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Way too bright Spector bass. New pickups?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by BlindAmbassador, Jan 4, 2012.

  1. BlindAmbassador


    Jan 4, 2012
    Hiya folks. Longtime reader first time poster. Sorry for the lurking, lol.

    I have a question about a Spector that the bassist in my band uses. Apologies for not knowing the model name, but he recently acquired an import bolt on neck model 4 string Spector. It's a decent player but the tone is, well, poo. Clang, clang, clang, even when he uses his fingers. Having been a bass player for many years myself, I prefer Fender style basses. Me and our drummer have been trying to get him round out and warm up his tone for awhile now, but we both feel that it's the guts of the Spector that are working against us. Both of us have also heard plenty of clangy Spectors over the years and were fairly dismayed when he showed up practice with this e-bay acquired axe.

    The owner of said Spector is finally seeing the light on what we've been trying to get through to him about tone. He's running into Sansamp RBI preamp in front of a GK 700rb(by-passing the preamp of the GK). I've played my Fender Jazz through that setup and I know it's capable of some decent tone, so we think it's down to pick ups.


    What do y'all recommend? Is there a good replacement set for folks wishing to take some of the brightness and get a more balanced tone out of the Spectors? Again, I apologize for not have the exact specs, but whatever info will be appreciated. Thanks in advance.
  2. Randall


    Aug 6, 2009
    Maybe it is a setup or technique issue. How does he sound with another bass? How do you sound playing the spector?
  3. Spectors are pretty aggressive basses, but they can be tamed. Gutting the bass seems a bit extreme right out of the gate.

    I suspect low action and the setting on the Sansamp are contributing to the clang. With a medium action and rolling off the tone a bit, it should calm down.
  4. BlindAmbassador


    Jan 4, 2012
    Technique is part of it as he still uses a pick. But when he and I play it with my fingers, it still seems too bright. He was playing through an Ibanez sg700 (i think) and while his tone wasnt stellar on that rig, it wasnt as bright for sure.

    Come to think of it, he did switch bass strings, I believe they are Ernie Ball, .105. Its been long enough for them to break in but the heavier cage may be causing some of the extra string noise adding to the clang.
  5. El-Bob


    Oct 22, 2006
    Hamilton, ON
    Well, hopefully this doesn't upset anyone, but Ernie Ball's are the worst bass strings I have EVER used. I had them on my LTD D-6 (a bass with a very warm midrange sorta tone... not the typical LTD), and it was the thinnest, cheapest sound I've ever heard. Get him some GHS's and see if it helps. It's a much cheaper fix than new electronics.
  6. Spector, as a brand, is known for aggressive tone, as are the Sansamp RBI and GK 700RB. With that said, some work with eq'ing, on both the bass and on the Sansamp and GK, may do some good. A pickup change may also help, or the removal of the TonePump (if the bass has one). You could also buy the guy a new bass. Just saying.
  7. FunkMetalBass


    Aug 5, 2005
    Phoenix, Arizona 85029
    Endorsing Artist: J.C. Basses
    Which Spector Bass is it? Regardless, tell him to roll off the treble and the RBI's presence knob.
  8. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather Supporting Member

    Spector + GK = Lots of clang! He needs a warmer amp and just roll off the treble on his bass. If there's still clang, have him try flatwounds. His style is probably pretty agressive! Surprised the Sansamp isn't helping. Maybe he's set it up wrong. I used one in a studio once, totally changed my sound. I like bright slap sound.
  9. Randall


    Aug 6, 2009
    I found the ernie ball slinky's on my new to me sterling were very bright when new so trying another string brand is cheaper than pickups.
  10. guy n. cognito

    guy n. cognito Secret Agent Member Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2005
    Nashville, TN
    The Spector has an active preamp, so why not just roll off some treble?
  11. Tristan


    Jan 28, 2001
    Ottawa, Canada
    The "RBI into GK" doesn't sound great idea to me but just IMHO.

    Are the pickups active EMGs? Soapbars or PJ? If soapbars are they DC or PJ in soapbar shape?
  12. FunkMetalBass


    Aug 5, 2005
    Phoenix, Arizona 85029
    Endorsing Artist: J.C. Basses
    He's actually bypassing the GK's pre and using the RBI, which is nice, but is fairly aggressive, and the mids are centered a bit higher, which doesn't help.

    I usually set my bass knob to about 1 o'clock, my mids at 12 o'clock, and my treble at 10/11 o'clock. I keep the presence turned off or nearly off. Put the blend around 3 o'clock and use the drive to warm it up to taste. I also use a Spector and have not had any problems taming it.
  13. loend68

    loend68 Supporting Member

    Jan 14, 2008
    Endorsing Artist: Spector Basses, T.C. Electronics
    Spectors are very bright, but I use HiBeams on mine and can get a great sound without clanking, string noise. I'd start with tweaking the Sansamp. Those things can be very brittle (to me). Also if the bass has a tonepump pre, the treble knob should be almost off for it to be 'flat' and the bass knob should be around 50%.
  14. loend68

    loend68 Supporting Member

    Jan 14, 2008
    Endorsing Artist: Spector Basses, T.C. Electronics
    Is he unhappy with his sound? It sounds like you're just not a fan of Spectors...
    Although I can't say much, cuz I love them...
  15. Plucky The Bassist

    Plucky The Bassist ZOMG! I'm back from the dead!

    Jul 30, 2010
    Houston, TX
    Exhibit A

    Exhibit B

    He needs to ditch the Ernie Balls and get some different strings. The RBI is super bright and can be a bit hard to tame, which is why I bought the RPM way back when. It may sound like total blasphemy, but try some D'Addario Chromes on the spector. If he likes playing with a pick, you may be surprised at how good they will sound. The chromes have a low-mid thump to them that helps you cut through the mix when picking, but won't give everybody in the front row haircuts while he plays ;)

    Also, adjusting the action to be a little higher off the pickups might help as well.
  16. rockstarbassist

    rockstarbassist Banned

    Apr 30, 2002
    The Woodlands, TX
    Endorsing Artist: HCAF
    Way too many factors here to narrow them down w/out way more info.... Also P basses always sounded way more "clanky" on their own than any Spector I've had, but YMMV........

    Also, how does his bass sound in the FOH mix?? Very, very rarely (if ever) does your bedroom guitar and bass tone translate to epic "mix" EQ levels.

    Set everything flat and go from there... Depending on your style of music, you may not want the thud/mud tone. I know I don't. :bassist:

    Also I have a set of EB Power Slinkies (.110-.55 set) and they're in no way "too bright" on my Euro 4.... Someone just needs a quick EQ lesson, methinks. :) That Sansamp isn't gonna help to tame the "clank", either.
  17. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    Use the GKs preamp, and adjust the EQ until it's not clangy. That amp is capable of very thick low end, but you have to set it up that way. Also some people don't realize that the Boost knob on the GK is a tube saturation simulator. If you crank that up a bit the amp gets thicker sounding, as well as giving it some grind.

    I find the Sansamps tend to sound thin and mushy, but they are good if you want that type of tone.

    You have to change the settings of amps from bass to bass.

    Also, does the Specter have a preamp? Turn down the highs and boost the lows a little. This stuff is not automatic.
  18. Joe Murray

    Joe Murray

    May 14, 2008
    Fairfax, VA
    This sounds like a technique issue. If you're getting that unwanted clanking noise with the treble rolled off I think it's being produced by the strings hitting the fretboard. Does your bassist anchor his thumb off of the neck pickup by any chance?
  19. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    Maybe the bass needs a setup. The strings might be too low.
  20. AdamR

    AdamR Supporting Member

    Sep 24, 2007
    Bethel CT
    I start buy loosing the RBI. Knowing the model Spector would help a ton also. If its got a tonepump in it you can try turning that down a bit. Does he dis like his tone or is it just you and the drummer ?

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