changing preamp?

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changing preamp?

Post by billybass » 23 Mar 2018, 08:21

Hi All,
I have an old Cort Bass it's a 3535, not in production any more.
I have small hands and I like the neck, the string spacing at the bridge is 16mm, much closer that my Lackland Bass which has 18mm at the bridge.
The pickups on the bass came with Mity Might soap bars.
It has a preamp, V, Blend, T M B, but I am no longer happy with the sound.
Would changing the preamp make it sound better, I mean have more tonal possibilities that I can dial in.
I have looked on line to find pickups with that string spacing, but have not had much luck.
Please help, all suggestions are welcome.
Cheers BillyBass

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Re: changing preamp?

Post by maxgroover » 23 Mar 2018, 08:40

What are the dimensions of the Mighty Mite pickups? They don't say on their website.
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Re: changing preamp?

Post by Ben B » 23 Mar 2018, 08:55

It really depends on what you're actually trying to achieve, or moreso what you dislike about the current setup. I think you'll get more improvement from changing the pickups, before the preamp.

Something like an EMG HZ which is a passive soapbar PU in 4,5 and 6 string widths, and possibly EMG's preamp might be a good starting point, depending on what you play? Also depends on what you can actually fit in the bass itself.

Companies like Aguilar, nordstrand, bartolini, seymour duncan, glockenclang etc all make aftermarket 3BEQ preamps as well, but the pickups are where i'd start first.
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Re: changing preamp?

Post by Petebass » 23 Mar 2018, 12:05

I've found that with instruments which have "affordable" electronics, you usually get a significant change by replacing either the pickups OR the pre.

Case in point, my Ibanez SR805. Looks beautiful, sounded "OK" at best. I struggled for ages as to whether to replace the pickups or pre and when a good EMG preamp appeared on TB at a good price, I took the plunge. It has totally transformed the bass! It's now a very giggable instrument. Even with everything set flat, the bass sounds different. All the harshness is gone. And I can now tweak the knobs knowing it isn't going to deteriorate further like it used to. At this point I have no plans to change the pickups.

I suspect a similar thing will happen with your Cort. You'll get an improvement whichever way you go.
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Re: changing preamp?

Post by cackland » 23 Mar 2018, 13:07

From an Old Rick Turner article in Bass player (He used to work for Alembic) try the preamp first - most pickups sound pretty decent. A bad preamp could be choking the tone of the existing or the new pickups so you may not know the impact. Good preamps are easy to get and change with some basic soldering skills.
If you decide to change the pickups first try them without the pre and with the pre so that you get some kind of feel for the impact on the tone. IMO, a good preamp should have almost no colouration of the tone when set flat.
Last edited by cackland on 23 Mar 2018, 15:10, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: changing preamp?

Post by drbass » 23 Mar 2018, 13:17

Kind of what Chris just wrote.
If your pickups are not up to it (pickdowns) changing a pre will not do much. If the pickups are decent it will make a big difference. And vice versa.

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Re: changing preamp?

Post by packrat » 23 Mar 2018, 13:41

A counterpoint. If you're going to be digging around in the bass and fiddling with wiring anyway, a reasonable pre and reasonable pickups aren't that much together and then you can just do it once.


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Re: changing preamp?

Post by billybass » 24 Mar 2018, 10:00

my problem is finding pickups, the string spacing is 16mm at the bridge and even Best Bass Gear the pickups choices are designed for wider spacing, I think 17mm is the smallest spacing available, so maybe I'll try there preamp first, as mentioned, there are lots of preamps on the market today, Bartolini, Aguilar, EMG, ect. Thank you all for your contributions

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Re: changing preamp?

Post by ozrider » 24 Mar 2018, 11:24

I had a similar issue with a 16.5mm spacing ibanez. I installed a sadowsky pre and still wasn't happy. Couldn't find replacement pickups. Moved it on. 'My experience with modding has been more miss than hit. Mostly it has been the bass itself that wasn't giving me the tone I've been looking for. I personally would recommend against costly mods if your bass is already limited to the original pickups.

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Re: changing preamp?

Post by Daveze » 24 Mar 2018, 11:34

What are the pickup dimensions? If they're standard (or close enoigh to), then you might find something with a bar/s, rather than individual pole pieces, would be an easy enough swap as the string spacing is not particularly important. Also, have you tried different strings? Much easier than fiddling with electronics and can have a pretty substantial impact.

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Re: changing preamp?

Post by noplanb » 24 Mar 2018, 13:28

If you are looking for 'je ne sais quols' ( I don't know what) you could try putting a strip of steel or iron under the pickup. It will.give you more colour out of the pickup. Must be magnetic. It is a quick and dirty way of increasing some middle and subtly changing the dynamic. If you don't like it just take it out and you are back to where you were before. Easy experiments with bits of steel.
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Re: changing preamp?

Post by billybass » 02 Apr 2018, 08:41

Thank you all for your input.
I will try to find a decent preamp to put in my Cort bass. I have experience with Bartolini and Aguilar.
That model was not a cheap Bass, 15 years ago it was AU$1600 RRP, like Jimmy Hendrex said "I know what I want, but I just don't know, how to go about getting it"
Cheers BillyBass

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