Artec EBC4-CR Bass Pickup Mudbucker Clone

Artec EBC4-CR Bass Pickup Mudbucker Clone

If you read my review of the Epiphone EB-0 bass that I recently acquired, you know that I got it with a bad pickup, and was looking to replace it, hopefully with something better than the stock Epi 'mudbucker'.

So I began a quest for the replacement pickup, looking at the DiMarzio Model One, Darkstar, etc., all of which cost more than I really wanted to spend on a bass I only paid $100 for. Then I spotted the Artec EBC4-CR on Ebay, and available from Guitar Parts Resource as well. Although the price on GPR was a good deal more than the ones listed on Ebay, I decided to go with GPR because they were shipping from Ohio, rather than from Hong Kong. I just thought it the safer way to go.

However, when I received the pickup and installed it, there was this absolutely horrible 60-Hz hum, approx. 1/4 as loud as the thru-put signal! Well, I thought they probably had a bad one in their inventory, so I returned it, stating the issue it had with the humming (this is supposedly a humbucking pickup, remember...). They sent me out another one...

but it had the exact same problem! They both had that very thick, fat, beefy tone that I was expecting; that would make my Epi EB-0 sound more like an original Gibson EB-0, but the amount of hum coming from them was far, far more than the hum you get with a single-coil pickup like a Jazz Bass pickup or the like. This was and is, of course, absolutely unacceptable. So I returned that one as well, asking for a refund this time. GPR's attitude was that it must be a 'user problem', and that they felt there was nothing wrong with those pickups. They actually complained that now they had 'two perfectly good pickups' on their hands that they couldn't sell as new because they had been installed. In both cases, I not only tested them installed normally in the bass, but also just soldered up to a loose jack and plugged into my amp, and finally, installed in the bass with the leads going directly to the jack, bypassing everything else in the instrument. In all cases, the humming was exactly the same. I told them all this, but they still didn't admit that maybe, just maybe, they have a bad batch of these pickups in their inventory. I contacted a couple of people from bass-player forums who'd used these pickups and asked if they'd had hum problems...none. I even contacted the Ebay seller who also offers them, and asked if he'd ever had any returned for that reason. Bupkis. He event went farther and got hold of the manufacturer, who then spot-checked their inventory. No hummmers. So I still contend that GPR probably had gotten a batch that have mfg. defects...though they won't even consider that possibility. Weird!

Anyway....once I got my money back from GPR (which took several WEEKS!!!), I went ahead and ordered one of those pickups from the Ebay seller, based on his assurance that he'd never encountered any problems from anyone he's sold those to (dozens, he said). So, we'll just have to see what happens. If it comes in OK, with no hum issue, look for a review on this blog soon. It could be here any day.

The upshot of all this is that I will NEVER buy another part from Guitar Parts Resource because of their snotty attitude and because of their blind insistence that I, who have been tinkering with the guts of electric guitars for literally decades, must have been doing something wrong in installing those pickups.