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upgrading Warwick $$

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by IronLung1986, Sep 24, 2010.


  1. hey all
    i'm thinking about upgrading the pickups in my Corvette $$. it has MM-style pickups in case you didn't know. i'm hearing great things about Bartolini and Nordstrand, and i would love to hear specific model recommendations, as well as any other brands you guys might like.

    my main concern is that the bass currently uses passive pickups and an active preamp, and I'm wondering what aftermarket stuff out there will accommodate this, as well as the various switching options that this bass offers (series, parallel, single, EQ bypass).

    in addition, i might be looking to upgrade the preamp as well. of course a common and well regarded choice would be the Aguilar OBP-2, and i was wondering if there are certain pickup brands or models which are known to work especially well with this preamp.

    THE WHOLE POINT:
    i'm really trying to get a tone that is more similar to michael manring's. the bass sounds pretty good right now, but it's too harsh. any advice on how to achieve this would be greatly appreciated!
     
  2. mmbongo

    mmbongo Regular Human Bartender Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2009
    Carolinas
    I don't think you could get anything more opposite from Manring's Zon than a Warwick. Changing the pickups won't make it sound like a Fretless Zon.
     
  3. CapnSev

    CapnSev

    Aug 19, 2006
    Coeur d'Alene
    +1 to the above. Preamps and pickups can only give the bass a certain character, not completely transform its entire voice. You'll be dumping money into something you don't really want.

    (FYI- A Nordstrand pup won't fit, I can already tell you that. I tried it with my old one.)

    (Also FYI - 99.9% of basses use passive pickups with an active preamp. EMG is the only exception that I know of.)
     
  4. FunkMetalBass

    FunkMetalBass

    Aug 5, 2005
    Phoenix, Arizona 85029
    Endorsing Artist: J.C. Basses
    (SGD also makes an active pickup, but you're right about the passive pickup/active electronics).

    TS, you might upgrade to an Aguilar OBP-3 and get that mid-range control. If you contact Carey about retrofitting the pickups, he might be able to help you find something, and then at least you'll have some coil switching to play with for more tonal control. Unfortunately, copping the sound of a fretless from a fretted is just not an easy task (or really possible, tbh).

    After that, careful EQing between the pickups, onboard preamp, and amp is all you have without getting a new bass.
     
  5. thanks a lot guys, so far this is a helpful thread! i've been playing a while but i'm very new to active electronics. maybe i misspoke in the original post: i'm not trying to emulate the fretless aspect of his tone. i know i'd be barking up the wrong tree there. what i'm really after is that rich, sonorous quality...almost like a trombone. granted, a lot of that is due to the fretlessness, but i'm convinced there must be a way to at least partially replicate it on a fretted. i've heard that Bartolini's can have this effect, but i've also heard the opposite! i like the warwick sound basically, but mine sounds harsh when played loud, and i'm just trying to curb that a bit and get a better tone in general.
     
  6. CapnSev

    CapnSev

    Aug 19, 2006
    Coeur d'Alene
    If you haven't already, I would experiment with some different sets of strings to see if you can get a sound you like.
     
  7. mmbongo

    mmbongo Regular Human Bartender Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2009
    Carolinas
    Lots of Manrings fretless sound comes from the graphite neck. Warwicks are designed from the ground up to sound the polar opposite. Nothing really sounds like a fretless Zon...or a Warwick for that matter!
     
  8. zillo

    zillo

    Jun 5, 2003
    here here on what capsevn (got that right?) says. strings are the fastest and cheapest way to get big differences in sound
     
  9. octaverazor

    octaverazor

    Jun 3, 2009
    Houma, LA
    The $$ does sound grindy in some of the positions. A setting i find gives a smooth sound; front pickup switch in center position, back pickup switch up, blend knob on center, with the highs backed off a hair. I think it gives a nice round tone with good definition. Of course it will sound a bit different on your rig, but i think that would be a good starting point. By the way i fully believe i can dial in almost any tone i want from my $$. Or at least a reasonable facsimile. Also strings do make a big difference in tone. I like rotosound swingbass"s on my $$.
     
  10. Unrepresented

    Unrepresented Something Borderline Offensive

    Jul 1, 2006
    San Diego, CA
    I can't comment on copping Manring's tone, but I swapped out the stock MEC's on my Corvette $$ for some Basslines and it did exactly what I needed. It went from being the bass I used as backup to being my main player.

    YMMV of course...
     
  11. i will try that setting, thanks! i'm sure i've come across it before, but normally i find that the D and G strings are noticeably weaker unless the treble knob is turned up at least an 8th of an inch. it has been a bit of a challenge finding a sound that will really fit in with a band. one question for you, and sorry if this is super specific: how much space is there between the strings and the pickups on your $$? my experimentations with pickup height have always resulted in indecision and compromise...
     
  12. aha so the basslines are good eh? could i trouble you for a description on the difference/improvement?
     
  13. Jon Moody

    Jon Moody Commercial User

    Sep 9, 2007
    Kalamazoo, MI
    Manager of Brand Identity & Development, GHS Strings, Innovation Double Bass Strings, Rocktron
    The $$ has active pickups and an active preamp. The push/pull knob on the bass is NOT an active/passive switch, but merely bypassing the preamp, still drawing a current from the battery.

    And in terms of getting that Manring tone, I can nail it with my $$ fretless. Put the blend knob at about 25/75 (neck/bridge), and boost the lows a little. It's as close as a WW is going to get to a Zon.

    My advice is that since you're still relatively new to active pickups, play around with the options the $$ has. It has a TON of them available; my main one is with the blend slightly favoring the bridge, a very small boost to the lows, neck switch in the center and bridge switch all the way down (or to the right, if you're looking at it straight on). Extremely tight low end with sparkling highs.
     
  14. octaverazor

    octaverazor

    Jun 3, 2009
    Houma, LA
    Your wrong about that. You can run a $$ with no battery at all with the volume knob pulled pulled up. And if your g and d strings are a little weak you might want to raise the pickups on that side.
     
  15. Jon Moody

    Jon Moody Commercial User

    Sep 9, 2007
    Kalamazoo, MI
    Manager of Brand Identity & Development, GHS Strings, Innovation Double Bass Strings, Rocktron
    My mistake; the $$ is one of the few WWs that actually has an active/passive knob. My Streamer is not that (it does just bypass the pre), and I assumed it was completely across the board.

    You could also grab a balanced set of strings; I've found that has taken care of any weak upper strings more than raising pickups, especially with the MM. The pull on those magnets can lead to a lot of popping if they're too high.
     

  16. i use cleartone strings right now, which i really like for the most part. what kind do you use?
     
  17. Jon Moody

    Jon Moody Commercial User

    Sep 9, 2007
    Kalamazoo, MI
    Manager of Brand Identity & Development, GHS Strings, Innovation Double Bass Strings, Rocktron
    I've been using Circle Ks for about a year. Their balanced set with the heavier upper strings really evens out the levels, especially on the 6ers. The low B that they make is probably the best one I've had; it turns it from an "expensive thumb rest" to a useable string.
     
  18. octaverazor

    octaverazor

    Jun 3, 2009
    Houma, LA
    i measured my string height. From the top of the magnet pole, about 3/16 on the neck pickup "e" side. 1/8 on the "g" side. The bridge pickup is a tad higher. Also some thing i find the helps with resonance is to adjust the bridge with the back set screws a little lower than then the front so that there is a sleight drop to the back of the bridge if you get what i'm saying. i think it makes a very noticeable difference to the tone.
     
  19. SMILEYSIXX

    SMILEYSIXX

    Dec 29, 2009
    If you're not deadset on those particular brands of pups, might I recomend some Basslines? I've never played a set I didn't like.
     
  20. Unrepresented

    Unrepresented Something Borderline Offensive

    Jul 1, 2006
    San Diego, CA
    To my ears it felt like they shifted the highs from "glass breaking" down to, what for me, was a more useful "high-mids" oriented range.

    I attached a clip I did immediately after the swap a couple years ago.
     

    Attached Files:

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    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

     
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