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Senior Member
Username: jazzyvee

Post Number: 4064
Registered: 6-2002
Posted on Sunday, June 15, 2014 - 1:30 pm:   Edit Post

Alembic is also mentioned there regarding state variable filters.
When I was at the alembic meet two years ago I had a chat with Ron about the pickups and filters some of what he was telling me is covered here.
Senior Member
Username: bigredbass

Post Number: 2184
Registered: 9-2002
Posted on Sunday, June 15, 2014 - 3:06 pm:   Edit Post

Thanks JV, this is another one that went in the 'Favorites' tab.

I understood that pickups aren't microphones, but I could never get an explanation of the resonant frequency I could wrap my head around. Now I get it.

J o e y
Advanced Member
Username: 5a_quilt_top

Post Number: 309
Registered: 6-2012
Posted on Monday, June 16, 2014 - 12:52 pm:   Edit Post

"And the best pickup is useless when you have a poor guitar body with poor strings. The basic rule is always: garbage in - garbage out!"

This has been my mantra for years.

Along these lines - I have a pretty crappy singing voice and putting a great mic in front of me does not make me sound like Freddy Mercury, Paul Rogers, etc. It only precisely magnifies the inherent crappy qualities of my voice.

Although pickups aren't microphones, they do transmit the "voice" of an instrument to the amplifier. If that voice is sub par to begin with, the pickup can't salvage it.
Senior Member
Username: bigredbass

Post Number: 2187
Registered: 9-2002
Posted on Monday, June 16, 2014 - 10:13 pm:   Edit Post

I disagree a little:

If the guitar / bass is mechanically sound (solid bridge, keys OK, holds tune, manageable / properly adjustable neck / fingerboard), I've seen dropping EMG's into Squier basses made out of really bargain-basement woods wake right up and and do just fine.

Conversely, I think I could take an Alembic and put lo-fi passive pickups in it and lose a LOT, even though the entire instrument is world class. Maybe take the P/J set from the Squier, remove the Sig circuit from my Elan, and re-wire my green gem with those pickups and passive pots . . . . shheeeesssshhhh !

For me, 'it's the pickups, stupid', and as long as I've got a mechanically sound axe around them, I've got something to work with.

I've long held this same mantra: If it's not electronically quiet, if it won't tune up / stay in tune / play in tune, and the neck / fingerboard can't be consistently held in adjustment, What's The Point?

Life is Too Short to Fight a Bass (or guitar) just to play it.

J o e y
Senior Member
Username: lbpesq

Post Number: 5771
Registered: 7-2004
Posted on Tuesday, June 17, 2014 - 9:58 am:   Edit Post

Whenever I check out a new (for me) guitar, I always play it unplugged first. If it plays well and sounds good unplugged, you can always mess with the pickups/electronics to make it sound good plugged in. If it doesn't sound good unplugged, no matter what you do to it electronically, it will never be a great guitar - at least that has been my experience. But regardless of pickups vs. construction arguments, IMHO at least 80% of the sound comes from the fingers.

Bill, tgo
Senior Member
Username: jazzyvee

Post Number: 4077
Registered: 6-2002
Posted on Saturday, June 21, 2014 - 9:50 am:   Edit Post

Some other good reference material on guitars & basses.

Senior Member
Username: peoplechipper

Post Number: 434
Registered: 2-2009
Posted on Monday, June 23, 2014 - 11:15 pm:   Edit Post

Bill, you are right; try it unplugged first...if it sounds good that way, you can always improve the pickups but you can't improve the wood...Tony...I have actually bought guitars and basses without plugging them in because they sounded right acoustically...

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