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Pickups for Aerodyne P Bass

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by kirkm24, Mar 23, 2009.


  1. kirkm24

    kirkm24

    Jan 1, 2007
    Columbus, Ohio
    I've searched threads but wanted to solicit a more specific requirement. And I thought those who have or have used Aerodynes could offer some feedback.

    My big concern with this bass is that the body is made of basswood. Given this, I am concerned about it's potential lack of bottom end. I would prefer to go passive with this bass but am wondering if there'll be enough "booty." I run direct with in-ears or a floor wedge 95% of the time with no on stage amp.

    I am considering the EMG P/J set because they are active and I can have "artificial" bass boost but I'm worried I will lose some of the warmth and character found in passive Pups.

    The other set I'm considering is the SD Quarter Pounder P pickup with a hot stack humbucking Jazz bridge pickup; all passive. I've heard these pickups have hot output but also have a lot of depth and fullness to them.

    Given these choices, do you think the EMG set would be better suited for this particular bass? For this bass, I am looking for more of a traditional sound (Jamerson, Motown maybe some more agressive edgy stuff every once in a while). I know EMG's are generally revered as a slapper's pickup but I remember that they also had a ton of bottom end with some sizzle up top (which could be rolled off with the tone knob that is part of the set).

    I know all about the boutiques like Fralin, Nordstrand and the Antiquity series. My concern with shelling out money for these is that they would be matched up with an inferior bass body and therefore, I wouldn't realize their full potential.

    Also, I am most likely going to use flatwound string with this bass. As you can see in my profile I also have a hot rodded Marcus Miller with SD Antiquity II and a John East Preamp so I have a more modern sounding bass with that setup.


    Anyway, I am wanting to hear from some others who have had experiences with this bass and who understand where I am coming from and where I want to go with it.
     
  2. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    Basswood is nice and warm sounding. Why are you worried about a lack of bottom end?

    I have one of the first Ibanez SoundGear 5 strings with a basswood body. It sounded very nice with two EMG J pickups and the stock preamp.

    I also had flats on that bass for a time, and it sounded really good.
     
  3. kirkm24

    kirkm24

    Jan 1, 2007
    Columbus, Ohio
    I was always under the impression that basswood was among the worst "tonewoods" out there; particularly for bass.
     
  4. Inverness

    Inverness

    Dec 21, 2007
    Marina, CA
    My Aerodyne Jazz has that Duncan setup. Keep in mind that the QP P-pup sounds HUGE, and it can definitely overwhelm the softer (relatively speaking) j-bucker. I like the set up, but I was under the impression that this set up was better for rock...? I suppose you could use it for Motown if you kept the tone rolled all the way off. That QP has a ton of low end - almost overwhelming. As I've alluded to, there is a noticeable volume drop when you solo the J-bucker.
     
  5. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    No, basswood is a very good tonewood. Poplar is another. Any kind of light weight wood is going to have a warm round tone. Harder heavier woods like maple or hard ash have a bright tight tone.

    Basswood just happens to not be very attractive. Very white and bland. Same with poplar. So it's always used with painted bodies. Fancy looking wood equates to expensive, so basswood is considered cheap.

    When I worked at American Showster Guitars, all the 57 Chevy Tailfin guitars were made of basswood because it was easy to carve. Duck decoys were made from basswood. But it really had a great tone.

    One of my current favorite personal guitars is a cheap FirstAct GarageMaster which has a basswood body. I made some new pickups for it, and it sounds really good. I had to avoid boomy pickups though because it gets a lot of low end.

    Basswood has many of the tonal qualities of other light weight woods such as swamp ash and mahogany.
     
  6. I agree that I don't notice any lack of bass with "basswood". It is light which I admire too. I guess it will be used more and more in instrument making. It is used for centuries in making of classical Turkish and Oriental instruments. The linden tea is made of their flowers, it smells great and is one of my hot drinks. OK enough basswood worshiping ;)

    In my Aerodyne J, I have installed DiMarzio model P and model J. I can't describe how much I'm happy with them. My best sounding bass and as it is a common disease in TB, I have too many basses :D
    In my Aerodyne P, I'll install EMG P, just to try a different sound but I need to route for battery compartment.
    Also, the PU placement are different in Aerodyne P and Aerodyne J eventhough they are both in P-J configuration, you can see in the thread I started a while ago about hot Aerodyne sisters ;D

    So I'll suggest you to give a try for DiMarzio model P-model J set. Not an exaggerated bassy sound, just well balanced.
    Bartolinis have always sounded too dark and too bassy for me, you can try it too but I have not enough experience on them...
     
  7. 62bass

    62bass

    Apr 3, 2005
    I've never noticed any lack of lows in basswood bodied basses I've owned. In fact, choice of body wood seems to have very little effect on tone, despite what the boutique guys claim. More important are pickups, strings and good build quality.41160

    One of my basses these days is a basswood Squier 50s P bass. Lots of bottom end there even with the stock bridge and pickups. I replaced the pickup with a custom wound one from Vintage Vibe Guitars and it's even better now.
     
  8. lavmonga

    lavmonga Supporting Member

    Jul 27, 2007
    New York, NY
    I had an Aerodyne and it's got plenty of low end and bite. Actually sounded terrific. Jazz body just wasn't right for me though. The body is for sale in the classifieds if anyone wants it.
     
  9. kirkm24

    kirkm24

    Jan 1, 2007
    Columbus, Ohio
    Haven't got a lot of love for the EMG PJ set but the SD Quarter Pounder definitely appears to be a hit and it's a hit for people who play a large variety of music.

    If the J pickup is noticeably quiter solo'd, would a regular quarter pounder J pickup be a better choice than the hot stack humbucker? If both pickups are full on, the noise won't be an issue right?

    In regards to DiMarzio's I've heard a lot of praise for them but the people that have reviewed them say they are very agressive and midrangey sounding. The most famous DiMarzio player I know is Billy Sheehan and his tone, although it is cool, is not what I am after with this bass. I want something fat and full with some agressiveness. The SD 1/4 lbers seem to fit the bill for that.

    EDIT: Well I went on ahead and ordered the quarter pounder P pup and J bridge pup. I figured the output level would be better balanced if they were both quarter pounders. I want something with lots of bottom end that is passive (preferably) so this seemed to be the best fit. I love the SD Antiquity II's in my Jazz so I'm sure these will be good too. They weren't too expensive so if they don't work out, it's not a huge loss either. I went to bestbassgear.com to get them.
     
  10. DiMarzio is producing different Pus as you may guess.
    DiMarzio Split P is agressive, model P is not.
    Billy Sheehan is using his signature hi-gain PUs and the ones on my bass sound nothing close to his.
     
  11. kirkm24

    kirkm24

    Jan 1, 2007
    Columbus, Ohio
    Thanks for the info. I'll give them a consideration then if the SD's don't work out. Aren't Sadowsky's pickups made by DiMarzio? The only Sadowsky I've knowingly heard was Tal Wilkenfeld and I really like her tone a lot so I'm assuming she has stock Sadowsky/DiMarzio pups in that bass.

    I know it's not fair at all but when I think of DiMarzio I immediately think of them as heavy metal rocker pups. It's pretty sad when even gear gets stereotyped :(
     
  12. kirkm24

    kirkm24

    Jan 1, 2007
    Columbus, Ohio
    So you're not a "wood" snob like some? The MusicMan Bongo is an all basswood bodied bass and it has tremendous bottom end but it is also juiced up with an 18V on board preamp. Maybe the difference in wood is negligible.
     
  13. kirkm24

    kirkm24

    Jan 1, 2007
    Columbus, Ohio
    Well I got the pickups and put them in. The P quarter pounder sounds like a monster but when I roll in the bridge pickup, the overall output from both pickups seems to drop off some. Is this a normal characteristic of the PJ configuration? The more I roll off the J, the louder the P pup gets.

    I think the bridge pickup I got, which is also a quarter pounder is a little too noisy for my tastes so I got the split coil version (the hot stack 2). If the volume drop is just a characteristic of this bass then I would rather have a noise free bridge pickup.
     
  14. Wademeister63

    Wademeister63

    Aug 30, 2004
    Denton Tx
    Yep, I have the Dimarzio Split P and Ultra Jazz in my Aerodyne Jazz and love it. Has both great depth and great bite. I think the QP's are probably reasonably similar. Mine also has a drop in volume when the pickups are blended. I think it's just some phase cancellation or normal interaction between the pickups. Pretty sure this is what quiets the hum on single-coil equipped jazzes too.
     
  15. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    The P has a much higher impedance, so it over powers the J. Bridge pickups need to be louder than neck pickups because the output is lower closer to the bridge. But the Jazz pickups were made to work with other Jazz pickups. A hotter Jazz with a Normal P would blend better.
     
  16. impactwrench

    impactwrench

    Feb 22, 2009
    Well I play fender (and SX) which are probably alder but I love the PJ combo. In my HRPB Im leaving it stock but eventually Ill put the Dimarzio DP126 combo (model P / model J) in my SX. Unless I got a set of something else (duncans, fenders) for WAY cheap, Im waiting on dimarzios.
     
  17. the engine

    the engine Guest

    I hope I'm not stepping on the OP's toes but which J pickup would blend best (and have similar output to) the QP P?
     
  18. kirkm24

    kirkm24

    Jan 1, 2007
    Columbus, Ohio
    Thanks for the feedback guys. I'm glad to know I didn't do something wrong at least.

    I have to say, I really like the quarter pounder! It just sounds really fat and full and just bigger overall. I've had Fralin's and Antiquity pickups in the past and had always turned my nose up on the cheaper 1/4 but I think this is my favorite of all the P pickups I have tried so far.
     
  19. Wademeister63

    Wademeister63

    Aug 30, 2004
    Denton Tx
    Makes good sense, thanks David.

    As for my setup, I like it fine as is :D
     
  20. 62bass

    62bass

    Apr 3, 2005
    No, definitely not a wood snob or pickup snob or amp snob or tube snob.

    I've heard good and bad in each. Anyhow, to me a bass is a tool that you use to play music. But it is fun to talk about all this gear some. It's just when you start taking it seriously that it gets ridiculous. All this gear obsession didn't exist back when I first started playing in the beginning of the 1960s. You bought a Fender bass (if you could afford one) because it was about the only one that sounded good and recorded well and the best amp you could afford and went out and played and hoped your amp wouldn't blow up. I don't think many bassists or even guitar players then gave a damn about what wood the bass was made of or if the pickups were ceramic or Alnico or how many windings they had. Nobody I knew ever talked about that.

    Anyhow, back to gear obsession. Yes, the Bongo is basswood I believe. I've played a couple and they were okay but just a little too electronic sounding for me. I owned a Stingray for a number of years but I could never get into it much. It was fine for recording but I didn't like it live. That was a 1990 Ernie Ball model. I don't know what wood it was made from. It was solid black.
     

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