Replaced the Carvin HB with a Basslines MM !!

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by KB, Aug 6, 2001.

  1. KB


    Jan 13, 2000
    Chapel Hill, NC
    Well I finally did it. I pulled out the carvin HB pickup in my LB70 bass and put in the ceramic Basslines Musicman pickup (I left the stock Carvin electronics in and I kept the J99 in the neck position). I also had the pickup wired series/split/parallel and had the 3 way switch put in place of the coil splitter that comes with the Carvin HB. Let me just say that this was an excellent choice!!!:) .The Basslines really has a meatier and punchier sound than the weak Carvin HB. Some people describe the ceramic Basslines as harsh, but I don't really think so. It does add a little more bark to the sound than the HB (but I like punchy bass, because I use the bass as more of a lead instrument in my band), but the "bark" is really only there in series mode and it can be tamed (and warmed up) by blending in some of the neck Carvin J99. In the 50/50 pickup blend mode that same carvin growl is still there, but just more so. In split mode and blended 50/50, the bass really sounds like a good active Jazz bass. In parallel mode the sound is a little more tame and similar to the carvin HB sound, but just a little more "open". The series mode is very punchy and probably similar to (but not quite like) a stringray, but I've never played a stingray so I can't give a true comparison. If you are looking for that "warm transparent" vintage background bass sound then don't go with the basslines (maybe try Bartolini instead??), but if you want punch galore with some warmth and you want to open up the sound of the Carvin with the HB, then this is definately what you want to do.

    A WORD OF CAUTION: The Basslines pickup is wired magnetically out of phase with the J99 as it comes from stock. Therefore, when the pickup blend is as 50/50 you will have almost no sound coming from your bass. This happened to me the first time my local luthier put in the pickup. I then took it back to him and he said it was VERY EASY to reverse the magnetic phasing of the Basslines and he did it for me that day and for free!!! Now the bass sounds Great with no volume problems, etc. Just be sure you are aware that the basslines pickup may need to be reverse wired so there is no magnetic phasing issues (this doesn't affect the sound). Its not that big of deal to do, just make sure that whoever is putting in your pickup is aware of it (you'll know this is happening if you don't hear much coming from the bass on a 50/50 blend).

    I also strongly recommend getting the 3 way switch installed if you do the pickup upgrade, to give even more tonal range. If you have any questions about this feel free to email me or better yet post here!!!

  2. It sounds like your Carvin is a keeper, now. Well, awright!

    I bought the alnico version of the Basslines MM, but I haven't been able to try it because it's waiting for the bass it goes on to be built. So, I appreciate the review, even if the model you have is the ceramic.

    I also bought the 3-Band Tone Cirucuit with the slap switch Basslines makes for this pickup. It sounds like you didn't get it, or did you? Basslines told me that really gives you everything their MM has to offer.

    It sounds like you replaced a Carvin MM-style HB. If that was the bucker you replaced, I sure know why. I regret getting that sad impostor.

    FWIW, I always tell the tech to try out the bass after the installation/repair. Amazingly, there are some, like yours, who don't! (Or the guy is deaf). IMO, you should expect them to correct it for free, unless you specifically told them you wanted the pup wired the way it originally was.

    Other than the Tone Circuit question, I have two others -

    > Is the output uniform for each string/pole piece? (That's one of the faults I found with the Carvin)

    > Any/much finger noise?

    Thanks, KB! I found next to nothing about the Basslines MM when I was researching the pickup. And the one or two reviews I found were very short and vague and only dealt with the ceramic model.
  3. KB


    Jan 13, 2000
    Chapel Hill, NC
    I kept the Carvin electronics and did not get the basslines tone circuit (mostly due to costs, but also because I want to change just 1 thing at a time to see how the tone changes). My Carvin HB2 (4? whatever) MM wasn't bad (I've used it for 1.5 years)- all of the strings on mine had balanced output, I just wanted a little something more because I felt in general it was weak and didn't really have that funky MM sound. I know you are not a fan of it from your posts here, etc.
    The basslines is a big step up for sound quality and I am glad I did the upgrade.
    On the basslines the output seems to be even (it is all very hot- a lot hotter than the HB, but more along the lines of just a little more than the J99.
    Because it is a hotter pickup it does amplify things such as finger noise, but I play with DR Sunbeams strings which are fairly smooth (and fit the Carvin very well) and thus don't lead to much finger noise.
    My luthier did test the bass after the first install and he noticed the drop in the sound, but I guess he didn't think it was a big deal. As soon as I played the 1st note I knew it was a big deal and so I gave the bass back to him to fix. He had to investigate it a while to figure out exactly what was going on, but once he did there was no problem in fixing it. My other option was going to be to change the J99 out for a Basslines Jazz pup of some type, but I actually like the sound of the J99 so that was only a last resort and luckily I didn't need it. Let me know if you have any other questions.

  4. jwymore

    jwymore Guest

    Jul 26, 2001
    Portland, OR

    I would be interested in hearing your opinion/review on the SD MM tone circuit. I have had several people ask me about them, but I have never heard one so I don't really know how to answer them except with what is in SD's web site information.


  5. John - Most likely, I will once I get some playing time after the bass is built. If I have a piece of gear that hasn't been reviewed ad nauseum on the web, I usually do a formal review on it.

    From what I hear, the Tone Cirucuit was designed expressly for this pickup, instead of a one-size-fits-all job.
  6. bazzanderson


    Oct 7, 2002
    Austin, TX
    Hey, KB,
    Did you get the 60 cycle hum from the J99 when you used the 50/50 setting with the basslines hb in series setting? Or...did the phantom coil in the basslines HB cancel the hum from the single coil J99? I'm thinking of routing and adding an Alnico version of the basslines HB to my jazz copy and I need to know if I'll have to replace the current single coil neck pickup (don't want the hum in 50/50 which is the setting I'll use most I'm sure).