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Review of new pickups and preamp in my Fodera (D.Allen, Lindy Fralin, Pope Flexcore)

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by phishaholik, Feb 27, 2013.

  1. phishaholik

    phishaholik Supporting Member

    Aug 20, 2005
    Portland, Oregon
    I bought one of the old 90's Fodera Monarch New Standards about a year and a half ago. I loved everything about the bass, but the tone wasn't as good as the YYS that I owned about the same time. I knew the big difference betweent the two was the preamp, so I sold off the two-band Pope preamp and slapped in a Flexcore. This was leaps and bounds better than the old preamp and I played it this way for over a year. I really can't say enough about this preamp and I don't see myself buying a different preamp for any bass in the future. Having two bands of mids makes the bass capable of anything. I never touch the treble knob on a preamp and rarely boost the bass. I've always found mids to be where all the tone is and it's all I really ever mess with.

    Although the preamp made the tone much, much clearer and more versatile with the 4 band replacing the 2 band, I kept feeling that the EMG's were really holdng this bass back. The tone was always good, but never fantastic. The bridge pickup was wiry sounding and the precision pickup really lacked the punch I was accustomed to with P's. I searched long and hard for months trying to find the perfect PJ combo to replace the EMG's. I finally decided on a D.Allen precision pickup and a Lindy Fralin 5% overwound lateral humbucker in the bridge. It's been a PIA to switch over to passive pickups. I had to get a luthier, and find a luthier local to me for that matter, to drill a hole from the bridge for a ground wire and another hole for the active passive switch. I haven't had a chance to shield the pickup cavities and ground them, so I still have a decent amount of buzz going on. I'm going to pull the pickups back out and do it when I have the time.

    So long story short, too late, I finally have the pickups in my bass, have them dialed in and have really spent some time with them. I am very, very pleased with the difference and the bass has never sounded better! Where the EMG's were very compressed with no deep lows and very little treble, this setup retains the clarity but really opens up the tone a lot.

    The D.Allen really adds a lot of girth to the tone. When I have the balance knob centered, the bass is incredibly punchy with serious lows and fantastic harmonics. I add a touch of low mids on the preamp sometimes to round it out a bit, but it's not necessary. If I pan back to the bridge a bit and bump the bass up to compensate the bass doesn't just growl, it SNARLS! I was havnig a blast playing staccato, aggressive lines. The only problem that I have is, the D.Allen can sound kind of muddy and indistinct when soloed. I have a feeling that this is a side effect of mixing two brands of pickups. They are wound to close to the same value, but they also were out of phase, requiring me to wire the Fralin backwards. All I have to do when just playing through the P pickup is bump the upper mids on the Flexcore and all is well and it sounds fantastic. It has vintage warmth and clarity.

    The Pope goes great with the more vintage pickups. The bass sounds wonderful in passive and when I switch to active, I get a nice gain boost without really changing the tone too much. The versatility of the preamp makes it much easier to dial in exactly what I want instead of getting close.

    So, I'm really happy with what I have going so far, but I still need to deal with the buzz. The bass puts a big ol smile on my face when I play it and the tone FINALLY matches the playability. I've owned a ton of basses and this really has killed all my gas........at least my 4 string gas. I'm probably going to try the Lindy Fralin at some point instead of the D.Allen. The Fralin is known for having upper mids and that's exactly what the D.Allen is missing. I also wonder if mixing the two brands and the phase issue is holding anything back. There is something to be said for two pickups designed to go together.

    Feel free to ask any questions!




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