Polytone Pickup

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by chris4001asat, Dec 16, 2002.

  1. chris4001asat


    Dec 16, 2002
    Toledo, Ohio
    Warehouse Manager : Reverend Guitars
    After years of dreaming about it, I finally purchased an upright. Got a great deal ( I think) on a Knilling. I'm trying to stay with my local mom and pop store for a pickup. The only one they recomended was a polytone. They admitted have very little knowledge on the subject however. Anyone have any thoughts on the subject? I'd be using an SWR Super Redhead for an amp. Thanks for any and all help!!!
  2. Up until his passing, Ray Brown used a Polytone Pickup.
  3. erik II

    erik II

    Jul 11, 2000
    Oslo, Norway
    Is that the huge square thingie? I have no experience with it, but I think it has been mentioned here. Try a search.

    Congrats on the bass, BTW :D
  4. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    This is true. He also got a kind of nasty "Fishmanlike" tone out of it the last two times I saw him. Up close to the stage, you could hear his bass pretty high in the mix, but further back all you got was the line out from his amp. I won't pretend to provide any objective opinion, but to this listener, that's one raunchy sounding pickup.
  5. I was fortunate to be able to be front row center to 6 performances in Vail Colorado at the Jazz Festival a couple of years ago. What I heard was definately not "Fishmanlike". What I heard was the same sound that I hear on most of my Ray Brown Trio CD's and records. I have to wonder if it wasn't the "mix" rather than the pickup that was the problem when you heard him.

    BTW - we are talking about the present day Polytone not the old brass cylinder pickups from the 60's.
  6. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Right. This was the one with the little box attached to the f-hole.
  7. I don't know Chris. If what you were hearing was coming from a Direct Box, that would be "mix" to me. If it sounded good up close, that was probably more from his amp than anything else. I don't know about you, but I try to avoid direct boxes like a plague.
  8. Blaine


    Aug 4, 2001
    new york area
    I wouldn't part with my old polytone for the world. I've got a few brass ones, a few aluminum ones.although the last two weeks i've gotten the new fishman and am very impressed.
    Tim givens
  9. jugband


    Jan 16, 2001
    Are you talking about Fishman's "Full Circle"?
  10. Blaine


    Aug 4, 2001
    new york area
    yes, the full circle. very nice.
  11. Blaine


    Aug 4, 2001
    new york area
    Yeah Ed, good to hear from you. That amp and speaker was the deal of the century.
    I'm still around, living by Montclair, NJ.Keeping busy, actually a fair amount of folk and country-pop stuff the last few years. Writing a transcription book that should come out sometime in 2003, I hope. But basically hackin away like everyone else.
    You wouldn't happen to have a new years gig for me, would ya???
  12. Jeremy Allen

    Jeremy Allen Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2002
    Bloomington, IN
    I can unfortunately corroborate this. We all know that Ray Brown's tone was wonderfully warm and huge, which made it even more disappointing to hear him amplified so poorly at the Jazz Kitchen in Indianapolis two years ago. He had his pickup (I was too far away--looked like an Underwood then) going into a little GK combo, the speaker of which the slack-jawed troglodyte of a sound man had a MICROPHONE in front of as if he were working with a rock guitarist or something. So the sound coming to the audience was the sound of an old pickup through a dinky amplifier going into a little microphone and being sent out of a huge PA set-up. The beautiful bass and fingers were all but indiscernible, until Mr. Brown turned the amp volume all the way down to do an arco version of "Round Midnight." Then, wow, what a sound...
    I've always tried to leave the sound reinforcement to the professionals, because it is hard indeed to tell from the stage what things sound like in the audience. But it sucks when the sound guy is clueless!
  13. jugband


    Jan 16, 2001
    I'm finding that about 20% of the sound men I encounter have never mixed a double bass before, AND they don't think it sounds right until it closely resembles a bass guitar through a Peavy amp with Juke-Box speakers.

    If you narrow the field down to sound men with no gray hairs on their heads, that percentage seems to jump up something above 50% or higher. :(
  14. No truer word have ever been spoken! (I think the percentages are even higher here in the midwest).
  15. atunbridge


    Apr 23, 2002
    Devon UK
    I totally agree.

    Did anyone ever hear a sound man ask "Does that sound OK to you?" or "How do you want your bass to sound?"

    Q. How many sound men does it take to change a light bulb?

    A. What'd you say???
  16. damonsmith


    May 10, 2006
    Houston, Tx
    I had to add this to this old thread:
    The old polytone bar is hands down the best pick up I have used. Peter Kowald turned me on to it. He had an amazing sound. Through the old polytone amps you get that twanky '70s sound - through new amps like a little GK they sound natural and amazing. They have a lot of volume. It is best to use it at an angle from the bridge foot to the center rather than straight across.
  17. wow Damon, you may have just captured the title for the biggest resurrection of an old thread in the history of talkbass!