P'ups for a Heavily Mid-Rangey Sounding Bass

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Count Bassie, Dec 16, 2014.

  1. I've got an older Hamer Cruisebass, and it's loaded with Dimarzio PJs. The bass is all Mahogany, and with those p'ups tends to sound very nasally. It's currently got a 9v pre installed, a 2-band Artec 2A. I bought it used with this mod, and it sounds really great! Now, into the realm of fixing what already works... I would, if I could, lose the battery thing and go passive- if I could keep the nice low end I'm able to produce with it in its present state. I don't really love the battery because:

    1) When the battery runs down, there's no way to play without it- the pups only route through the preamp, and
    2) the preamp is kind of a messy little jig... I have to be careful when changing batteries lest I break a solder joint on the board.

    Is there a passive PJ set, or other idea that will give me a more bottom-y tone than the DiMarzios without the on-board pre? ...in a bass that sounds inherently mid-strong? Should I be looking at Nordstrands?... Maybe a DiMarzio Model-1 or similar?

    I had a few minutes to kill here, so I thought I'd throw it into the local mix... thanks for your time!
  2. JustForSport

    JustForSport Guest

    Nov 17, 2011
    You've tried bypassing the preamp and wired the pickups direct to the jack, then use your amp for eq?
  3. Oh yeah... there's an idea! :)
  4. iiipopes

    iiipopes Supporting Member

    May 4, 2009
    How does the bass sound acoustically? The mids might be in the preamp, as stated above.

    If, after everything else is tried, if you still have too much mids, find a slightly underwound pickup, like a Fralin -5%, soft magnets, 250 kohm pots.
  5. JustForSport

    JustForSport Guest

    Nov 17, 2011
    Sorry for the short post above- was pressed for time, and didn't know if you had tried that yet.
    Basically, it just gets the eq out of the chain, and lets you know what the pickups you have can transfer to the amp- maybe the bottom you're looking for (or not). But at least you'll know what the bass with those pickups can do. If you not able to get what you're looking for straight thru the jack, then different pickups to taste.
    But if the preamp is 'coloring' your tone, then you know where to start.
  6. Well I just got it fixed- new pot, couple solder joints addressed. The pre does color the tone, I'm sure of it. Thing is, I really do like what it does, but there are practical caveats... I will try that though as soon as I get it back. Thanks for the suggestion, I'll post here again when I've tried it.
  7. Yeah that old Dimarzio P is super mid-rangey. I had the same problem with my 80's maton (ebony/maple set neck & queensland sassafrass body). Acoustically, the bass has some strong woody mids. As these are getting a bit collectable now, I wanted to keep it all original, and I tried hard to like the Dimarzios, but after 8 or 9 gigs I had to fire up the soldering iron.

    Unlike yours, the bass was passive, and the first thing I tried was to wire that P in parallel mode. This was a big improvement. The pickup worked a lot better with the (still in series) Dimarzio J. I'm surprised no one has mentioned this. It's simple and easily reversable. You should try it before you go buying new stuff for sure.

    Next I added a 2-band preamp with a bit of a mid-scoop inherent in the design. This is my own design. There's nothing really like on the market, but think sadowsky or aguilar obp1 I guess, but more subtle.

    The bass was really close, but not quite there. The parallel P was now too brittle in the treble, so I swapped it for a cheap ceramic mag P (wired in the standard series way) and that's pretty much it.

    There's been a few more tweaks with the blend pot and the input Z of the pre. Plus it also has a double volume pot with different gangs for active and passive. I tried a few things along the way that didn't work out, but that's all part of the fun.

    This tweaking has allowed me to get just the right loading on the pickups, in both active and passive modes.

    This is now one of the best basses I've owned.
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2014
  8. RobbieK, that's way more hands-on than I can get into, and I'm seeking a more one-shot solution. But I can appreciate where you're coming from! Ceramic might be a pretty good answer though.

    The Artec is bass and treble boost/cut (+- 15dB), so for my intents and all it's a mid-scoop idea. I'm still preferring passive, so I'll take your process and finding into consideration of course. Thanks for chiming in.
  9. Yeah, swapping that Dimarzio P for pretty much anything else will give you less mid range for sure. It's the most middy bass pickup I've ever heard.
  10. BassinCT

    BassinCT …still tuning… Supporting Member

    Jun 17, 2006
    Connecticut, USA
    If you do replace, I would suggest checking out the Nordstrand PJ sets. I have used Np's and NJ's for replacements and they have a much different character than what you are hearing- definitely a wider response. The Nordstrand PJ set has the split J, which I haven't tried, but I imagine it would be a pleasant change. Ed Friedland has some clips of different P's on his bass whisperer channel, and the NP's are on a couple of the instruments.
  11. Nordstrands have some good buzz as I am hearing. Got a "must-have" rec a while back from an old mentor. a little rich for me just now, but they're on the "Hmm List"...