Sandberg California VS4 Series I - VERY bright Pickup or Pre

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by jnryjd, Aug 15, 2018.

  1. jnryjd


    Aug 2, 2011
    So I've picked up a really nice VS4 (Sandberg's answer to the Precision bass) and whilst it is a beautiful machine to play AND look at, I find the tone to be exceptionally bright. I've owned a bunch of Sandbergs and Fenders and I can tell that this is not a fault with the bass, it's just super bright!

    What Im taking a long time to ask is: Has anyone replaced the pickup in a VS4 with something else (and kept the same active/passive pre) and been happy? I suspect it's the Sandberg-made pickup that is causing the brightness (Cos it's just as bright in passive mode) so thought if I install a different voiced pickup that might tame it a bit?

    What do you reckon?
    Pbassmanca likes this.
  2. Mark76


    Dec 1, 2015
    It's what Leo would have wanted :smug:
  3. Greginperth


    Feb 10, 2018
    No knowledge of the instrument, but have you tried flats or tapes?
  4. If all the other frequencies are there and the sound isn't "scooped" (lots of bass, lots of high-end and no mids), you can easily filter out the unwanted high-end. It is easier to get rid of something that is there than to add something that isn't there. To try flats or tapes is a good proposal. Or just filter out the high end with your amp or an eq. The Markbass VLE does this very good.
  5. Jim C

    Jim C I believe in the trilogy; Fender, Stingray, + G&L Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2008
    Bethesda, MD
    I just got an Electra P style form CME last week which I believe is the VS4
    Neck and action is incredible

    It is brighter than I had thought when trying it but think that with amp EQ it will be great.
    I've tried rolling down the treble on the bass but think amp EQ and a smal reduction at the bass will do the trick.
    First rehearsal with this bass is tonight and will let you know.

    Only thing I don't like is 60 cycle hum as my amp is next to a dimmer; lights off and no problem; my Fenders and I think Stingrays don't have this porblem

    Did yours come with an owners manual?
    Not sure where passive is; would this be with the bass and treble flat at the detents?
    One thing I really like is that a slight bass bump sounds nothing like most actives; not muddy or even noticeable until you pull it back

    The playability and 8.4 lbs makes it a really great intrument
    It's worth over a grand to me (based on other brands) but sell for $849
  6. Jim C

    Jim C I believe in the trilogy; Fender, Stingray, + G&L Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2008
    Bethesda, MD
    My mistake
    VS4 designation is used for the Korean copy (Spectra) AND the handmade Californian
    What I'm not clear on is if they share the same pups and pre
    Salesman told me that the Korean had body made and finished over seas as well as the neck; then back to Germany for assembly; very hard to find info so no idea if this is correct
  7. What you write about the Electra series is correct. It is the only Sandberg series not made completely in Germany. The bodies and necks are made in korea, but assembled and checked in Germany. The bodies are made from basswood, not alder or ash. Nothing wrong with that, very expensive instruments use this body wood. It doesn't have the character of ash or alder on see-through finishes and is a bit soft.
    Don't know anything about the pickups or electronics on the Electra series.
  8. jnryjd


    Aug 2, 2011
    So I did try some labella flats but even they have a brittle frequency in there. I do love flatwound strings when Im going for that kind of sound but i did want this to be more Precision-ish. I've pulled back the highs using a Empress Para EQ and it sounds a LOT better but It'd be great to have it sounding great plugged straight in.
    Im having a chat with a luthier who thinks it'll be worth experimenting with a few different pickups he has floating around and see what that does to the sound.
    Will keep y'all posted :)
    Zooberwerx likes this.
  9. Templar

    Templar Supporting Member

  10. Stuart Hmm

    Stuart Hmm

    Aug 3, 2011
    East Europe
    I'd try to disconnect the preamp, to see is it bright because of the pickup or the preamp.
  11. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    I think you're on the right track. Rolling pickups is a crap-shoot at best...and expensive. You may be able to tame the high-end response but end up sacrificing existing tonal elements you may find desirable. Your best bet (IME) would be adding a low-pass filter which can be shared among all your basses. I'm using the Broughton HPF / LPF set at 4-5 khz and it works wonders.

    Pbassmanca likes this.
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