COLES NOTES - Is it crazy to put pickups/preamp into a bass that cost more than the bass itself?
So, here's my dilemma: I'm currently playing a Douglas WOB826 as my main bass in my band, tuned down to F#. Tuning stability wise, it's awesome. Feel is pretty good (overally great, except neck heavy). My only complaint is the sound.
My previous main bass was my Fender Jazz Bass V, and I loved the attack and growl of it, the "Geddy Lee" cut that it got. My Douglas, however, gets a little lost in the mix. You can hear it in the lows, and you can hear the really highs, but the midrange is muddy and it just doesn't "cut" or "growl" at all. I've tried my guitarist's Spector 5-string (a cheaper one, flat top, no sexy curves) and it had similar tone problems (it sounded better than the Douglas, but still didn't have the "right" sound for me).
I've been researching, and paying attention to bass players and their tones, and I'm thinking most of my problem is that I don't really like the sound of active pickups, or more specifically, humbucking pickups in pairs with both on.
I like the sound of a single passive humbucker with active EQ (i.e. EBMM Sterling or Stingray), and I like the sound of 2 passive singles with passive EQ (Fender Jazz Bass), and I like the sound of 2 active singles with active EQ (Warwick), but most of the time, 2 humbuckers blended together gets this weird phase cancelled sound that just buries the bass player in the mix.
So, long winded explanation out of the way, here's the dilemma:
I've discovered the Nordstrand Big Singles, which sound right up my alley, as they're a hot-rodded Jazz Bass kind of sound, in a Bartolini type enclosure. Trouble is, a pair of pickups costs almost as much as the bass itself, and I'd have to route the body, and maybe change out the pre-amp (which would definitely bump the cost of the electronics higher than the bass itself ).
Question is, should I go for it, and not worry about how weird it is, figuring I can gut them and put them in another (better feeling) bass later, or should I save up for a better feeling bass first, even though I may not like the sound?
I say do it. You can always put the electronics into another bass.