This is maybe another evidence that wood DOES matter in tone?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by FunkyMan, Jan 28, 2011.

  1. FunkyMan


    Nov 27, 2007
    Today i friend of mine gave me his New Squier Jazz Bass California series i think it is.. The purpose: Install a brand new set of Alleva Coppolo Single Coils Pickups 250 $ (Damn, those things look luxurious)

    So i did.. every thing was soldered rigth, new pots, new bass, etc.. but.... :( the change wasn't as expected :eek: seriously, guys, i have 11 years playing, and tried a lot of good and bad basses, good and bad pickups, and i felt that the tone didn't improve, was like the same as stock pickups, but with a LITTLE more clarity..

    Factors that may affect:
    -Amp? i dont think so, i tried the bass with a hartke HA3500 + Transporter Cab rig
    -Strings? No. it had fresh d'addario strings
    -Failure Pickups?
    -Bad instalation? No, Lets be honest, how hard can be to install pickups on a passive bass Vol/Vol/Tone?

    The bass is Maple/Rosewood neck, body i don't, know..

    So there's something i'm missing here? or this is another evidence that a crapy cheap bass will always sound poor even with a new set of expensive pickups like this?
  2. prd004


    Dec 3, 2010
    I chuckle when people argue with me that pickups are everything in an electric bass, and that the wood has little to no influence on the tone! And believe it or not, people argue this with me all the time!

    The instruments resonation is what the pickups are capturing via the strings vibrations.

    Quality of the wood, very important.
    Type of wood, very important
    Neck joint (how it's cut, and how tight the neck fits) important
    Bridge, nut and tuners, important

    It all matters, and thats why a quality instrument is worth and costs more than a cheap one. Tou can try new pots. new pickups, etc., but it's like putting lipstick on a pig................. it's still a pig!
  3. oldcatfish


    Jan 8, 2011
    No, though I do think that wood does play an important part with tone, my guess is that the replacement pickups weren't voiced that differently than the stock pickups.

    I have an inexpensive Peavey bass that I bought used, with aftermarket pickups installed. It absolutely rocks. I also have swapped pickups on inexpensive guitars, and it can make a huge difference...depending on the pickups. And I have a friend that is a Luthier...he builds custom guitars. He told me that some pickups sound the same no matter what guitar you put them in (especially really high output types), while others are a bit more transparent.
  4. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    exactly. seems to me the thought here is that ac pickups were going to be worlds better than what was in there, and that ain't necessarily so. it's like saying that if fish live in water and you find an old boot in the water, an old boot is a fish.
  5. Chrisk-K


    Jan 20, 2010
    Maryland, USA
    I've used a bunch of true sc pickups. The differences among sc pickups are not huge. I'd say cheap squier sc pickups cover 85% of what Alleva sc pickups can do.
  6. johnk_10

    johnk_10 vintage bass nut Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 16, 2008
    Thousand Oaks, CA
    John K Custom Basses
    IMO, the acoustic properties of any guitar or bass are like it's 'voice'. different pickups are akin to using different microphones, preamps or equalizers, and can change it drastically. but alot of it's inherent 'voice' will always be there. different pickups can make it brighter, darker, have more mids, have more or less output, but it's harmonic balance, attack and and sustain will still pretty much remain underneath all of it.
  7. panama


    May 26, 2009
    This is why buying a bass without playing it is always a big risk.
  8. $250 in pickups into a $250 bass??
  9. Bongolation


    Nov 9, 2001
    No Bogus Endorsements
    Another vote for unrealistic expectations from the pickups.

    Pickups are overmarketed and misunderstood, especially on bass.
  10. I never seen a pickup made to match a certain type of wood to work properly. Any good pickup replacement should improve the tone with any wood. And in most cases the type of wood dont say too much about the quality of your bass. You can have a u$1000 bass and other u$300 with the same type of wood...
    Im sure your sound is improved but you expected other result.
    Maybe you just have to identify what is your bass lacking and then choose the correct pickup.
  11. bassbully

    bassbully Endorsed by The PHALEX CORN BASS..mmm...corn!

    Sep 7, 2006
    Blimp City USA
    How did it sound before you changed the pups out? I have an 90's Squier P/J special.I got if for next to nothing since its beat to heck.It always had a great tone 100% stock with standard pups, tiny cheap pots, and wire that was almost thin as hair.

    A buddy of mine got a job in a local shop so I took it to him to gut and add SD 1/4 lber's , brown betty cap, good wire, CTS pots etc. He does great work and I was happy with the job but the tone...hummmmm. That bass has not been the same since. Lifeless, stale tone with parts that cost me about $150.00 w/labor. I guess its not always the wood.
  12. M.R. Ogle

    M.R. Ogle Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 5, 2004
    Mount Vernon, Illinois
    Backstage Guitar Lab owner
    You have made a valid firsthand observation. Go with it.

    Better pickups for your bass = Better Microphone for your vocalist.

    I'm totally tired of the "sound is in the pickups" postulators. I give up. Believe what you want. "Slap some Fralins in it" and be happy.
  13. sound is in the hands...
  14. FunkyMan


    Nov 27, 2007
    LOL.. I was surprised that no one had mentioned yet..
  15. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    Owner/Builder @Hopkins Guitars
    The Basslines Hot Stacks I put in my Squier VM completely changed the voice of that bass. It sounds to me that the pups you put in it were voiced the same as the ones you replaced.
    I think the wood has an effect on the bass, but not as much as the electronics.
  16. Bongolation


    Nov 9, 2001
    No Bogus Endorsements
    Pots, caps and wire have exactly zero (0) effect on tone if they are the same value. Don't be fooled.

    A lot of tone death on modding comes from having had major assemblies -- such as the neck -- pulled and not put back properly.

    On Fender basses, it is absolutely critical for the neck to seat tightly on the face of the neck (right there at the pickguard). Not one "tech" in fifty realizes this, nor knows how to do it.

    The symptoms of not doing this right are typically a "mushiness" in tone and a loss of the previous snap. Same with Fender guitars, but it's more pronounced on bass.
  17. xaxxat

    xaxxat Supporting Member

    Oct 31, 2008
    Those Squier Jazz Bass California pups must be some good ones...
  18. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    i'm in this camp as well. i turned my p lyte from a pussy sounding bass suitable for nothing i do into a fat and aggressive tone machine by changing the pickups (duncan qp's for anyone scoring at home).

    i used to be a totally all-wood guy and thought pickups meant nothing. but my p lyte pickup experiments taught me that while wood is important, or rather the density of the wood, you can counteract a bass that would ordinarily sound weak into one that sounds strong if you put the right pickups in it.
  19. darkstorm


    Oct 13, 2009
    Mystery body woods are generally not to good. I occasionally come across a bass or guitar by a mfg and they dont list what wood the bodys made from other then "hardwood or solid body" I immediately pass on any further interest.
  20. steddy2112


    Aug 19, 2007
    Newark, DE
    I can't believe this thread even exists.

    If you think different woods don't yield different tones, you need to pick up a different hobby.