Realist under treble foot, blended with what?

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by Tom Baldwin, Nov 23, 2005.

  1. I have a Realist on the way, and I am thinking of trying it under the treble foot, as well as blending with another pickup. I know this has been touched on before, but am looking for some more recent opinions. My reasoning is, I think the darkness, body sound, and low end bias of the Realist would be a good match for the higher strings. Combined with something closer to the strings on the E side, to get a more direct and focused sound on the low strings.

    I am not looking for "my bass only louder", but a nice amplified sound that can, if necessary, be used for higher volumes. I am also thinking in terms of a small blender pre to mount on the tp with a panpot to adjust between the two pickups. For example, I could quickly change to all Realist for arco, or all of the other pu for a more modern sound, or somewhere in the middle depending on the music or room acoustics.

    The questions:
    1. Is the Realist on the G side advisable or not?
    2. What might be a good companion pu - BassMax, Rev Solo, Full Circle, Double Big Twin, Wilson, or other?...Stat-B on the bass side!?!?!
  2. jazzbassnerd


    Aug 26, 2002
    The first thing that I thought of reading your post was that a bass max might work very well.

    Reading your list at the end made me think a little more. I really enjoy the full-circle (It is the only pickup I use now and I am after my bass only louder). While I like this pickup, I don't think that its tonal characteristics would blend well with the realist. I would probably go with the bass max.

    Just .02
  3. oystein


    Sep 15, 2001
    Norway, Leikong
    I agree with the jazzbassnerd, I use the Full Circle now and don't feel like I have to blend it with anything. It still sounds like a pickup though. I have had Realist, Fishman(old type) Wilson in different combinations. Wilson and Realist blended were quite good, due to their different sound qualities. I think the Full Circle have the best of both worlds and it can still be adjusted for focused or a full open sound.

    I tried the Realist on the treble side but the result was poor.
  4. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    I tried the Realist under the treble foot once. I can't remember why, but I didn't really dig it. But if you've got your heart set on it, why not try a Full Circle under the bass foot?

    Seriously, have you had a look at that new Shadow pickup that Adrian started a thread about with two realist-type elements, one under each foot, attached to a little blender? As long as you're experimenting, why not try something new?
  5. Ric Vice

    Ric Vice Supporting Member

    Jul 2, 2005
    Olivette, Missouri
    Johnas Losse has these pickups on his website. They look very interesting.

    Unfortunately, I don't know anyone that has one, and there's
    the whole Euro thing to contend with.
  6. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Columbia SC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    ???? It looks like a Realist to me.
  7. christ andronis

    christ andronis

    Nov 14, 2001
    It says it's not a piezo element...but it sure looks exactly like a Realist.
  8. And I'd be pretty sure it uses the same 75 cent piezo film that I've been putting in my home-made pickups.
    Take a piezo, wrap it in copper foil, stick it under the bridge - it's not rocket science.
  9. Ric Vice

    Ric Vice Supporting Member

    Jul 2, 2005
    Olivette, Missouri
    Ed and Tone Ranger

    The advertising copy says

    "This new pickup for double bass comes from Russia, and is placed under the foot of the bridge. No piezo is used, but an new electret film. This film allows thickness of only 0.5 mm. In addition, the sheet is flexible and totally even, and fits the curvature of top and bridge feet perfectly".

    That may be just another way of saying Piezo for all I know. It could also be some left over sensors from the MIR space station. Safety issues aside, we all know how well that ultimately worked out. :D


    PS If you really like gobeldy gook

    Emfit film consists of thin polymer layers separated by air voids. When an external force is applied, the thickness of the film changes. As the thickness of the film changes, the thickness of the polymer layers will change much less than the thickness of the air voids due to their lower stiffness. The electromechanical signal of Emfit film thus mainly arises from the movement of the charged polymer layers with respect to the other layers and is not of piezoelectric origin. Because of it's difference in working principle compared to piezoelectric materials, yet producing charge upon pressure change like them, several scientists have recently begin to call Emfit film as "quasi-piezoelectric".

    Does that mean that it's "fake-piezoelectric"
  10. Thanks for the replies, folks. Sounds like Realist under treble foot is not recommended. I already have a Full Circle on, but it's a little hollow sounding - not meaty enough. Again, I am not really looking for a "natural" or "mic-like" sound. I guess I want it to have some thump and low-mid punch and growl, but not the nasal upper mids or clacky string noise.

    The Bass Max is good for directness and punch, but I don't know how to tame the highs on it.

    I'll see what happens with the Realist and report back.
  11. bolo


    May 29, 2005
    Apex, NC
    T-Bal, would you consider trying the Rev SOLO? I think it has the ability to capture the qualities you mentioned, especially flipped over ("R" symbol facing the table instead of the strings).
  12. I won't rule it out until I've tried it, but several testimonies I read put it more in the "mic-like" category. Plus, the low output thing is a drawback for me. Still, it's a possibilty.
  13. Eric Rene Roy

    Eric Rene Roy

    Mar 19, 2002
    Mystic, CT
    President: Upton Bass String Instrument Co.
    T-Bal, I see in your profile your using an AI. The high Z input should give you enough impedance matching that low output should not be an issue. Most of the low output comments I get are from gear that does not accomodate high impedance pickups (like the GK & WW amps for example) or poor fitting elements.
  14. Ric Vice

    Ric Vice Supporting Member

    Jul 2, 2005
    Olivette, Missouri
    I just purchased a Upton Revoultion Solo last month. I won't be able to have my luthier install it until the Christmas holidays.
    I have to admit that I'm a little confused by you're statment here. Personally, I've used the Underwood and Realist and never had a problem with impediance matching between those piezos and either of my Walter Woods Amplifiers. The Fishman BP-100 did sound beter with Fishmans Buffer Preamp. Not much better, but
    then it's a BP-100. The GK's probably would have a impedance mismatch because that's the way they are designed, but the Walter Woods was matched to the Underwood. Don told me this, and I believe him. Now, I realize that you can only go on the words of you're customers, but I wouldn't think impedance matching would be a problem with the Walter Woods.


    T-BAL Sorry for taking the train of the track.
  15. It's all good.
  16. Eric Rene Roy

    Eric Rene Roy

    Mar 19, 2002
    Mystic, CT
    President: Upton Bass String Instrument Co.
    Hey Ric,

    I should have let Gary chime in instead of myself as he is more technical in regards to correct wording and such. Perhaps I lept too soon on the WW comment...I do stand behind what I said on the GK though. I'll talk to Gary and eother revise my statement or have him respond.

    Sorry to de-rail even further!
  17. Oystein, Chris, or anyone else, do you remember which way you had it when you tried it under the treble foot? Wire on the outside or inside? IOW, did you simply slide the pickup over form its position under the E foot or did you flip it upside down as well?

    I talked with someone at Gage's shop about this, and he said if I was going to do it I should not flip it over, because the piezo faces one way or the other (up towards the bridge foot, he thinks) and needs to be in this position to be effective. He also told me that they are in fact still made with ceramic discs, not piezo film as I thought. Apparently it's some kind of thin but dense foam padding in between the copper foil. I don't know whether to believe it or not.
  18. Uncletoad


    May 6, 2003
    Columbus Ohio
    Proprietor Fifth Avenue Fret Shop. Technical Editor Bass Gear Magazine
    This statement caught me. I have the full circle on both of my basses and they have tons of low end and low mids. Way more than the bass max or realist did (at least on the old German plywood, I've not tried either on the Cleveland).

    I remember having the "hollow" sound for a minute on the old German bass when the foot that the full circle was installed on had not fully seated to the top. It was touching around the edge but the center was not fully touching properly. Moreover the surface that contains the piezos has to be exactly parallel to the foot or the bridge bottom (depending on whether it's threads up or down). If it's off axis just a tad it sounds open and hollow. Might check the fit of the full circle on your bass. The bridge foot surface connection is just as important with the realist too.

    Having said all that the realist may sound better on your bass. Sometimes different stuff sounds great on different instruments. If it sucks send it to me and let me try it out on my Cleveland. I got rid of my realist before I bought the bass and never have had the chance to try it out.

    Let us know what you find out.
  19. Arnold installed mine threads down. I believe this is the only way he does it, since he feels the bridge is more structurally sound this way. I subsequently heard that the FC works better threads up. Looking at mine, it does not appear to be flush with the bottom of the bridge leg. I guess I am SOL with this unit until I can get the fit adjusted. Thanks for the input!

    EDIT: The fit is flush. I was going on a visual memory which turned out to be incorrect.
  20. Uncletoad


    May 6, 2003
    Columbus Ohio
    Proprietor Fifth Avenue Fret Shop. Technical Editor Bass Gear Magazine
    Not exactly what I meant.

    I've got one threads up on one bass and the other bass is threads down. I don't believe that point matters too much. I would defer to Arnold's threads down thoughts for stability, he would know far better than I. In your case look at the fit between bottom of the leg sitting on the top of the adjuster and the adjuster top. Make sure that is square. It can sometimes wobble off kilter when the bridge top tilts one way or another. Make sure it is square with the adjuster top and the tailpiece side of the bridge is perpendicular to the table. That lineup assures even preasure through the pickup down into the table.

    Oh yea and make sure you see some thread of your adjusters. The foot should not touch the upper adjuster wheel anywhere. For those of you who are threads up the bridge top leg shouldn't touch the wheel.