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trying to decide on an "open" toned pickup

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by emre03, Jul 12, 2005.


  1. emre03

    emre03

    Sep 18, 2000
    Turkey,Istanbul
    hi.
    I am looking forward to install an additional pickup in my status shark5.
    the bass has an alder body and a maple neck with graphite bars. it currently has a single phantom coil status(kent armstrong) pickup and i want to add another pickup to add versatility to it.
    I play contemporary and acid jazz(and some post-rock and free funk)
    I play mainly fingerstyle, but i also play multiple strings frequently and i want a pickup that will sound clear when i play multiple strings.
    I am looking for a three-coil pickup so that i can add a coil switch to make it more versatile. i want a pickup that has a very open but not brittle sound, that also has powerfull low-mids.
    I was considering Bartolini CB triple coils, do they sound clear, or do they lack openness because of the epoxy cast or may some other pickup work better for me?
    Any input would be greatly appriciated.
    Thanks
     
  2. emre03

    emre03

    Sep 18, 2000
    Turkey,Istanbul
    bump...
     
  3. DavidRavenMoon

    DavidRavenMoon Banned

    Oct 20, 2004
    Why would epoxy prevent the PU from sounding open? It has no effect on the sound, besides keeping the PU from getting microphonic (that's caused by the coil wire vibrating).

    Bartolini's are great PUs... probably the best there is.

    The current PU you have sounds like a single coil, because of the dummy coil.
     
  4. emre03

    emre03

    Sep 18, 2000
    Turkey,Istanbul
    I thought i read about epoxy coating making bartolinis sound "unbright" somewhere in this forum, but then the CB series designed to sound more airy..

    Any more suggestions anyone?
     
  5. DavidRavenMoon

    DavidRavenMoon Banned

    Oct 20, 2004
    This is incorrect. There is no reason that epoxy would do that. Epoxy can have no effect on the sound of a pickup. For one thing, it is not electrically conductive, which is why it is used for potting. Second, it doesn't touch the actual coils, and has no effect on the magnets. It's basically the same as the cover on the pickup its self.

    All Bartolini pickups are cast in epoxy, as are EMGs, Duncan Basslines, etc.

    From the Bartolini website. (This is where you should get your info, not from the forum)

    "Classic Bass CB series bass pickups are passive designs featuring an extended and more resonant frequency range. They have far more "air" and definition at the top without sacrificing lows and low mids. They are cast in epoxy to remove unwanted feedback and microphonics. They are available as dual coil humbuckers in the wider soapbar shapes and, as single coils or as in-line hum cancelling dual coils in the narrower shapes. CNC machined blades on all of the CB series bass pickups allow them to cover wide ranges of string widths on medium curvature fingerboards with excellent string balance.U.S List prices are shown on these pages until our new catalog is finished."
     
  6. luknfur

    luknfur

    Jan 14, 2004
    DIXIE
    FWIW:

    emre03

    From what I can gather you're satisfied with the existing pickup which also sounds like it may be available from Kent, or at the least, he can probably make some suggestions, is very helpful I hear and probably a worthwhile contact . Nothing uncommon about having two of the same pups in a bass and as different location will yield different tone by virtue of it's location.

    Nothing against the Bart idea to say the least but it's pretty hard to go wrong sticking with what you know and like rather than going with an unknown - which is very much a crap shoot no matter who makes the pup.

    I have had LOTS of Barts, like them, and different models vary consderably in tone but my experience with the signature Bart tone is a soft top and to me not often quite bright enough and they can tend to sound a bit muffled on the top yet in general they are quite clear overall. But it seems the 9K1's were actually too bright and airy, so they vary. LP's and Barts sound very similar but one of the distinct differences is the top end of the LP's which is distinctly clearer which makes them seem brighter if in deed they aren't brighter.

    By open I assume you're talking along the lines of uncolored which I've actually yet to run across such a pup - although I've heard they exist. But if I find one I know I've got a bass I'd like to put it in.

    DavidRavenMoon

    Just curious: I don't know squat about epoxy potting but if the process is anything like wax potting with a different substance, the comment that the epoxy doesn't even touch the coils or mags caught my attention. Are you sure about that cause the only way I can think of around that is to precast the cover with a pecision form fit core with a sealer layer of epoxy over the bass which wouldn't penetrate any gaps. The whole point of effective wax potting is maximum penetration of the coils.

    For Pat & Bill I guess:

    airy top end with definition is a contradiction in my experience. Not easy to pull off and personally I wish Bart would put out a few models with the LP top end.
     
  7. DavidRavenMoon

    DavidRavenMoon Banned

    Oct 20, 2004
    I wasn't very clear on that. Yes, it does touch the coils, since that is the point of potting, but since the coil wire is insulated it can't have any influence on the pickup electrically, even if it was a conductor, which it is not.

    Regarding Barts. My current basses use EMGs, but I have used Barts since they were known as Hi-A pickups. He does make a staggering amount of models, and all the ones I have used had a nice crisp top end. I've never heard any that were muddy. That would be an indication of pickup loading, i.e., too low a value on the potentiometer or some interaction with another pickup.

    Barts have traditionally been medium impedance pickups, and work best with onboard buffer preamps. In general using a buffer amp will nake any pickup brighter, since the load of the passive volume and tone pots, as well as the cable and input section of your amp, no longer have an effect on the pickup.

    Another thing to always remember... never use a soldering gun when installing a pickup! Always use a soldering iron. The guns produce a very strong magnetic field which can weaken the magnets in the pickup, which will cause a duller sound.
     
  8. emre03

    emre03

    Sep 18, 2000
    Turkey,Istanbul
    luknfur:

    thank you very much about your suggestions.
    after took a look at the bart catalog i've seen that they have no triple coil cb models, so i've oecided to go with SD MM triple coils, which are supposed to sound brighter(from what i've heard). and also i've decided to install noll electronics 4 basd bass preamps.
    But i'll take your advice and email kent armstrong anyway.
    P.S: i've go with LP only if they made them any longer.(Lane Poors are discontinued, right?)
     
  9. luknfur

    luknfur

    Jan 14, 2004
    DIXIE
    hmm. May be a matter of interpretaion, semantics, or rigging but I can't say I recall an experience of what I'd call a crispness in a Bart top end, except for maybe like an edge to the tone. But they've made plenty of pups I haven't had. Have a set of Bart Ric's in now but I don't really have regular players any more it seems, let alone Barts. Some modern tone amps like later GK's or a transparent amp may bring that top out more. I mostly play through a Poly which is a colored mid heavy old school tone, and typically have the tweeter off at that.

    I've used onboard pre's in the past but preferred the tone without them and don't recall them being brighter in A/B comparisons when I pulled the onboard pres and wired them outboard. The active EMG's I've had on the other hand put out all the top I could want and more. I'm not heavy on top end tone at any rate. What matters as much about the top as anything is how well it fits with the rest of the tone. With the Barts in my setup I've just noticed I'd like a little more top and canning the muffled character when it existed. Given the demand for LP's, I'm still at a loss as to why they haven't cop'd that top end - that's probably the major difference in the two and the one players find most appealing.

    I've heard various cautions about things that weaken magnets but I've never heard the solder gun one in my recall. Do you remember where you got that info? So far the only ones I suspect that have merit are those Bill Lawrence mentioned for alnico 5's - actually forcing them together opposite pole style and grinding on them which can heat the surface temps excessively.

    At any rate, the only use I've ever had for a solder gun was for pot grounds and when I eliminated the ground wires with shielding, no need at all. A 15 watt iron didn't cut it for grounds and more damage can be done by low wattage for a long period than hi wattage for short period. But most of the Barts I've had there was no solder gun around them in the time I had them. If memory serves me, seems the weaker alnico 2's or 3's are actually brighter and sound very much like weakend alnico 5's. Barts are ceramic but I'd guess the mag strength/tone parallel would hold. I'd have to go back and skim through the pup junk to verify the affect on tone of weaker mags.
     
  10. Kelly Coyle

    Kelly Coyle Supporting Member

    Nov 16, 2004
    Mankato, MN
    -- I can't say myself, but Jason Lollar the pickup builder claims that potting the pickup (either wax or epoxy) does dampen the sound. He thinks the secret to the old Fender sound is that the pickups are slightly microphonic -- not enough to squeal, but enough to change how the strings ring in the amp.

    -- I myself find Barts to be a little close-sounding. A little too controlled and mannerly.

    -- I am completely in love with the Lipstick pickups in my Jerry Jones Longhorn. I'd hesitate before I'd have one put into a Status, at least if I thought I was ever going to sell it. But "open"? You bet.
     
  11. luknfur

    luknfur

    Jan 14, 2004
    DIXIE
    FWIW:

    LP's show on the used market but if you were to find an LP MM it would be about $300. I've had the Bart MMC and MME and they were very close tonewise. Never messed with mutes, but you may be able to tie a dual coil into the mute with the armstrong (if it's a seperate mute). Another signature aspect of Barts is they're usually dead quiet so you may get quiet operation from a single coil in the MM without a mute.

    The only classic series Barts I've had that come to mind are the 9cbjd and M34C - both very wierd pups in their own way. The M34C were the darkest pups I can recall and took some work to even make them useable for me. The 9cbjd I basically only got one useable narrow band of P tone out of it. Was a very good P tone but very low output (low output is also signature Bart) and really could have used an onboard pre or big watt amp.

    I've had the Sd ceramic coil MM and it had a brighter top than the Barts in my recall. If it's going in the neck position that would probably work out well if you favor the bridge pup or if the stock pup is on the dark side if going in the bridge - depending on your task. Another issue is output through a single (which I assume is the interest for a triple) is going to be significantly less. The neck position would compensate for the loss but a bridge position will accentuate the loss.

    With MM's, you basically have 3 tone options for pups: Barts, alnico 5 MM, and ceramic MM.
     
  12. emre03

    emre03

    Sep 18, 2000
    Turkey,Istanbul
    luknfur:

    The SD will be going on the bridge. My current pickup has a sweet punch and i want to have that warmt while the new pickup would give me a defined top edge, and the slap tone my bass lacks.
    The different output levels is my main concern right now, and i wonder if there is any way i can level their outputs without changing their planned positions.
    I've allready emailed kent armstrong about this, but i'm open to any suggestions...
     
  13. luknfur

    luknfur

    Jan 14, 2004
    DIXIE
    FWIW:

    the output is only likely to be an issue in single coil mode and if you favor bridge tone. If you're more a neck player and only use the bridge to flavor the neck, it's not likely to be an issue. I'm a bridge guy and typically use little neck so it would matter to someone like me.

    Nord also makes a triple but require special routing for the dropped coil cause it's made like a Sterling pup. However Nord also makes a quad MM so "single coil" would automatically be humcanceling - no dropped coils. But I think they're both alnico's - don't know about a ceramic version.
     
  14. slowburnaz

    slowburnaz

    Mar 27, 2002
    Tucson, AZ
    Ever thought of looking into Q-Tuner pickups? From the reviews and things I've read, they seem to be VERY transparent, responsive, and "open" sounding.



    Edit: Oops... you were looking for triple coils.
     
  15. luknfur

    luknfur

    Jan 14, 2004
    DIXIE
    Email sent. I completely forgot I also had a Bart MM quad and Bart Modulus MM out of a Flea Bass. Flea's gone but still have the Bart.