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Funky 5 string humbuckers?


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I'm not primarily a bassist and so don't know too much about brands of pickups and the resulting variation in tone. But I DO know what I want, and was wondering if anyone had suggestions on how to get it.


I'm playing an old Ibanez 5 string (soundgear SR 405 or something?). I wanted to sell it for so long, as it was black (and I hate black guitars and basses), plus the stock humbuckers were noisy as all hell (cheap active bloody things). THEN it got painted for free (by a good friend), and now it looks bloody awesome. I've always liked the neck on the instrument, and now I love how it looks. So I'm thinking to replace the pickups that are in there.


I want a really fat, funky and alive sound, like what you might hear on some Steely Dan records, or Tony Levin playing with Peter Gabriel (I've no idea what gear was used on any of those settings (except the funk fingers), so be patient with me!). So defined highs and lows (like a J) but nastier - a bigger bandwidth on the low boost side of things, I suppose. I'm turned off actives by past and current experience. I understand that it's the player that generates vibe, not the instrument. But I've got vibe, and I want the instrument to match.


Any ideas?

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The magic is in the magician, not in the wand. :thu: That said, it's important to have gear that doesn't dilute the magic. To be honest, I've always thought the pickups and electronics on most of the Ibanez basses are quite decent. (They are passive pups + active preamp, btw...not active pups.) Describe better what you want in terms of frequency response and dynamics, and folks can probably suggest something. Probably the two most prominent suppliers of aftermarket pups are Bartolini and EMG, so check out their web-sites.



Old bass players never die, they just buy lighter rigs.

- Tom Capasso, 11/9/2006


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Electronic noise can come from things other than pickups. I would begin by pluging in a different instrument into your amp with the same instrument cord and see if noise goes away. If there is no noise, I would then begin with shielding the entire cavity and the back of the pickgard (If it has one) or shielding the back cover. Check all wiring, grounding, especially the bridge. If the noise is still present then new pickups may be needed.

In most cases, differences in pickup tones can be compensated for with Amp EQ.


Rocky ;)

"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb, voting on what to eat for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb, contesting the vote."

Benjamin Franklin

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Tony Levin uses Musicman basses, soundwise quite a bit different than most Ibanez (except the SRX series).

You can stop now -jeremyc

STOP QUOTING EVERY THING I SAY!!! -Bass_god_offspring

lug, you should add that statement to you signature.-Tenstrum

I'm not sure any argument can top lug's. - Sweet Willie


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You want some funky 5-string pickups? How about these Delano pickups ?



Or maybe some Nordstrands ?


"Am I enough of a freak to be worth paying to see?"- Separated Out (Marillion)

NEW band Old band


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Thanks all so much for suggestions, I reckon those Hybrids are just what I'm after, knowing MM and J tone. I'll keep researching, however.


It IS a 405, but a really old one. Check out Soundgear 405 in Google Image search. It's definitely active - I've changed the battery before - and currently gives me noise through my 15 watt praccy and my gig stack (lab systems 4*10 cab, peavey solid state head from the 70s) and the Squier P doesn't. The shielding could definitely be the culprit, but I want new pickups anyway - the current ones have this really plastic sound to them. How can I describe it? Um... Like an el cheapo P/J running through a 40 dollar behringer compressor but on low strength, and lots of noise yet no noise is being suppressed. It's terrible.

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The older Soundgears (mid-80s) with "J" pickups had some crappy electronics. I ripped out the old stuff on my SR885 years ago and went with EMGs (p/us and preamp) and haven't looked back since. But Bartolinis have more punch and you don't need the preamp to get that out of the p/ups.


I have later SRs (the 506s) where they went with a circuit board and that cleared up some of hissiness. The p/ups on the 5s and 6s are actually Mighty Might replacements and you could drop in either an active or a passive set. Ultimately you might just decide to go with all-newer electronics anyway.

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these should be a direct replacement.

if you don't want to spend that kind of cash then i would suggest these




these are just two of the many that i was looking at to replace the pickups in my 885.

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