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Wilson Pickup

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by dperrott, Nov 8, 2005.

  1. dperrott


    Oct 3, 2005
    Is anyone still using a Wilson Pickup? I have looked at the old post but many of them are exactly that..old. I have been using Schertler stat-b since 1996. I used to use the old 2 element model. It wasn't working well. (I recently put new corks on it but is sounds even worse.) I am not totally pleased with the new one. I have been using it for about 2 years. I have been debating about the Barbera or Wilson. I know the Barbera sounds great but I worried about not being able to modify the bridge. My favorite player Anders Jormin uses the Wilson. I just heard him play and his sound was ok. Other pickups like the realist sound too dark and thumpy for me or don't work for arco playing.

  2. Uncletoad


    May 6, 2003
    Columbus Ohio
    Proprietor Fifth Avenue Fret Shop. Technical Editor Bass Gear Magazine
    I used a Wilson on my old German Plywood for a bit. It was a bit thin and open sounding for my tastes at the time. It is accurate and clear. Easy to play on the louder side without problems. I went with the Full Circle by itself though. Of course that may just err on the other side of being pretty bassy and electric bassish. My bass teacher still uses a Wilson mixed with a mic that sounds amazing together. Mine is sitting in a drawer these days. I use the Full Circle and the AMT on my Cleveland.
    Randy Ward likes this.
  3. oystein


    Sep 15, 2001
    Norway, Leikong
    I sold my wilson 2 years ago, when I got the Full Circle there was no point in keeping the Wilson. The Wilson's pros are: feedback resistant, clear and even sounding in the whole register. Cons: Electric sounding, it doesn't bring out much "wood and air" of the instrument. I always felt like playing a big fretless when using it. Combined with a mike you can get a pretty decent sound, I have also heard bassist getting a far better sound with the Wilson than I did.
    My ultimate test for a pick-up is putting my headphones on. If the sound is at all close to acceptable in headphones it will be good through an amp.
    My Full Circle through the Fishman Platinum Pro is the best pickup sound I've got. The Full Circle also sounds very good through high quality PA systems as long as you take care of the impedance match.

    everything IMHO

  4. I saw Anders a week ago, the first stop on this tour. You say his sound was OK. I thought it was pretty good, but that could be the room too. Keep in mind he is using a $2500 no-name Chinese bass that he had "modified" into a travel bass by cutting the neck off, and using a bolt through the neck block. Not to mention whatever backline is available, certainly nothing DB-specific. It's not the sound of his bass on records, but considering these factors, it was pretty impressive. I found all this out after the show, during which I was essentially spellbound by the trio, and in particular Anders effortless control of the instrument, including all kinds of extended techniques (4-finger, false harmonics, yadda yadda).

    I asked him about the Wilson, he said it was his pickup of choice for an even, natural, woody sound, good for high volumes, and he even likes the way it works with the bow. I thought to myself, that flies in the face of conventional thinking as the elements are right next to the strings. Obviously it's not a problem for him.

    I have been curious about blending something with my Realist for more mids and highs, but I am just not to the point where I can see spending $500 for the unit, whatever for the install, and another $2-300 to replace my bridge if I don't like it. That's a lot of bread for something you don't even know if you're going to like. I wish there were more users who could share their experiences with the Wilson. They seem to have fallen out of popularity as you say. I know JP used one in the past, but no more.

    If I had to choose between Wilson and Barberra, I would go with Wilson for what should in theory be better reliability.
  5. snake


    Jul 21, 2004
    Aurora. CO
    Didn't he do Mustang Sally? lol
    16fuss likes this.
  6. Yes, but so did a lot of other people. She wasn't too particular, you know...

    Anybody having a dejavous moment?
  7. oystein


    Sep 15, 2001
    Norway, Leikong
    A lot of my favourite bassists are on the endorser list for Wilson. I was very eager before I bought mine, I was warned by people in here that it was electric sounding and unnatural which turned out to be true. OK result with the Realist and the Wilson blended, but the Full Circle does a better job alone than the two of them together.
    On my bass and set-up off course. :D

  8. I spoke with Anders years ago and he said that he would like to use the schertler pu (which for some reason has been very widely used over the years by top bassists in sweden), but for some reason it just didn't work that well with his instrument.

    the wilson pu is close to the strings thus can be electric/stringy. on the good side is that you can dial in the vloume for each string and compensate for instrumental problems, and that it delivers a very clear and focused sound. But as always, it's great on some basses and inferior on others.
  9. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
  10. dperrott


    Oct 3, 2005
    I am not sure how Anders records. I think recent albums involve a
    mic and some pickup signal fromt he Wilson. I am listening to the
    Charles Lloyd album " All my relations" and his sound is alot more of a "pickup" sound. It was recorded in 1994. I don't know when he started using the wilson. Sound wise I don't mind a slighty "electric sound" since I am not a thumper. I really don't like the thuddy sound that is so popular now.
  11. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
  12. I actually bought a new bass the other week which had the wilson pu pre-installed. I was on tour here in Sweden using only rented basses, and this one I just could not get out of my head. Luckily it was for sale and I had the money! I'm not sure about the origin of the bass, I will take pictures and post it. Maybe someone on the forum can help me out?

    But as for the wilson, this is my findings so far:
    - It sure is a ugly pu, but very well built.
    - I had to dial in the volume of the elements as there where some slight uneveness. But this is was not a real issue. Could also be caused of the age and character of the strings.
    - Going from a very dark sounding full scale bohemian bass with addario hybrids and realist pu to a 3/4, fast and more balansed bass with old spirocores - I had to cut some of the high and/or med high register. Sound is clear, compact and tonally balansed. The wilson will also provide a longer sustain. I suspect that the wilson is certainly more "electric" the realist (which I have been using the last five years). But then the realist is a completely different in design and thought.
    - On some amplifiers and PAs some sort of preamp is almost mandatory. (I use the behringer adi-21 with good results)

    I will let the wilson stay on the bass for now as I don't have the time nor energy right now to find that perfect pu. (But I do suspect that the realist would sound fantastic on this bass too). I will though in days after x-mas sand down my revolution pu and see how that one works.

  13. I picked up a used Wison locally, for not a whole lot of $$. I installed it on my favorite bridge(scary) of my older carved upright and didn't like the sound all that much and went back to using my Realist. Then I changed to light gage Spiro.'s, stopped using the EQ on my GK combo amp, and let the eq from my Aguilar DB924 dial in the room sound, and the pickup sound is great. Lots of volume and stills sounds like the realist only brighter and louder. I still use the Realist(a great pickup) when that's all that is required. Though now I'm thinking of looking at different amps(when will it end, when I'm dead).
  14. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    The best sound I've heard from the Wilson, as well as almost any other amplified sound, is when the sound the player is getting -- and usually the setup -- is really dark. Pickups get the dark part of the sound better than the highs and mids.
  15. Acoop

    Acoop Supporting Member

    Feb 21, 2012
    I was wondering about asking "Who is still using the Wilson Pickup?" and this post popped up. ... I've been using one for about 15 years and love the sound. So, who is still using the Wilson?
  16. Kristian


    Dec 5, 2008
    I sometimes use one in the bridge foot. My favorite piezo solution so far.
  17. lurk


    Dec 2, 2009
    I wasn't happy with it years ago when I tried it. You've got to deface your bridge, and you might not like it. I think a full circle will make you happy and cost less too.
  18. Don C

    Don C

    Jan 13, 2007
    Victoria BC
    I've been using Wilsons for about 20 years. I've tried others but keep coming back to the Wilson. On my Bass it sounds great and its so easy to use, no feedback, no interference, no bleed etc. The only time I'm less then happy with it is when I'm forced to play louder then I prefer to play. Most of my work is with small groups in smaller rooms and clubs where you don't have to play loudly.
    I have found that which Bass it's on makes quite a difference. I had Wilsons on a second Bass and, although it sounded acceptable, it wasn't nearly as good sounding as on my number one Bass, but I suppose that could be true with most pickups.
    Tried mics for a while, too much bleed.
    Would like to try the Lifeline for comparison.
  19. The problem may be to find the sweet spot on the bridge for it.
    And since you need to drill a hole each time, you may come up with swiss cheese.
  20. Don C

    Don C

    Jan 13, 2007
    Victoria BC
    Wilson gives you what they consider to be the correct placement. It's been a while since I looked, but I believe they tell you to drill the hole 8 mm below the center of the string. They even give you the proper drill bit and a reamer.