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So who is control-less?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by cassius987, Apr 10, 2010.


  1. cassius987

    cassius987 Banned

    Apr 20, 2007
    Denver, CO

    Well... that's interesting, you can go to this link http://www.soundclick.com/bands/default.cfm?bandID=816857 and listen to "4002pickup-vs-HB1pickup" to hear the old 4002 pickup in the neck position and the new HB-1 pickup in the bridge position, and get an idea of the differences in construction maybe. It's a purely passive, no controls comparison using my current configuration.
     
  2. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    The 4002 also had the "super high gain humbucking pickups." Probably just wound with less turns than the HB-1. John Hall says they have only ever used 44 gauge wire. So those two pickups are very similar. I know the HB-1 uses samarium-cobalt rare earth magnets. I don't know what the 4002 pickups used.

    When they first came out with the humbuckers on the 3001, it was very dark sounding from being wound to hot. I remember that GuitarPlayer mag reviewed the bass and said the pickup was "odd sounding". I guess they experimented a bit.

    Those two pickups sound very similar. I'd like to hear a bit more mids from the bridge pickup. Which pickup didn't work well with the preamp and why? And what kind of preamp was it?

    Nice sounding bass by the way. I made one of my Rics a fretless and was going to make it look like a 4002, but with no pickguard, so I guess that would be a 4004, except they weren't out then. I never finished it.
     
  3. i also pulled a pre amp, out of my ibanez, and have just a volume and a 3 way selector. I definitely like the simplicity but i kind of want to experiment with differnt tone caps to get a deeper dub tone
     
  4. marklaforest

    marklaforest

    Feb 5, 2010
    Ottawa
    Control is an illusion...
     
  5. cassius987

    cassius987 Banned

    Apr 20, 2007
    Denver, CO
    The neck pickup is my luthier's spare 4002 BRIDGE pickup, which was wound lower (8K) than the neck pickup (10-12K?) for whatever reason. That bass had Jazz Bass spacing.

    The uber-shielded 4002 pickup won't sound with the preamp unless I pluck really hard and then it's distorted. It's an Audere Classic 4 Band. To be honest I'm not digging it as much as I expected from my last experience using the same preamp harness in a fretted Ric. I'll probably switch it back. As for the bridge pickup's tone, I kind of babied it and played softly for those clips which probably gives the false impression that it isn't a growler. It certainly is. I need to redo that.

    Dane Wilder did something much like that! Sounds cool. Glad you like how the bass sounds, it's my main.
     
  6. cassius987

    cassius987 Banned

    Apr 20, 2007
    Denver, CO
    Yet another reason to yank the pots out of your bass! Haha.
     
  7. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    Jazz Bass spacing? Where? It's the standard Rick bridge and neck. Only they were birdseye maple.

    I think there might be a short in the pickup, they should both read the same... which brings me to:


    If you get a volt-ohm meter, I'd bet you that one of the coil wires is also shorted to ground. The Audere wont work right if the pickup's common (-) is connected to ground since it is a balanced design. The ground/shield on the pickup has to be separate from the signal wires.

    So either you have a short in the pickup, where the coil shorted to one of the blade pole pieces, or the metal surround on the pickup is grounded, and also connected to the pickup's common connection. If it's the later and you can separate the ground from the pickup's common, then it will work.


    Here's the two basses. The back view is the one I was going to make into a 4002/4004. it also has a wider body and figured neck. The fingerboard is tulipwood and not bubinga. Weird.

    [​IMG][​IMG]
     
  8. TapyTap

    TapyTap

    Apr 26, 2005
    Well, I'm glad that the link was of benefit to you. That's cool!

    Now that you mention it...I also wonder about the accident that wiped out the 44" scale CT. Too bad AJ didn't have access to one of Skip Fantry's creations: http://www.knuckleguitarworks.com/instruments/rim.html (Notice the possibility to extend the scale length to 55 inches!)

    When I am able, I want to purchase a Knuckle Quake: http://www.knuckleguitarworks.com/instruments/quake.html
     
  9. TapyTap

    TapyTap

    Apr 26, 2005
    Yes, but think of all that you learned from those experiments...that has to be worth something of value to you.
     
  10. TapyTap

    TapyTap

    Apr 26, 2005
    I love that Stambaugh you have there.
     
  11. tubby.twins

    tubby.twins Amateur Pickup Reviewer Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 15, 2009
    Oregon
    Somehow I knew you would say that. :)

    I've got one single-pickup fretless bass that is "control-less" for the moment, because I am using it as a testbed for different pickups. It is simpler, but I find myself reaching for the passive tone control even though it isn't there (yet). It'll probably get a few pots at some point in the future.
     
  12. cnltb

    cnltb

    May 28, 2005

    I thought getting the "true sound of the pickup" was the point of going passive and without controls...
    In my experiance active basses have often sounded muffles compared with those that had no electronics.
    Or hyped. But not natural, organic and open.
     
  13. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    Oh yeah, I sure did. When I started building basses I looked at all the things I didn't like about the Ric and a few other basses and didn't repeat those.
     
  14. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    That would drive me nuts. I'm always tweaking where I pluck the string and things as I play to get the tone I want. I hadn't played a passive bass for 15 years until I started testing my neo pickups. I wanted them to sound good passive. But I'm always switching the pickup I'm using and tweaking the passive tone control to fit the music.

    Right now I'm using two sidewinder pluses with a buffer with some gain and a passive tone with a .03 cap.
     
  15. ZolkoW

    ZolkoW

    May 8, 2006
    Hungary, EU
    I'm not control-less, as I like a mute swith at least on my instruments, but sometimes that's all :)
    on two-pickup basses, I like to switch between PUs, although I use mostly both on.

    I don't use potentiometers, if I can avoid them.
     
  16. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    It's not the true sound of the pickup. It's the pickup with some high end rolled off from the cable capacitance. People started bypassing the controls to get more top end and a little more output. But you still have the cable altering your tone. Different cables will sound different.

    Then the passive controls are lossy. You lose signal. Even wide open.

    This is why 500K or 1M pots sound brighter than 250K.

    When you stick an active buffer after the pickup it isolates the pickup from the capacitance of the cable and also from the controls, depending on the circuit. The frequency range of the pickup is then extended in the high end and the low end gets tighter.

    A good preamp should sound like the buffered pickup when the tone controls are set flat. You shouldn't get a muffled or hyped tone unless you are changing the tone controls.

    Here's an example. In this sound clip, the first part is the pickups run passive through just two 500K volume controls. You hear one pickup then the other, then both. Then I switch in an EMG BTC preamp. You can hear the top end open up. First set flat, and then with some treble boost. That's a bit bright, but it was an example of a bright tone. Then I boost the lows and roll the top end off a bit. Then it's nice and round and fat.

    The thing people seem to call "organic" is the slight low pass filtering and the lowering of the resonant peak of the pickup.

    I don't think you can get much more organic than Stanley Clarke's tone... that sounds like his bass and fingers. :D

    Passive/Active

    The good part about active is you get the same tone no mater what your signal chain is between the bass and the amp.

    Here's the same active setup with flats. Interestingly the original bass line from I'll Take You There by the Staple Singers was recorded on a '76 Alembic Series I bass!

    Neos with flats

    Nice and organic. :D That's also an example of getting many tones right from the bass by changing the active tone controls and the pickups. No amps were used.

    There is no right and wrong setup. One isn't better than the other, it's all about what you like. Basses were passive in the beginning because that's all there was. Basses became active because people wanted clearer and more flexible tones. Take Marcus Miller for example. He put a Bart preamp in his Jazz bass so he could have control over his tone in the studio.
     
  17. cnltb

    cnltb

    May 28, 2005
    Thanks, very interesting post!!

    And a buffer lowers the impedance of the pickups and so widens the gap between output impedance of the instrument and the input impedance of the preamp, hence isolating one from the other??

    If that is so, would not an outboard pre with high input impedance do that too?

    Or what exactly does the buffer-cirquit do?
    I personally have the pickup wired directly to the socket, going into a pre and then power amp.
    This intrigues me, and I'm rather interested now to try such a buffer.
    Is there differences in quality between one buffer circuit and the other?
    and...who makes such circuits?
    With no features such eq volume etc. Just a buffer(if there is such a thing in the first place...:) )
     
  18. Rickett Customs

    Rickett Customs

    Jul 30, 2007
    Southern Maryland
    Luthier: Rickett Customs...........www.rickettcustomguitars.com
    No controls? I would at least need an "on/off" switch.
     
  19. ZolkoW

    ZolkoW

    May 8, 2006
    Hungary, EU

    DIY rules! :)

    the difference between the onboard pre and outboard pre is the cables capacitance paralleled with the pickup(s).
    I'm planning to try this control-less buffer, I think it can be made easily.
     
  20. Rickett Customs

    Rickett Customs

    Jul 30, 2007
    Southern Maryland
    Luthier: Rickett Customs...........www.rickettcustomguitars.com
    Yeah, if this was the case, alembic would still be using a external power source (cable), just like the older internal preamps that they used, a long time ago.
    Seeing as how that interview is also probably "dated" as well....:)

    Besides that, If that's his theory, i'd like to see his complete thesis of why an external Ac transformer is necessary, especially with some of the noise you can get through them vs a battery, I'm not an electrical engineer, I don't believe he is either, that's all.
     

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