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why new pickups? why not buy a

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


  1. allexcosta

    allexcosta

    Apr 7, 2004
    Sorry, I don't drink alcohol...
    No hearing insulted, just some health advice. He clearly needs it.
     
  2. GlennW

    GlennW

    Sep 6, 2006
    Of course, and they are: 1) Fender, 2) other.

    Just kidding.
     
  3. cigi

    cigi

    Aug 22, 2006
    I'm glad you enjoy you rig, but I totally disagree.

    Amp simulators simulate amps, and the good ones give a good simulation of the real deal. They have nothing to do with pu's or basses. I'm certain no simulator from behringer (or any other company) can copy an svt with a good p for example. It wil maybe come close, although I doubt it with stuff from behringer. My experiences with this brand are not so good. It allwas sounded pretty cheap.

    If u are convinced that you can copy any possible tone with your setup, I can't help but think that you don't have a lot of experience with gear. If you have a lot of experience, your ears will not be as sensitive for the nuances in tone from the real deal.
     

  4. me thinks...you are wrong...mostly

    there is no substitute for a good pickup...that's like giving you a head start in the tone race.

    but MANY amp sims that are out today are good...and if you learn how to use them they are QUITE good...

    I've had my zoom B2.1u for 2 years and am just NOW really dialing in what I like.

    and your last sentence??? WHA'??? :confused:
     
  5. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Well now...that wasn't the least bit arrogant. And I totally buy into your cover story about a rooster being a cock.
     
  6. allexcosta

    allexcosta

    Apr 7, 2004
    Thanks, here's one just for you:

    [​IMG]
     
  7. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    I don't see DI as sterile, and everytime I've played though a SVT it always changed my tone for the worst. There's no way to get a flat response from that amp. I don't mind a warming up of the tone you get from tube amps, but not at the expense of clear top end. Ampeg's always remove a big chunk of the upper mids and replace it with junk. It's a boxy hollow tone that I don't care for.

    But it depends on the bass. All the Motown recordings were DI without an amp, and they are hardly sterile. If your bass sounds lame clean, than you do need an amp to fatten it up.

    But I'm not against using an amp, or an amp emulator for recording. I do it all the time. I just never cared for Ampeg tone stacks, and that was all the way back when I first started playing in 1969. The exception was my vintage B-15n.

    Now my Mesa 400+ is different and doesn't screw up the tone of the bass. I can still hear what my bass sounds like, and not just the amp. There's nothing wrong with liking an amp tone. Tony Levin used the SVT tone to advantage over the years. But my personal preference is for something that sounds like my bass direct, since I like the tone of my bass. The SVT tone is too obscuring and "blurry" for my taste. It just feels too slow and I can't hear what I'm playing. It's good for blending in.

    You can make a huge difference in tone with new pickups. It's not saying one pickup is better, but there are not-so-good pickups out there. You see that here on this and other forums, where it's a shoot out between this vs. that. But you might love your bass, and just want a fatter tone, or brighter tone, or what ever. You can try to EQ it, but you can only do so much with EQ. And if the pickups are lacking in certain frequencies, you can't put them back if they aren't there.

    If you have a wide flat response, it's easy to make the pickups sound like different bass tones by adding an upper mid peak, because that where the tone in various pickups comes from. This is why the modeling basses like the Line 6 Variaxe use piezo pickups to get a clean wide range tone free from as pickup personality as possible.

    I had a customer bring me a brand new ESP/LTD bass with their soapbars and preamp. I thought it sounded fine. He had me replace the pickups with Bart CBC souaps and an Aguilar 3 band preamp, and boy that thing sounded like a totally different bass... and in a good way. It was like night and day. And I see it all the time when I'm replacing pickups for people. it might be changing stock Fender's for EMG's, or Replacing PRS pickups for Duncans. Transforms the instrument in a big way.

    Even different strings can make a big impact on your tone.

    But I'll use my own personal example. After not finding the right bass for me I decided to build my own, and make it just the way I want. I used EMG soapbars because at the time I was using EMG J pickups in my bass. EMG's a very good pickups, but after a while I was looking for a different tone. Just as wide ranging, but more natural or "organic" sounding. I couldn't get it from the EMG's, no matter what I did. They have a distinct tone, and you can't really get rid of it. So I followed the same course for the right bass for me, and designed my own pickups. Now they sound like my bass does, just bigger. They aren't better or worse, just different. So in many cases new pickups will transform a bass to be exactly what you are looking for.

    So from my experience both as a player and luthier, new pickups make a big difference.
     
  8. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    No problem. :bassist:

    A LOT of recordings are straight DI, no amp, and before there were amp simulators.

    Almost everything in the 70's. All the Beatle stuff after Sgt. Pepper was DI. All the Motown stuff is DI... no amp at all. I posted some Motown clips of the bass solo'd under my other screen name DavidRavenMoon.

    Recording engineers and producers like DI because once you record an amp, you are stuck with the amp. So now the trick is recording even guitars DI and reamping if needed.

    But my opinion is if you don't like the sound of your bass DI'd, then you need new pickups! Then that's your starting point, and anything you add is icing on the cake, and not some plastic wrap covering it up.

    I like amp modelers though. I even use some software plugin modelers when I record. I even use an SVT plugin when I'm playing on someone else's track, and they want that tone. But you have to start with a nakid tone that you love IMHO.

    But there's no wrong or right with music or art. Just with brain surgery. :D
     
  9. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Could be the Fender tone stack in the Mesa. With treble and bass being boost only, I could see how you would like its clarity. I used to use a D-180 once upon a time and I thought it was a pretty cool amp. But I can see that you and I have completely different tonal goals. I imagine that you like the clearness of a full-range clean sound, and I like to beat and punch my way through a mix with low mids more than cut with treble.

    Anyway, whatever it takes to get a good sound...it's all good.
     
  10. I think that without even realising it, you've just hit on the main crux between the "modern" sound vs. the "vintage" sound.

    Vintage sound is all about push the the low-mids to "under pin" the music and move it along in a more "subliminal" way. (think Duck Dunn)
    Modern sound is more about "in your face" grind that stands up and says "hey this is a bass guitar, here...hang on to your hat" (think Paul Taylor)

    BOTH have their uses and what sounds "good" or "bad" is really subjective...

    I like them both and will go for both depending on the music...

    In fact, I did the exact thing last night at church...In FACT, I did the vintage vs. modern on the same tune, with the same musos on the same night...

    We played Planet Shakers' "I am not Ashamed"...I played it first on a 5-string active Jazz with stainless rounds on it and used the low D quite a bit on the tune.
    Later on we did it again...I played it on my 4-string passive P and had to substitute the low D with the 5-fret, A-string D...it sounded different...grooved different...but wasn't "bad"...it was a very cool variation of the tune...

    The "amp" of choice? A zoom B2.1u, first setup had a "trace elliott" thing going...the second setup was more a clean "SVT" thing.

    By the way...the sound man said to me after church..."I didn't realise that you had two basses with you." and "oh was that a 5-string?"...:meh:
     
  11. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    It might be a Fender stack. It also has a graphic EQ. I haven't actually used the amp in quite a while. It's just too damn heavy. I used a GK-800RB head with the cab for a while, but I don't like their tone controls too much, and after having the head since 1986, sold it.

    Now my main amp is a Trace Elliott combo. It doesn't have tone controls, just a graphic EQ, and I have that defeated most of the time.

    I use the bass and treble controls on my bass most of the time.

    My thing is just to plug into an amp and hear my tone. Too often something is missing or just different.
     
  12. Rooster009

    Rooster009

    Feb 27, 2008
    OK guy's I think we are getting maybe a little of track.
    I simply stated that with my processor I could get the same tone from any of my basses by using the deep, mid shift and presence controls. So it would make since that it should work on anyones bass. As for those of you who like the D.I. route,
    how do you replicate this tone when you play live? It is pretty obvious that the tone will change when it is played through a speaker. also room size can create dips and peaks in your tone. So how do you correct this? See my point. I do agree with the statement that you must have a good clean foundation to start with. However, there really hasn't been much changed in the pickup world since the first electric bass.
    Now quality control has improved alot but other than size and type of magnet, size and purity of wire, number of wraps and tension while wrapping what can you change? I have yet to see any pickup that has multiple settings, and probably never will.
     
  13. Rooster009

    Rooster009

    Feb 27, 2008
    Whoops I almost forgot. Alexcosta I love the way cock9 just slips from your tongue and lips and how you slowly stroke each and every key while typing. LOL!!!! get the !@@###$ outta here like your oppinion matters to me. Guys lets be a little more educational. I have no interest in or respect for anyone who would show there !@# like that. Sorry just venting a little. stop brand bashing as well. I would like to say
    that I appreciate all who are taking part in this dicussion. I have learned a few things that I did not know before. Such as the motown recordings being D.I.. I thought they used a mic. in front of a Ampeg b-15 or was that a vox ac 100. Anyway I am probably wrong.
     
  14. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    I can see the point that the processor can replace an amp. And with a reasonably decent (you get good highs and lows) pickup, get a variety of useful tones.

    But say you have an old Gibson bass with a mudbucker? You will not be able to get a bright Rickenbacker tone from it, no matter how hard you try. So for that bass, you need a new pickup. It would also be real hard to get the Ric to sound like a Gibson.

    And I know, because I had both basses, and ended up putting a mudbucker on my Ric. ;)
     
  15. allexcosta

    allexcosta

    Apr 7, 2004
    Sorry, but it is opinion and their...
     
  16. 4Mal

    4Mal Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    The problem with your initial premise - that you can cop any tone by fiddling with the controls on your vamp - is that the initial audio quality is set by the pickups (and bridge and nut and strings and hand pacement, etc ...)

    You cannot - cop a really good Jaco, using a P-Bass and a vamp. Ain't gona happen. No way. and no way are you going to take a J dialed in for bridge burp and make it sound like Conrad Lozano (Los Lobos - maybe the best rock bassist working today... if you don't believe me, listen - the man just has IT.) You can't take a Ric and make it sound like Paul on a Hofner or like Sting on his Steinberger - or the 54 for that matter.

    You might not be intersted in those guys enough to get the nuances - but they are there. Pickups and pickup placement are a big part of the equation.

    If you ignore the pickup - you truly don't care a whit about your tone. It's all about that initial audio quality. Period... Dot... end of sermonette... I'm off the soap box now. Honey - where's my meds ? :D

    If you don't get anything else out of what I wrote - do 1 thing - get a copy of Los Lobos Live at the Fillmore DVD and a copy of The Neighborhood cd - learn some of that stuff - that is a master at work. No effects, no bullsh!t - just warkingman- maybe one of the best workingmen...

    BTW - I am happy to effect the beejeezus out of my bass signal - after it's recorded. Recording it wet put's you in a box. That box is often not quite the shape box to fit into the final song - so you're back to a tracking another line. Dry this time ... Personally I go dry, DI for a very practical reason ...
     
  17. SERPENT865

    SERPENT865

    Jan 1, 2007
    Wichita , KS
    My POD XT PRO amp/head and cab emulations sound pretty good to me. It can sound like a Carvin,Peavey,Spector or Steinberger running through numerous mic'ed head and cab combinations but oh yah not like a fender because I DONT HAVE ONE.!
     
  18. allexcosta

    allexcosta

    Apr 7, 2004
    Hey Snake865...

    Never mind, just kidding... :bag:
     
  19. scootron

    scootron

    Jul 17, 2007
    Moved to Texas
    Not completely on point, but just an observation. I bought a Fender Jazz on which someone had installed an EMG J set. It's an expensive set of pups, so I hated for them to go to waste, but I really didn't care that much for the way they sounded.

    I read all I could about them, and decided to change their wiring from 9 volts to 18 volts...made all the difference in the world, and completely surprised me. I really like their tone now.

    So not only can pups make a big difference, but apparently small things like this can make a big difference too.

    I found the same thing (going to 18 volts) really improved the performance of my Fulltone Bassdrive. Not everything can be switched from 9 to 18, but there are a few things the manufacturers not only say is okay but actually recommend.
     
  20. Rooster009

    Rooster009

    Feb 27, 2008
    Quote

    You can make a huge difference in tone with new pickups. It's not saying one pickup is better, but there are not-so-good pickups out there. You see that here on this and other forums, where it's a shoot out between this vs. that. But you might love your bass, and just want a fatter tone, or brighter tone, or what ever. You can try to EQ it, but you can only do so much with EQ. And if the pickups are lacking in certain frequencies, you can't put them back if they aren't there. end quote

    I disagree a little and agree a little. First pickups produce nothing they just pickup sound which is already there. Now by varying the windings and wire we change final risistance and frequency range. I agree there are some bad pickups out there but I believe that this can be overcome by processing.
    Now if you are refering to noise you should know pickups produce no noise. They pick noise up because they are not shielded enough.

    Quote
    If you have a wide flat response, it's easy to make the pickups sound like different bass tones by adding an upper mid peak, because that where the tone in various pickups comes from. This is why the modeling basses like the Line 6 Variaxe use piezo pickups to get a clean wide range tone free from as pickup personality as possible. end quote

    I completely agree. what I don't understand is why people would assume that my pickups and my ears are sub par. But you know whatever. But with my processor the deep and mid shift knobs are parametric adjustments. So how fat do you want to go, or where do you want that mid peak to be. Presence works at the top of the spectrum which can add sparkle to dull sounding pickups. So with a little adjusting you can go from super fat to mid boosted punch to down right clanky.

    quote
    Even different strings can make a big impact on your tone.
    end quote

    Agree

    quote
    But I'll use my own personal example. After not finding the right bass for me I decided to build my own, and make it just the way I want. I used EMG soapbars because at the time I was using EMG J pickups in my bass. EMG's a very good pickups, but after a while I was looking for a different tone. Just as wide ranging, but more natural or "organic" sounding. I couldn't get it from the EMG's, no matter what I did. They have a distinct tone, and you can't really get rid of it. So I followed the same course for the right bass for me, and designed my own pickups. Now they sound like my bass does, just bigger. They aren't better or worse, just different. So in many cases new pickups will transform a bass to be exactly what you are looking for. end quote

    Agree but also would like to add that with sound knowledge and experience a processor can likely adjust what you don't like to what you like.

    I would like to have more knowledge as to what gives a pickup its characteristics if you don't mind getting into it on a seperate post. I'll start it if you don't mind, just let me know.
     

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