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 #137070  by BassPlayerLB
 Mon Feb 24, 2014 3:44 pm
I'm trying to figure out what pickups I should put in my Gretsch. I've installed an ACG preamp in it and love the filters. Now I want to replace the pickups. My tech suggested upgrading to TV Jones pickups to retain some of that classic Gretsch tone. However, I use this bass mainly for a 70's era Phil tone (72-78) and not sure they would be the best replacement. Any and all suggestions are appreciated!

Side question: is it possible to install Alembic pickups with the ACG preamp?
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 #137079  by Rusty the Scoob
 Tue Feb 25, 2014 7:13 am
Novak is exactly what I was going to suggest. It'd be really close to the Dark Stars I have in my DeArmond Starfire and soundmen and audiences always rave about it.

I love those ACGs by the way... I have them in two basses and I'm pretty tempted to put one in another.
 #137094  by BassPlayerLB
 Tue Feb 25, 2014 11:58 am
Thanks for the suggestion. I've definitely looked into the Novak pickups... From what I've heard/read though, they are closer to the original Gretsch pickup sound and Phil's Starfire pre-alembic era and it's a lot of money to spend on pickups that may not change the tone much at all. I am looking for something with a little more growl/bite to it then the pickups currently in here, and something closer godfather bass after alembic was done with it. Still think the Novak's would be a good choice?
 #137106  by Rusty the Scoob
 Wed Feb 26, 2014 7:13 am
I don't really consider my Dark Stars (which should be equivalent to Novaks) growly or bitey - what they have is a positively massive front end attack with a quick decay, much like an upright bass. It sits great in the mix because it's super articulate but without a lot of extra sustained volume, so it really punches through and cleans up a mix. But they're more round and fat than growly or bitey.

This suggestion might be from left field, but have you considered EMG? The common view on them is that they sound modern because they're so often found in Moduluses, but they can be way more than that. The classic EMGs all had Ceramic magnets which do tend to be modern and ballsy, but I've got an EMG in my Fender/Warmoth P with Alnico magnets and it sounds exactly like a stock Fender pickup but a little cleaner and more articulate on stage. For soapbars you can get a few different magnet/coil configurations, the Ceramic seems to have a lot more bite and snarl while the Ceramic/Steel is a bit smoother. My understanding is that the active technology is pretty similar to what Alembic used for Phil's modded Starfire and custom Alembics from that period. I can tell you from personal experience that they do work with an ACG although I have it wired up in a slightly unusual way - in a P/J with an on/off switch for the ACG, and EMG volume, tone and pickup blend pots. I'm having a custom shortscale Warmoth solidbody built with three EMG DC35TWX pickups, specifically to capture the 72-78 tone... we'll see how it goes.
 #137304  by zambiland
 Thu Mar 06, 2014 12:51 am
BassPlayerLB wrote:Thanks for the suggestion. I've definitely looked into the Novak pickups... From what I've heard/read though, they are closer to the original Gretsch pickup sound and Phil's Starfire pre-alembic era and it's a lot of money to spend on pickups that may not change the tone much at all. I am looking for something with a little more growl/bite to it then the pickups currently in here, and something closer godfather bass after alembic was done with it. Still think the Novak's would be a good choice?
Maybe look into SGD or Q-tuner pickups? They are of the more modern hifi variety without the edge that EMGs sometimes have. I just installed some SGDs in my Modulus. I can report back after I have some time into them.