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why new pickups? why not buy a

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Rooster009, Sep 11, 2008.


  1. Rooster009

    Rooster009

    Feb 27, 2008
    About a year ago I bought a Behringer Bass V-amp Pro.
    After fiddling whith it and getting to know the features,
    I am certain that I can get any combination of tone.
    By this I am referring to any combination of bass, pickup,
    amplifier and speakers. in short you name it and it can probably be dialed in and set as a preset, all along being
    played through the same rig and bass. alot has to do with
    the deep/split, mid/shift and presence knobs. so why do so many people still spend way more on pickups when they can
    have any combonation just by pushing a button. I'm not trying to say anything bad about anyone. I've just been enjoying my rig for the past hour or so and was pondering the
    question.
     
  2. I've fiddled with lots of knobs, but I have found that there is different character in different pickups that you cannot emulate just by using EQ. It's not just different frequencies but the entire character of the sound.
     
  3. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I have to split the difference with both of you. I agree that a lot of times, people change pickups needlessly and with no rhyme or reason, but a pickup change turned my P-Lyte from a wimpy little plink machine to a heavy-sounding bass pretty much indistinguishable from a regular Fender. So I've had to modify my hard-line stance on pickup changes and say that sometimes it works.
     
  4. I'm with Jimmy
    I have had quite a few basses and only swapped pickups on two .. one because I loved the bass godin bg5 and I haaate emgs .. it just always sounded awkward and never quite there I put SD's in and and can happily play just through my usb interface with my head phones and still dig the sound .. the other was an sx bass just because I hated the stickout pole peices (the tone was fine to start with) .. I have an ea iamp500 and I to can change the sound of each of my basses quite alot to something I'm happy with or something just different

    there are certain pickups that you will just never make into something else .. for me it was emg's
     
  5. I recently ditched an EMG active in a P-bass to a Passive pickup (an inexpensive G&B, Co.)...

    MAN ALIVE!...after 17 years of "hmmm" :meh:...I NOW HAVE P!!!! :hyper:

    But I'm with Jimmy...I've been able to get some really good sounds from my Zoom even on "so so" basses...but the basses that sound good out of the box are the basses that sound GREAT with a good amp/cab sim....
     
  6. cnltb

    cnltb

    May 28, 2005
    In my experience , the tone you can get from a good instrument that is well set up , going through a good Amp is very hard or even impossible to simulate with mediocre gear, designed to copy things that it isn't.
    Putting more things into your signal chain is as far as I can see no substitute for the "right " things in the chain.
    I personally like short signal chains as clutter-free as possible, fed by a good, well set up instrument.
     
  7. Rooster009

    Rooster009

    Feb 27, 2008
    I only speak of my experience. when i can take the stock sx
    p bass pup and get the same richness and harmonic quality of
    my Warwick fna jazzman just by tweaking some knobs I feel like I've spent my Money well. on the other hand I would agree that in certain rare circumstances, such as playing through someone elses rig, better pickups would be nice to have but that is a rare occasion. I guess there is just so much
    tonal range to be had through processors these days that IMO
    money is better spent on a processor due to all the extras you get. such as effects and amp/cab sims and loopers. My rig consist of the Bass V-amp pro - Mesa Boogie Impulse 600 -
    powerhouse 1000. basses Warwick fna jazzman - fender 82 japanese p - douglas fretted and fretless 6 er's and sx jazz
    and p basses.
     
  8. namraj

    namraj

    Feb 7, 2008
    Some people don't like digital sound, behringer have a reputation for bad reliability (unlike any pickup manufacture), and a pick up change is alot more exiting than buying a little digital box IMO. I've never changed my pickups because I've never had a problem with them, but I see that as a more sensible way to find the right sound (the pure sound of your bass) than sticking a bunch load of effects down, though with regards to EQ I agree it is a wonder tool. The only problem I find with pickups is you can't really try before you buy.
     
  9. 4Mal

    4Mal Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    In a word - clarity. Pickups can have a huge effect on your tone. That effect can be good, it can be bad. It totally depends on what you are attempting to achieve. For my uses nothing works as well as taking a good sounding bass direct, no EQ, no compression applied when it's being tracked.

    You do a track where you split a line, 1 through the behringer (or a POD) and 1 off the DI. Set the levels equally and then audition the two - the side the with the el-cheapo processing device will inevitably lose audio quality. Once lost - you can't regain it. You have to re-cut the track ...
     
  10. cnltb

    cnltb

    May 28, 2005
    In my experience , the tone you can get from a good instrument that is well set up , going through a good Amp is very hard or even impossible to simulate with mediocre gear, designed to copy things that it isn't.
    Putting more things into your signal chain is as far as I can see no substitute for the "right " things in the chain.
    I personally like short signal chains as clutter-free as possible, fed by a good, well set up instrument.
     
  11. Rooster009

    Rooster009

    Feb 27, 2008
    Thank you all for your input. while my question has been answered my opinion remains the same.
     
  12. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    I have a Roland VM-3100Pro mixer that has their COSM amp modeling in it. It can get a bunch of good amp tones, that I sometimes use for recording bass, but mostly guitars. I generally record with a clean DI tone that really shows off the tone of the bass. The modeling always seems to obscure the clean tone, but it's good for amped tones with some grit.

    Same is true for those Line6 Variax's. They sound pretty good, but they always have a distance to them. I played in a band for a while with a guitar player that used one, and ran it though a Floor POD and also the GuitarRig setup via an Apple PowerBook.

    It sounded great when no one else was playing, but even with his own 200W JBL powered PA cab, he always got lost in the mix.

    The modeled guitars and basses have some latency too, so there's always some delay.

    But the amp modeling is pretty nice, if what you want is an amped tone. So if you like SVT's and amps like that that mask the tone of the bass, then yeah, the modeling stuff is all you need because you never really hear he pickups anyway.
     
  13. msiner

    msiner

    Sep 2, 2008
    Tucson, AZ
    Three things:
    1) garbage in -> garbage out (This universal law can also be applied when comparing the value of "technique vs pickups", "head vs cab", or "healthy diet vs dietary supplements" )
    2) If the input is too low, the amp is probably doing too much work. That can lead to extra noise and distortion.
    3) You can't always play through your own equipment. So while you might have toiled endlessly to get the right tone out of your setup, you may have to take just your bass and plug into either a different amp/preamp or, as someone else mentioned, directly into the mix. I have heard some pretty muddy sounds come from guitars and bass guitars plugged directly into a mixer.
     
  14. So the question is, "Why replace the turd when you could spend twice as much trying to polish it?"
     
  15. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    Or, "why new pickups when you can buy a pony?" :D
     
  16. Rooster009

    Rooster009

    Feb 27, 2008
    Very insightful responses. Except for the one that says why buy a pickup when you can buy a pony. Almost sounds like that guy sells pickups or something. Anyway, since the beginning of this post I have been talking about my own experiences. As far as the bass v-amp being to noisey, it has been my experience that when levels are adjusted correctly it
    is exceptionally quiet. Remember I am use to playing straight through my impulse 600 which is one of the quietest amps in the music industry.
    Next I would like to say that in my opinion all amplifiers, p.a.'s and speakers color the original sound of whatever is plugged into it. Also it is very likely that most of the favorite bass tones from music of yesterday, today and tomorrow have been colored by an amplifier running to a speaker which in turn is being recorded through a mic and then put in the mix along with a D.I. signal. Each signal is then adjusted and mixed to get the best sound according to the sound engineer. Also the line about trash in = trash out is true when speaking About technique. As far as tone is concerned it is just that >TONE< and TONE can be adjusted to taste. That is why sound engineers get payed the big bucks. I still stand by my statement about the Bass V-amp having the tools to achieve the tones spoken of in my first statement. So why waste money on pickups which allow for only one tone, when you can buy a processor and achieve multiple tones.
     
  17. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    Well don't forget post #12 where I said some insightful things. I guess you don't have a sense of humor? :D I was responding to "Why replace the turd when you could spend twice as much trying to polish it?" which I thought was funny. I guess that was more insightful to you, huh?

    Yes, I design, make and sell pickups and basses. I've also been playing bass for the past 39 years. I think that makes me an expert on pickups and bass tone, so where's the problem? :eyebrow: I like sharing what I have learned in the last 50 years, useful or not.

    You mean the M-Pulse 600? That's a nice amp. I have a Mesa Boogie 400+. Now keep in mind that these have tube preamps (and mine has a tube power amp) so they especially color the sound of the pickup. Have you ever played your bass direct into a nice mic preamp, like an Avalon, and direct into a recording desk, and listed though studio monitors? That's the sound of your pickups, and not an amp. There's a few amps that come close to a studio tone, and Mesa is not among them.

    The V-Amp simulates amps, and not pickups or basses. No matter what the amp sounds like, basses and pickups all sound different. If it sounds the same to you, then you need more experience listening to the difference.

    So I'm not biased because I design and make pickups and preamps, but because I do, I know what they sound like, and as I said I have an amp modeler also, and it can't sound like a new set of pickups.

    Each signal is then adjusted and mixed to get the best sound according to the sound engineer. Also the line about trash in = trash out is true when speaking About technique. As far as tone is concerned it is just that >TONE< and TONE can be adjusted to taste. That is why sound engineers get payed the big bucks. I still stand by my statement about the Bass V-amp having the tools to achieve the tones spoken of in my first statement. So why waste money on pickups which allow for only one tone, when you can buy a processor and achieve multiple tones.[/QUOTE]

    What are you comparing the amplified tone too, as a reference for changing the tone? My reference is my bass direct. No amp at all. It sounds like it does unplugged, but just more of it.

    PA speakers and bass speakers sound totally different. I like playing though a Yamaha 12" PA cab with a horn, and I also have a nice Mesa/Eden 4X10, and a Trace Elliot combo, and they all sound different. I like each one for what it does best. The closest amp I heard to my studio tone was an SWR LA-12 (not the 10 or 15). Just the right combination of parts.

    As far as technique, a good player can get many different tones just with their fingers, where they pluck, how hard they pluck, etc. Nice clear pickups enables you get get a wider variety of sounds. I can go from prog rock crunch with a pick, to Motown with my fingers, all from the same bass and pickups.

    No one is slamming you for liking your amp modeler. I like mine too. But it's not a substitute for better or different pickups. You can only EQ in something so far. It's much easier to EQ things out. It's hard to put in what's not there. You came on and made a bold statement. But can you back it up with data?

    It wound have been one thing to say "I have a V-Amp and I can get a tone of cool tones"? That what they make those things for... but it starts with the bass, the strings, and the pickups. Oh and you.

    (That wasn't preachy, was it? Hope not!) :D :bassist:
     
  18. But doesn't a P/J bass do both tones already? :confused:
     
  19. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    There's only two bass tones? :rolleyes:
     
  20. yes...and can play both kinds of music, too...

    country AND western :D
     

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