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EMG pickups, ideal bass tone, question


GeorgeR

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EMG tech support seems to be slow or something these days. Anyway....

 

Can anyone tell me what is the difference (technical/sonic advantages and disadvantages) between the EMG "Extended series bass pickups" and the EMG "Bass replacement pickups"?

 

I'm looking at upgrading my bass' pickups (fairly standard P/J set with outboard electronics, 9 volt battery) but I'm having difficulty deciding which would be better on my 5 string.

 

What am I looking for? I'm not looking for much, only perfection (ha ha!):

 

-a clear, consistent tone without TOO much coloring (or at least tailored to bring the illusion of a crisp, deep response).

 

-a somewhat growly tone down to a low "B" with no hint of boominess.

 

-Clear (bell-like?) tone all the way up to a high "G" (24th fret).

 

-minimize finger noise on my round wound strings.

 

-no significant diminishing of the high frequency (and harmonic) response.

 

-all with a low output impedance so cable lengths aren't such a problem.

 

If I were to compare my desired tone to any artist, I'd say I'm looking for something rather like a Victor Wooten tone, minus the $4000++ price tag on his Fodera Monarch bass.

 

I hear that he uses EMG pickups, but since they make two sets of bass pickups (as I mentioned earlier), I'd like to know more. Their website doesn't seem to go much into this info.

 

I enjoy using harmonics as well, so as little magnetic interference on the string's vibration as possible would be very important.

 

As well, noise immunity from external hum sources, like stage lights, wiring, etc....is definitely the MOST important thing I want, and is the major reason for such a purchase on my part.

 

Without external noise immunity to sources like lights, wiring, EM from other amps, etc..., everything else becomes moot.

 

My amp doesn't have anything to handle higher than passive input levels so the actual output level from the pickups isn't such as issue as much as consistency in tone, consistent and high S/N ratio, and deep yet predictable frequency response.

 

User changable EQ settings is a nice feature but I've lived without it for this long I don't think I'd miss it. Besides it becomes only one more thing to tinker with, and I'd like to install it and not think that it ever would need "adjusting" because it would already sound perfect.

 

Or....what about those Optical pickups I saw advertised in some mags? Anyone have any experience with them? Are they any good?

Beware the lollipop of mediocrity; one lick and you suck forever.
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i'm not an EMG expert, but my guess is that you want the extended series, which i believe are their more "hi-fi" pickups.

 

a word of caution on that, however. you're looking to reduce finger noise, but you want your pickups to have a wider, deeper response. what you're asking for is your pickups to be more sensitive to both frequency and dynamics, yet ignore the noise of your fingers on the strings. no can do.

 

the only way you can reduce finger noise is change your technique.

 

robb.

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I know....all I'm asking for is magic pickups!

 

;-)

 

Ok.....then "Hi-Fi" pickups it may be, as long as they block external hum.

Beware the lollipop of mediocrity; one lick and you suck forever.
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I have EMG-HZs in my Spector Q4 Pro. And all I can say is that when I played the Spector Performance Series basses, which had EMG pickups, but not the HZs, they sounded very lack-lustre and had a much weaker output signal than the EMG-HZs, which come standard in the more expensive Professional Series basses.

 

So choose carefully. In my experience the difference between various EMG models can be like night and day!

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I have EMG-HZ pickups in my Schecter Elite 5. I play with the tone controls flat, and get a nice clear tone and extended range, although if I don't roll off a little bottom end, the B string booms a little through 15"s. Doesn't seem to be a problem with 10"s, though.

 

Certainly a different sound than my MM Stingray...

 

DBB has the same bass, and although he was really disappointed with it, I'm not sure it was due to the pickups.

JBFLA

Jim

Confirmed RoscoeHead

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Originally posted by Edendude:

I have EMG-HZs in my Spector Q4 Pro. And all I can say is that when I played the Spector Performance Series basses, which had EMG pickups, but not the HZs, they sounded very lack-lustre and had a much weaker output signal than the EMG-HZs, which come standard in the more expensive Professional Series basses.

 

So choose carefully. In my experience the difference between various EMG models can be like night and day!

I think you've got this the wrong way around - the HZ pickups are the cheaper passive pickups and they're not even in the same league as active EMGs. And there's no way that a high-end Spector would have HZ pickups.

 

This may be useful:

 

http://www.emginc.com/Bass.html

 

Basically there appear to be 3 model ranges of EMG bass pickups - the original ones, the hz ones (which are passive and fitted to cheaper instruments) and the new extended range ones which suit wider string spacing and have a more extended top end.

 

I have EMG reverse-P & J pickups on my Warwick and I love the tight compressed tone, which has enough top for slap (e.g. Victor Wooten) but enough bottom for reggae (countless EMG loaded Steinberger users) and the natural growl of my bass comes through loud and clear.

 

Alex

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The higher end Spector basses have either EMG-DC p'ups (or the equivalent for more than 4 strings) or EMG PJ or JJ p'ups. Sadowsky uses EMG J p'ups in one of his models.

 

GeorgeR, is there any way for you to play some basses with EMG p'ups? I know it won't be the same as your bass w/ EMGs installed, but at least you might get a sense of what the active EMG p'up sound is like.

 

A friend of mine has a Sadowsky w/ EMGs and says the sound kicks ass. Is it the p'ups or Sadowsky craftmanship? I haven't heard it yet.

spreadluv

 

Fanboy? Why, yes! Nordstrand Pickups and Guitars.

Messiaen knew how to parlay the funk.

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The Spector Pro Series basses are not 'high end' basses by any means. But they are a far cry form the bottom of the line Performance Series.

 

The EMG-HZ pickups are passive pickups it seems. And they sound great. MUCH better than the EMG pickups that Spector uses in it's Performance Series, and MUCH better than what was in my old Ibanez bass. So why does my bass require a battery if the HZs are passive, and why do they sound so much better than the active pickups that were in my old Ibanez?

 

I really like them. Clean with tons of attack, and without any big humps in the response curve.

 

:thu:

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Any body out there have experience with the Sadowsky preamp and various PU combinations? The PreAmp combined with the Sadowsky soapbars seem like a formidable combination. How about the Aguilar OBP-1 anybody using it?

 

Not to hijack the thread or anything like that ;)

RobT

 

Famous Musical Quotes: "I would rather play Chiquita Banana and have my swimming pool than play Bach and starve" - Xavier Cugat

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Originally posted by Edendude:

The Spector Pro Series basses are not 'high end' basses by any means. But they are a far cry form the bottom of the line Performance Series.

 

The EMG-HZ pickups are passive pickups it seems. And they sound great. MUCH better than the EMG pickups that Spector uses in it's Performance Series, and MUCH better than what was in my old Ibanez bass. So why does my bass require a battery if the HZs are passive, and why do they sound so much better than the active pickups that were in my old Ibanez?

 

I really like them. Clean with tons of attack, and without any big humps in the response curve.

 

:thu:

I've noticed that on the EMG site they don't seem to sell the HZ and 'even' cheaper other EMG pickups as separate items. I've no idea what the EMGs are that are in the performance series Spectors but doubtless they're cheaper versions of the HZ range.

 

Your bass requires a battery because even though the pickups are passive, it has an active preamp (or the people at Spector are just having a laugh and putting a battery in for the hell of it!). And regarding your old Ibanez, did that really have active pickups or just active electronics (i.e. a preamp)? AFAIK the only active pickups out there are Alembic and EMG pickups. (Though your Ibanez could have just had crap proprietary active pickups).

 

Alex

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Originally posted by Edendude:

Well I do know this much...

 

Those Ibanez pickups were definitely "crap".

 

:eek:

Bleech! Is right!!!

RobT

 

Famous Musical Quotes: "I would rather play Chiquita Banana and have my swimming pool than play Bach and starve" - Xavier Cugat

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=FYI=

 

HZ stands for high impedance.

 

passive pickups have a high impedance coil, in the thousand ohms range.

 

active pickups are low impedance, which allows for much wider frequency response and more dynamic response. the reason they are active is that a low impedance coil has a low output, so the pickups has its own signal gain to put it more in the range of passive pickups.

 

the epiphone jack casady bass is a passive bass, but it also has a low impedance pickup. to boos the signal, it utilizes a switchable transformer.

 

robb.

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