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-   -   Pickups or Amp......which is major source of actual tone? (http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1578556)

.30over 12-18-2012 08:45 PM

Pickups or Amp......which is major source of actual tone?
 
think the header says it all but have found myself wondering this. Been planning on changing pickups cause im not to overly satisfied with the stock tone in my bass. But after two basses one a passive dual coil with one tone knob and my current with dual soap-bars and active electronics and several tone adjustments yet pretty much the same sound (active simply having a bit more level) It is starting to appear to me that my amp might be the culprit and I have been blaming my bass for things that she has not done. Now I know there are very distinct differences between amp manufacturers and differences from Tube to Solid State....but is it possible that one amp whatever it may be could actually sound pretty much the same regardless of what bass you play into it (would most basses sound the same on say an Ampeg, Same basses sound different from the Ampeg but again the same on a Hartke?) Of course if this is so...then pickup advertising and hype is all malarchy that needs to be stomped out.

dark Mass 12-18-2012 08:53 PM

Pickups don't change your tone drastically like a new amp would. Like with any electric instrument the pickups are scalpel to fine tune in your tone.

If you're not happy with the overall tone you need to replace the amp.The same could be said if you like the amp's tone but it needs some help in getting the bass to fit in pups are the way to go.

Ziphoblat 12-18-2012 09:19 PM

Quote:
Pickups or Amp......which is major source of actual tone?


Both.

Quote:
would most basses sound the same on say an Ampeg


Nope.

Quote:
Of course if this is so...then pickup advertising and hype is all malarchy that needs to be stomped out.


But, of course, it isn't true. The entire hobbyist musician trade is founded upon hype. Surely your first port of call ought to be people selling gold-plated cables and other such power-of-suggestion based voodoo rather than amp manufacturers.

.30over 12-18-2012 09:30 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ziphoblat
Both.



Nope.



But, of course, it isn't true. The entire hobbyist musician trade is founded upon hype. Surely your first port of call ought to be people selling gold-plated cables and other such power-of-suggestion based voodoo rather than amp manufacturers.



so your saying that magnetic bracelets wont let me channel my basses vibrations directly into my soul?

Dayn 12-19-2012 12:08 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by .30over
so your saying that magnetic bracelets wont let me channel my basses vibrations directly into my soul?
No, you'll need my specially-charged hematite necklace tuned to A432 to unlock the purest sounds. Order today!

anarkee 12-19-2012 12:43 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dayn
No, you'll need my specially-charged hematite necklace tuned to A432 to unlock the purest sounds. Order today!


Or a special bass that Ritter will be premiering next week.


Back on topic. I agree, its both, not one or the other. Ampeg (and other non-transparent) amps color your sound, but if you run a Precision and a say Ibanez SR500 through it, they will sound different.

Alucard817 12-19-2012 04:08 AM

A basses tone is like a jigsaw puzzle. Most of the components play a least some role in a basses tone. How much "control" some components have over the tone is up for debate.

IMOO I think the amp has a bit more to do with tone then say pups, but not by much.

chatterbox272 12-19-2012 08:06 AM

Definitely amp I think. You can play anything through an Ampeg SVT stack and it'll have 'that ampeg sound' whereas if you were to change to a different kind of the same type of pickup (e.g. from one J style pickup to another) then I don't think that would be as noticeable. Between different pickup types though it's pretty close, you can play a P bass through anything and it'll still sound like a P bass.

.30over 12-19-2012 05:52 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by chatterbox272
Definitely amp I think. You can play anything through an Ampeg SVT stack and it'll have 'that ampeg sound' whereas if you were to change to a different kind of the same type of pickup (e.g. from one J style pickup to another) then I don't think that would be as noticeable. Between different pickup types though it's pretty close, you can play a P bass through anything and it'll still sound like a P bass.


This is what Ive been thinking. The few amps I have actually played thru are really low end amps...All three basses I have had pretty much sounded the same thru the amps I own.
1. flea market Crate 15 watt bass amp for 15 bucks.
2. 10 watt Acoustic practice amp.
3. B200h Acoustic amp with 4x10

Crate sounds the same as the Acoustics at low volume but overdrives to easily

Hoping Ill go to GC this weekend and try out a Markbass, Ampeg Portaflex if they one, or a GK I could try and bells will go off....then I will be able to quit listening to myself everytime we play and wondering what the hell is missing

Sliide90027 12-19-2012 09:54 PM

Ziph and Dark Mass made great points about the strength of components within the signal chain and how they can dominate.

Truth be known, Wood>String>Pickup>Amp>Cabinet>Speaker.

The string cannot give what the wood does not have, even on it's best day. The Sound Wave must have an Origin, and Heavy or Light woods make an impact on the wave.

The Pickup cannot give nor add what the string does not give.

The Amplifier cannot, by its nature create something that it is not already there in some form.

The Cabinet, design and material, well that is another encyclopedia within itself, and shape and substance are significant to the sound much like the Instrument itself.

Speaker is the final thing of course, and is part and parcel to the subject of the Cabinet.

While these things accentuate or amplify frequencies present (not originate), they also by design can be a choke point that colors frequencies.

There is so much to learn along your particular signal path and this world of so many things that can be brought into your mix.

Like you, I am not a Pickup guy. I have 4 of one Instrument with 2 typs of Pickups, and I am fine with either of them, because most of all, they "work", they impress.

My preamps are where I do my work, since the Pickups are doing theirs already.

If you want your Bass to sound different but do not want to spend money, do something radical with the tone knobs should go without saying, but you have to, before you invest in anything else. Discover its choke points. Discover how to work within them or move on.

From the descrition of the amps in this case, they do not appear to offer much of a departure from each other and share solid state design. Very colored designs of the past.

So take your Bass Shopping. Test many different Amps and see what flexibility the Bass really has to offer overall from all Amps. Then you will know if pehaps it is time for different Pickups like Dimarzios, or Bartolini's, or SD's. You have to love that Bass and you will have to should you fee the Pups are choking the Instrument. You have to have an idea of where you are going to do a Pickup switch. (Or find a seasoned Luthier of Basses who can interview you and reach into yor mind and discover what youare looking for.)

While it costs more to do, it is easier and less hassle to change amps, and shop them, without changing the feel of the instrument by buying a new one, or risking an unsatisfactory choice in Pickups.

I reccomend finding an amp that offers a mixable tube and solid state preamp section, just to try out. You can see quickly what you like or do not as well as what more your Bass can give you in what will probably be a modern colorless (save for the tube) amp.

Ibought my amp with a ual Preamp section because I was not sure what I wanted. I really had a bad timewith tubes in the past. Now I run 3 of them in the path. Go figure!

As for Pups and Active Electronics. Just think of them as two more levels of defintion, like HD and then Blue Ray. They do make a difference to some players, not all.

Good luck on the quest. Remember, if there is doubt about something, move on, you have not found what you are looking for, it does not matter who endorses it.

CJ Noble 12-19-2012 10:32 PM

amps outweigh pickups slightly but the biggest impact on tone is technique

.30over 12-20-2012 08:26 PM

I would of quoted that thesis you wrote Sliide90027...not sure the servers could handle two of them.

Have been looking into some amps....the ampeg portaflex series has my eye for the moment.

Been considering starting my own little rack system. Beginning with a tech 21 RBI and RPM another GX3 for power. And a power conditioner. Small Enough I can fit it anywhere and plenty powerful......but would be nice if I could actually try it somewhere....wouldnt it be nice if the music stores who know you need to try different stuff, actually had stuff out to try intentionally instead of just walking in hoping what you want is out on the floor that day.

John Swift 12-23-2012 08:19 PM

Pickups are there to reproduce the tone of the instrument the preamp stage of the amp is designed to shape the tone.
It's even more interesting with an active instrument.

Sliide90027 12-24-2012 02:51 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by .30over
I would of quoted that thesis you wrote Sliide90027...not sure the servers could handle two of them.

Have been looking into some amps....the ampeg portaflex series has my eye for the moment.

Been considering starting my own little rack system. Beginning with a tech 21 RBI and RPM another GX3 for power. And a power conditioner. Small Enough I can fit it anywhere and plenty powerful......but would be nice if I could actually try it somewhere....wouldnt it be nice if the music stores who know you need to try different stuff, actually had stuff out to try intentionally instead of just walking in hoping what you want is out on the floor that day.


Thanks, I think

Some Stores on line have a return policy for 30 days on things. So that might help you in some respects.

The fact that you have some prospective items means you have a course of action.

It goes without saying then, read everything that you can on these prospective components and the artists who use them. Sometimes people like the Bass Whisperer have videos of use of the component.

Since lack of availability has the process stopped, find reviews and people who will talk about the items and your ideas.

I find few who want to talk about my ideas, but I will try to hang around if you want another brain on the project, not that you have to agree with my thoughts.

Jed121 12-24-2012 04:52 PM

Fingers

.30over 12-25-2012 07:13 PM

theres alot of people saying that technique has alot to do with tone. Which is true...tone into the pickup...after that it is entirely up to electronics. These are what im trying to define here...

techniques come with practice...no amount of practice will make a crap pre amp do more than it is capable of. Or make base price speakers put anything out that they cant handle.

Really just sucks that there are literally a million options to shape tone. I have been looking into electronics lately, but one of our guitarists just the other day bought a new guitar from Dean. Same exact model as another one he has except his new one has a fixed bridge with string thru body....I have heard alot of people say that string thru doesn't make a difference and to those people I now say....."you need to take a second listen and put the beer down when you do."
His new guitar has a clear tonal difference from his other guitar. Much better sounding low end (his acoustic is almost haunting now where before it was simply acoustic) Even the distorted sound comes thru much more leveled and clear. And now has me reconsidering just upgrading my bass before looking into amps.

Sliide90027 12-26-2012 03:05 AM

30

String through was good for the players who were not going to go for Tapered or Bare Core strings.

On REg Guitars, string through will always be different from a Tremelo Bridge, because there is more wood remaining in the instrument.

What you are going to find is that there are many schools of thought on things.

So, concluding that what you want to do is work on you bass there are many people here and on the Web who have altered/customized their basses, and there might be one that has had your particular instrument or similar wood composition and gone down this road.

If your feel for this instrument is perfect to a slightly lesser opinion, alteration might be the way to go. But if there is a physical disatisfaction with it in any way, it might be time to pump the $300 in pickups and a preamp into a more satisfying instrument.

If your bass is a beginner entry level instrument, it is probably time to move on as opposed to upgrade the existing instrument. Additional improvements will not prove to increase its value, except to you.
If it is an intermediate instrument, there might be some very specific changes that will net the best result, heavier Bridge, Active Preamp, Pickups are the three general areas.

.30over 12-26-2012 12:27 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sliide90027
30

String through was good for the players who were not going to go for Tapered or Bare Core strings.

On REg Guitars, string through will always be different from a Tremelo Bridge, because there is more wood remaining in the instrument.

What you are going to find is that there are many schools of thought on things.

So, concluding that what you want to do is work on you bass there are many people here and on the Web who have altered/customized their basses, and there might be one that has had your particular instrument or similar wood composition and gone down this road.

If your feel for this instrument is perfect to a slightly lesser opinion, alteration might be the way to go. But if there is a physical disatisfaction with it in any way, it might be time to pump the $300 in pickups and a preamp into a more satisfying instrument.

If your bass is a beginner entry level instrument, it is probably time to move on as opposed to upgrade the existing instrument. Additional improvements will not prove to increase its value, except to you.
If it is an intermediate instrument, there might be some very specific changes that will net the best result, heavier Bridge, Active Preamp, Pickups are the three general areas.


and therein lies my conundrum.....how do you determine what is beginner, intermediate, semi pro, and professional? I have noticed that using cost as a deciding factor is flawed cause many basses that go for say 300 are reviewed as great instruments while some that go for twice as much are clearly labelled as beginner basses. Hell I have the Schecter Omen Extreme 5 string, yet the Schecter Stiletto 5 has all the same woods, hardware and electronics yet somehow gets reviewed as a better instrument and costs more??? Bringing me back to just going around trying everything under the sun that I can happen across in a left handed model and hoping something clicks...(I hate you right handed people and your endless supply of choices)

Here all I do know about my bass in particular.
I do not like the bridge...it doesn't fit larger gauge strings as neatly as it probably should which I am sure is effecting tone. And probably the reason that I cannot get intonation exact on either my E or B string.
From what I have read and noticed myself, Actives have a tendency to exaggerate highs, which is a PIMA

think these two alone would lead me to change bridge and at least switch to passive controls....but by the time im done with that I would be very close to just buying a new bass.

As a feeler I sent out Emails to quite a few manufacturers recently asking specifically what they offer us left handed mongrels. Hoping at least a few will reply.

Besides...got the O.K from my master to purchase another bass (without trading in)....should this be questioned???

John Swift 12-26-2012 07:54 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by .30over
and therein lies my conundrum.....how do you determine what is beginner, intermediate, semi pro, and professional????


90+% of those who call themselves professional in reality haven't got a daytime job so call themselves 'professionals'

I am one of the very few I know who have at one time correctly refered themselves as professional.
For some years I was a military musician in the British Army where I played bass guitar and Saxophone and attended 'Knellar Hall' The Royal Military School of Music in London England.
The job was 24/7 in the military band, dance band and rock band.

chatterbox272 12-27-2012 01:28 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by .30over
Hell I have the Schecter Omen Extreme 5 string, yet the Schecter Stiletto 5 has all the same woods, hardware and electronics yet somehow gets reviewed as a better instrument and costs more???

I would imagine that there are quality differences in the wood, they use lower quality wood of the same type for the Omen than they do for the Stiletto. Otherwise it doesn't make any sense at all.


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