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Should my Warwick pickups be balanced?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Jacob Bartfield, Oct 10, 2003.

  1. I've been using a Warwick Fortress One for the past few years, and there's something that's been really bugging me about the pickups. That is that the neck pickup is louder than the bridge pickup. Now I know that the neck pickup is a humbucker, and it's over a spot where the strings vibrate more so it's going to be louder. Bu it's way louder. I mean, I'm talking about a ridiculous difference.

    Is this the way all Warwicks are? It just seems like it would be a lot better if the pickups were balanced.

    I already know that there's really nothing I can do to fix this problem except for buying different pickups. I already tried lowering the neck pickup and rasing the bridge pickup, and that did very little. I guess I just want to kno if this is normal or not.
  2. Maybe you should talk to a bass technician about the possibility of adding a balance control, to blend the output of the two pick ups? If it's possible it would probably work out cheaper than replacing the Pick ups, and would give the bass a greater versatility of available tones to boot.
  3. bassarch


    Jul 24, 2001
    I also have a warwick fortress one and I had the same problem: soloing the neck pup was ok but when it comes to bridge pup it didnt come anywhere near to the neckpup as u said.
    So I replaced the pups with Dimarzio p/j.Although I quite lost the growl( which I have no complaints about
    because before it was too bright for me ) now the sound is more balanced and less agressive
  4. I've thought about replacing my pickups, but I'm just not sure I want to go through the trouble and the money. I still might do it, I'm not really sure.

    What do you mean by a "balance control". What is that exactly, and what would it require me to do to the bass?
  5. Quite a lot of modern basses have a balance control which in essence is like a continually variable three way switch; this allows you to blend the output of the two pick-ups. ie: If you turn the knob towards the bridge pick-up, that one gets continuously louder in comparison to the neck pick-up, and visa versa if you do the opposite. I have a Yamaha RBX765A which is an actice bass and it has this feature. I find myself using it often as it's very useful in finding a blend of tones that you like from the pick ups. My Godin Semour Duncan ( another active bass ) has this feature too.

    I have also heard of them being installed on passive basses. The usual way of installing on a passive bass, is to replace the tone pot with a balance control, ( as it is much more useful in tone sculpting ) this method doesn't require any modifications to the bass's woodwork to fit which is a good thing.

    It would be best to contact a luthier or pick-up/pre-amp manufacturer to see what can be done, and at what cost for your specific bass. I doubt that it would be anywhere near what it would cost to replace the pick-ups as they are expensive items, and why replace them if you are generally happy with their sound anyway.

    Hope this helps. :)
  6. Gsxtasy99


    Jul 10, 2003
    Boston, MA
    I've got a fortress one, and it has the same problem. I put in bartolini's and the ntmb preamp. That didn't solve the balance problem, but it made it sound so much better, i didn't care anymore, i just played it with both pickups at equal volume. I think the problem might be pickup location, it is too close to the bridge
  7. Is this problem just with the Fortress, or is it with all Warwicks?
  8. bassarch


    Jul 24, 2001
    I quite think that this is the problem with Fortress.I have listened to other guys with other warwicks ( and tested some other in the shops )They all sounded pretty balanced.But then again I think that the others dont have the characteristic sound that the Fortress has.Very distinctive sound which always makes people surprise when I play it at the gigs
  9. BoogieNight


    Jun 15, 2001
    I have a Fortress One too, with (I think) original EMG pickups.

    And it has the same balance problem. I try to keep the bridge pickup veery close to the strings, to the point it's almost difficult to play. I do this because I don't like lowering the P pickup too much (tone suffers).

    The P is still louder than the J though. But it's easily the best bass I ever played. This unbalance is a little boring when playing live, but in the studio you can do anything.

    In fact I consider the Fortress a "P" bass, with a "J" pickup added for some variety...
  10. I've got the Fortress Flashback 5, with the MEC lipsticks, passive, and it doesn't have this problem. Both pickups are pretty balanced volume-wise. However, the bridge PU is double coil and the neck is single. The neck PU has more bass...
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