Egads! (part deux)

Let’s see now.  Where were we?  Oh yes, I was recounting all I had done in the past two weeks.  I shall continue.

I think I mentioned earlier that I ordered a pair of Villex “NVT” pickups along with the matching passive EQ “pre-amp”.  Well, the NVT package arrived, and it was even better than I expected.  The NVT system has all of the sweetness, midrange detail, and clear natural tone as the Villex “classic” pickups that I have owned since 2007, but adds in a new dimension of entirely passive tone control.  The NVT “pre-amp” (which is really the wrong word, since it’s effectively a sophisticated tone filter but does not amplify the signal at all, so let’s stop using that term, eh?) offers 3 bands of boost and cut in bass, midrange and treble.

I’m still writing a more detailed review of this NVT system, and when it’s complete I will post it on TalkBass.com.  But the short summary is that this system is a fundamental improvement in what we bassists should expect from magnetic pickup technology.  Villex NVT sets a new gold standard for purity, clarity, and flexibility.

Ah, yes, on the subject of pickups, I also acquired some assorted pickups in the “EMG 40″ standard soapbar shape.  I’ll list the specifics later, along with their intended use.  Another informal project is in the planning!

Speaking of projects, I’m forced to announce that my “ultimate fretless bridge pickup comparison” which I announced with some fanfare last year has, sadly, petered out.  To be honest, I really lost the drive to finish this project, despite recording an array of sound clips for 8-10 different pickups.  It just stopped appealing to me!  Also, I found that I was compelled to re-purpose the all-Purpleheart Gecko neck in a new bass build, and since I’d already moved the neck, it wouldn’t be fair to record new sound clips with a different neck, whose different fingerboard woods changed the tone produced by the bass and strings, etc.  (The Purpleheart was and still is a very “dark” sounding wood anyway.)

While that project has ceased, the drive to test different pickups still continues.  I’ve built 3 basses now which have a single P2 pickup cavity at various places, and I’ll continue to test pickups here and report my findings on a schedule that better suits me.

Finally, a new bass has been born!  It features an all-Bubinga neck (mentioned earlier) which has been waiting around for a few months to find its perfect mate.  Well, the perfect mate arrived yesterday in the form of an all-Maple body with a black pinstripe, a hard maple laminate top (not figured, quilted or flamed) and a clear satin finish to protect it.  It’s beautiful creamy-blond color with just a hint of buff, and it has a single P2 pickup cavity in a very special position.  I am calling this the “Willis spot” since it closely approximates the location of the single bridge pickup on the Gary Willis signature bass from Ibanez.

The bass was assembled and, after extensive work on my part to get a slightly too-thick neck into a slightly too-tight neck pocket, made playable.  (I’ve never scraped so much wood with a razor blade in my life!)  For a pickup I have installed my Delano custom “SMC 5 HE” twin-coil inline humcanceller, which also arrived some weeks ago and has been very interesting to play.  It’s a very aggressive sounding pickup which still has a lot of the Delano sweetness and clarity of tone.  This pickup was a custom order based on my earlier experiments with Delano twin-coil inline humcancellers and my research led me to pursue this option.  Kudos to Delano as well as BestBassGear.com for making all my custom orders possible.

Side note: I am left wondering how similar this pickup is to Delano’s “JSBC” pickups, or even one half of their quad-coil “Xtender” models.  More research would shed some light here.

Oh yes, one final footnote:  Bourns “91″ series potentiometers.  They are quite nice!

Until next time…

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