I've spent entirely too much time today reading threads here about pickups and preamps. I got some good info, but I still don't know what I want for my next bass. I've played bass for over 30 years, but I really don't know a lot about pickups, just pretty much sticking to what's in the particular bass I'm playing. I have a five string fretless I made myself - I put EMG 40DCs in it with the Preamp that came with it. I understand the one "tone" knob to go from smile to frown with flat somewhere in the middle (see I don't really even know this preamp!). I installed individual volume controls for the pickups on this bass. Its the best sounding bass I own by far. Its a fretless, but its got a very full sound, it cuts through very nicely and has plenty of defined bottom on it. I bought the EMGs from a local bass builder who had them laying around. I just went on his word that they were "good". I'm about to make my third bass, it will be a five string fretless and, while I like the 40DCs, I'd like to get something with a little more tonal control. Its a fretless so there's little danger of getting too bright, I think. I will only put flat wounds on my fretless basses. The band I'm in now is kind of jam-bandy thing with a hard edge every now and then. I mostly play finger style, but I do a little slap now and then. Anyone have suggestions? I have to keep things reasonable as far as price goes - probably around $300-400 for pre and pickups. I look through all the options as Best Bass Gear and my head just spins. John (just for reference, my other basses include an Ovation Viper Acoustic/electric, Fender Jazz Lace Sensor (Fretless), Carvin LB75, a homemade Fretted based on a Carvin XB75 neck and Carvin pickups and my pride and joy which is a homemade fretless based on a Carvin XB75 neck with EMG 40DC pickups).