The RB series of pickups from Schatten Design are simple, affordable, good-sounding pickups. One can easily see the similarity in design to the Bass Max from K&K sound, but our "A-B" tests have shown that the character of sound is somewhat different.
The tone from the RB-2's bridge pickup seems, to our ears, to have more of a midrange emphasis to the sound, providing a little more grit than the Bass Max (on the same bass), whereas the Bass Max seems to have a more prominent low end response and warmer, more natural sound.
Which is "better" depends entirely on your needs. A player wanting more forward nature in a dense mix of instruments might favor the edgier mids of the Schatten, while a bassist looking for a more natural sounding low end, might prefer to anchor their Rockabilly sound with the K&K Sound Bass Max by using the Bass Master Rockabilly Plus system, which uses the Bass Max as its bridge pickup. Moreso, the Schatten unit does not offer the opportunity for separate tone control for each pickup, as the K&K Sound does.
The Schatten pickups are available with or without a built-in preamp module; the passive RB pickup model may work ok plugged straight into a good bass amp, but that will depend on the amp's input impedance. See our Upright Bass FAQ on PREAMPS: Do You NEED a Preamp with Your URB Pickup? for technical details. The active RB models include a tiny onboard preamp. You can also combine the passive version with another (one-channel) preamp option, if you prefer a preamp with more functionality than the simpler Schatten unit, which mounts with velcro (included) to the back of your tailpiece.
Two models of the "Rockabilly" model are available, a passive (no preamp) and active (hardwired preamp included) version.
- The RB-2 (passive) provides the RB bass bridge sensor and an extra "slap" sensor, wired to a small black jack assembly that easily clips between the strings just above the tailpiece. Also includes a dual volume control which mounts to the underside of the fingerboard.
- The RB-2A (active) utilizes the RB sensor and extra "slap" sensor, and adds a velcro mounted combination preamp and jack assembly that attaches to the back side of the tailpiece. Also includes a dual volume control which mounts to the underside of the fingerboard.
The RB sensor element is designed to fit in the wing slot of a bass bridge. Normal placement of the sensor is in the bass side slot. The sensor has a thickness of ¼" (6.35mm) and requires a slot opening of approximately 0.225" (5.7mm). The fit of the sensor in the slot is meant to be snug. The sensor will compress slightly as it is pushed into the wing slot. The output jack has a fairly common string mount clip and is a standard 1/4".
Extra Slap Sensor: Designed for Rock-A-Billy, the Extra Slap Sensor is provided with RB-2 (passive) and RB-2A systems. This extra pickup assembly installs to the underside of the Bass fingerboard with 3M VHB foam tape.
On the Active model (RB-1A), the combination Preamp and Jack Assembly installs quickly and easily to the back side of the tailpiece, and is held in place with some strong industrial strength velcro. It is powered by a single 9v battery.
Volume Controls: The RB-2 and RB-2A systems (the systems that have the Extra Slap Sensor) come with thumbwheel volume controls. These units install to the underside of the fingerboard with 3M VHB foam tape.