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Mudbucker Blues and how to Combat It.

Discussion in 'The BASS Place' started by Jay Jernigan, Feb 27, 2021.

  1. Jay Jernigan

    Jay Jernigan Tele-Afflicted

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    My first post on the Bass Place, so I apologise if this has been covered ad nauseum.
    My bassist has an EB type Epi that he loves to play but suffers from the ongoing complaint about the clarity of its sound.
    On the guitar forums there is a fix that involves a cap in series with the offending pickup that is highly recommended for removing mud from the signal. Will this work on a bass and, if so, what value is recommended?
    I'm sure that there are pickup upgrades that will help, but we are not starting down that rabbit hole...., Yet.
    Any information would be greatly appreciated and thanks for listening.
     
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  2. LetItGrowTone

    LetItGrowTone Tele-Meister

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    Ric used a .0047uF as a bass blocking capacitor on the bass bridge pickup. On more recent models it's on a push-pull switch, optional.

    Since no one knows what the bassist and you will like best, I'd have ready a .01 and a .0022 (double or half of .0047), and try them too, while it's open.
     
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  3. Reedt2000

    Reedt2000 TDPRI Member

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    I don't know about adding a cap, but I'd explore eq options first. "Mud" typically refers to the bottom of the midrange from 200-300 hz-ish. If the bass amp can do this, try cutting the mids there, and boosting in the top of the midrange, maybe around 600-800 hz. That can help the low end stay, the mud get downplayed, and give the bass a boost where it will cut and not get lost in the mix. Different basses will like this done in different spots of the frequency ranges so sweeping through the areas I suggest is best to find what works for this one. Ideally with an eq that let's you shift where the frequency centers of the boost/cut happens, or with a multi-band graphic eq.
     
  4. beanluc

    beanluc Tele-Holic

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    https://www.tdpri.com/threads/hi-pass-filter.324387/

    Cap values in the .010uF-.0047uF (10000pF-4700pF) range should do the trick. The person in that thread who recommended .068uF is off by an order of magnitude (too big, they really meant .0068uF). The smaller the cap, the more the bass cut. A .068uF cap used as a high-pass will barely filter anything at all in the audible range, while .0068uF (6800pF) migt be perfect. That's twice or three times as big (lower cutoff frequency) as the size recommended for guitars.

    Depending which EB it is, it might have a knob you can repurpose. Do you really need 2 volumes and 2 tones. One master treble-cut (low pass) tone control and one master bass-cut (high pass) tone control will be MUCH more versatile than a normal treble tone control for each pickup.

    You don't need the knob, though, the cap in series all by itself will do the trick.

    Additional articles, the first with sound samples (guitar not bass but again the entire demo is about clarity):
    https://tonefiend.com/guitar/two-band-ptb-tone-control-useful-easy-cheap-awesome/
    https://www.premierguitar.com/articles/24592-the-recording-guitarist-the-fabulous-focus-knob
    https://www.premierguitar.com/articles/21112-three-must-try-guitar-wiring-mods

    .022uF (2200pF) is good for guitar. For bass you prrrrobably don't want to go that small or it will sound very without-body.
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2021
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  5. mexicanyella

    mexicanyella Friend of Leo's

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    Interested to see where this goes. I like, and am curious about, EB basses and unfortunately most threads I see about them say little about tackling the issues you refer to. Interested to see your solution and whether it does the trick.

    (I play a p-style bass, but for me a
    low- mids dip around 340-350 Hz and a slight bump at 100-150 seems to lose some mud but retain some beef. Also like a broad, gentle bump across 650 Hz-1.3 kHz...might be useful starting points to try and mess around with.)
     
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  6. Chicago Matt

    Chicago Matt Friend of Leo's

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    If Jack Bruce hadn't have used that distorted tuba tone with his EB3 in the late 60's, it wouldn't have sounded like Cream. My friends and I were big Cream fans, but even back then we'd say "Man, Jack Bruce is so great, but what the frick's with that tone?" :confused:

    Good luck with a fix. If it doesn't work maybe you could do a Cream tribute thing? ;)
     
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  7. NTC

    NTC Tele-Holic

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    Bass eq pedal?
     
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  8. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Tele-Afflicted

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    Problem: Gibson (and Epiphone) don't know jack about bass pickups but their basses are so darn cool.
    Solution: Jason Lollar
    [​IMG]
     
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  9. Collin D Plonker

    Collin D Plonker Tele-Afflicted

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    Most of the guys I know who play muddy turn the tone way down because they think it sounds more bassy. When I play, I mix in some bridge with neck pickup and turn rhe tone up enough so it pops. Mids go a long way in clarifying bass signal.

    Lately I have been running a bass preamp pedal. I eq it with low mids at noon, high mids 1 oclock, treble at 10 o'clock and bass at 11 o'clock.
     
  10. jvin248

    jvin248 Doctor of Teleocity

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    .

    It's from machine wound pickups -- too much internal capacitance. Boutique hand-wound pickups scatter the windings and cut the capacitance at least in half. But you don't need to go there.

    The capacitor in series option previously posted works. I use it all the time on guitars with muddy pickups. It brings back the clarity.

    You can also swap in higher kohm volume pot(s) and different tone caps. The fast answer is just use that series cap. On guitars I use 0.047uF.

    Just unsolder the muddy pickup hot lead from the switch and tie the cap leg to the pickup lead and the other to the switch. Solder and done. You can test drive different caps but really it won't make much difference as long as you are in that general range.

    .
     
  11. 2HBStrat

    2HBStrat Tele-Afflicted

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    It's highly likely that your bass player likes the sound he is getting, otherwise he would already be trying different equipment and things to try to get a clearer tone.
     
  12. VintageSG

    VintageSG Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    My EB0 sounds like mud. It's a part of the reason I bought it. It doesn't have to though. If I pluck the strings mid-point or close to the pickup, it is deep, low, and perhaps lacks bite and clarity, but it wuffles along nicely. If I pluck close to the bridge, it gains some bite and clarity. It'll never be Fender J on the bridge pickup, but it gets mighty close to a centrally mounted Precision pickup sound in terms of the bite. There is a lot of tonality to be had through variance of right hand technique, finger angle and hand position. <shudder> even try a pick...
    EQ can solve the rest.
     
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  13. Jay Jernigan

    Jay Jernigan Tele-Afflicted

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    Thank y'all, most kindly, for your replies. I am in hopes of using one of these suggestions to make my man a happy camper. He thought it muddy enough Friday night to switch to the Guild semi hollow after the first set, if that gives you any idea.
    Absolutely nothing wrong with the Guild, you understand, but it would be nice if he felt the same way about the Epi. As stated, EQ is a good place to start, caps and pots next.
    Thanks again.
     
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  14. Dave W

    Dave W Friend of Leo's

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    The original mudbucker circuit had a second cap (.001uF) that shunted the highs to ground. The only Epis this appeared on were the Kalasmazoo-made Newport and Rivoli in the 60s.

    The modern day Epi EB-0 doesn't have that second cap. And its pickup is not a mudbucker. It's the same sidewinder design as the original but it's not overwound at all.
     
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  15. ctmullins

    ctmullins Tele-Meister Ad Free Member

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    I hate mud.

    Here is a foolproof way to get rid of it: Sentell’s UnMudbucker.

    I was literally floored at the clarity this thing produces, even right up against the neck.

    upload_2021-2-28_8-26-21.jpeg
     
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  16. Jay Jernigan

    Jay Jernigan Tele-Afflicted

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    I'm not certain but I believe that the bass in question is a modified EB-O. It has two pickups with the bridge being an addition. This is a little twist on the matter, I realize, and perhaps it only needs to have some bridge p'up added in. I will have a better idea of what I am dealing with in a couple of days.
    Bassist is the lead singer in the band and wants an instrument that ain't too fiddly because the boy is busy, don't you know.
    Thanks again for the help.
     
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