Miguelito 2012-04-28 19:27:32
I have 2 fretted 5-ers–a Cirrus (bubinga) and a TRB–that are quite
different in construction and character. One thing they have in common
is that they each have dual pickups that are identical in neck & bridge
positions. After a whole lot of dinking with the available onboard
tone-shaping on these basses, I’m about to come to the conclusion that
pickup blend is a set-it-and-forget-it proposition. With each bass, by
dialing back both bass and treble controls, then by listening carefully
while I pan the pickups back and forth, I’ve found a sweetspot where
the harmonics seem to bring the bass “in tune with itself,” if you know
what I mean. On the Cirrus, it’s just a little ahead of full bridge,
and on the TRB it’s just a smidge on the neck side of center. From
there, the bass, treble, mid adjustments vary the tone considerably,
but with less tendency of the sound to get woofy, wolfy, or thin, than
if I pan the pickups. The sound stays “truer,” I think.
Does this ring a bell with anybody? Is this a legit way to approach
tone shaping, sort of like finding an intrument’s “voice,” or should I
really expect to be able to use the full range of pan at will. I’m
always reading these reviews in Bassplayer where they’er getting
everything from “Jaco-like J-burp” to “deep-dub P-bass on steroids” by
cranking the pan k***. Maybe I’ve got crappy basses? Seriously, I’ve
not been all that happy with my Cirrus until I discovered this. Had me
thinking of unloading it in favor of an inexpensive Peavey Grind Bass 5
BXP (not the NTB) which I’ve played numerous times in a nearby store
and really, really, really liked!
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Danko bananko 2012-04-28 19:27:52
I have a Johnson 4-string neck-thru bass. Active PUs. Barely ever move pan
k*** – always somewhere really near bridge. Only sometimes I need deep muffy
sound to cover vast low freq range of my band (for example Anastacia – Not
that kind of girl), then I click the pan k*** into the center position.
I mostly shift my trebbles to max, and bass slightly over the center (I’m a
Mombu 2012-04-29 16:50:06
I guess it’s a matter of personal preference and what you’r trying to
accomplish with tone. Personally, I tailor the tone to the song, and I do
use the ability to balance pickups as part of the tone. Sounds more
particular than it is – I have perhaps four standard settings, and I pick
one, then I’ll tweak it according to the room and band mix that night. But
pickup balance is definitely part of my toolset. Frankly, I’d be
disappointed in my bass if there were only one sweet spot I was happy with.
I like versatility.
There’s another factor in there, too, now that I think about it. When I
blend pups, I do tend to play over the pickup with the most output. So, if
I’ve blended more toward the bridge, I play closer to the bridge, and I
generally dig in more, and with more fingertip, to get that honky-spanky
tone I like on some tunes. I know when I’ve just blended without making a
concurrent change in playing style, I haven’t liked the tone as much.
Andrew 2012-04-30 14:55:51
Mequelito thank you! I have been going through the same thing on my Cirrus
You are spot on about the blend. What sweet even tones all over.
Miguelito 2012-04-30 14:56:04
Oo, oo, warm and fuzzy feelings all over! 😉 Thanks for the feedback,
Andrew. Does your optimum blend seem to be back by the bridge, too? I’m
thinking that (assuming this is not all in our heads) the sweet spot
ought to be affected by the wood combo, strings, and 4 vs 5 config.
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