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bass117
New
Username: bass117

Post Number: 1
Registered: 10-2006
Posted on Monday, May 05, 2014 - 3:34 pm:   Edit Post

I played a gig Saturday night with my 1988 Alembic Persuader, and I noticed that my D and G strings were not as loud or as present- sounding as my E and A strings. Anyone ever have this happen to them? Maybe I have a problem with the D-G pickup? Any way to test it with a Volt-Ohm meter? Any advice would be appreciated.
bigredbass
Senior Member
Username: bigredbass

Post Number: 2145
Registered: 9-2002
Posted on Monday, May 05, 2014 - 5:03 pm:   Edit Post

Kevin, since you mention the 'D-G' pickup, I'm going to assume you have the Alembic Activator P-Bass-style pickup.

IF that's the case:

It may be that they are not properly adjusted height wise in relation to the strings.

I would caution you to do this adjustment only when you next install new strings. Strings that have even only been played a little can already be decaying at different rates, you may have a bad one or a loud one, etc. So we want to remove that possibility.

Once your new strings are installed (and I'm also assuming that this is a four-string):

If this is a two-pickup bass (guessing there's either a Jazz style pickup at the bridge, or occasionally another P-pickup), run your neck volume full on and the bridge pickup full off. If the bass is a two pickup with a pan control, pan all the way to the P pickup. In other words, we want to isolate it as much as possible. If it's a single pickup P only, no problem.

And set whatever amp you are using to a flat tone response: Setting a big bass boost or a sharp midrange scoop will NOT be helpful doing this . . . all we want to hear right now is the sound of the pickups, straight off the bass.

Using a ruler (a little 6" with 16th's is fine), check the distance between the top of the pickup (the E-A one) and the bottom of the E-string with the bass in your lap in playing position. Whatever that measurement is, we want to adjust the other height screw on the E-A and then each of the height screws on the D-G to where you get that same distance all four places. This will then have the pickup faces the same distance away from each of the four strings, and should result in a more-or-less even response. Depending on your ears and the strings / string gauges installed, the D-G may seem a little bit softer, which is normal (smaller gauges, less metal) but not heard by everyone. In that case raise the D-G a 16th" or even an 8th" closer to really blend them. When you get through, generally the pickup will look like a roof on a house: High in the middle (under the A and D) and lower at the 'outsides' (under the E and G).

Now . . . .

IF this is a two pickup bass, you need to do the same thing under the bridge pickup. If it's a Jazz shape, make the distance from the top of the pickup face to the underside of the string the same distance under the E and the G (it's a one piece shell, can't worry about the A and D). Again the same proviso as above, you may want the G side a bit closer if necessary. Most pan-pot electronics never completely shutoff one side or the other when you pan to the opposite side, so this could color your picture as well.

If you do this right with new strings, it will probably fix this. Other causes could be setup or electronic which would require a visit to a GOOD guitar tech, not the Goth kid working behind the counter at your local Guitar Center. Wherever you live, use whoever the working pros use in your area, if required.

All the Best,

J o e y
bigredbass
Senior Member
Username: bigredbass

Post Number: 2146
Registered: 9-2002
Posted on Monday, May 05, 2014 - 5:06 pm:   Edit Post

PS:

It's a 3/32" Allen wrench for Activator height screws, IIRC.

J o e y
bass117
New
Username: bass117

Post Number: 5
Registered: 10-2006
Posted on Monday, May 05, 2014 - 5:36 pm:   Edit Post

Here is a picture of the bass 66771_10150092295788362_5753854_n.jpg
bass117
New
Username: bass117

Post Number: 6
Registered: 10-2006
Posted on Monday, May 05, 2014 - 5:52 pm:   Edit Post

Thanks Joey. I don't think it's a height adjustment, they look fine. I just had it set up a few months ago after getting a neck crack repaired.
bass117
New
Username: bass117

Post Number: 7
Registered: 10-2006
Posted on Monday, May 05, 2014 - 6:16 pm:   Edit Post

Joey, re-reading your advice, I realize that the D-G pickup should actually be higher than the E-A pickup, and the A side a little higher than the E side, and the G side a little higher than the D side. Thanks again, will get a new set of Blue Steels and try your method.
bigredbass
Senior Member
Username: bigredbass

Post Number: 2148
Registered: 9-2002
Posted on Monday, May 05, 2014 - 8:23 pm:   Edit Post

Actually, remember the 'roof' example: They should look higher in the middle (A+D) and lower at the sides(E+G): This follows the curve of the strings from the bridge to match the curve of the fingerboard. IF you hear the slight difference in the smaller D+G strings, raise that side equally just a bit.

Ultimately though, the only 'right' answer is what sounds right to you. I just prefer to have an 'equal' starting point, as your ears can hear LOTS of tricks.

You're welcome, and nice axe !

J o e y
cozmik_cowboy
Senior Member
Username: cozmik_cowboy

Post Number: 1691
Registered: 10-2006
Posted on Monday, May 05, 2014 - 9:22 pm:   Edit Post

"And set whatever amp you are using to a flat tone response: Setting a big bass boost or a sharp midrange scoop will NOT be helpful doing this . . ."

And remember, that's probably not 5-5-5. On a Fender-type 3-band tone stack (as used by, well, Fender, as well as Alembic, Marshall, & many others) flat is 2-10-2 (approximately).

Peter
xlrogue6
Advanced Member
Username: xlrogue6

Post Number: 298
Registered: 8-2002
Posted on Tuesday, May 06, 2014 - 11:21 am:   Edit Post

Don't get too carried away with the "roof" theory--bear in mind that the G string has less magnetic material than the others so to maintain consistent volume it's going to need to be closer to the pickup than the others.
stout71
Advanced Member
Username: stout71

Post Number: 208
Registered: 7-2011
Posted on Wednesday, May 07, 2014 - 8:03 am:   Edit Post

Installing new strings might fix the problem with no further adjustments needing to be made. I've put on unopened strings in the past with one or two dodgy ones in the pack. Maybe the cores were slightly smaller relative to the others. It should be mentioned that replacing only some strings instead of all of them can get you in trouble as well.

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