What pickups should I get?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Bass Muffin, Jul 19, 2019.

  1. Bass Muffin

    Bass Muffin

    Jul 19, 2019
    Greetings TalkBass,

    I'm a new bassist, about a month in, and since the first week I've been desiring a specific tone. I can't reference any existing bassist's tones, since I don't know much of them, but I know I am looking for a burpy, aggressive, deep tone. I currently own an esp B-206 with stock pickups, preamp, and La Bella Gold White tapewounds. Enjoying it but I'm looking to change the pickups and possible the tramp if necessary. As far as Pickups, I've been recommended the ADX6 pickups. From the demos I've listened to of basses using those pickups, the tone is definitely closer to what I'm searching for vs. what I have now. But I want to see what other options could possibly fit what I'm looking for. To the bassist's here with more experience: what should I look into as far as Pickups/preamps? I'm willing to take my bass to a shop to have it fitted for larger electronics that it currently accepts if necessary. Thanks in advance!
     
  2. ctmullins

    ctmullins Dominated Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 18, 2008
    MS Gulf Coast
    I'm highly opinionated and extremely self-assured
    It’s hard to put tone into words, but you might like the EMG DC or the Delano SBC. The EMGs are active, so they won’t work without a battery, but the Delanos are passive, so they can be used with or without a preamp.

    Also perhaps the Lace Bassbar.
     
  3. sikamikanico

    sikamikanico

    Mar 17, 2004
    My suggestion: keep playing, keep tweaking, keep listening, and keep reading.

    You need to develop your fingers and your ears, see what you can pull out of the bass as is. Pay attention to how it responds to your technique (how hard or soft you play, where you pluck, what part of the finger you use, etc). Tweak those knobs, particularly pickup balance. Go easy on the EQ, start flat, adjust to taste.

    Adjust your bass too - neck relief, action, pickup height. The first two influence how you play, or can play, which then influences how you sound. Pickup height has a direct influence on tone.

    Try a few different sets of strings. LaBella white tapes are nice, but very specific sounding strings. You'll probably get more range from more traditional strings, like nickel plated steel (or stainless steel) roundwounds. Try a few different sets, explore the sounds - one of the most cost-effective ways to improve the sound of a bass is finding the right set of strings.

    Listen how all of these things affect the sounds. Read and listen stuff online (like on Talkbass!), and on recordings, to familiarize yourself with a wide range of sounds and how people get them.

    It's an iterative process, but you will learn a lot, which will help you narrow down what gear you may want to try. Otherwise, you risk chasing some nebulous "better sound" and never finding it.

    But welcome to bass, and to Talkbass!
     
    Lobster11, Slater and Bass Muffin like this.
  4. Bass Muffin

    Bass Muffin

    Jul 19, 2019
    What would be the difference between these options? Besides the active/passive
     
  5. ctmullins

    ctmullins Dominated Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 18, 2008
    MS Gulf Coast
    I'm highly opinionated and extremely self-assured
    Welcome to the forum, by the way!

    As I said, it’s difficult to describe tone using words. Also, the same pickup will sound somewhat different in a different bass. This means that my experiences will never be identical to yours, or anyone else’s.

    However, the EMG will be the most “aggressive” sounding of those three. The Delano is more even, having a certain type of “hi-fi” polite aggressiveness (if that makes any sense) to it. And the Lace is similar to the Delano, perhaps even a bit smoother. The Lace is a radically different looking pickup too, and some people are bothered by that.

    Other folk will come along and share their views. But ultimately, the only way to know for sure is to try different pickups in your actual bass, with your hands, and through your amp.
     
    Bass Muffin likes this.
  6. sikamikanico

    sikamikanico

    Mar 17, 2004
    Yup, “burpy, aggressive, and deep” mean different things to different people. To me, burpy is the bridge pickup... aggressive is a mainly a function of how you play (technique) and strings, but I’d go with single or split coil pickups... and deep can be either neck pickup solo or both on + technique (+ EQ if necessary)...

    Another thing that would help: what pickups are in the bass now, and how exactly are they lacking? If you can figure that out, you’d be much closer to your answer and people can provide more specific advice.
     
    ctmullins likes this.
  7. Bass Muffin

    Bass Muffin

    Jul 19, 2019
    The pickups I have now are the stock pickups for the esp B-206sm. They are very quiet compared to a passive bass I own even when they are raised higher. Additionally they just lack punch. Not entirely, but it's definitely not a tone I'm looking for. I've messed with pickup balance and EQ but it still falls short. Not quite enough growl.
     
  8. sikamikanico

    sikamikanico

    Mar 17, 2004
    Those are ESP SB-6 pickups. If you search for that term, you’ll see some discussion of these pickups and replacing them... worth a read, probably. Also, they seem to be EMG-45 size, but measure carefully - in one of the threads I read ESP has odd pickup cavity sizes.

    The tone you’re describing... well, the first thing, I’d try a different set of strings. Again, I’m not sure how you ended up with Labella tapes, but that’s not a typical string choice (not bad, just atypical). Not great for punch and growl imo.