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please help - replaced pickups and elec' and not happy

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by tomersg, Sep 27, 2009.

  1. tomersg


    Aug 6, 2007
    Hi all
    i purchased squier vm jazz bass last month and very happy with it except its heaviness. i have other basses, like Ric, mij fender p and i thinks i know what is good bass and good sound.
    i loved the Duncan designed pickups the originally came with the squier but missed some more output and punch and fest that it doesn't cut trough the live mix well, like my other basses, but playing alone, i loved those Duncan's.
    i have Duncan BASSLINES SPB2 hot vintage pickup on my MIJ Fender P bass and very happy with them, so i bought Duncan BASSLINES SJB2 and some CTS 250K audio tapper pots and let my tech to install them instead of the Duncan designed and the 500K pots that are originally installed at the squier.
    mission 1 accomplished. now i get more output and punch and i feel like i cut thru the band mix better (as usual - loud drummer and guitar player and busy keyboards and vocals)
    when playing alone i feel something is missing. some brightness and "growl?" or maybe "bark!?" have gone from my sound.
    there are nice bottom and mid but the top is missing.
    what should i do?
    replace the pickups to something else? maybe quarter pounder will be more close to what I'm looking for?
    maybe i should switch back to 500K pots?
    please help
  2. tomersg


    Aug 6, 2007
    somebody help?
  3. JonesKY


    Sep 28, 2009
    Some of what's going on may be the difference between playing at room vs band volume. Tonal differences occur when db levels change. Things happen when there's a band in the mix, too. Rather than changing p'ups, investigate how you can duplicate your practice & band tones through amplification. Keep in mind also, often what sounds great in practice becomes lost in the mix.

    Have fun!
  4. try swapping back to the 500k pots. The 250k pots will tend to darken the instrument up a bit by comparison.
  5. If that is the case, look into the Fletcher-Munson effect.
  6. TheArchitect


    Aug 4, 2009
    If it is sounding right in the mix, does it matter what it sounds like solo?
  7. Um.
    No offense, but that is the dumbest thing I have ever heard.

    If my car gets good mileage on the freeway, does it matter if it gets good mileage in the city?
  8. Are you using the same strings you were with the old pickups? Maybe just changing to brighter sounding strings will give you the growl you want.
  9. TheArchitect


    Aug 4, 2009
    It is offensive, you have your priorities backwards and your analogy is ridiculous.

    Who is hearing it solo? The player. Who is hearing it in the mix of the band? The audience. What the instrument sounds like solo is irrelevant. What matters is what it sounds like in the context of the band. He said it sounded good with the band. Thats all that matters. The rest is mental masturbation
  10. smeet

    smeet Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 27, 2006
    Woodland Hills, CA
    No, it's a legit point. Many times the best sound for a band does not sound good alone in a practice room, and vice versa.

    EDIT: I see your favorite genre is "solo bass work", so that explains your priorities. That is a different sound, a completely different musical function. For playing in a rock band, a great "solo bass" sound is usually not ideal.
  11. kraigo


    Jun 21, 2007
    Minneapolis, MN
    I disagree - I don't solo. The sound in the mix is everything. What it sounds like in my rehearsal space is not that important.



    Feb 2, 2005
    S. Carolina
    I have basses I gig with but often practice with another bass I don't gig out just because of the tonality differences in the separate situations.
  13. Regardless of where you are setting your priorities on band vs. solo, a good instrument should be able to perform well in all playing situations.

    You asked whether or not the solo tone mattered, and it should.
    As Smeet pointed out, yes, I'm a complete solo player myself, but that is unrelated.
    I honestly couldn't give a crap what my basses sounded like in a band setting, because I will never be using them in that way, however, I feel strongly that their performance in such a setting is still very important.
    If I were ever to go back and forth between playing solo and with a band, I would be making every adjustment necessary to ensure that my basses performed well in both situations.
  14. How so?

    If my car gets good mileage on the freeway, does that mean I shouldn't care what it gets in the city?

    I would prefer that my car perform well in both situations.
  15. TheArchitect


    Aug 4, 2009
    What you prefer is neither relevant nor the point...

    When you drive your car, overall mileage matters because you pay for the gas either way. When I play an instrument it doesn't matter what it sounds like by itself, it only maters what it sounds like in the context of the band because that's what the audience hears. They don't give a damn what it sounds like in the rehearsal room.
  16. It's pointless to argue about this, because we clearly don't see eye to eye on the issue. With that being said, the only relevance this has is to the OP:

    It sounds to me that getting both functionalities from his bass is at least somewhat important to him, but that's just my view. Whether or not that matters, it still points to him being dissatisfied with the bass and wanting a to do something different.
  17. TheArchitect


    Aug 4, 2009

    Your the one that felt the need to post the smart mouth comment. If you want to back peddle away from it, by all means. My question is valid and remains open for the OP to respond to if they wish
  18. You are basically telling me that if a bass sounds good in X situation, that it does not matter what it sounds like in any other situation, is that correct?

    If that's the case, and you disagree with me on the matter, then we are never going to go any further and will just continue arguing on the issue back and forth, so I don't care to go that route.
    I'm not "back peddling away from it", I just don't feel like continuing because it won't do any good.
  19. TheArchitect


    Aug 4, 2009

    Blocklist bound..... I am tired of your "smartest kid in school" routine already
  20. I don't really get a "smartest kid in school" attitude from anyone other than you Architect...clearly line6man's point is valid since the two situations are both of concern to the OP. Whether you feel the audiences' ears are more important than yours when you're playing solo only matters to you, not to every bassist in the world ever. You can't make that kind of generalization and not expect to fan flames, so why are you complaining about the fire?

    The point of this discussion is to help the OP solve his problem, and while line6man and others have offered solutions to try and aid tomersg, your solution has been "what does your problem matter" with an attitude that the OP is stupid for having the issue in the first place. I don't see that as particularly productive to anyone here.

    To tomersg: The human ear doesn't sense bass and upper mid frequencies as well at lower volumes, so you have to EQ a little more of them into your low volume playing to get the same tone. Since you're clearly not new to bass given your collection, you probably have some experience with this, but until I looked at the Fletcher-Munson effect that was mentioned above, I didn't know why I always ended up doing this.

    If that fixes the issue, great. From what you said though, it sounds like you feel that you lost the highs after the surgery. If that's the case I really think that going back to 500k pots will help you out. The higher value pots put a larger resistor between your hot and ground sides of the signal, and since treble frequencies bleed off to ground more easily than bass frequencies you get an increased treble response as the pot value gets larger. This is why a Stratocaster sounds a bit darker than a Jaguar- 250k vs 1000k pots give less loss of treble from the pickups despite their relative similarity in construction.

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