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Replace EMG J40 & Preamp on 5 String w/ What?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by AaronS, Apr 2, 2006.

  1. I am considering buying a beautiful, lightweight, very resonant Swamp Ash 5 string 17th Street bass. 17th Street is a new small LA company. I have been playing this bass in my favorite shop for the past year and, other than a Peavey Cirrus I played for a while, it is my favorite 5 string. The shop owner is getting ready to blow it out. Until yesterday, I had not plugged it in. When I did I found that the EMG (J40s, I think) pickups and preamp were much too thin and sterile for my taste. I was plugged into a Crate amp since the shop AG500 setup was out on loan. I emailed 17th Street about the specific pickups and preamp, but it came back as "mail box full". I'll try to call them tomorrow. I made arrangements to borrow the bass next week end so I can try it out with my Ashdown amp. But given EMGs rep for "hi-fidelity" and maybe even "sterile" sound, I am not optimistic that I will like the pickups even with the Ashdown. My reference point for pickups and preamps is my Rick Turner Electroline with the piezo bridge, two Turner Soapbars and the Turner Highlander pre-amp. These aren't very common so my best description is warm, full and round, yet very articulate, with lots of bottom, lots of mid and beautiful highs. In my experience the versatility is only rivaled by MTDs. If I buy the bass, it will be because of the body, neck and price.

    So what is available that I could drop into a 5 string J40 rout that would give me a warm and full, but also articulate tone? Does EMG make a pickup and pre-amp that fits this description? Any suggestions on other pre-amps? I haven't heard the Aggie preamps, but I usually like their equipment so I am considering theirs.
  2. TheBrad

    TheBrad Baby step bassist - 90% n00b

    Jan 16, 2006
    Mountain View,CA
    I am not sure if you're talk J 40 soapbar or a 5 string jazz pickup.
    Given that you are using 40 (EMG's designation for 1.5x4" soapbars pickups) I'll answer with soapbar recommendations...

    Bartolini makes some replacements in the EMG 40, as does Nordstrand. You could also try a Kent Armstrong soapbar, could be an odd fit though it's like 3 7/8 so just under the EMG 4 inches.

    But as far as pres go, the sky is the limit. Aggie, Audere and Bart all seem to get consistantly good reviews. So I would try one of those. If you wanted to add piezos to the bass I am sure a Noll pre would do a great job mimicing what you desire.
  3. cb56


    Jul 2, 2000
    Central Illinois
    I'm wondering if the pre amp might have more of an effect on tone. Just guessing here. I have two basses. A Schecter Elite 5 with EMG HZ's and EMG BTC preamp. My other bass is a Spector Rebop dlx5 with the same EMG HZ's but Spectors tonepump pre amp. The Schecter sounds good but real harsh in the high end. The Spector has no harshness to it at all. Same pickups....:meh:
  4. Well, I learned a lot today. The 17th Street website is still up, but the company has folded after about a year. I had heard that John Carruthers had a hand in the design, so I called his shop and asked if they could get me in touch so I could find out about the pickups. I was told that the Carruthers shop actually designed and built the instruments for 17th Street and that the pickups were EMG TWs, the pots were stacked, one treble / bass and another sweepable mids / frequency selection, with twin volume controls instead of a volume and pan selector like I am used to. Obviously I will have to spend a lot more time to get familiar with this bass. I spoke with the fellow who assembled the bass and he told me that he thought the EMG TWs will get me a lot closer to what I am looking for after I learn to use them than any of the Bartolini's. I got a 10% over cost quote from the shop owner, so I had him put it in the back while a sell a few items. I am really excited.

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