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Quick questions on pup height / preamp settings

Discussion in 'Sadowsky Basses' started by bwoodman, May 10, 2010.

  1. bwoodman

    bwoodman Supporting Member

    I'm a new owner of a NYC 24-5 and I'm in the dialing-in phase. I'm hoping to get some feedback on two things - pickup height and preamp settings. I took the new bass out on a gig last night and noticed that the B string was quite a bit hotter than the other strings. I was not able to make any adjustments and the gig, but found myself having to play with a lighter touch on the B - of course. Today, I lowered the pickups on the bass side and I think that did the trick, but I won't know until I'm in a band setting again. Anybody else had this situation? Not complaining about the factory set-up, as these things are always personal preference details - just like string height and neck adjustment. If it's got a screw head on it, it's subject to tweeking!

    Preamp settings - I've been playing a bass for the last 20 years with a 3-band preamp and it usually sounds pretty good set flat (and the pots had center dents). So now with the 2-band and no centers, it's a whole different deal. So far, I'm setting the bass and treble control on like 2 or 3 - any more than that and there's too much zing and too much boom. Of course it's good too have all that extra, but what are some common settings from some of you long-timers? Then there's the VTC - I have that on about 3 or 4, but then again it depends on if your preamp is on or off.


  2. bikeplate

    bikeplate Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2001
    Upstate NY

    Great questions. As far as pickup height goes, Ill let Rob or Roger chime in when they read this

    As far as the pre goes, there is lots you can do. First off, the preamp is boost only. When its rolled all the way off(bass and treble) its actually flat! Same as center detent on what you are used to. I seldom roll the treble up on my basses. Mine are ash/maple which many feel are brighter than basses with alder bodies or rosewood boards. I tend to roll the bass up just a bit, maybe 20 to 25% just to warm up the tone of the band. A little goes along way with the bass knob. Use your ears

    The VTC is a bit different. Its acts the same as a tone control on an old Fender. Turned forward its full on. As you roll it back, it darkens your tone. Good for certain types of music. I personally leave mine full on always. Most guys use theirs to roll off brightness. Others like to use the VTC in conjunction with their treble knob and get some great tones.

    Another thing to consider is the way you set your amp. I tend to use very little eqing on my amps since Ive used Sadowsky basses. You might want to try that too. You'll find the tone is strong and punchy just from the bass and the bass Pre. If you pull the VTC knob out, you are passive. The VTC does work in passive mode.

    Twist some knobs and enjoy!!

  3. jokerjkny


    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PHL
    from what lisa at the shop told me, i think i remember that both pickups are 8/64" from pole piece to bottom of the string, while fretting the highest fret on whatever string you choose.

    also, due to my aggressive fingerstyle, i run the preamp incredibly hot, anywhere from 50% for rock to almost 75% for r&b, cause yea, it sounds that awesome. but like rob said, its boost only, so use to your own effect.
  4. Don't know much about pickup height settings, so can't comment on that... never moved mine from the original set-up.

    Per the above, remember, the Sadowsky pre is flat with the VTC turned all the way up, and the tone controls (boost only) turned all the way down). I typically run my Sadowsky flat, with just a touch of low end boost (never more than around 10%) since I like the 'classic' Sadowsky tone that you get that way. Remember, the VTC works in active or passive mode, and takes off the top end, just like on an old Fender. Nice when you want to go a bit more old school.

    With a modern, full range two or three way rig, I can't imagine boosting the treble, but with an old school one way cab without a tweeter, it can muscle some high end out of the top of a driver nicely.

    So, start off 'flat'.... VTC all the way up, tone controls all the way down. Try rolling in just a touch of low end, so that it fattens the low end without covering up everything else, and you will have that 'Sadowsky tone'!
  5. bwoodman

    bwoodman Supporting Member

    Thanks for all the info! I have a gig this weekend, so I'll see how my pup adjustment works out. I lowered the bass side of the pups by a couple of turns - maybe 1/16". I did some reading on pup height and found a lot of dimensions in 64ths. My ruler only goes down to 32nds, but no big deal - this adjustment is really determined by using your ears anyway - and in a live band setting.
  6. jokerjkny


    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PHL
    yes and no,

    there's many reasons why pup height is important and measured in such minute detail. tone is one very important thing, but also, at least IME, the higher you fret up the neck, the closer the string gets to the magnets of the pickup, thusly, increasing the chances of the fretted note going in and out of tune due the pull of the magnets. its worth getting a real ruler.

    btw, i was incorrect, 7/64" is the shop standard.
  7. rob2966


    Oct 19, 2006
    Vancouver, BC
    I made no adjustments to the pickup heights on my 24F5. I usually boost the lows about 10% to get more kick. I also boost the highs about 10% which I find gives me better balance across the strings. I usually run both pickups even (blend centered). I vary the VTC depending on the song, how new my strings are (SS), etc. Most of the time I have it off (full bright). I never use passive mode, it is just nice to know it is there if my battery died on me with no replacement.


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