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Question about bass pickup volume level

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by patrick2099, Feb 8, 2018.


  1. patrick2099

    patrick2099

    Feb 2, 2018
    I just received my first bass -- a Fender Special Edition Deluxe PJ Bass Olympic White ( http://www.guitarcenter.com/Fender/Special-Edition-Deluxe-PJ-Bass.gc ) and did a brief checkout on it. I need to take it to my tech, to see if he can spot anything a setup won't take care of. I see a few minor issues, but nothing major, which really surprises me since Guitar Center sent it single boxed, with no shock absorption whatsoever. This bass must be built like a tank to survive that trip.

    Other than a few minor cosmetic issues and the frets not being cut that great, I couldn't see much wrong with it. I did have one really dumb question though. Are bass pickups supposed to be significantly weaker than guitar pickups? I don't have a bass amp yet, so I ran it into my Kemper and into Reaper. With the Kemper output set to -11.5 dB, what I have it set to for my guitars, my signal was around -20dB, in Reaper. I tried my guitar with the same profile, and it was -7.5 -- right around where I record at.

    I also briefly tried Rocksmith, and I had to manually set the input strength to +9 dB to really get it to register. I am a complete noob to bass, but this seems odd to me. Are bass pickups really that much weaker than guitar pickups or might there be something wrong here? I am completely new to bass, so I apologize if this is a stupid question.

    Thanks a lot.
     
  2. patrick2099

    patrick2099

    Feb 2, 2018
    The pickups slope downward, as well as side to side, which makes it hard to measure the height.
     
  3. crucislancer

    crucislancer Supporting Member

    Dec 25, 2009
    Coeur d'Alene, ID
    I have one of these, in Sunburst, and it's a fantastic bass. As far as output level vs a guitar, I honestly don't know, but I can tell you that not having the pickups at the correct height will make them sound weaker if too far away from the strings.

    Here's how I have mine set, using a small ruler with 64ths or 32nds inch marks, and press down the string at the last fret:

    Neck Pickup: 8/64ths for E and A string, 6/64ths for D and G string.
    Bridge pickup: 8/64ths for E string side, 6/64ths for G string side.

    Hope that helps.
     
  4. patrick2099

    patrick2099

    Feb 2, 2018
    Thanks. That made a huge difference! They were nowhere remotely close to that. I thought they looked odd being down that low, but assumed they were like that for a reason.
     
  5. crucislancer

    crucislancer Supporting Member

    Dec 25, 2009
    Coeur d'Alene, ID
    My pleasure. Glad it wad an easy fix. That bass should play and sound amazing provided it's set up correctly.
     
  6. Ampslut

    Ampslut

    May 15, 2017
     
    crucislancer likes this.

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