Suggestions for MM bass pickup?

jackthehack

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Thinking about doing another bass, and have my eye on a body that already has a MM pickup route, but don't have any experience with that type of bass pickup. What would be you bass players/builders input on possibilities to check out? For me, philosophically, a bass pickup or set needs to be versatile enough to provide a fairly wide range of tone from "deep thump" to "slap punch"; what would y'all suggest?
 

dbw

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I'm planning a MM bass, too.  I was thinking of using a GFS pickup, as they're slightly cheaper than dirt and they seem to get good reviews.  I'm curious to see what the four stringers say!
 

Shmoopie

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http://www.delano-pickups.com/english/index-eng.html
http://www.seymourduncan.com/index.shtml
stuff
 

SkuttleFunk

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I would recommend one of the MM style pickups in the Nordstrand line

* MM4.2 for that classic RWRP dual single-coil type pickup that made the original MM bass what it is

* MM4.3 adds the benefit of a dummy-coil so you can operate a single coil from the pickup in a noisless mode by tapping one of the coils to ground - this is as close as you can get to a single-coil sound in a noiseless configuration

* MM4.4 utilizes dual split-coil pickups for a slightly more modern sound


the MM4.2 and MM4.4 fit into a standard MM pickup route. the MM4.3 requires an additional cavity modification to accommodate the dummy coil on the bottom side of the pickup

all the best,

R
 

bpmorton777

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it's my understanding that MM pickups are active and need a battery and preamp (in the bass) to work?

Brian
 

jackthehack

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bpmorton777 said:
it's my understanding that MM pickups are active and need a battery and preamp (in the bass) to work?

Brian

You can apparently wire some types either active or passive; the Nordstand site only shows active, but SD shows diagrams both ways?
 

Shmoopie

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for the most part they are passive, yes they use a preamp, because the original mm basses have them.
any way, sd's are all pasive, you can easily use any passive with a preamp. some more modern ones are active, like emg, they also make a hz passive model. neither of them need a preamp, but they work just fine with them.  the active emgs have internal preamps.

then there are delanos (sp) i think for the most part they are passive, they did come out with an emg esk model which may or may not be active, and if it is active, it may or may not have an iternal preamp, meaning it would need a preamp to function at its peak, or you could run it to and external preamp, but you may need to turn the gain up.

side note, all active bass pups that i know of use 25k pots, and a battery.

hope that helps
 

SkuttleFunk

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bpmorton777 said:
it's my understanding that MM pickups are active and need a battery and preamp (in the bass) to work?

with the exception of several EMG pickup models, most every pickup you will ever find is passive. passive pickups do not need a power source

what you may be referring to is an onboard active pre-amp, which does require a power source.

passive pickups feed into an active pre-amp quite nicely, and they also work passively quite nicely. the best of both worlds is to have a pre-amp that can be bypassed. in doing this you get the best recording situation (passive pickups + passive tone control) and the best live situation (passive or active pickups + active tone control) all at the flip of a switch

all the best,

R
 

jackthehack

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SkuttleFunk said:
bpmorton777 said:
it's my understanding that MM pickups are active and need a battery and preamp (in the bass) to work?

with the exception of several EMG pickup models, most every pickup you will ever find is passive. passive pickups do not need a power source

what you may be referring to is an onboard active pre-amp, which does require a power source.

passive pickups feed into an active pre-amp quite nicely, and they also work passively quite nicely. the best of both worlds is to have a pre-amp that can be bypassed. in doing this you get the best recording situation (passive pickups + passive tone control) and the best live situation (passive or active pickups + active tone control) all at the flip of a switch

all the best,

R

What do you gain from the onboard pre-amp with a Nordstrand MM 4.2 other than gain boost?
 

SkuttleFunk

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the most significant gain is in tone shaping capabilities

passive tone control uses a capacitor to effectively cut away high frequencies. the frequency 'knee' is determined by the cap value

a pre-amp brings active tone shaping into play. depending on which pre-amp you use, these capabilities range from simple cut/boost of treble and bass to the opposite extreme of allowing you to switch the loading on a pickup while also having high and low-mid frequency cut/boost on a sweepable frequency center.


my personal favorite pre-amp is the Aguilar OBP-1 run at 18v. it features cut/boost on the treble and boost only on the bass (who ever cuts the bass frequencies on a bass?)  I love this pre-amp because it is so neutral sounding when the tone controls are set flat - you can bypass it and not hear a tone or volume change. When you do utilize the controls, they sound very musical

these two features - transparent and musical tone shaping - are the ultimate achievement in a pre-amp IMO. other models color the sound to greater and lessor amounts, even when everything is set flat. this is the reason I no longer use Bartolini pre-amps. I just got tired of every bass I loaded one into sounding like a Bartolini pre-amp

if you want to check out a cool new pre-amp, click over to Audere Audio: http://www.audereaudio.com/index.htm

all the best,

R
 

SkuttleFunk

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I'll also note that a great resource for Aguilar pre-amps and Nordstrand pickups is http://www.BestBassGear.com

Brian is a gifted luthier and also has a stellar reputation for service at his on-line parts store. you'll also find his pricing to be very competitive


a second Nordstrand pickup resource would be Jay at Blueberry Hill Bass - http://www.blueberryhillbass.com

all the best,

R
 

dbw

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So it seems Aguilar + Nordstrand is recommended?  Any thoughts on Audere or SD preamps?

I'm planning for this to be my main bass for the rest of my life so I want to do it right :)
 

jackthehack

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dbw said:
So it seems Aguilar + Nordstrand is recommended?  Any thoughts on Audere or SD preamps?

I'm planning for this to be my main bass for the rest of my life so I want to do it right :)

Skuttlefunk is far from being alone; everyone I've talked to/heard from that actually has a clue all say Nordstrand + Aguilar
 

SkuttleFunk

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I have no personal experience with the Audere pre-amps, but I know several players I respect who absolutely love them. I know I'll eventually get the nerve to spend the extra $150+ for the Audere

all the best,

R
 

Wyliee

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dbw said:
So it seems Aguilar + Nordstrand is recommended?  Any thoughts on Audere or SD preamps?

I'm planning for this to be my main bass for the rest of my life so I want to do it right :)

I've heard a couple J basses with the Audere preamp and was impressed with the sound.  I've also met the owner, Dave.  Very nice and intelligent fellow.  I could see his preamp being an excellent alternative to an Aguilar pre for Nordstrand pickups.

I recently completed a Gecko 5 with a MM pickup and an OBP-1.  I'm very pleased with the sound.  It has some serious punch and can growl if you dig in.
 

SkuttleFunk

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I should be clear that my Aguilar pre-amp comments/recommendations are specific to the OBP-1 unit (which is basically identical to the Sadowsky pre-amp) ... I can't say that their other pre-amp models receive such universal enthusiasm for transparency.

all the best,

R
 

TonyFlyingSquirrel

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One cool thing I like doing with active bass p/u's is to just use the controls to add gain to drive the amp.  I tend to run them flat anyway & do the tonal shaping on the amp, but I'll turn the low/mid/treb controls all to about 1/2 way between the detent and full (to taste).

 

SkuttleFunk

Senior member
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1,156
TonyFlyingSquirrel said:
One cool thing I like doing with active bass p/u's is to just use the controls to add gain to drive the amp.  I tend to run them flat anyway & do the tonal shaping on the amp, but I'll turn the low/mid/treb controls all to about 1/2 way between the detent and full (to taste).

active bass pickups?? are you sure you're referring to active pickups and not an active onboard pre-amp? outside of one series of EMG's, I don't know of any active pickups with tone shaping capabilities

all the best,

R
 

TonyFlyingSquirrel

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Yes, you are correct.

Wether active or passive pickups, I find that just turning up the gain equally on all of the preamp's eq controls gives me some extra bite & grit.
 
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