#1
I'm currently an active solo recording artist and I use instruments of various tunings for each song.
For songs in Drop C, I use a Gibson Thunderbird Bass (all stock electronics), I'm no expert in bass guitars but I would assume that anything Gibson should be of high quality straight out of the factory.

I'll soon be recording a song in Drop A, but my budget made me settle for a $600+ 5-string Caraya bass guitar, which might be a bit of a step down. While I'm truly impressed that the built quality of this instrument is actually top-notch, they come from the same factory in China that manufactures Epiphones so I'm assuming the quality of the electronics would be around the typical Epiphone quality.

So the question is, is it worth forking out extra to upgrade the active humbuckers on this to better quality ones? If so, how much am I looking at spending and what would I be looking at? In terms of size, it is the wider humbucker style, just like Musicman 5-string basses.

I usually record bass through virtual amps in the studio so I don't know how much a difference the upgrades will make. I also don't do any slap bass or have any songs where the bass is the dominant instrument, the bass is always just an accompanying instrument in the mix.
It seems as though typing a "bass pickups" on ebay's Searchbar has barely any options to look at as compared to the amount of guitar pickups available for purchase online.

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Last edited by blackcats1212 at Feb 10, 2017,
#2
Quote by blackcats1212
I use a Gibson Thunderbird Bass (all stock electronics), I'm no expert in bass guitars but I would assume that anything Gibson should be of high quality straight out of the factory.



So the question is, is it worth forking out extra to upgrade the active humbuckers on this to better quality ones?

...

I usually record bass through virtual amps in the studio so I don't know how much a difference the upgrades will make.

What is it that you want these new pickups to do that the stock pickups aren't doing already? Changing pickups without defining what you actually want these new pickups to do defies all common sense.

This is a testament to how good pickup manufacturers are at marketing: They convince consumers to buy their products even if they don't even know if they want them.
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#3
What 2Deep4Blue said.

First, Gibson is p bad recently in terms of actual product quality. Second, we need to know what sorts of shit you want to get in order to provide accurate feedback.

Also, HNNNNNGGG Christina Hendrix, oomph.
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#4
They're not important at all unless you don't like the sound of your existing pickups. Do some research and see what is best for you.
"Maybe this world is another planet's hell?" - Aldous Huxley
#5
Guitar aftermarket pickup manufacturers haven't penetrated all that deeply into the bass market; Precision and Jazz Bass pickups probably own it, and very few people swap out pickups. Bartolini is probably the largest presence in the bass pickup market after whatever is stock. There are some custom manufacturers of bass preamps, however, and these give you active controls to work with, as well as switching for various boosts. I have an old (1989) Carvin LB75 five-string with an active preamp, for example. But you want to wait until you know exactly what it is that you want to accomplish before you dive into these.

A friend of mine just asked me to record a bass track for him (he noticed that I have a few basses sitting around the house, but he does NOT know how badly I play them). I sent over the track (he was working with a downtuned guitar) and he was very happy with it and wondered which bass I used and how much trouble it had been to change strings and adjust it for the new tuning. I didn't have the heart to tell him that I'd done the whole thing on a Korg Kronos keyboard. I just hope to god he doesn't want me to play it live somewhere.
#6
Also--balance out how much you want the sound vs worth of the bass vs price of the pickups.
#7
Something to consider - replacement pickups from the well-known manufacturers such as EMG, Bartolini, Nordstrand, ..., etc. typically cost around $200 per set - and that does not include installation. Depending on the price of your Caraya, you could spend as much as 1/3 or even 1/2 the cost of the bass on new pickups & installation.

Have you exhausted other methods to get the tone you want first - such as EQ, a pre-amp?
#8
If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
"Your sound is in your hands as much as anything. It's the way you pick, and the way you hold the guitar, more than it is the amp or the guitar you use." -- Stevie Ray Vaughan

"Anybody can play. The note is only 20 percent. The attitude of the motherfucker who plays it is 80 percent." -- Miles Davis

Guthrie on tone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmohdG9lLqY
#9
Before upgrading, try adjusting the pickup height.. either further from or closer to the strings.. it may work wonders and doesn't hurt to try.. unless you want higher output pickups.. then you have no choice but upgrade..

Like with the vintage Cort headless bass relic'd that I just got.. after doing the cleaning and minor fix.. adjust the pickup height and what is left is to have my guitar tech install Jescar Stainless steel frets and it's golden.. the sustain is killer..
I have Washburn guitars 'Maverick Series' and bass 'Bantam Series' and a few pedals and amps, but man I wish to have more patience and drive practicing my playing, if it's equal to the modding itch, then I'm golden.
Last edited by psp742 at Feb 12, 2017,
#10
Quote by dspellman
Guitar aftermarket pickup manufacturers haven't penetrated all that deeply into the bass market; Precision and Jazz Bass pickups probably own it, and very few people swap out pickups. Bartolini is probably the largest presence in the bass pickup market after whatever is stock. There are some custom manufacturers of bass preamps, however, and these give you active controls to work with, as well as switching for various boosts. I have an old (1989) Carvin LB75 five-string with an active preamp, for example. But you want to wait until you know exactly what it is that you want to accomplish before you dive into these.

You really don't have a clue what you're on about do you?
Basses:
Fender Precision Bass
Fender Jazz Bass
1967 Fender Coronado Bass II
Warwick Star Bass
Squier Precision Bass TB
#11
Quote by consecutive e
You really don't have a clue what you're on about do you?


You might want to do a bit of reading on bass preamps. Here's a UK builder who uses a variety of them.
http://www.acguitars.co.uk/acg_admin/wordpress/basses/electronics/

Maybe a few things here?:
http://www.bestbassgear.com/bass-preamps.htm

http://www.bassdirect.co.uk/bass_guitar_specialists/Preamps_onboard.html

If you need more information, wander over to talkbass.com and explain to them that they don't have a clue what they're on about, either.

https://www.talkbass.com/threads/who-makes-the-best-onboard-preamp.276960/
#12
lol thanks.
Basses:
Fender Precision Bass
Fender Jazz Bass
1967 Fender Coronado Bass II
Warwick Star Bass
Squier Precision Bass TB
#13
Could be you haven't dial in the controls to the sweet spot.. treble boost /cut, bass boost /cut, blend, tone.. etc (not familiar with the controls of your bass, I'm basing controls on generic bass). Try dial the controls and play with pickup height.. it could be as simple as that.. or the bass amp isn't set up to match the bass you own.. there are many bass amp manufacturer that make nice amps.. test the bass amp at the local music store (Samash, guitar center) etc.. once you get the settings right on bass, you need the amp that best compliment it.
I have Washburn guitars 'Maverick Series' and bass 'Bantam Series' and a few pedals and amps, but man I wish to have more patience and drive practicing my playing, if it's equal to the modding itch, then I'm golden.
#14
I put a Seymour Duncan pickup in place of the neck pickup on my 1965 Fender Jazz, total waste of money.
G&L L2500
Squier Affinity Jazz Bass 5
Ashdown RPM pre-amp
Ashdown Little Giant 1000
300 watt 15" powered cab
450 watt 15" powered sub bass cab
2x10 + horn
1x15x10 + horn