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PUPS: are they the problem?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Rockin John, Dec 11, 2002.


  1. There's always been something about the sound of my Bass Collection that I didn't really like. Apart from more growl that I'd like, the G is really quite thin.

    Changed over to TI Jazz rounds and that made a big improvement in some departments. But the G's still thin. I've a sneaker it might be down to the budget actives and I might just spend some time and redesign and rebuild the whole electronics with something decent.

    But, and here's the point of the question, is there any wisdom on replacing the PUPS to rid this bass of a thin G? And, therefore, is there any recommendation as to what I might look for?

    I play in a 3 piece rock band.

    Thanks.

    John
     
  2. Fran Diaz

    Fran Diaz

    Mar 28, 2002
    Santander, Spain
    Bassist
    John,

    First of all play the bass unplugged and check if the G string is still weak. If that's not the case try first to adjust the pickup height, maybe it's too close/too far from the G string compared to the other strings.

    If your bass has active electronics, boost the mids. this will help to make the G string cut better. If the bass doesn't have a mid knob, cut bass and treble and boost the signal in the amp.

    I don't know this bass enough to recommend you any pickups or preamps, sorry.

    hope this helps
    keep groooovin'
    Fran
     
  3. Thanks, Frandiaz.

    Just popped on to say that. I've been quite busy of late, since my original post. I'm rehersing tonight so I'll give it a go.

    John
     
  4. Fran Diaz

    Fran Diaz

    Mar 28, 2002
    Santander, Spain
    Bassist
    good luck and enjoy the prctice.


    keep groooovin'
    Fran
     
  5. Well, it didn't work. Never expected it to, I guess.

    The G rings out OK unamplified but is still very thin although, I feel it's better balanced with your suggestion. It could be the pups, of course, but it could also be the electronics (active).

    I might just disable them and turn it into a passive bass for a try-out. That will then isolate the problem.

    Bass Collections are noted for not sunding too good, I now discover:eek: Still, it plays nicely and might be worth modding.

    Cheers.

    John
     
  6. Fran Diaz

    Fran Diaz

    Mar 28, 2002
    Santander, Spain
    Bassist
    let us know if you find where is the problem.

    keep groooovin'
    Fran
     
  7. Bass Kahuna

    Bass Kahuna

    Dec 3, 2002
    West Lafayette, Indiana
    Luthier, Custom Builder
    Just thought I'd jump in here...

    To really check the "unplugged" sound and balance of the strings, place the upper horn of the bass against the bone of your skull right behind your right ear and then pluck each string independently. You will really hear the fundamental tone and sound of the bass. You should be able to notice if the G string is balanced with the rest of the strings this way.

    If it is not, check for any loose parts on the G path (the tuning machine, bridge screws or bridge saddles, etc). Also check for any cracks in the nut or bridge, or if the nut is coming loose from the neck pocket.

    If these are all okay, it could simply be due to the resonance (or lack thereof) of the wood and other materials used in the bass, or poor construction techniques used in making it.

    New pickups might make a difference, but if the G string is "thinner" using the acoustic test method above, then new pickups will not make it any better.

    Hope this helps,
     
  8. Thanks BK. I tried that last night. As far as I can tell, G rings out loud and true with the other 3. Perhaps there's a slight difference but not much, and certainly very much less than the amplified diference.

    I think the bass' construction is really good: Bass Collections aren't popular today but this was a £500/600 bass in it's day. Interestingly, and something that initially attracted me was the almost total lack of dead spots on the neck, showing the bass must be quite well made. That's how I see it anyway.

    I'm 90% it's the actives at fault.

    John
     
  9. Bass Kahuna

    Bass Kahuna

    Dec 3, 2002
    West Lafayette, Indiana
    Luthier, Custom Builder
    Cool,

    Putting the bass against your skull behind your ear is always the best method of testing the overall sound and resonance of the bass itself.

    Question for ya, are the pickups really "active"? ie: is the pre-amp built into the pickup like on the expensive EMGs, or does the bass just have a seperate pre-amp in the control cavity, which means you have "active electronics" but passive pre-amps.

    If it is a seperate pre-amp in the control cavity, try bypassing it and just run the bass passive (to test just hook the pickups directly to the output jack).

    This will give you an idea of the overall sound of the pickups and if the problem is in the pre-amp or the pickups.

    Bottom line, IMHO, most good aftermarket pickups almost always sound better than the factory stuff (unless the factory stuff happens to be Bartolini's, etc.).

    Happy Holidays!
     
  10. Bass Kahuna

    Bass Kahuna

    Dec 3, 2002
    West Lafayette, Indiana
    Luthier, Custom Builder
    OOps! the line below:

    "...or does the bass just have a seperate pre-amp in the control cavity, which means you have "active electronics" but passive pre-amps."

    should actually read:

    "...or does the bass just have a seperate pre-amp in the control cavity, which means you have "active electronics" but passive pickups .

    Sheesh, I gotta learn to proof read my stuff before posting!
     
  11. Yes, indeed, BK.

    The pickups are passive. There's EQ in the control cavity.

    I intend to bypass the actives (I'm an electronics techie, BTW) to see how it sounds direct from the pups: therein will lay the answer!!

    I designed an on-board parametric system for basses about 15 years ago. Might just rework it for the BC.

    John