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i was thinking either a p/j bass hybrid or 2 soap bars... so far im unsure of :D specific brands but im looking for higher end stuff like bartolini or Emg etc.

what difference in sounds will these pickups have? what do u guys recon?

luke

:D

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I've got EMG soapbars in my Dean bass (A good Dean, and the REAL EMGs). They sound pretty good, but are definately more suited to metal or if you are going to be using a lot of effects. Don't get me wrong, they sound good. They just don't have as much character as I would like.

On the bass I built, I put in a Bartolini MM pickup. I really like it, very deep, ballsy sound. I can only imagine how good it would sound in a really nice bass and/or with an Aguilar or Bartolini preamp (I built my own, 1 vol 1 tone).

The p/j setup will give you more of a vintage sound, while the soapbars will give a more modern sound. Thats just a GENERAL rule of thumb, as many things can affect your tone including the instrument, the electronics, the amp, effects, etc.

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Bartolini uses the pickup chassis simply as a housing. So you can get a soapbar housed pickup that's a P-bass pickup inside it. And you can get P and J bass housings with totally modern Hi-Fi coils inside. With Bartolini you really should read all you can on their website www.bartolini.net and if the preamps seem to complicated for a custom wire job, you can get their prewired harnesses. Then it's just a matter of soldering the pups and jack in place.

For bass I vote Bartolini all the way, with everything else a distant 2nd place. But that's because I understand them so well that I can make a Bartolini system that "outperforms" others once I know what I'm trying to do. Like if you want that flat EMG sound but you went with a really deep, warm Bartolini instead, you'd be dissatisfied. You'd think the EMG was "better". But if I knew that's what you wanted, I'd make a system that went after that sound. Bartolini's pickups are so diverse, there's not really a "Bartolini sound" so sometimes it's a bit overwhelming. Whereas generally there is an "EMG" sound. If there's anything that couold be thought of as a Bartolini sound it would be in the clarity. It's hard to match their fundamental note clarity.

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Every bass player I know that plays professionaly (and there are a bunch) use bartoloni pickups. All different styles of music and different types of basses.

George

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Buy me a set of Barts and I will trade you for my EMGs, no boot. Great kinda fella, ain't I? Seriously, you can't even expect EMGs to sound like Barts cause they ain't SUPPOSED to sound like Barts. Barts have character, EMGs have uniform (kinda) waveforms. I will never take the EMGs off my recording studio bass but I will never build another new bass with them. May use their VMC preamp thingie but not the pickups.

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Way to go! Embarrass the crap out of me! The only EMGs I can say I have had control over are 35DCs, 40DCs, PJs and one 45DC. Not what you would call BROAD exposure. I am mostly in love wuth their little "modifier" controls. Their VMC and their BTC controls impress the crap out of me. I suppose, to have any weight to my opinion, I should have more exposure to the rest of the stuff EMG makes but that is one of the drawbacks to being just one person. EMGs have a place in some peoples sonic heart but mine belongs to Bartolini! That and my wife is Italian. Mafia. Knock-down, dead-serious beautiful. Oh, so is my wife! :D

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I have the EMG-Hz's in two of my basses and they are very nice......but they won't touch Bartolini's. The EMG's have a nice variance of tone but nothing I've played digs as deep or plays as sweet as a Bart. They just have "that" bass sound. I have listened to many clips of the LightWave and they are as close to the Bart's while being different enough to justify a try but they are pricey (~$400). I'm putting a set in my new project bass this summer. I'll let you know how they sound in real life once it's done.

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i was thinking about barts before but i just dont like the sound, i love the sound of emgs.

That's kind of what I was talking about. You can't really dislike the sound of Bartolinis because he makes almost every sound. But I understand that you probably have disliked all the Bartolinis you have heard in your time. Perhaps you also dislike how some other bass players sound, and you know they use Bartolinis.

Anyway, I'm totally not picking on you, and for those guys that love the EMG's there's really no reason to switch to Bartolinis. When I hear someone say "I don't like the way Duncans or Dimarzios sound, etc. there's some validity to it, because a lot of other manufacturers have a sonic "footprint". They may have many models, but they're designed from a point of view. Bill Bartolini isn't like that. Or of he is, the point of view is note clarity, but not a certain "tone". But sometimes people get a certain idea that there's a Bartolini sound because they hear a bunch of jazz players using them, or whatever, and what they're really hearing is the sound of the genre. Like I've heard guys playing Bartolinis and I couldn't stand their sound. And to boot, I knew a lot of it was the pickups and how they had their system designed. But that's what's so cool about Bill. He doesn't care what you want to sound like, he'll make it. Even if the rest of us know it sucks :D

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Good one, BlueP. He really needs to hear/play a few sets of each. I have a WASP with one EMG DC and one with a Bart. They sound completely different but they are, basically, the same axe. I do studio work with a completely different guitar. Rowdy bar scenes and stuff, I take the WASP with the EMGs. Nice, docile crowds that can hear what I play, I take the WASP with the Barts. Gotta listen to em and make your choice for your venue.

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Then you want a set of EMGs. Now pick out which ones. This is gonna be a whole new discussion.

No, wait a minute! You aren't the original poster. Sorry!

Yeah, just like BlueP said, EMGs are the ones for you, if you have heard them both and like them better, but are they the one for the guy asking the question?

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Oh my, so much discussion over Bart's and EMG's..... I honestly don't care what the builder was thinking about the tone, or what builder it is as long as I like the tone of the pickup. That being said, I love almost every Bart I've played on or heard and the DC series of EMG is tonally pleasing to my ears, while I HATE the HZ's. I'm very interested in the Extended Bass series, but have yet to play a bass with them.

BUT, if you wouldn't mind stepping away from those manufacturers, I'd like to suggest some other companies. Take a look at Lindy Fralins. The stock pickups are really nice; I have yet to hear a custom wound pair. Lindy will wind pickups to suit you and your personal tone, so if you talk to someone in the shop I'm sure they'll be happy to help you get it wound so that you like it.

http://www.fralinpickups.com/

Carey Nordstrand has quite a wide variety of pickups, and is a reknowned builder himself! He's quite the nice person, but I haven't played any of his basses or pickups personally. I have read countless reviews of both his basses and his pickups and I haven't seen anything negative. A good friend of mine swears by Carey's MM style pickups (I believe the specific model was the MM 4.2?). He even sold the legendary Lane Poors out of his Modulus Flea in favor of them. Every sound clip I've heard has had amazing tone. I'd also suggest calling him if you're interested.

http://www.nordstrandguitars.com/

Aero pickups are also an alternative. I personally didn't like their tone too much, but many others do. I don't know much about the company myself, so I'm not going to say I do.

http://www.aeroinstrument.com/

Fralin and Nordstrand pickups are both available from contacting them through their sites (I think?), or from http://www.bestbassgear.com/ .

I don't know where to get Aero's from, probably their site as well, but I'm not sure because I personally haven't looked around.

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I think they use the "Powered by Lace" on the Fender basses but they don't have the label on them. I know a lot of guys use the Lace Gold's to get the Pink Floyd Strat Quack sound. I used a set of Fender USA Jazz for a while and when I picked up the Lace I put them in there. My ears liked the Lace better. Much more "bark" than the Fender IMO which sounds real nice playing Geddy Lee (not that I can play much like Geddy :D )

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Back me up on this, please, BlueP. If you were to consider a passive pickup that has real character but no availability, it would have to be the Gibson mini humbuckers put on EB-3s and EPI Allen Woodies. The EMG HZ can't hold a dim candle to them IMHO. Fender has never made a bass pickup that would be considered an UPGRADE from any other type of pickup so, to me, it seems to make the choice, although VERY personal-preference tilted, quite binary. There are system-based bass pickups with their matched preamps and such that are quite flexible and, even, remarkable but if you want to buy a pup based on it's own merits, you need to listen to the whole spectrum. Active, passive, systemic, pres added to passives, etc. I hate to repeat myself but.......no, that is a lie. I love to repeat myself. To each his own, enjoy the difference and diversity of people and, as they say in Texas: "It don't take all kinds of people to make the world, it's just we gots all kinds of people".

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If you were to consider a passive pickup that has real character but no availability, it would have to be the Gibson mini humbuckers put on EB-3s and EPI Allen Woodies.

THAT is a sweet sounding pickup! Now I have to go play my RumbleKat!!

I agree on the Fender deal too. I never figured out the appeal of the Fender bass. Every one I've ever played has sounded dead and thin. I was so cranked to put the USA J p'ups on my bass but when I got them on there I wasn't real impressed. I put the Lace in and they just sounded so much better.

I like the Hz's (apparently I'm the only one :D ) because they are clean and bright. A lot of the stuff I write is a jazzy pop stuff that the brightness sounds nice in. I tend to play up on the D and G above 12 so I like it to have a little snap to it and the Hz's do that for me without any unwanted noise. Now if i'm playing blues I'll take my LP or RumbleKat and if rock and roll is the game give me my Cirrus!!

Edited by bluespresence
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Hmmm, ...passive pickups, legendary tone, zero availability - that's Lane Poor pickups, without a doubt! Best conventional bass pickups I have ever heard, but you'd probably have to kill somebody to get a set, since our boy Lane vanished in a puff of smoke several years ago! Just one more thing I should have bought when they were available! :D

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thanks for the input fellas, much apreciated. however you guys have confused me further,

i really couldnt tell the difference between bass pickup manufacturers, i can with guitar but not with bass. that being said i can tell the difference between p and j basses as well as the various othe pickup types (might be that music style thing som1 was talkin about..). but i must say i have very limited experience with bart's and emg's alike, but i have heard on the grape vine that the are both good.

i dont really feel like forkin out $300+ of a set of pickups, any 1 got some they wanna flog? for somthing a little cheaper than that :D

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thanks for the input fellas, much apreciated.  however you guys have confused me further,

i really couldnt tell the difference between bass pickup manufacturers, i can with guitar but not with bass.  that being said i can tell the difference between p and j basses as well as the various othe pickup types (might be that music style thing som1 was talkin about..). but i must say i have very limited experience with bart's and emg's alike, but i have heard on the grape vine that the are both good.

i dont really feel like forkin out $300+ of a set of pickups, any 1 got some they wanna flog? for somthing a little cheaper than that :D

Don't worry man, you'll eventually learn to hear the difference in tone between them.

I still can't differentiate between guitar pickups myself... I only hear differences if it's semi-hollow, a different scale, or on a tube amp if it's a guitar... Just keep playing basses with different pickups, I'm sure someone has a modded Jazz or Precision about, and you can a/b that to the stock version and so on.

By the way, if you're not looking to spend too much Carvin has some great sounding pickups for pretty cheap.

Edited by PaulSimonon
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