pickup suggestion for my new build?

Bob Hoover Ross

Senior member
Messages
142
I posted this under the General section and got no responses, so thought I'd try here:

I'm planning to build a Frankenbass from some spare parts I've got lying around, but, as I don't have any electronics in my spare parts pile I'm looking for some suggestions on what pickup might best help achieve my timbral goals.

The bass will be a fretless 5-string with a high C, built around a Warmoth "Big 5" bolt-on maple neck (lined ebony fingerboard, steel reinforcing bars, Kluson machines) and a Wilkinson bridge. Body will possibly be custom made by WattFab, though I may wind up just buying something from Warmoth.

The goal is to add a fretless instrument to my arsenal that is the complete opposite of my Rob Allen MB-2. iow, the MB-2 does the big fat warm, woody, upright emulation fabulously...and for most of my fretless work that's what I need. However, I'm now looking for something to do the twangy, growly, conspicuously electric, almost clichéd "Jaco-esque" fretless bass sound. Something that'll do "singing" melodies & cut through a mix. Think Fender Jazz Bass (or Pedulla Buzz), roundwound strings, bridge pickup only with the tone control rolled off. I might even epoxy the fingerboard if I think I'm going to use this bass a lot. The anti-Rob Allen, get it?

I'm especially leaning towards the idea of a single pickup, and I like the idea of a completely passive instrument too...but I'm open to suggestions. Any ideas? Thanks.
 

Wyliee

Senior member
Messages
1,931
How about a MM styled pickup?  Not something you see every day with a fretless. 
 

Patrick from Davis

Senior member
Messages
2,197
Sounds like you want to emphasize the mids to cut through.  I am not really all that sure of what pickup brand to use, but if I were looking for that sound, I'd start at the Jazz bass.  The MM pickups can be split into a single coil "jazz"-i-esque pickup which might be the way to go.  You could have two switchable pickup configurations making the thing more versatile.  I know that Warmoth with route the MM pickup in the neck, sweetspot, or the bridge spot.
Patrick

 

line6man

Senior member
Messages
6,443
i originally planned to do mine with just a single coil in the bridge with a 500K volume and a bypassable tone.
that setup has worked pretty good for me, although i have now decided to go for a P bass pickup in the neck in addition to the single coil when i order my body.

if you want anything of a "jaco" sound, your going to need a single coil.
the idea of a MM style pickup in a "jaco sound" bass just doesnt add up to me, although i have never actually tried it.

IMO, go with just a single coil in the bridge, and put in a volume.
if you use the tone control alot, make it bypassable.
i have some schematics of the way i did mine in case it interests you.

 

Wyliee

Senior member
Messages
1,931
line6man said:
if you want anything of a "jaco" sound, your going to need a single coil.
the idea of a MM style pickup in a "jaco sound" bass just doesnt add up to me, although i have never actually tried it.

The OP's post was 'almost cliched "Jaco-esque" so I did not limit the options to just that sonic image.  Though if you want to capture that as well, how about a MM in the sweet spot and a J in the bridge?

I owned a fretless Stingray 5 for several years.  While it didn't quite have that 'Jaco' tone, it fit in the mix quite well and had a good punch to it.
 

Bob Hoover Ross

Senior member
Messages
142
Wyliee said:
how about a MM in the sweet spot and a J in the bridge?


Oooooh, I'm liking that idea!

Although that sort of defeats the simplicity I was hoping to maintain with just one pickup. Eh, I'll chew on it for a while.

Any recommendations for good passive MM or Jazz pickups besides the usual suspects (i.e., EMG or Bartolini)? Preferably something that'll work passively, but that could couple nicely w/ an active preamp if I get carried away at some later date.
 

Graffiti62

Senior member
Messages
654
One that I have seen that impresses me is the SD Passive Phase II NYC Soapbar - its like a traditional JBass pickup, but it has two equal coils. When split, you would easily get the Jazz Bass tone. In series, I figure you would wind up with something between a Thunderbird and a Music Man Stingray. If you ran the pickups in parallel, you could get a really neat nasal sound that would poke out of a mix well. And being passive, you don't have to worry about the advanced electronics - hook a few switches up to it, a volume and tone, and away you go.

Where I would put it?  if you have it in the bridge spot, you would wind up getting that snappy StingRay sound, but if you put it in the sweet spot, you would have an extremely versitale tone as well. A horse a piece I guess.
 

dbw

Senior member
Messages
4,531
SkuttleFunk is bound to have some strong opinions on this... where are you??
 

tfcreative

Senior member
Messages
200
Maybe take a look at a Nordstrand Fat Stack in the bridge or sweet spot. This or the Big Single might have the tone you're looking for, and they work very well passively as well as active preamps such as Aguilar and Audere.
 

Micahbell

Senior member
Messages
245
I highly recommend the MM pickup. My W has an old style P bass and a MM pickup in it, and ever since playing it I have thought it would make an amazing sounding fretless.
I have also played a MM fretless bass before, and it still haunts me. It sat in the store for a year and I would go play it any time I was in the neighborhood, but I couldn't afford it. Eventually they had a sale and cut the price down to $900, but somebody got to it before I did.

guitarjunky said:
for bass pickups Bartolini is the only way to go
False.


 
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