The Fishman Full Circle has certainly earned its stripes in the URB world. I was never a big fan of the classic Fishman BP-100 (though it was a breath of fresh air in the early 80's when it first came out), but I really like the Full Circle- it delivers a much more natural sound with a nice mix of body and string. It has the warmth of the Realist but with more string detail, and even offers some tonal flexibility. That's why you'll find one on my carved bass.
The photo, below at right, shows Bob at a Gospel Bluegrass affair in September 2010, where he amplified his pre-war Juzek bass using a Fishman Full Circle pickup and clipped a LR Baggs GigPro preamp to his belt for easy access to volume and tone controls. You can see the Full Circle pickup adjuster in the photo inset with the Meisel COM-90 tuner.
Installation is easy-- IF you have an adjustable bridge, since the pickup replaces one adjuster, and a matching standard adjuster replaces the other. The Full Circle is available in THREE different thread sizes (NEW 5/16-18 version released June '09), one of which should fit most non-custom bridges - the most common size, by far, is the 1/4"-20, but please check the information below to ensure that you order the correct size. The pickup side is a fully functioning bridge height adjustment wheel, and Fishman wisely uses a quick disconnect plug connector on the string-mounted jack so you can easily turn the wheel to adjust bridge height without removing the jack. The wheels are made of aluminum, a favorite and common choice for bridge adjuster material.
The pickup's unique design also offers a quick change to the response; a small turn of the wheel lets you achieve an open, resonant response or a drier and more focused amplified tone; this is because of the way the pickup elements can align differently with the bridge relative to their their positioning.
Fishman has produced an excellent installation and operations manual that even includes instructions for installing it into a solid bridge. However, cutting and tapping a bridge for bridge wheel installation is not a piece of cake -- it is an operation that requires precision tools and skills -- so you may wish to consider the adjustable bridge/Full Circle package, which includes our own predrilled adjustable bridge. NOTE: When we package the Full Circle with our bridge, it ALWAYS comes as the SAE (not metric) version, because all of the bridges we sell are pre-tapped for SAE threads. Also note that our pre-tapped bridges have the threads in the bridge, not the feet, so you will install the pickup "threads-up" - if you prefer a "threads-down" orientation, you'll need to cut and tap your own bridge.
The Full Circle pickup includes two adjusters to replace your current ones or for installation into your current bridge; one contains the pickup electronics, the second is a matching, regular adjuster. If you already have an adjustable bridge, it can replace your current adjusters.
The Full Circle is available in three sizes: the most common size for UNC 1/4-20 thread height adjustment wheels, and the alternate Metric 6x1mm format and newly available UNC 5/16-18 format. If you're not sure which one you need, click here for more information. (Where you live -- Europe, USA, etc. -- has no bearing on which size you'll need, so please check your current thread size to ensure that you get the right one!) If you order the Package Deal (in drop-down menu, above) you will get one of our pre-tapped, quality adjustable bridges -- with the original aluminum adjusters removed, since you don't need them -- and the correct size Full Circle Pickup to install into it.
A preamp is recommended, but not required. Fishman's Platinum Pro-EQ is an excellent choice, but there are lots of other options from several manufacturers, all of which are compatible and will complement this pickup well.