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Thread: Old Smoothie: Is there more to it?

  1. #1

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    Old Smoothie: Is there more to it?

    Hello all. First post here.

    I read a story about the origins of the Old Smoothie on the Wildwood Guitars website. It made it seem as if all Leo Fender had to do was create a 10 pole pickup for a 4 string bass - where the poles landed inbetween the strings - and Sterling Ball was a happy man. Is that really all there is/was to it? Nothing special about circuitry or pots or caps?

    If that were true, then one ought to get similar results by modding/routing an OLP (No, I don't plan on doing this to a real Music Man!) for an alnico 5-string MM pickup and ensuring that the poles don't cross under the strings. Unless there really is more to it...?

  2. #2

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    Hi,

    From the specs in the link below I would say:
    • Body Wood Alder
    • Neck Radius 7.5" (19.1 cm)
    • Frets 21 - Low profile, narrow width
    • Controls Custom "Old Smoothie" 2-band active preamp; vol, treble, bass
    • Pickups Custom "Old Smoothie" humbucking with 10 elongated Alnico magnets and split cover


    Old Smoothie | Basses | Ernie Ball Music Man

    Carbon Blue Pearl HH Bongo 4 - 20th Anniversary H SR5 - Trans Teal H SR4 - Vintage Sunburst Hp Fretless SR4 - Vintage Gold HSS Reflex 5 - Ivory White Caprice - BFR Redwood HH SR4 - Pacific Blue Burst HS Sterling 4 - Raspberry Pearl Short Scale StingRay - Butterscotch Old Smoothie - Jet Black H StingRay Special
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  3. #3

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    They also replicated the pre amp (itís epoxy coated) and aged electronic components to ensure the sound is authentic. The neck also has a rear mounted truss rod with skunk stripe, the original type logo on the headstock, and the string tree on the D, G string.

    Itís basically a copy of the original down to the wear on the burst - but with a 6 bolt neck joint and neck heel truss rod wheel (itís a chrome one)

  4. #4

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    oh the pole pieces was just one of leos tweaks
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  5. #5

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    Can you elaborate?

  6. #6

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    This video should answer
    Ernie Ball Music Man StingRay Bass | 40th Anniversary - YouTube
    And made me buy the bass
    Last edited by Jef; 08-01-2021 at 11:49 PM.

    Carbon Blue Pearl HH Bongo 4 - 20th Anniversary H SR5 - Trans Teal H SR4 - Vintage Sunburst Hp Fretless SR4 - Vintage Gold HSS Reflex 5 - Ivory White Caprice - BFR Redwood HH SR4 - Pacific Blue Burst HS Sterling 4 - Raspberry Pearl Short Scale StingRay - Butterscotch Old Smoothie - Jet Black H StingRay Special
    White Sparkle Piezo JP 6 - Vintage Sunburst HH Luke III - Trans Black Reflex - Coral Red SSS Cutlass RS - Trans Buttermilk Valentine - Starry Night St. Vincent - Vintage Sunburst HH AL

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by fretlessman71 View Post
    Can you elaborate?
    That pickup was hand wound/made by Leo Fender just for that bass. You don't expect them to give you the recipe to the secret sauce, do you? The preamp may also have been different.
    2007 Stingray 5 HS Cherry Burst / Maple FB / Ceramic Pickups
    2012 Stingray 5 H Pearl Blue / Rosewood FB / AlNiCo Pickup
    2012 Steve Morse Morse Blueburst / Rosewood FB
    2012 Luke III SSH Vintage Sunburst / Rosewood Neck
    2021 Stingray RS Pacific Blue Sparkle / Maple FB

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by tbonesullivan View Post
    That pickup was hand wound/made by Leo Fender just for that bass.
    That's true and as far as I know, Leo has not returned as a zombie.

  9. #9

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    I wonder if they'll ever release a 5-string "Old Smoothier", with a 12-pole pickup...

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by fretlessman71 View Post
    Hello all. First post here.

    I read a story about the origins of the Old Smoothie on the Wildwood Guitars website. It made it seem as if all Leo Fender had to do was create a 10 pole pickup for a 4 string bass - where the poles landed inbetween the strings - and Sterling Ball was a happy man. Is that really all there is/was to it? Nothing special about circuitry or pots or caps?

    If that were true, then one ought to get similar results by modding/routing an OLP (No, I don't plan on doing this to a real Music Man!) for an alnico 5-string MM pickup and ensuring that the poles don't cross under the strings. Unless there really is more to it...?
    One of the smoothest sounding basses I can name is actually the fender music master which is by all means a CBS era money-making scheme, they threw together all the spare parts and made a bass. What you ended up with was a bass with a mustang neck, whatever tuners were lying around, and the middle pickup to a Stratocaster guitar, meaning the pickup has 6 pole pieces rather than 4. I think the extra pole pieces being in between the strings like that actually do create a smoother sounding bass with less sustain. It can also be some short scale magic in there for sure

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by kevins View Post
    One of the smoothest sounding basses I can name is actually the fender music master which is by all means a CBS era money-making scheme, they threw together all the spare parts and made a bass. What you ended up with was a bass with a mustang neck, whatever tuners were lying around, and the middle pickup to a Stratocaster guitar, meaning the pickup has 6 pole pieces rather than 4. I think the extra pole pieces being in between the strings like that actually do create a smoother sounding bass with less sustain. It can also be some short scale magic in there for sure
    Don't for get that neither the P-bass nor the J-bass had a single pole piece per string in their most "iconic" configurations. The P-bass originally had a single coil pickup with one pole piece per string, but in 1957 they moved to the "split" pickup with 2 poles per string.
    2007 Stingray 5 HS Cherry Burst / Maple FB / Ceramic Pickups
    2012 Stingray 5 H Pearl Blue / Rosewood FB / AlNiCo Pickup
    2012 Steve Morse Morse Blueburst / Rosewood FB
    2012 Luke III SSH Vintage Sunburst / Rosewood Neck
    2021 Stingray RS Pacific Blue Sparkle / Maple FB

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by tbonesullivan View Post
    Don't for get that neither the P-bass nor the J-bass had a single pole piece per string in their most "iconic" configurations. The P-bass originally had a single coil pickup with one pole piece per string, but in 1957 they moved to the "split" pickup with 2 poles per string.
    Yeah I’m starting to think about the stingrays configuration now that I got an EB Sabre(16 pole pieces on either side of the strings). I feel like the sensitivity on the stingray pickup is pretty high for low frequencies , they do actually sound very round and warm for where the pickup is located, and musicman did move away from putting that pickup under the neck for a while and sort of moved back into it when they started including blade switches etc. Or I think that the inclusion of string mutes on the pre 90s models actually is something to accommodate the large amounts of sustain you’d get from having the poles directly below the strings sometimes. String mutes weren’t really “the norm” in the 70s or the 60s, especially adjustable ones.

    It’s funny they were made to sound in between a p and a j. But I’m think sometimes the pickup placement and eq actually has more to do with the sensitivity of the pickup, because that sorta is how you’d achieve that.

    I definitely think that the 10 pole pieces probably does make a major sound difference too, especially in terms of sustain, if they threw that pickup and preamp on a short scale it would be insane!
    Last edited by kevins; 08-14-2021 at 12:38 PM.

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by kevins View Post
    I definitely think that the 10 pole pieces probably does make a major sound difference too, especially in terms of sustain, if they threw that pickup and preamp on a short scale it would be insane!
    It definitely would.

    I also wonder if EBMM has ever done "rail" or "bar" pickups. I have a bunch of basses from Carvin, and they used rail magnet "J" style pickups exclusively for years, along with a MM style pickup. You definitely get a different kind of sound and decay profile from a rail pickup, as the string is the same distance from the magnet for the entire travel.
    2007 Stingray 5 HS Cherry Burst / Maple FB / Ceramic Pickups
    2012 Stingray 5 H Pearl Blue / Rosewood FB / AlNiCo Pickup
    2012 Steve Morse Morse Blueburst / Rosewood FB
    2012 Luke III SSH Vintage Sunburst / Rosewood Neck
    2021 Stingray RS Pacific Blue Sparkle / Maple FB

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