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 PASV4 impressions 
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Post PASV4 impressions
Well, I gave my SG-12 its maiden run on a gig over the weekend, just trying to get a handle on the personality and capabilities of the PASV4. First let me say that I'm shocked by all of the sounds contained within this amazing unit; there are more tonal options than I've ever experienced before. Endless combinatons here :shock: .

With that being said, I now must face another truth with regards to how this pickup effects the sound of the ol' Heartstrings duets. Coming to this pickup after being SO used to the A2, it was a rough deal. We arranged and recorded our first three CDs with a combination of Stickup+ACTV2 or two ACTV2s. We really found our sound within this framework, and we've performed these songs for years now and have made it our "home base", so to speak. When using the PASV4 on these songs, a good amount of songs didn't like it. The P4 is a different animal, a very "extreme" pickup, at least to my ears. The filter knobs introduce radically different tones with each successive turn of the knob, and I can see where that would be infinitely useful. But when you have a sound that you want to tweak just a LITTLE, it ain't gonna happen :lol: I spent a lot of time struggling to get a sound that was in the ballpark with Mark's Stick, but we always sounded like polar opposites of each other. I can see where this would be cool, as well, but it won't work for our past catalog.

So here's my dilemna I'm faced with: Do I send my SG12 back and have Emmett swap the P4 for the A2, or do I keep it the way it is? I was blown away with what the P4 could do, and I could use that Stick for all material henceforth that requires a wider range of tones, and I could just keep on using my A2-equipped Alto for the old stuff. Or I could swap the pickup and have the SG12 capable of doing all of our past work. This would solve the problem, but it would render my Alto retired; the SG12 would have eveything the Alto has plus two more strings and MIDI. The Alto would be a "backup" Stick at that point.

So that's my little scenario that I'm chewing on. What I probably need to do is just give it some time. I'm so accustomed to the sound of the ACTV2, and the jump to the P4 is a big thing to absorb and get used to. Whatever happens, I'm sure I'll wind up in a good spot with these two beautiful instruments!

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Wenge SG12 (SG12 MR)
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"With one note you can shatter a thousand notes" - Carlos Santana


Mon Feb 15, 2010 9:21 am
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Post Re: PASV4 impressions
+1 on the greatnesso of PASV4.

I'd say leave it as is.
If your catalog was done on an Alto, no need to switch PUs and render it obsolete.

Instead, explore the new possible tonalities on your PASV4.
Maybe you have your old sound too baked in, and if you give PASV4 a couple more tries, you'll find a different balance or place to stand on.

Ultimately, just send me the Alto :mrgreen:, whichever PU it has.

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Mon Feb 15, 2010 9:53 am
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Post Re: PASV4 impressions
locks wrote:
+1 on the greatnesso of PASV4.

I'd say leave it as is.
If your catalog was done on an Alto, no need to switch PUs and render it obsolete.

Instead, explore the new possible tonalities on your PASV4.
Maybe you have your old sound too baked in, and if you give PASV4 a couple more tries, you'll find a different balance or place to stand on.

Ultimately, just send me the Alto :mrgreen:, whichever PU it has.


Good stuff, Locks. Food for thought, for sure. As for sending you the Alto, I think I'd rather part with my first-born child :lol: :lol:

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Wenge SG12 (SG12 MR)
Black Bamboo SG12 (SG12 MR)


http://www.heartstringslive.com
http://www.youtube.com/tapper1472



"With one note you can shatter a thousand notes" - Carlos Santana


Mon Feb 15, 2010 9:57 am
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Post Re: PASV4 impressions
heartstrings wrote:
Well, I gave my SG-12 its maiden run on a gig over the weekend, just trying to get a handle on the personality and capabilities of the PASV4. First let me say that I'm shocked by all of the sounds contained within this amazing unit; there are more tonal options than I've ever experienced before. Endless combinatons here :shock: .

With that being said, I now must face another truth with regards to how this pickup effects the sound of the ol' Heartstrings duets. Coming to this pickup after being SO used to the A2, it was a rough deal. We arranged and recorded our first three CDs with a combination of Stickup+ACTV2 or two ACTV2s. We really found our sound within this framework, and we've performed these songs for years now and have made it our "home base", so to speak. When using the PASV4 on these songs, a good amount of songs didn't like it. The P4 is a different animal, a very "extreme" pickup, at least to my ears. The filter knobs introduce radically different tones with each successive turn of the knob, and I can see where that would be infinitely useful. But when you have a sound that you want to tweak just a LITTLE, it ain't gonna happen :lol: I spent a lot of time struggling to get a sound that was in the ballpark with Mark's Stick, but we always sounded like polar opposites of each other. I can see where this would be cool, as well, but it won't work for our past catalog.

So here's my dilemna I'm faced with: Do I send my SG12 back and have Emmett swap the P4 for the A2, or do I keep it the way it is? I was blown away with what the P4 could do, and I could use that Stick for all material henceforth that requires a wider range of tones, and I could just keep on using my A2-equipped Alto for the old stuff. Or I could swap the pickup and have the SG12 capable of doing all of our past work. This would solve the problem, but it would render my Alto retired; the SG12 would have eveything the Alto has plus two more strings and MIDI. The Alto would be a "backup" Stick at that point.

So that's my little scenario that I'm chewing on. What I probably need to do is just give it some time. I'm so accustomed to the sound of the ACTV2, and the jump to the P4 is a big thing to absorb and get used to. Whatever happens, I'm sure I'll wind up in a good spot with these two beautiful instruments!

Hi Matt,

I was curious to see how this pickup would work for you. If the sound of the ACTV-2 could be gotten with the PASV-4 there would be no need for the ACTV-2, so what you're seeing is the real personality of the PASV-4, amplified even more by the shorter scale, which makes the differences in the bridge and neck positions even more pronounced.

For what I do, Iove the PASV-4 on the short scale because it's a very "electric" sound. Maybe for what you do it's too much so.

Or maybe there are some things you can look at to see if you can make it sound more "acoustic"

The first thing to look it is how the input load of what you're plugging it into may be affecting it's tone. What are you plugging it into? Do you have an independent eq that you can use to tweak the sounds a bit? The higher the input impedance, the crispier the sound will be. Do you use the tone control much on the ACTV-2, or do you leave it all the way up?

Since you've been so happy with the ACTV-2 Alto til now, maybe having the SG12 with the PASV-4 as an alternate voice will open new doors for you compositionally.

Personally, for classical-oriented music, I like the neck position on both sides, with the 2nd brightest filter selected. I think this has a sound very much like a nylon string guitar.

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Mon Feb 15, 2010 9:58 am
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Post Re: PASV4 impressions
Hey Matt,

I can definitely see how the PASV-4 wouldn't fit into your current catalog. When I read that you were going to be working Celtic rock into your next album I thought the P-4 would be perfect for that!

I love the A2 for classical music (which is why I chose it for the mirrored 4ths Grand I ordered) and I think the Stickup could fit that role too, but to me the P-4 is jazz/blues/rock.

So my vote is to keep it and work it into your future material!

- Dan

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Mon Feb 15, 2010 10:05 am
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Post Re: PASV4 impressions
Greg,
You pretty much nailed in a few words what took me three paragraphs to describe. The P4 is VERY electric-sounding, and we have had the more acoustic, crystalline sound of the A2 drilled into our heads.

I run the Alto through a few pedals and into the Fishman SoloAmp. The bass side tone knob is always full up, the melody tone knob is turned down to about 8:00 to get rid of the ice-pick tone you get at the brightest setting. When I plugged in the SG, the gain was huge and made everything clip and distort. I had to back my gain way down on the amp.

Another thing I noticed was that the melody side was almost always louder than the bass side on the P4. I had to turn down the melody side to balance it out. is that normal? My SG has the older P4 module with the two filter knobs on the front face of the pickup (not sure why a new instrument got the old module, but it's not a big deal to me).

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Wenge SG12 (SG12 MR)
Black Bamboo SG12 (SG12 MR)


http://www.heartstringslive.com
http://www.youtube.com/tapper1472



"With one note you can shatter a thousand notes" - Carlos Santana


Mon Feb 15, 2010 10:12 am
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Post Re: PASV4 impressions
Powagoat wrote:
Hey Matt,

I can definitely see how the PASV-4 wouldn't fit into your current catalog. When I read that you were going to be working Celtic rock into your next album I thought the P-4 would be perfect for that!

I love the A2 for classical music (which is why I chose it for the mirrored 4ths Grand I ordered) and I think the Stickup could fit that role too, but to me the P-4 is jazz/blues/rock.

So my vote is to keep it and work it into your future material!

- Dan


Thanks, Dan. I think I'm kind of leaning that way. I especially like the way the P4 handles the distortion. It really has the bite and scream that a bridge pickup on a guitar has. The Stickup and A2 can't quite get it as good, IMO.

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- Matt
Wenge SG12 (SG12 MR)
Black Bamboo SG12 (SG12 MR)


http://www.heartstringslive.com
http://www.youtube.com/tapper1472



"With one note you can shatter a thousand notes" - Carlos Santana


Mon Feb 15, 2010 10:16 am
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Post Re: PASV4 impressions
heartstrings wrote:
Greg,
You pretty much nailed in a few words what took me three paragraphs to describe. The P4 is VERY electric-sounding, and we have had the more acoustic, crystalline sound of the A2 drilled into our heads.

I run the Alto through a few pedals and into the Fishman SoloAmp. The bass side tone knob is always full up, the melody tone knob is turned down to about 8:00 to get rid of the ice-pick tone you get at the brightest setting. When I plugged in the SG, the gain was huge and made everything clip and distort. I had to back my gain way down on the amp.

Another thing I noticed was that the melody side was almost always louder than the bass side on the P4. I had to turn down the melody side to balance it out. is that normal? My SG has the older P4 module with the two filter knobs on the front face of the pickup (not sure why a new instrument got the old module, but it's not a big deal to me).

Hi Matt,

You'd have to ask Emmett, but he might have chosen that model because the tone selectors are a bit more subtle.

Since you're going from an active pickup to a passive one, the difference in how the input impedance loads the pickup would be different from pedal to pedal.

As far as switching back and forth between the two in performance, you would need some convenient way to compensate for the level. The PASV-4 is the hottest pickup I've ever seen, on any instrument. so some kind of level switch like this to engage for the ACVT-2 (boosting), or the PASV-4 (cutting) might help:

http://www.guitarpedalstore.com/guitar- ... ter-Preamp

I solve the issue by running from the StepABout into my TC Fireworx where I have one dual mono patch for the Stickup channels and one for the PASV-4. After that all of the effects settings are the same.

Maybe take the instrument with you to a music shop and try out a few different preamp pedals through a similar amp as you use and see if they affect the tone in some general way that you like.

BTW, Another cool sound is the bridge pickup with filer off, tap right on the frets and use vibrato, it sounds just like a koto.

I hope that's helpful.

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Mon Feb 15, 2010 10:26 am
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Post Re: PASV4 impressions
My current Grand Stick began its life with a PASV4. I liked the variety of the sounds on the melody side and at that time I was looking for a sound that was more "electric" as Greg put it. I really struggled with the bass though and while recording the 121normal CD, I ended up going back and re-recording several of the bass tracks using my Stickup-equipped 10-string. At that point, I swapped for a Stick/EMG hybrid and eventually went back to the vanilla Stickup.

I still go back and forth between all three of the available pickups as to which one really gave me the best overall sounds and I'll probably never reach a conclusion. But for the bass, I've never looked back with any doubt at all.

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Mon Feb 15, 2010 10:46 am
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Post Re: PASV4 impressions
Maybe this was mentioned, maybe not, but a good preamp might help smooth out the tone a bit.
If you're going straight into pedals you may not be getting good impedance matching. You wouldn't have had that problem with the ACTV2 since its active and has its own built in preamp.
Just a thought.
Randy


Mon Feb 15, 2010 11:29 am
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