Why replace MM pickup?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by shirojiro, Mar 15, 2001.

  1. shirojiro


    Jan 24, 2001
    San Francisco
    Hi everyone,

    I've been lurking around various message boards and have found a surprising number of people who want to replace the pickup in their MM Stingray basses.

    What gives?

    I thought that the Stingray had a distinct sound that is (at least partially) due to the MM pickup. Some people have mentioned that the output across the strings is not consistent, so a replacement would fix this. Isn't the MM pickup a bar magnet with individual polepieces though?

  2. halfnote


    Feb 1, 2001
    Some people get bored easily (like me), some people like to tinker and some people are looking for a sound that is different. I am not sure about the volume problem, I think flea complained about it and switched to Modulus because of it.

  3. Dunno if it's right to start on this under the 'pickup' topic, but here goes: I've also read flea complaining about the volume problem, and having a SR5 me'self I tried to figure if it is a problem. Sometimes I've noticed it, but I think its due to something other that the PU. First, if you play your bass with the head pointing up (like flea certainly does) you most likely will play the thinner strings closer to the bridge compared to the fatter ones, wich will give you less 'string' bottom-end from the thinner strings = lower volume. I try to move my fingers a little towards the neck when I play the thinner strings. Secondly, I noticed after switching to thinner gauge (.40-.60-.75-.95-1.25) that the difference isnt that noticable if there at all.

    Any thoughts on this?
  4. winston

    winston Supporting Member

    May 2, 2000
    Berkeley, CA
    My theory about the string balance problem on StingRays is that:
    1)On a lot of 'Rays the high strings don't pass over as much of the polepiece as the lower strings do, equaling lower volume,
    2)The range of the boost on the bass EQ control really beefs up the sound of notes on the E and A strings while leaving notes high up on the D and G strings unaffected.
    I've taken care of the problem about 95% by switching to lighter strings (a .40 to .100 Dean Markley NPS set) and by tweaking the setup. Make sure that the heights of the strings match the curve of the fingerboard and polepiece height (A and D strings should be highest). Then plug the bass into a device with a VU meter or LED level indicators (I use my Tascam Portastudio), set the controls on the bass where you like them, and adjust the pickup height until notes on the low and high strings give similar dB readings on the meter and sound balanced.
    My StingRay is a great feeling instrument and the best-built, most solid production bass I've ever played but I'm tempted to get a pickup with bar polepieces and maybe a different preamp to take care of the problem 100%.