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why new pickups? why not buy a

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

  1. Rooster009


    Feb 27, 2008
    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 ...) end quote

    agree but it's not a problem

    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. end quote

    never said anything about coping someone elses tone or technique. I only wish I could play as good as the legends listed. what I stated was I could make each of my basses sound like each other just by using my processor. one of which is a Warwick FNA Jazzman and of course a p-basse a jazz another p-bass and 2 douglas basses.

    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. end quote

    fat or thin mid boosted your choice it's acheivable.
  2. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Honestly, this is turning into an ass thread. Rooster has beliefs that work for him, the rest of you have beliefs that work for you. I think those of you trying to convince him will be beating your heads against the wall, and vice versa. I don't think either side is completely right or completely wrong. I do know one thing, though...this is my least favorite forum on here, and this argument is a shining example of why.
  3. Rooster009


    Feb 27, 2008
    LOL!!! I am a little hard headed.

    I really don't think people are getting what I am try to say.
    I'm not coping anyones tone but my own. So say my band does a cover song but we are playing in a really crappy dive bar or somewhere I wont take my warwick. I take my SX p-bass instead. the song calls for a music man type of sound which is alot lot lot lot like the back pickup on my warwick. I have a setting on my processor which emulates that same tone when I play my SX p-bass, period. same for all my other basses. so why if I can achieve this with those pickups, shouldn't every one be able to achieve the tone they desire
    through pickups they already have and a processor with like functions. why buy new pickups for 150 - 300 dollars when you can get so much more.
  4. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Two words: You are not everybody.

    Again, may I remind you that I'm not in disagreement with you. I think a lot of people do like to make pickup changes for the sake of change, and a lot of the time the difference is unnoticeable. But what I had to learn (and what you'll have to learn, too) is that sometimes those tiny differences mean a whole heck of a lot to others. And really, who are we to judge what others do? They're not going to stop doing it because of your posts. There are still going to be people who put $200 pickups in $100 basses. There are still going to be people who buy every pickup on the market just to hear what they sound like.

    And I'll tell you this...there's not a setting on any modeler out there that could have made my P-Lyte with its stock lame pickups turn into the heavy tone machine it's become with the overwound pickups.

    So just as I had to do, you need to lighten up and realize that not everyone has your same tastes, and not everyone wants to make tonal changes through modeling.

  5. Face it...you are not correct

    Nice try...now move on

  6. 12bass


    Jan 2, 2003
    Victoria, Canada
    While it may be correct that some people are unlikely to change their views no matter what the evidence, it remains that there are some facts underlying this particular discussion.

    Sure, you can plug an SX P-bass into a signal processor and make it sound sort of like a StingRay, but it will never have the exact same characteristics in part due to pickup type, placement and the lack of an onboard preamp. The unique pickup construction, placement, and preamp on a StingRay combine to produce a complex and rather different set of harmonic overtones than a P-bass, producing a difference in tonality which cannot be accurately replicated through signal manipulation. Thus, if "close enough" is your game, then by all means use modeling.... but don't believe for a second that it can achieve a 100% tonal match.

    Perhaps some of us, and especially those who are interested in wide bandwidth pickups, are more capable of appreciating the nuance they provide? I know that I can hear minute details which others fail to notice... like the difference between op amps.
  7. badboy1984


    Mar 27, 2007
    United Kingdom
    I believe in this thoery when starting to play bass. "Can get different tone from one bass and EQ it different".

    At the end i can't get a jazz sound from a p-bass with stock pickup, can't get warwick growl and can't get the humucker sound.

    To me pickup and amp plays the big part of the sound.

    Like someone said: "good input = good output"

    so "bad input = bad output"

    very simple thoery.
  8. you've stumbled upon another interesting point.

    Wide bandwidth pickups will offer the "best chance" of a signal processor achieving the desired simulation. This is because subtractive synthesis is WAYYYYY easier than additive.

    This could be why the Variax has been successful in getting some of their models so close...but even variax didn't nail ALL their models, IMO.
  9. 12bass


    Jan 2, 2003
    Victoria, Canada
    Yeah... IIRC greenboy mentioned that earlier....
  10. Cernael


    Jun 28, 2008
    To go into pickup placement, specifically...it's impossible to accurately copy one placement by using signal processing on a signal from another place. Why?

    Think about how magnetic pickups work. In essence, they look at the string where they are, and translate its movement into an electrical signal. This means it gets a resonance curve based on the harmonic nodes' placement on the strings, and those nodes change their position based on which fret you fret the string at. To get an accurate copy, the processor must sense and/or know the pitch, fret (and picking) position and pickup position you are playing (with) in order to first get a "flat" response, and then model in the desired one; and while the first of those is an easy task, and the last might be programmed in advance, when you factor in it all, I doubt any processor can do a perfect job.
  11. greenboy


    Dec 18, 2000
    remote mountain cabin Montana
    greenboy designs: fEARful, bassic, dually, crazy88 etc
    Certainly has been a scattershod discussion, with mainly amp/cab modeling/processing being mentioned which has nothing to do with pickup sound and feel, and only a couple here mentioning the V-Bass or the Variax. But if you were interested in modeling basses, and not just rigs, you need to be looking at pickup modeling. In the case of the V-Bass that means attaching a GK hexaphonic pickup or installing a piezo for each string, in the case of the Variax you buy a bass with piezos already installed.

    The hex pickup is low impedance and designed for extended response that isn't possible with a passive single pickup, and because it's per string there isn't much signal interaction or intermodulation between strings. The piezo is similarly equipped to deliver a full bandwidth signal with minimal crosstalk between strings. Those at least give a hope of signal aquisition, and then it's up to the chips and the algorithms the designers came up with when they scrutinized a variety of basses.

    It's always going to be debated, but just for the sake of progressing the discussion let's say the V-Bass does a fine job of modeling BASSES (right down to the MM preamp and kinda dead G string, I might add), good enough that you begin to ask yourself, "But which J, which P, which T-Bird?" I mean, even with the same wood species, basic pickup winds, and same strings, anyone who's played a few basses knows there's audible variations in factory basses from any period. Then you factor in different strings, different pickup winds, maybe a body wood option, a change of preamps...

    Well, it's a wide world. Modeling as it progresses is just another tool to get change and variety and not an end-all and be all. It's not going to replace the basics - it's another tool to add to the arsenal. In my case ferinstance, I often don't care particularly if some other clown thinks I've nailed a particular P Bass - all I want is to capture kind of an ideal that makes me want to play like I had a P Bass in my hands, and to hear the characteristics I notice when I play a P, an idealized version. And I think Roland has done a great job in most cases of making it very easy to do a J or a bunch of others well enough that it can be used live or in the studio.

    That will remain arguable for many for decades I'm sure... but one thing remains pretty obvious to at least me: you won't model pickups or basses by running through an amp/cab modeler - that is an entirely different set of filters that interact differently. One might as well have asked, Why Buy Pickups When You Can Just Buy New Amps/Cabs? And that doesn't make much sense, does it? ; }
  12. stflbn


    May 10, 2007
    I can see both sides of this discussion. I've owned a Bass V-amp Pro... it had great potential, but I feel failed in it's execution as so many Behringer products do. It had a tremendous tendency to hissssss constantly, and when idle it would breath slightly along with the hissssss, even 'if' a patch was being used that had no effects, models, etc in it. I owned the V-amp pro after owning a bean shaped Bass Pod XT. The Pod XT was better in review. But both could do A LOT to tailor sounds. However, so could a Boss VF-1 I had with the addition of a decent defretting ability.

    Regarding pickups... I good set of pickups can make a huge difference in the core sound of a bass. A Great setup of pickups can seriously change your playing and overall bass universe.

    I love how Schecter 5-string basses feel. The necks are perfect for me, however, I'm not a fan at all of their deal that puts EMG HZ soap bars in so many of their basses. 5-strings specifically get rewarded with HZ's. Initially I had the HZ's in my Studio5 replaced with custom Kent Armstrong humbuckers made in the shape of HZ's. And I was absolutely blown away by the difference. Now along with loving how the bass plays I now love how the bass sounds. Aggressive yet adaptive, full, punchy, versatile, etc etc etc. I could use it for about everything I do. However, I need a backup bass, so recently I found a 5-string Schecter with a Jazz/Musicman configuration. Once I received it (with Duncan Designed pickups) it took me about 2 hours to decide that I loved the bass, but again was let down by the pickups and it's 'core' sound that all other sounds are built upon.

    It's now hanging at Low End bass shop in Murfreesboro, TN awaiting a custom set of Kent Armstrong pickups. As each pickup in it was a unique size it will receive a custom wound and sized Kent Armstrong Jazz pickup in the neck, and 2 Jazz pickups in the Bridge housed in a MM sized cover to match the stock pickups weird dimensions. The 2 jazzes in the bridge will be wired so I can choose either of them, or both in Series.

    Those two basses together should be able to get close enough to any sound I realistically need for my needs. AND, I love how they feel and play. These are my CORE sound, and sound great plugged straight into a recording interface, or console, or run direct via a DI when/if needed.

    But... along with all that information lies the benefit that I also have a Line6 X3 Live. With it I can take my CORE sounds from my two basses and adapt them further. But, I can do this knowing that I'm sending a great sounding signal to the X3 to further model and adapt and add effects to when needed.

    Currently I'm in a new project that is all unique originals that cross all kinds of genre boundaries from Jazz, to mild rock, to bluegrass'ish feel, etc. Right now I'm only using a GenzBenz NeoPak and 1 Avatar 210 cabinet because we're adapting 'songs' at this point and do not need specific models, or effects etc etc etc. The true quality of a bass and it's pickups SHINE in this kind of situation. And it's fun, cool, rewarding, inspiring to be able to walk in with a small rig and have basses that sound GREAT and can adapt sound wise to so many things without needed something like a V-amp pro, or Pod, Boss 10b, etc to make their sound convincing.

    If the sound coming off the bass itself is great, then everything else only builds on or enhances that sound.

  13. Rooster009


    Feb 27, 2008
    Some of you guy's are making it out to be something it isn't.
    I have tones preset on my rig. Although each bass has it's own characteristics, such as say dead spots up and down the neck on the G string of my Fender maple neck p, by picking closer to the bridge, real close actually now that I think about it, and making adjustments through my processor I can acheive the same tone as the back pickup on my Warwick. Why is this so hard to believe. I am capable of shaping the deep bass range, the mid shift range and the treble range. I do add just a touch of distortion to help get just a little bit of the growl but none the less it's there. So my original question was why buy pickups. It's not that I wouldn't if the need ever should arise, but all of my basses sound clean and natural already. I will agree that a pickup change can change the way a bass sounds sometimes better sometimes worse. Another thing, there are those people out there with very closed minds when it comes to processors, all because they do not understand them and do not have the patience to set in front of a rig and adjust till it's right. Also many people do not even use the preamps that are in there basses, I know mine never gets touched except for pickup selection. If the tone and characteristics of say a Ampeg SVT or a G/K 800RB can be achieved through modeling why can't pickups. After all it is just the manipulation of sound, how do you think they achieve those tones. They adjust and adjust till they acheive the tone and then it gets stored. With all of whats offered on my processor I have the tools to adjust much the same as they do. Mark my words it won't be long and you will see lots of bass guitar modeling. Fender and Gibby both already have guitars that use modeling in there preamp. The fender is capable of achieving strat, tele, acoustic and 12 string tones along with multiple tunings all from the same pickup. I believe roland is in the for front of this era. Roland has manipulated sound so that you can even make a guitar sound like a saxophone. again tell me that I am unable to do what I say i'm doing with my rig.
  14. 12bass


    Jan 2, 2003
    Victoria, Canada
    There seems to be a misunderstanding about the different roles played by pickups and amp modeling. Amp modeling can add non-linear distortions, EQ, compression, etc... but it cannot recreate what isn't there in the source. Pickup type and position affect the quality of the source tone, and serve to define the signal's initial tonal characteristics. A pickup like a Q-Tuner allows a clearer, wider window into the sound of the instrument, reproducing frequencies which are simply not available using other pickups.

    All I can suggest at this point is that Rooster009 install a set of high quality, wide bandwidth pickups in one of his basses so that he can hear the difference for himself. It's not subtle.....
  15. ped

    ped User Commercial User

    Aug 30, 2006
    York, England
    I have recently got a Vbass system. Although I am 100% happy with my clean bass sound, the Vbass pickup gives me access to jazz/stingray sounds and everything else under the sun (I can even design my own pickup placements, split the pickups anywhere and move them about) and I have to say after a bit of tweaking I have so far acheived the bast modern Jazz bass sound I have had so far (and I have had a few top end Jazzers)

    I used to use a pod xt pro which I liked as a pre-amp but the modelling can only go so far and sound so good when the inpt is sloshed with immovable characteristics such as pickup placement/type. the Vbass neatly goes around this and has a LOT to offer...



    Here's the pickup:
  16. allexcosta


    Apr 7, 2004
    You folks who feel this digital emulators and effects are really great must be playing in your bedroom and have no stage experience whatsoever. I agree that these things seem to sound great on headphones and bedroom amps, but I guarantee that if you bring it to a gig I'll see your name in the classifieds selling the thing by the next morning.
  17. 12bass


    Jan 2, 2003
    Victoria, Canada
    Further, using something like the V-Bass is quite a bit different from installing a wide bandwidth pickup in a bass whose sound you want to hear more clearly. The V-Bass is intended to mimic the sounds of various other instruments in order to give the player a wider tonal palette, while a wide bandwidth pickup is intended to more accurately reproduce the sound of the instrument, as it is.
  18. allexcosta


    Apr 7, 2004
    You need to see an otorhinolaryngologist ASAP. Trust me on this...
  19. Rooster009


    Feb 27, 2008
    I completely understand, and agree that some pickups may be better than others givin they have more range. If the sound that you refer to being missing is not within the range but outside the range of the pickup and you need that then yes you need new pickups in order to achieve that sound.
    On the other hand if the sound thats missing is inside the range of the pickup then I would have to think that the sound is there it just needs to be leveled out with the rest of the tone. take a pickup that doesn't let enough bass frequency through but has way to much midrange and treble.
    using the deep control on my processor, I can select a frequency between 41Hz and 600Hz. Say I select 41Hz, now the regular Bass tone nob will adjust from this frequency, so I raise it a little. The mid/shift works much the same way, select the frequency Then adjust it to lower the mids to get them level with the bass. now adjust the presence which Adds higher range to your pickup. Now adjust the treble to be on the same level as your mids and bass. you now have a bass setting for a flat frequency response from that bass guitar. Say this bass is my warwick, which has no p-bass pickup or a pickup even close to the location of a p-bass.
    in order to get a p-bass sound I would raise the mids a little, knock off a little treble adjust my pickup bias about 60% neck 40% bridge and flip my toggle switch for my bridge pickup to series. the pickup bias being a huge part in locating the nuances of the strings above say where a p-bass pickup would be. But I will agree that A broader range pickup will give you more to work with. The way I see it though is that to us the frequency spectrum is 20HZ - 20KHZ after that nothing really matters. Take the jazz bass pickups thread here on talkbass. the tone that anyone of those pickups let through could be adjusted to sound like the other and alot of the stock pickups are close enough that they could also be adjusted. SD's to much bass? Take a little off. One dimarzio pickup cleaner than the other? Find the frequency responsible (most likely somewhere in the mids) and lower it until it stops distorting the rest of the spectrum.
  20. Rooster009


    Feb 27, 2008
    I've gigged with it since I bought it. Indoors, outdoors you name it. I also have lots of respect from a lot of other bass players around my area. I have been questioned many times by new guy's and some old hands about how I get such great tone. So stop assuming that you are THE most knowledgable and capable and etc.

    anybody got anything else to add, I know we are all hear to amuse Mr. allexcosta, who by the way has yet to say anything constructive on the issue.

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