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fretlessman71

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Joined
Jul 30, 2021
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3
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...?
 

drTStingray

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Aug 25, 2007
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1,833
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Kent, United Kingdom
They also replicated the pre amp (it’s 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.

It’s 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 (it’s a chrome one)
 

kevins

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Joined
Feb 13, 2005
Messages
467
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
 

tbonesullivan

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Aug 24, 2012
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2,047
Location
New Jersey
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.
 

kevins

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Feb 13, 2005
Messages
467
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!
 
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tbonesullivan

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Aug 24, 2012
Messages
2,047
Location
New Jersey
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.
 
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