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That Fishman BP-100 sound :-(

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by tornadobass, Jul 4, 2005.


  1. tornadobass

    tornadobass Supporting Member

    Nov 20, 2000
    Iowa City, Iowa
    Endorsing Artist: Black Diamond & SuperSensitive strings
    Yesterday, I heard yet another junior high/high school jazz band where the bassist ran a Fishman BP-100 right into a bass guitar amp. That screechy finger noise is runner up to fingernails across the chalk board :bawl:

    I kept think of running up to the teacher and donating my Pro-EQ preamp!

    Is this pickup always a public school favorite or is it just here?
     
  2. Fishman has the same sort of exposure in the pickup world as Micro$oft does in computing. Teachers are rarely bass specialists and they just go with the advice to buy a Fishman, without knowing anything about the needs for eq, preamps etc. The poor kid would probably be better off if they just gave him a Squier P-Bass.
     
  3. Plus, if I'm not mistaken, they're not very expensive and easy to install; big considerations for most music programs and band directors.

    I've heard there are workarounds to the scratchy finger noise, though I've never heard the results first hand. Namely, clip the piezos to the edge of the f-holes rather than to the bridge.
     
  4. tornadobass

    tornadobass Supporting Member

    Nov 20, 2000
    Iowa City, Iowa
    Endorsing Artist: Black Diamond & SuperSensitive strings
    I'd agree that the Fishman is/was relatively inexpensive and easy to install...but at what cost of tone?

    I recently recommended a BassMax to a high school senior looking for low cost, easy install and decent tone. He was happy and the tone was better than the Fishman.
     
  5. Ric Vice

    Ric Vice Supporting Member

    Jul 2, 2005
    Olivette, Missouri
    Agreed,
    The Fishman sounds pretty bad without the preamp
    (actually it sounds pretty bad with the preamp as well).
    Unless your Victor Krauss, and he sounds amazing live with
    Lyle Lovett. I don't know what kind of processing they
    use in the mix, but the BP 100 seems to work for him
    in that particular situation. Weird!
    I have never been to happy using my Double
    Bass in a big band anyway. Dave Holland has the solution
    1. Use the Underwood
    2. Mix it with a AKG mic
    3. Don't hire a keyboard player in your own band use vibes instead
    4. Play a great instrument.
    5. Have an incredible amount of musical tallent and taste

    Unfortunately, most high school kids don't have the money
    do do this, and thanks to Fishman's heavy duty adds in
    all the journals, band directors think that they actually
    do what they say they will do.

    Ric
     
  6. oystein

    oystein

    Sep 15, 2001
    Norway, Leikong
    Mike, I've done that with pretty good results. A lot more woody tone, but less resistant to feedback. I actually got the idea from the great bluegrass bassist Mark Schatz showing this in his instructional video.

    BTW, My BP-100 is long gone and I am quite happy with my Full Circle and AMT mic.

    Oystein
     
  7. 61pollmann

    61pollmann Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2005
    Wisconsin
    I have had nothing but compliments on my amplified sound using the BP-100. 35 years of experimenting with many different setups makes me believe that it's the total package that counts. I'm currently using a 45 year-old Grunert laminated bass strung with Obligatos. I run the BP-100 into an ART Tube Mic Preamp as an impedance buffer, which also warms up the sound a bit. From there the signal goes into an Acoustic Image Clarus(low impedance input), and on to either one or two Bergantino 112s. If I used this exact same signal chain with my 61 Pollmann, the results would be different. You really have to experiment to find what works best with any bass. I definitely believe that the BP-100 works best with darker sounding strings. I wouldn't dare use it with Spirocores.

    I taught music in schools for 15 years, and budgetary constraints usually do not allow teachers to get the equipment they want. Usually you make do with what you find when you arrive at a new job. I remember having to have my bass player play through a cheap guitar amp with an 8 inch speaker.

    My main point is that you have to consider the whole signal chain, and how the individual parts interact. Every pickup has its positives and negatives.

    George
     
  8. tornadobass

    tornadobass Supporting Member

    Nov 20, 2000
    Iowa City, Iowa
    Endorsing Artist: Black Diamond & SuperSensitive strings
    I think the real problem isn't the pickup in itself, but rather the pickup into the bass guitar amp without the preamp...and maybe a piezo tweeter on the amp to accentuate the finger noise.
     
  9. 61pollmann

    61pollmann Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2005
    Wisconsin
    I agree with TornadoBass on the tweeter issue. Unless you're using a 15 or 18 inch woofer, you probably are better off without a tweeter, especially piezos. The Bergantino 112 has a decent tweeter, but I roll it off quite a bit. You can also buy the Berg without a tweeter. Using a preamp/impedance buffer is absolutely critical with the Fishman. I've tried Fishman, Raven, and other boxes, but I really like the ART Tube MP. Another advantage to the ART is that is has a phase reversal switch. The others I perform with are amazed at the difference in sound when comparing the phase choices. The ART Tube MP can be bought for $50 now that they have newer, fancier models for recording.

    George
     
  10. tornadobass

    tornadobass Supporting Member

    Nov 20, 2000
    Iowa City, Iowa
    Endorsing Artist: Black Diamond & SuperSensitive strings
    I have a couple of ART OPL preamps but haven't tried them with my Underwood. I use the Fishman Pro-EQ, which also has a phase reverse switch.

    Anyhow, now I need to figure out how to explain this stuff to the band teachers. :bassist: