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Schertler Stat B Vintage revisited

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by flatback, Sep 28, 2014.


  1. flatback

    flatback Supporting Member

    May 6, 2004
    After many years of cycling thru pickups and mics and pickup/mic combos, I just rediscovered the Stat B Vintage. I was interested in it because I was reminiscing about Charlie Haden (with whom I studied years ago)
    The Pickup was avail on evilbay without a preamp. I bought it anyway because I had heard that the Headway EDB1 would fire it up. It turns out the EDB2 fires it up but not the first version, so I put out the word here that I needed a preamp and Taki (Fabrice) sent me what looks like one of the first Stat B preamps (cool euro graphics...talk about the vintage model...)
    I cut sanded and installed the two little wood chips in the bridge holes (made from an old bridge foot) and plugged it in.
    I'm going to cut to the chase here...On gigs this week interesting things happened: first I got to an open air gig with PA support and plugged in my amp which didn't work (turns out I was plugging the speakon into the lower plug on the MAS 46 which must be either broken or a thru because the sound was distorted and so thin as to sound busted...) Since the gig was about to start I gave the sound guy a direct line from the Schertler pre. What a great sound I had all night long, phat articulate acoustic-y but not washed out, every note sang out, I could drive the band and still play really nuanced solos. I am totally sold on it.
    Next night I figured out the speakon thing and used a Walter Woods (borrowed while my Focus is in the shop) in to the 46. That was such great sound.
    BTW I also pulled one element out and tried just the E side by itself. Not the same thing at all. The great sound of this pickup is about both elements working together. (all this talk about phasing doesn't phase me...or the pickup as far as I can discern)
    All this wind just to say how happy I am with this rediscovery.
    BTW the friend with the Woods also had an old Demeter Tube Bass Preamp (1 rack space unit) that sounded just utterly killing with the Stat B. Makes me want that new Demeter tubepre/Minnie 800 combo...
     
  2. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Still liking this like you were when you posted? I've got a borrowed regular Stat B and pre on trial from a friend since I need a backup for my Full Circles that I can install should either fail. I like the single version well enough - it actually sounds better than the FC at lower volumes, but when things start to get loud the FC still wins every time. Curious about the dual version as well.
     
  3. flatback

    flatback Supporting Member

    May 6, 2004
    Hey I am still loving this pickup. The phase issues that people talk about (I recently discovered) are mostly due to having either the E element wedged in too tightly or both wedged in to tight. If the elements are loose, this pickup rocks. On gigs (using a Headway and Pocus and BIg E 46) it has presence and a sound space (the way it works with other instruments playing) that is just so sweet for me and my darkish sounding flatback. I have a FC too although it is on a different bridge and the truth is I prefer an Underwood thru the headway...The FC is just too thick and although it may be more acoustic sounding....somehow I really like a dual element pickup and how I can play (within the context of a group on a gig with all the sounds and problems of that)... Like you I no longer use the mic much (although I still am aiming for the Troll to be on there)
    But the dual element Shertler is really where I am at right now (the rest of the SC is super important here...I got rid of the first one because I used to way back use a GK 150 like Charlie and didnt much like that sound)
    When I use only one element, it sounds big and fat and beautiful and I think that is a great sound too but I just really like having the high end of the two pickup design.
    Now that the amp/cab thing is so dialed in (the MAS 46 sounds brilliant with ANY pickup I've tried mics too) I think that this Schertler should be revisited by bassists looking for a bigger warmer more open sound.
    (I don't work for anybody or have any endorsements)
    The other think is I have just ordered a Contrabassetto from Andrea Spada and I am really hoping that the combination of the Scherters big openness and the Contrabassetto's little full sizeness is going to be just the ticket for my next 20 years...Andrea uses the Schertler on his ( thats how I found the Contrabassetto looking for used Schertlers)
     
  4. flatback

    flatback Supporting Member

    May 6, 2004
    As to volume, i do have an Underwood in my bag always, but I have not had to have it up so loud that I have run into that weird shoulder where pickups sound terrible after a certain point. Maybe part of it is the MAS 46 which has so much going on that I am usually asked to turn down rather then up....
     
  5. flatback

    flatback Supporting Member

    May 6, 2004
    and the other thing is....I have tried just about everything and the pickups LIKE this, say the Erhulnd (I owned one and sold it) and the Vektor, and the other Schertler DynB and so forth pickup too much body sound for me to play modern jazz on, and not enough direct sound for me to hear articulation and pitch with....with a PA (like everyone else) I send them a mic but on the other million gigs in clubs, I want something that isnt too direct but isn't vague and difficult to hear clearly, and the Schertler Vintage really fits perfectly. I really had success with the Aptflex too but it just broke too many times in the end...
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2014
  6. dperrott

    dperrott

    Oct 3, 2005
    NYC
    I used the dual element for a long time. Never did like the single one. I just got a full circle, changed from a Barbera. If the full circle doesn't work out I'll probably go to the new stat vintage. I never had problems with phasing and I used two different 2 element stats for many years.
     
  7. flatback

    flatback Supporting Member

    May 6, 2004
    A couple of recent things to add here that might be useful to Stat B Vintage users: If you turn the G side element around so that it faces the other direction, it corrects any phasing issues, or what people think are phasing issues.
    In fact (Thanks to Bob cacophonic) who did a bunch of experimentation by drilling holes in an old bridge that allowed him to spin the element 360 degrees, a lot of different tones can be had out of a bridge mounted contact mic like the Stat B.
    The other thing (I had a flicker of brilliance while reading about the Ishell) is that using that Putty on the Black metal or PVC side of the Stat element instead of shims or just pressure, (using it as a sonic adjustment)and creating a little pocket for the elements to sit in, not only keeps them in place and eliminates the possibility that the elements get displaced (it can happen a lot if they are just in by pressure) but makes the sound much more controlled and focused. I think I get more volume before the weird sonic shift that happens when these pickups reach their feedback threshold, and the airiness is enhanced.

    One other thing about this pickup that I really like: it is like having two very controlled contact pickups, just where I want them (on the bridge) all these cats who are trying to contact mic the face of the bass are not playing with drummers I guess. If I don't need a pickup, I'll use a mic but if I need a pickup I want it to cut thru and sound dimensional. THe Stat B set up properly sounds better and way more useful to me then contact mics on the face of the instrument. I also use a mic which picks up what is coming off the instrument way more organically then contact mics anyway.

    But the putty on the black side of the elements is (at least on my bass) a real improvement in both sound and consistency.
     
    DB Slidefunk and Vunz like this.
  8. That sounds really interesting! Could you perhaps post some pictures of how you applied the putty? That would be very helpful!

    Cheers,
    Vincent
     
  9. Eric Hochberg

    Eric Hochberg

    Jul 7, 2004
    Chicago
    Interesting points here. I experimented using two Stat elements for a while and tried turning one element around but still had the phasing effect. I've been using a single element Stat for quite some time now, and it works well for me. I didn't experience an advantage using two elements.

    The putty idea sounds great and I'm going to try it. Gotta get some putty...

    No doubt the Stat will go louder than a body contact mic. That said, I've heard Rufus Reid with big band and Mark Dresser with drums using Dyn B contact mics, and their volume levels were good in context. The Stat definitely produces a more refined sound than piezo bridge pickups, but it doesn't have quite the microphone-like quality that the Ischell, for instance, has. I'm to the point now where I pretty much just want to plug in and play and whatever gets the job done satisfactorily is going to work for me. In fact, I've been using an Underwood, one element, lately and it sounds fine.

    I enjoyed playing with the Ischell in the context of drummer-less trio as I had enough volume in that context and a more microphone-like sound than with the various bridge pickups I've used, including the Stat. I think it is more finicky to use and I may tire of that aspect long term.
     
  10. flatback

    flatback Supporting Member

    May 6, 2004
    Yeah plug and play. Honestly a good mic is gunna do the mic thing for me, I dont need a contact mic to do it. THe Stat B (especially with the putty ) is pretty stable and fat sounding. I use an underwood on and off (almost always as the underside of a blended sound with a mic) but when I had the Felix going into the MAS Big E it really didn't matter what pickup I was using that much they all could sound good..
    One thing I am getting dialed in right now is always trying to keep the Big E horizontal. I have been using it vertical since I got it because otherwise the amp slides off. But the past several weeks I have had it on a stand horizontal and it really is sweet that way with a band. Somehow the sound is just controlled and wide and nice. I have been using just the Stat B with the Putty for the past week straight into the Focus and I like the simplicity of it and the sound is excellent....Rick of AI has an interesting way of voicing his preamp...less dimension ( then say a Headway or Felix going into the FX return) but in the context of playing with other people, somehow it cuts thru better. (well the Felix knocks it out of the park)
     
  11. Eric Hochberg

    Eric Hochberg

    Jul 7, 2004
    Chicago
    I've gone back and forth with my BigE45 vertically and horizontally on chair or stool, and depending on the room, both positions sound great. I love the sound of this cab!
     
  12. Again, pictures of how you applied the putty on the Stat would be highly appriated, flatback! I am thinking of ordering a can of schertler putty along with my Stat B, as I am inspired by your suggestion of how to mount the pickup. A picture of the way you mount yours would be really helpful.

    Many thanks,
    Vincent
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2016
    Chris Fitzgerald likes this.
  13. flatback

    flatback Supporting Member

    May 6, 2004
    I'll try and take a picture, but I have been putting the putty on both sides of the element, cork and black. it stays in place way better and the sound is really changed for the better. On my bass. The putty allows for maximum contact between the pickup and bridge and the sound has more body and thump.
     
    Vunz likes this.
  14. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    I am a dedicated Full Circle player but have a single element Stat B as a backup. Would love to see how to fit the putty in some pics, and also info on where it can be purchased. I only played the Stat for a minute before buying used, but if I could get it tot stay put I'd be a lot more inclined to experiment more.
     
  15. Eric Hochberg

    Eric Hochberg

    Jul 7, 2004
    Chicago
    I haven't tried the putty yet but I have been building up the cork with coats of clear nail polish when necessary. I've also glued cork shims to the Stat cork.
     
    Chris Fitzgerald likes this.
  16. flatback

    flatback Supporting Member

    May 6, 2004
    Essentially I am using the blue tack putty commonly available. My Schertler came used with corks that had some room so when I put the shim in the bridge I made it that size . It was still somewhat loose. I tried the nail polish but it still creates a slick surface that is easily dislodged. What I have been doing is making small pancakes that go around the ends of the pick up ( where they touch the bridge) and wedging them in there. I try and keep a little ring of putty around the edge. The g side element I have flipped around about 120 degrees ( gets more of a body sound then the mid tone) last night I went back and forth between an underwood and the Schertler and the Schertler had just as much volume but a much more pleasing sound. I have had the Schertler in at home and had a great sound only to get to the gig and something shifts and I can't get it back and then I am messing with it. It made it so I couldn't trust the sound. But for the past 3 weeks it has been stable and plug and play. Moreover I think the putty changes the tone making it warmer more body less overtoney and with the ability to turn it up louder. Again for me on my bass.
    Little pancakes ( that turn into doughnuts) once it is in there I mold the putty around the pickup protectively too.
     
  17. Ric Vice

    Ric Vice Supporting Member

    Jul 2, 2005
    Olivette, Missouri
    Piro,
    Well, that's interesting isn't it, I've been considering a Stat B Vintage as a backup to my Ehrlunds, of course I've also been thinking about a Remic. After I get my new bow, those are on my list. I talked to several folks in the know and based on their observations,
    I went with the M700 vs a 800D, because Jule uses a Hypex Digital Power Amp, it has an aluminum chassis, like the Walter Woods, and has a very quiet fan. That said, it's a bit larger than the Minnie. The Felix just sounds so great, I wouldn't need the Demeter tube pre.

    Ric
     
  18. flatback

    flatback Supporting Member

    May 6, 2004
    So here is a picture of it with A LOT of putty. Me thinks too much. the putty definitely effects the sound. Encasing it in putty like I have here gets you a lot of thump and a direct very fat sound. I thought I would try a bunch of it just to see what happens and on a regular gig that gets really loud and fast (both the band and the bar) it cut thru and had a great sound.
    The Idea I had was that the putty transfers vibration so getting a lot of contact would be good, and it is. It eliminates the main problem with the Stat B which is that the pickups have to be perfectly installed and have good contact. Less then perfect gets a whole range of unusable wonky sounds and it is really easy to dislodge a well tuned pickup and have to deal with it when you are playing. But so far the putty solves all that.
    Still looking for a better colored version (dont like the funky blue) but I like what it does.
    Makes me think that having the wood wedges installed with a perfect pickup shaped indentation would be good too. But the putty holds it in place perfectly.
     

    Attached Files:

    MR PC, Vunz and Chris Fitzgerald like this.
  19. Many thanks for posting the pic, Piro! That really helped in understanding how you used the putty.

    Cheers,
    Vincent
     
  20. robobass

    robobass

    Aug 1, 2005
    Cologne, Germany
    Private Inventor - Bass Capos
    I never thought of using blue tack. I just cut slices off a wine cork. This makes the pickup quick and easy to install/remove. I'm sure the blue tack would have a very different sound. I've been using a Stat-B for around 20 years now. It's especially good for bowing, but I find it maybe makes for a softer attack when plucking than with say a FC.
     

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