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Pickups - Fishman Full Circle versus David Gage Realist?

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by Chris Paget, Sep 1, 2008.

  1. Chris Paget

    Chris Paget

    Sep 1, 2008
    I am looking to buy a pickup and am deciding between the full circle and realist models. The one thing that appeals to me about the fishman is that it has two transducers, where the realist only has one mounted under the E string. Would this not give the fishman a fuller sound?

    Any advice about these two pickups would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!
  2. Uncletoad


    May 6, 2003
    Columbus Ohio
    Proprietor Fifth Avenue Fret Shop. Technical Editor Bass Gear Magazine
    The fishman you are considering sounds like the BP-100. Most people don't use those much anymore. The most recent fishman is the full circle which replaces a bridge wheel adjuster. Overall a superior tone to the BP-100 IMO.

    The BP-100 doesn't sound fuller than the realist. The Realist under the bridge foot interacts more fully with the table of the bass than the BP-100 which clips on the string side of the bridge. The Realist has a very full sound where the BP100 is much more string focused and thinner overall.

    The Full Circle is somewhat between the two leaning more towards the realist.

    If you play mostly arco the realist is my favorite pickup out there. For primary pizz playing I prefer the Full Circle.

    Some basses like one better than the other. The differences between basses often make one pickup sound fantstic on one and terrible on the other.

    You have to try them all.
  3. Jason Hollar

    Jason Hollar It Don’t Mean A Thing... Supporting Member

    Apr 17, 2005
    Pittsburgh area
    Hi Chris, welcome to the conversation.

    If you use the Search feature on this thread you'll find many useful discussions about various pickups.

    I'm happy with my Fishman Full Circle but did not at all like the BP-100 or the Realist -- on my bass.

    Everyone has a different style & sound, so save up a few extra hundred bucks and try out whatever you can get your hands on.

    Then, you get to search for preamps as well as amps in trying to find the right combination for your axe!

    Good luck -- you've come to the right place!
  4. Chris Paget

    Chris Paget

    Sep 1, 2008
    Thanks so much for your replies. I do play mostly pizz style, so the full circle may be my best bet, and it sounds like you were overall happier with this one than the realist, Jason. Am I right in seeing 2 transducers - from the full circle pictures, it looks like there are, but only one is wired so the other may just be a height wheel. I do already have 2 height-adjuster wheels on my bass. If there is only one pickup on the full circle, it might put the two pickups more in the same arena.

    Uncletoad, great advice on pickups for arco vs. pizz playing.

    The full circle seems like an overall good bet, although I have heard a recent recommendation from a longtime bassist for the realist over fishman (although not sure what fishman he was using).
  5. Jefenator

    Jefenator Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2008
    I ran a Realist for about 10 years and loved it on my '40s Kay. It died this summer so I replaced it with the Full Circle and am still breaking it in, so to speak. Here's my impressions.

    • Dark
    • Woody
    • Mojo
    • Friendly
    • Slight (but good) Coloration
    • Arco WAY louder than pizz
    • Will die eventually (but worth it if you get 1000 gigs out of it). Mine didn't crap out completely, just developed this unpleasant distortion on loud notes.
    • Records very well

    Full Circle (more limited exp.)
    • Hotter (more output)
    • Better arco/pizz balance
    • More "detail" (can wait longer to change strings :D)
    • Sounds more like a pickup (sounds more natural when I blend in some magnetic P/U signal - could also try using less HI BOOST on my GK combo amp)
    • Better string to string balance

    I still miss the Realist a bit but I'm getting used to the Full Circle, enjoying it a little more each time I play out. If the trend continues, I'll probably stick with it.

    Hope this helps. Good luck with your quest!
  6. Uncletoad


    May 6, 2003
    Columbus Ohio
    Proprietor Fifth Avenue Fret Shop. Technical Editor Bass Gear Magazine
    If volume matters the Full Circle is capable of louder volumes before it starts sounding bad than the Realist.

    If you play at more polite Jazz volumes the Realist can sound a tad more "authentic". However mixing the Full Circle with a mic is a significant improvement and is my favored setup.
  7. Roger Davis

    Roger Davis

    May 24, 2006
    And I'll just add my pennyworth (UK). I've yet to make my Full Circle 'sing' - ie I wish it had just a little more sustain, and this is on a bass that accoustically sustains very well. I'm currently mixing with an Underwood. Underwood gets preamped (impedance buffered) FS does not and they both go through the two channels of a Clarus and out through a Wizzy 10". Sounds as good as.
  8. Chris Paget

    Chris Paget

    Sep 1, 2008
    Thanks guys. Definitely leaning towards the Full Circle for greater detail and louder volumes' sake
  9. Uncletoad


    May 6, 2003
    Columbus Ohio
    Proprietor Fifth Avenue Fret Shop. Technical Editor Bass Gear Magazine
    That doesn't make sense to me. That pickup, like most pickups, don't add or subtract sustain to a bass. Something is amiss in the pickup, installation, setup, use or some other part of the signal chain.

    Have you always mixed it with the Underwood? Those pickups haven't worked well together for me. I suggest using it by itself without the Underwood installed. Two reasons, one the UW can zap a bit of tone from the FC given it's dampening effect from freezing up the wings. Two and maybe more important the phase cancellations from each of the three transducers respective points of contact on the bridge are going to be subtractive rather than additive. More is not always better, especially in piezoelectric transducers.
  10. Jason Hollar

    Jason Hollar It Don’t Mean A Thing... Supporting Member

    Apr 17, 2005
    Pittsburgh area
    Chris -- I think this is the answer to your question, the FC is just one transducer -- the other is a dummy adjuster wheel.

    I love my FC on quiet & med volume gigs. It tends to turn to mush on louder jobs -- so that's when I plug in the Barbera.

    Otherwise, I really like the balance of the FC on all my strings. Plus it seems to have a very deep fundamental as well as a woody mid and mellow highs.
  11. Chris Paget

    Chris Paget

    Sep 1, 2008
    That's clears it up Jason, thanks.
  12. Uncletoad


    May 6, 2003
    Columbus Ohio
    Proprietor Fifth Avenue Fret Shop. Technical Editor Bass Gear Magazine
    I play rock band loud with my FC on the Ply Cleveland and it sounds fantastic.

    It's very bass specific. One things for sure, if the FC is getting funky at a loud volume the Realist will be a swamp.
  13. I got lucky: the Realist works perfectly on my bass.

    If I were you, I'd buy both, try both, and sell the one you like least here on the board. You'll lose very little as they are both highly regarded. You'll just never know which is best for your bass, your playing style, your music, your volume needs, your amp (insert more mind-numbing variables here) unless you try.

  14. Anybody else have experience(s) like this?
    I use the FC and UW on my old Pollman…one through each channel of an old two channel WW, and it usually works like a champ.

    I’ve been having SERIOUS problems making the same setup work with my LaScalla…there’s some major phase issues between the two pickups.
  15. CamMcIntyre


    Jun 6, 2000
    I agree with Toad on this one. I did a folk rock gig at the Elbo Room here in Chicago. For half the set I played my Cleveland ply w/realist. At the stage volumes, I had nothing. Instead of having an actual tone that is there, I had a wash and infinite sustain. I've been blaming the sound guy for that. I don't know if a different pickup would have helped much when my bass body was vibrating a bit even when I wasn't playing due to sound levels.

    Every other gig i've done with the Cleveland and Realist has been great. However, I plug into a SWR WM12 for those and the volume level isn't nearly as high.

    all the best.
  16. salcott

    salcott Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2007
    NYC, Inwood.
    I'm with Phil on this one; Realist at low to medium volumes, FC for louder. I also totally agree that the choice is heavily bass-dependent.
    As a little aside, when I played with Dan Hicks, his first question at sound check was always: "Do you have subwoofers?" If the answer was yes, his next words were: "Turn'em off and leave'em off." Once, the FOH engineer tried to sneak them in during the concert and was treated to a lovely lecture from Dan that probably scorched his eyebrows off. This is now my first question at soundcheck. I also roll off my EQ sharply at about 35 Hz.
  17. Ric Vice

    Ric Vice Supporting Member

    Jul 2, 2005
    Olivette, Missouri
    If you are making a choice between the Full Circle and a Realist then IMHO I'd get the Full Circle. I use the Realist, all the time but it has very definite limitations when it comes to volume. If you exceed it's "threshold" it sounds ugly. At moderate volumes it's fine.

  18. o_land


    Mar 22, 2013
    Just on a branch here. I just bought the full circle and have had it installed by what seems is the only guy in town and he has put the wheel threading straight into the wood of the bridge so it's really difficult to adjust. I'm pretty sure there should be some kind of 'casing' for the thead to go into to allow easy adjusting. Does anyone know what this part is called?

  19. A threaded insert? It's not uncommon to thread the wheels into the bridge wood. Are you trying to adjust it under string tension? Is it difficult to adjust with the strings loosened? The threads can be lubed with a bit of paraffin, which might help, but not if there's another problem. Bring it back to the person who did the work if it's not right, or maybe if you tell us where you're located somebody could recommend a good luthier to take it to. It shouldn't be hard to adjust the height.
  20. Barcza


    May 1, 2005

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