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why new pickups? why not buy a

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


  1. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products

    Ha! That was EXACTLY the joke I was thinking!
     
  2. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Mask the tone of the bass? OK, but I prefer to look at it as enhancing the tone of the bass. I guess people have gotten so used to the often-sterile sound of DI's and solid state amps that anything else sounds "colored" by comparison.

    However, after years of thinking pickup changes are a waste of money, I actually think there are 5-10% of situations described on this forum where pickup changes are actually warranted.
     
  3. 12bass

    12bass

    Jan 2, 2003
    Victoria, Canada
    One way to think of it is as if the pickup is a "window" through which we "see" the instrument. Looking through a more transparent "window" allows more of the nuances of the instrument to be "seen". Now, of course, some people don't like that sort of approach at all and think of everything in terms of colorations, with the idea that there is no "true" tone of the instrument. But for those looking for the broadest palette of potential tonalities, IMO using wide bandwidth pickups is the way to go.
     
  4. Rooster009

    Rooster009

    Feb 27, 2008
    OK, first let me explain. In my last post the statement about you selling pickups was indeed a joke. One of your post is just above my last post and I noticed that you build pickups.
    so I was try to make a funny, my oppoligies if it came across as mean spirited. Now, please never assume that I am ignorant, or any lesser experienced than you. no harm.
    Lots of people run straight in through a D.I. only to be stuck into the mix after adding effects amp and cab emulations.
    IMO straight D.I. tone no matter what instrument, much less
    pickup is used is way to sterile for mix down. Sound engineers love D.I. because it is so clean. If the mic mix is muddied up
    they can re introduce some of the D I signal to clean it up. BBBBBBBut! just find yourself a sound engineer and ask him.
    How much of the D.I. mix is used on most of his recordings
    compared to the miced mix.
     
  5. 12bass

    12bass

    Jan 2, 2003
    Victoria, Canada
    Depends on the musical context and tonal goals. Just using a D.I. isn't so great for a heavy rock band where you want some grind in the mix. But often it works very well where clean sounds are desired. Some bassists use two or three miked rigs, with various amounts of distortion, blended in along with a clean D.I. signal for the bottom end.

    Pickups give you a "picture" of your instrument, and the amplification chain adds "color" to that picture. But the quality of the picture (pickups) affects the quality of everything downstream.

    While processing can make a huge difference, I think it is best to start off with a solid source to build on, which is why good pickups in a good instrument can make a big difference in the final result. You might end up with a great tone using crappy pickups, but it will likely take a whole lot more work to get there....
     
  6. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Oh no! Looks like the goobledygook monster done got you in its grip!

    :D

    What exactly are "wide bandwidth pickups?" Are you not able to get a full range of frequencies with any decent pickup? There's a term I invented for pickups that don't have a wide bandwidth...I call them "broken."
     
  7. BassyBill

    BassyBill The smooth moderator... Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2005
    West Midlands UK
    Like the OP, I own a Behringer Bass V-Amp Pro. It's actually a nice bit of gear and the tone possibilities with it are really impressive.

    But is it capable of getting "any combination of tone" out of just one bass? No.
     
  8. BassyBill

    BassyBill The smooth moderator... Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2005
    West Midlands UK
    Classic. :D
     
  9. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Or not. Funny, but when I use my $90 SX PJ with the stock pickups, I get a good sound instantly, and I will put the tone of my SX basses against any on the market. The key to getting a great sound is playing great. It has zero to do with equipment.
     
  10. 12bass

    12bass

    Jan 2, 2003
    Victoria, Canada
    Twas an attempt at an analogy, trying to illustrate how pickups are like a "window" into the sound of your instrument.

    While the term 'wide bandwidth' is perhaps not well defined, I would suggest that pickups like those from Q-Tuner, Lane Poor, as well as others like Villex, Delanos, and SGD have a flatter, more extended frequency response when compared with most "traditional" pickups which tend to have a bumpier frequency response which has a characteristic sounding resonant peak in the upper midrange, with very little true high frequency response.
     
  11. 12bass

    12bass

    Jan 2, 2003
    Victoria, Canada
    Of course the player is the biggest part of the equation..... but gear is definitely a factor in getting a great tone.

    Have you every heard King's X or Cheap Trick live? Both bands have huge bass tones which are the result of a whole lot of gear - 12-string basses, multiple amps with carefully frequency-slotted distortion, crossovers, EQs, speaker emulators, compression, etc..... There's simply no way to achieve those tones without both playing like dUg Pinnick/Tom Petersson and using a similarly extensive amplification rig.
     
  12. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Seen 'em both live. To be honest, dUg's tone was horrible when I saw them, but I blame a lot of that on the soundman who put WAAAAAAY too much low end and not enough high end on his bass. What's funny about dUg, though, is that around the time of Dogman, dUg said that the best recorded tone he ever got was with his stock pre-CBS Precision. And now he's using Yamahas with the Duncan P pickup that has those little DIP switches on it that you can't get anymore. I don't recall them being very expensive.

    And Tom's sound is wonderful, but considering that he's endorsing Hofner now, and he was using stock Waterstones before that, I have to think he's not all that concerned with high fidelity pickups as much as he's concerned with amps. Same with dUg.

    I'm sure those real expensive pickups are great, but you didn't pick the two best examples to prove your case ;)
     
  13. 12bass

    12bass

    Jan 2, 2003
    Victoria, Canada

    But that response was to the more general claim that "It (tone) has zero to do with equipment", which doesn't ring true IMO.

    Actually, it's even worse than it may appear.... I've got a Waterstone TP-12/34" just like Tom played for a couple of years, and am not much of fan of the stock pickups. Although I'm not crazy about their tone, it is workable. The thing that bothers me more is the balance across the strings - the radius of the pickups is flatter than the fretboard, making the inner strings too quiet.

    AFAIK, Tom is still playing Waterstones, but uses the TP-12/32" model pretty much exclusively as it is easier to play and still sounds huge. FWIW, when I saw CT in Calgary a few years ago, he played an old P-bass for a number of songs, and it sounded great too, and may have cut through the mix better.

    As for dUg, his tone has been absolutely massive the few times I've seen him, and very well blended in with Ty's guitar tone to make for a monstrous sounding trio.

    It's true that neither player is into a "wide bandwidth", "hi-fi" sort of sound - they both seem to have more of a grindy "lo-fi" approach.

    Anyway, the point I'd like to make is that equipment can be a huge factor in tonal creation, but that it varies from player to player. While most of it may be your hands, strings, pickups, amplification, processing, etc.... can play an integral role in sculpting your unique sound.
     
  14. greenboy

    greenboy

    Dec 18, 2000
    remote mountain cabin Montana
    greenboy designs: fEARful, bassic, dually, crazy88 etc
    I use the Roland V-Bass as my main preamp, and it does bass/pickup/onboard pre modeling as well as head and cab modeling. And I still care about my host bass's magnetic pickups. Why? Because I can use them too, and blend them with the very good bass models I have access to in order to gain additional possibilities, or to run multiple virtual signal chains (like a clean amp/dirty amp scenario ferinstance).

    I've had a lot of pickups in and out of the basses I use, and currently the most useful approach seems to be Q-Tuners which are incredible at supplying a signal that can be shaped and molded by downstream filtration, or just left alone in resplendent glory. I've liked and even loved some other pickups but the Q-Tuner not only sounds fabulous - it's also better at this job because it has not obvious resonant peak and no gaps in its frequency response high or low to stand in the way of morphing it successfully or getting a layered blend that WORKS.

    Think windows and stained glass ; }
     
  15. Gintaras

    Gintaras

    Dec 11, 2004
    Kent Island, Md.
    I find that my Sansamp PDDI can usually get most tones from any bass. that be said...I went through a bunch of pickups on my last bass and finally settled on Nordstrands but the final touch is the Jretro preamp. It seems that every bass is different on how it reacts to change and so can be said about the player.:)

    A friend of mine who is an accomplished electric and double bassist can usually walk up to any rig and get most of the tones he wants. He first unplugs all of the effects units, starts adjusting and a minute later there is it. He comes from the camp that it is in the fingers.
     
  16. greenboy

    greenboy

    Dec 18, 2000
    remote mountain cabin Montana
    greenboy designs: fEARful, bassic, dually, crazy88 etc
    Yeah, it's JUST in the fingers. I mean, I can make my bass sound JUST like a baritone sax, because it's IN THE FINGERS. Well, I phrase with my breathing too, of course - but the metal strings really make my fillings hurt ; }
     
  17. allexcosta

    allexcosta

    Apr 7, 2004
    Hey, cock9...

    I don't mean any disrespect, but you need to have your ear channels cleaned. I'm glad you like your Behringer something, but don't tell me it can ensemble the tone of my expensive basses with expensive pickups and electronics because it can NOT. BTW, my hot-rodded Honda Civic still doesn't perform like my friend's Ferrari. Oh well...
     
  18. greenboy

    greenboy

    Dec 18, 2000
    remote mountain cabin Montana
    greenboy designs: fEARful, bassic, dually, crazy88 etc
    Don't you have some Ampeg thread you can do some badmouthing in?
     
  19. allexcosta

    allexcosta

    Apr 7, 2004
    From Webster dictionary:

    Main Entry:
    roost·er Listen to the pronunciation of rooster Listen to the pronunciation of rooster
    Pronunciation:
    \ˈrüs-tər also ˈru̇s-\
    Function:
    noun
    Date:
    1772

    1 a: an adult male domestic chicken : cock b: an adult male of various birds other than the domestic chicken


    Main Entry:
    1:cock Listen to the pronunciation of 1cock
    Pronunciation:
    \ˈkäk\
    Function:
    noun
    Etymology:
    Middle English cok, from Old English cocc, of imitative origin
    Date:
    before 12th century

    1 a: the adult male of the domestic chicken (Gallus gallus) b: the male of birds other than the domestic chicken

    _____________________________________________________

    BTW, I have already visited all the Ampeg threads for today and have erased some bad karma, while preventing other players from destroying their tone.

    Regards,

    Alex.
     
  20. greenboy

    greenboy

    Dec 18, 2000
    remote mountain cabin Montana
    greenboy designs: fEARful, bassic, dually, crazy88 etc
    Cute. But unless you know someone well on a forum I find it's always best to not misplace their handle until you've had a few bouts or beers with them already. It's possible someone would learn more if their hearing wasn't being insulted as well. It's more likely their experience is what's lacking.
     

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