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SR5 Pickup Replacement Opinions / Advice

PostPosted: Wed May 03, 2017 8:26 pm
by Ben Esparza
Hello all,

Not a lot of activity here in the Musicman thread but I'm seeking some opinions and advice from anyone who will listen. I have experienced a marked reduction in output from the D and G strings on my MMSR5. It's not your typical "lower output from the G string" that many MMSR owners talk about. It's to where I play higher up the neck to avoid the D and G strings. The bass is a 2000, single, ceramic pickup model that once belonged to Armybass, was eventually sold to my nephew, and I bought it from him. It's the one on the left in the pic below; however, somewhere between Armybass and my nephew, the neck was swapped out for a rosewood fingerboard neck. This reduction in output is a recent turn of events since around September 2016. Nothing has changed as far as amplification, setup, strings, EQ settings, etc. I've gone back and forth with EB regarding questions about string height and the like. They will replace the original ceramic with a replacement ceramic, once they receive the old one, to the tune of about $140+, including tax and shipping.

It turns out the only pickup manufacturer that makes a direct replacement, 3 coil pickup that's compatible with the stock SR5 preamp is Seymour Duncan. This is an Alnico 5 magnet pickup, not ceramic, that goes for $209 plus tax and shipping. I can only assume the Alnico magnet pickup will give me a tone similar to my '94 MMSR...not a bad thing. On the other hand, the ceramic, stock EB pickup is the signature SR5 tone.

If you were in my shoes, would you spend the extra $70+ on the Seymour Duncan Alnico 5 replacement pickup or stay economical and stock with the EB ceramic replacement? Please let me know what you think. You will in no way offend me or hurt my feelings. Thanks in advance.


Re: SR5 Pickup Replacement Opinions / Advice

PostPosted: Thu May 04, 2017 4:44 am
by hoytbasses
Did you check with Nordstrand? I think they make a drop in replacement... not 100% sure as I don't typically use that style pickup.

Re: SR5 Pickup Replacement Opinions / Advice

PostPosted: Thu May 04, 2017 6:16 pm
by Ben Esparza

Do I make the right assumption that these are good pickups and you would recommend them? You mentioned you don't use any MM model Nordstrands, but it seems you are familiar with their other products. So...I put a call in to them and they have a direct replacement that is 3 coil and Alnico V magnets. They said it's compatible with the bass, preamp, and blade switch design of the MMSR5. If you say I can't go wrong with the Nordstrand, I'm diving in.

Re: SR5 Pickup Replacement Opinions / Advice

PostPosted: Fri May 05, 2017 12:36 pm
by Ben Esparza
Okay...I did a search here on Nordstrand pickups and people's satisfaction with them and just called them to purchase the pickup.

BTW...anyone wanting to replace their MMSR5 rectangular, no-ears pickups with an Alnico V, 3 coil replacement that works with the stock preamp and blade swith from Nordstrand, ask for the MM5.3. This is a custom order pickup that is not on their website. Their price, as of Cinco de Mayo 2017, is $158.00 plus tax and shipping. Mine should arrive in about 2 weeks. I'll fill you in on it once it arrives and is installed.

Re: SR5 Pickup Replacement Opinions / Advice

PostPosted: Sat May 06, 2017 11:14 am
by GonzoBass
I was going to suggest EMG as an option
but seems you've got the matter covered, Big Ben.

Looking forward to the review.


Re: SR5 Pickup Replacement Opinions / Advice

PostPosted: Sun May 07, 2017 7:07 pm
by hoytbasses
Oops, Ben... sorry I didn't get back to you in a timely manner..... I've installed. Dozens of Nordy pickups in customers' instruments.. I really don't use any other kind of pickup. I have not had a single person come back to me and tell me that they just didnt' work for them. I'm glad you pulled the trigger on it.

I just don't build MM style basses, which is why I didn't know about them. I've used J's, P/J's, fat stacks, big singles, big splits (my favorite) and I've built a couple basses with their crazy BigMan pickups...... no duds in the bunch.

Can't wait to hear how you like it.