequently, I'm looking at QTuners.

    What are your experiences with the QTuners, either with or without an active, on-board preamp?
     
  2. Passinwind

    Passinwind I know nothing. Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2003
    Columbia River Gorge, WA.
    Owner/Designer &Toaster Tech Passinwind Electronics
    I've been using a pair of the older BL-4s in my fretless 4 for several years now and I like them very much. They were extremely tweaky to set up given all the adjustment possibilities, and I found that being able to custom tailor my preamp to them was quite helpful. I expect that Erno would be mortified by my implementation, but it's my time and money, no? Yel_wink.

    The newer ones with the blades seem like a great candidate for what you want. Please keep us posted as things progress!
     
    GentProvocateur and claudel like this.
  3. I recently installed an AGC EQ-01/5 in my semi-homemade fretless that already had a pair of old school BL-4 Q-Tuners.

    I love it, but I loved the way it sounded before I installed the preamp...

    Running it @ 18V really woke everything up without losing the character of the bass or the pickups.

    I returned the pole screws back to stock setting when I installed the preamp and haven't tried to readjust them yet.

    That's a project for another time.
     
    Haroldo and Passinwind like this.
  4. Bruce Johnson

    Bruce Johnson Commercial User

    Feb 4, 2011
    Fillmore, CA
    Professional Luthier
    You're looking for Jazz style coils with real big magnets. Like a Seymour Duncan Quarter Pounder Jazz. Large, powerful magnets, tall narrow coils packed in tightly around them.

    The bass frame also needs to be stiff and tight. A stiff neck, solid neck/body joint, and solid mounting of the bridge.

    These are the things that bring out deep low clarity. You need clear, wide-range pickups, but they won't bring clarity out of a mushy frame.
     
  5. ofajen

    ofajen

    Apr 12, 2007
    92.4W 38.9N
    What is your intended tuning? If it were me, I’d make sure to get a Willcox Lightwave Sabre in my hands and try it out before embarking on the venture. The optical pickup system on that bass may give just the sound you are after without having to do a unique build.

    If you constrain yourself to magnetic pickups, the Q-tuner is a sensible place to start. The best option I have for this type sound is my Ripper, with neck pickup soloed. Like the Q-tuner, it’s a humbucking sidewinder, but it was only used by Gibson in the Ripper and Flying V. Anyway, it would not be long enough for your project.

    Otto
     
  6. GentProvocateur

    GentProvocateur Supporting Member

    Will do!
    What preamp are you using with the BL-4s?
     
  7. GentProvocateur

    GentProvocateur Supporting Member

    Oh man, you read my mind. I'd love to but Lightwave's are hard to come by, and pricy. I didn't think the optical pup system was available to purchase also. Please correct me if I'm wrong though drool
     
  8. ofajen

    ofajen

    Apr 12, 2007
    92.4W 38.9N
    Willcox only sells complete instruments, they don’t sell the optical system separately.

    Otto
     
    GentProvocateur likes this.
  9. GentProvocateur

    GentProvocateur Supporting Member

    I'm planning for quarter sawn maple neck, richlite fretboard, and two channels of 3k carbon fiber tow + epoxy. At least 6 bolts to attach the neck to the body in conjunction with some joinery to make it a tight fit.

    As for the pups, thanks for that. It'd be tricky with the slant. I'm hesitant to mix pup lengths in the bridge position (neck position is less of an issue since the angle is smaller) OR put pups meant for four string standard tuning on a bass tuned to I only calculated the maximum length for now (essentially a pickup that is hypothetically at the same angle as the bridge string break) at a whopping 130mm (5.11"). The length includes roughly .5" at either end between coil length and case length just to make sure there's coverage. At smaller scale lengths there's less of a need for coverage, but at what is getting close to grand piano lengths there's a definite need to cover the string movement.
     
  10. Vinnie Boombatz

    Vinnie Boombatz Banned

    May 26, 2010
    Piano-like tone for days!

    wpcPALI.
     
  11. GentProvocateur

    GentProvocateur Supporting Member

    Also, I didn't respond to your first question - I'm planning to start with one octave below the regular bass guitar E and go from there.
     
  12. GentProvocateur

    GentProvocateur Supporting Member

    Screw constructional rigidity, it's all about synthetic fabrics!
     
    Vinnie Boombatz likes this.
  13. GentProvocateur

    GentProvocateur Supporting Member

    Interesting that you mention the 18v. I tried one of those new musicman stingray specials with a neodymium pup and 18v preamp the other day.

    The. Most. Tight, full low end and thump I'd ever heard.
     
  14. GentProvocateur

    GentProvocateur Supporting Member

    I'm also looking at Lace Alumitones based on this [older and guitar-based] review #18

    I've also started looking at Villex pups since they're used on Chapman stuff and subcontra basses Villex
     
    Passinwind likes this.
  15. Passinwind

    Passinwind I know nothing. Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2003
    Columbia River Gorge, WA.
    Owner/Designer &Toaster Tech Passinwind Electronics
    One of my own, of course. Yel_wink.

    It's fairly simple three bander with a very extended high end rolloff frequency. Here's a quick and dirty demo clip I recorded a few years ago:



    And an older one, through one of my tube preamps and with different flatwounds:



    BTW, I have a new fretless Marco Bass incoming with some neo sidewinder prototypes. Not sure if or when Marco might start selling them to the general public though.
     
    PawleeP likes this.
  16. GentProvocateur

    GentProvocateur Supporting Member

    Oh I know about your preamp very well :) Been following that thread for a while :thumbsup:

    Both clips sound like they're recorded with a four string, to say nothing of fretless. Any experience using those pups with a 5er or a fretted?
     
    Passinwind likes this.
  17. Passinwind

    Passinwind I know nothing. Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2003
    Columbia River Gorge, WA.
    Owner/Designer &Toaster Tech Passinwind Electronics
    I originally heard one on a friend's 6 string fretted bass from David King. His name is David Captein, you might be able to find some clips on YouTube. I've alway's been a big fan of Dave's sound with that bass.

    Edit: here's one. The Q-Tuner is in the neck position, not sure what the other one is.

     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2018
    GentProvocateur likes this.
  18. GentProvocateur

    GentProvocateur Supporting Member

    This last bit is interesting since I associate the wider, flatter pups of a p-bass to have more 'fundamental' than jazz pups
     
  19. Bruce Johnson

    Bruce Johnson Commercial User

    Feb 4, 2011
    Fillmore, CA
    Professional Luthier
    P-style pickups have a lumpy curve; a boost in the low-mid range, with wooliness or muddiness (ie non-clarity). Mount that in the middle of the body, for the classic P-bass sound. Low and thick and warm. Weak on the high end and not much deep fundamentals.

    Jazz style pickups have a flatter curve, more range up and down and more clarity over the whole range. Jazz pickups are mostly known for all the extra high end, as compared to a P-pickup. Some of that is because Jazz basses also have a bridge pickup, even more high end. But the "neck" Jazz pickup will, in most cases, have clearer deep fundamentals than a P-pickup.

    It's the nature of tall narrow coils, keeping the wire wrapped close in around the magnetic field. That's what brings out the high definition that you need to clear deep fundamentals; that piano tone. Short, wide P-bass style coils are like stuffing a wool blanket inside your Steinway!

    But remember, a clear wide range pickup is only part of getting a piano like sound. If the bass mechanically sounds like mush, the clear pickup just gives you loud mush. The bass itself needs to be bright and clear. Details in the construction.
     
  20. Main reason I went to 18V is sort of dumb, but I figured that since I was going to be carving up the bass anyway, why not install a double battery box instead of a single?

    I figured I can go back to 9 if I decide I don't like the way it works @ 18, but I'm pretty sure I'm going to leave it as is.

    It probably would sound good at 9V too.

    ACG pre is really nice.
     

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