Headway "The Band"
Double Bass Pickup
I zeroed on this unique pickup for upright bass because it occurred to me that it would be an excellent "travel" pickup - highly portable and temporary for those who are on tour, relying on the use of other people's basses. You can't exactly file away the bridge wing on a bass that you're borrowing or renting, the owner generally tends to frown upon that sort of behavior.
We do have a couple of other pickups that work well in this context; one which "clamps" to the bridge, which works, but has a somewhat mid-centric sound on some basses, and a wood-encased bridge wing pickup (with shims for fitment) that sounds good but isn't likely to be durable enough for the kind of abuse you might see on tour.
Or, maybe you're one of those players also needs to amplify your bass for contemporary settings, but then also play in an ensemble with a conductor (or study with a teacher) who frowns upon having a pickup "permanently" on your instrument. In that case, having a pickup that is easily removable - and requires no alteration - is of major importance to you.
So I figured that this pickup, which installs in 30 seconds without any instrument modification, by simply wrapping it around the waist of the bass, might be a really good option for a travel/temporary pickup. And it is -- it is literally made of a ring of soft tubing that gives your bass a big hug right around the middle (and secures easily with velcro). Non-marking soft polyvinyl-type plastic (lined with felt at strategic points) is all that contacts the instrument, it's self contained (the jack is inside the tube, and orients right on the back of the instrument), and it folds easily for travel.
And once we had one here, I discovered that I was right about all of that. Here's the kicker: It sounds great!
We tried it on both a carved and laminate (plywood) bass, and it sounded equally good on both instruments. It has a full-bodied, warm, but open tone, good volume, and good feedback rejection, too! We plugged it into one of our little Traynor combos and filled the room with very natural sound, no extra preamp required, and running totally "flat" on the EQ. (If you own an amp that is designed for electric bass, you might benefit from the impedance buffering of a preamp. Read our FAQ, linked near the bottom.)
This thing really does go on the bass with very little effort, and with no tools or special skills, and it sounds really good. It is easily removed and stowed in a case or bag when not in use.
This pickup should work on all major sizes of basses (3/4, 4/4, 1/2, 1/4) - we checked. However, note that the length of the Band pickup is 51.625 inches, and to have sufficient "overlap" on a particularly portly (big-bodied) bass, you may need to fashion a Velcro extension to mount the pickup securely. It sounded equally good on carved and plywood-topped instruments.