Separating an Underwood pickup

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by mikesworkbench, Nov 5, 2017.

  1. I've been happily playing on my Underwood pickup from about 32 years now - EQing out the slightly nasal tone that it produced. I just recently discovered how playing with just the E side produces a much more natural, clean, and warm tone. I'm thinking of cutting the cable in between the transducers so I don't have any extra junk hanging off my bridge.

    A couple questions for anyone who has done this:

    * Will this alter my sound in any negative way? I read a post that said this may change the sound by increasing finger noise ad/or changing the volume. I'm sceptical about this statement since I see so many people have done this and are happy with it. Anyone?

    * Any advice on making the cut and cleanly sealing it off to keep it from shorting out.
    Don Kasper likes this.
  2. Don Kasper

    Don Kasper Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Hi mikes.....
    If possible, cut off and use the G side element, IF you can live with a shorter cable length. (See below - I am using a Fishman BP-100 jack afterlength mounting system, BTW.)
    This is the second Underwood PU that I've modified this way, as there is NO Difference (acoustically/electronically, IME) between the G and E elements. On my bass, this single element on the E side sounds Very Good. I did not notice any negative changes in sound or volume - just an improved, fuller sound.
    I have the (original) E side element and cable saved as a back-up in case the G side element ever fails, and I guess I would seal the cut cable with some Silicone/RTV, to insulate and protect the exposed bare wires. Cut it as cleanly as possible.
    Good Luck.
    Also - I wish Underwood would sell a single element version, with an afterlength mounting system like the Fishman.
  3. Don Kasper

    Don Kasper Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    It looks like I cleaned up the cut with an Xacto knife, and file, and then put a few drops of CA/Superglue there for protection.
  4. Shadow sells the SH951 single-element pickup, which is physically identical to the Underwood elements. (of course the inside is probably somewhat different...)
    This is what I use and it sounds very good.
    I had an Underwood on that bass when I bought and it sounded awful.
    If I had tried only one element maybe I'd have kept it, who knows...
  5. Thanks Don,

    Nice work on your modification. I guess there's no reason I should just jump in and cut mine. Just looking for a little confidence booster before using some sharp objects on my pickup :)

    Don Kasper likes this.
  6. Don Kasper

    Don Kasper Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Workbench + Sharp Objects + Electricity = FUN!!!
    Measure Twice...etc.
    Good Luck, @mikesworkbench.
  7. We're can I order the Fishman jack that mounts in between two strings?
    Don Kasper likes this.
  8. Don Kasper

    Don Kasper Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    I don't think Fishman sells just the jack - I removed mine from their BP -100 Pickup - the best and only usable part of that pickup, IMFO!
    I believe they modify an existing Switchcraft jack, but you'd need a Lathe and some metalworking skills and tools to DIY. (They remove some material at the end of the jack, cut some threads, and fabricate the little metal tab and secure it with a nut.
    Not sure what I would do if I didn't have one available.
    Thanks for your time and interest.
  9. Don Kasper

    Don Kasper Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Below (on the Left) is the stock Switchcraft jack that Fishman modifies - the red area is where they cut threads.
    I would try to use the Switchcraft Deep Panel jack (on the Right, below, comes with the nut and washer!), and fabricate a small metal piece with hooked wings to capture the strings, and then use some concentric layers of heatshrink tubing to cover and protect the solder connections and protect the whole connection.
  10. B String

    B String Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
  11. Find a Dealer
  12. B String

    B String Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
    Thanks for the info.
  13. M Underwood

    M Underwood Commercial User

    Aug 30, 2017
    Head of Operations, Underwood Pickups
    Hi guys,

    please, please PLEASE don't cut off the end element. It ruins the pickup's original design, which is a closed circuit. It is not going to work the same or how you think it might. If you want to use just one transducer, then tape or velcro the end piece off and away from the bridge. My reply may be too late, but perhaps for future searchers this will help. Always contact us for questions! Thanks
  14. I've cut mine and it seems to work great.
    Before I cut it, I tried isolating the other element but it wasn't working well.
    Cutting solved it.
    Don Kasper likes this.
  15. Ric Vice

    Ric Vice Supporting Member

    Jul 2, 2005
    Olivette, Missouri
    Well, although it may work, apparently it compromises the pickups
    electronics. (See above) yuuTheir are several single element bridge wing pickups that sound remarkable.