Fretless bass is a strange beast. Sure, it looks like a regular bass guitar, but requires a different skill set. Additionally, the electronics in the fretless bass need to be tweaked to the specific frequencies of the fretless bass as well. Leave it to Seymour Duncan to team up with fretless royalty, Steve Bailey, for the STC-3SB fretless active preamp.
Voiced for the fretless bass, the STC-3SB preamp focused EQ allows the nuances and harmonic overtones to ring true. The volume knob is push/pull, allowing you to engage a preset that is optimized to bring out the fretless harmonics as well as a mid-range boost. As with other SD active preamps, there are two internal trimpots on the circuit board to allow you to season the preset to your particular taste.
I installed the STC-3SB in my Warwick Corvette $$ fretless 6 string. With the EQ set flat, there was no noticeable difference between the original preamp and the STC. The midrange control was very powerful, that brought out a lot of grunt from the bass. Dialing back the mids and boosting the bass brought out a number of thick and smooth tones. Using the treble brought a subtle sheen over the tone; the harmonics rang very true and clear with the treble boosted.
- EQ Settings for Demos:
- 1 – EQ Flat
- 2 – Mid Boost 50%
- 3 – Mid Boost 100%
- 4 – Bass Boost 50%
- 5 – Bass Boost 100%
- 6 – Mid Cut 50%, Bass Boost 50%
- 7 – Treble Boost 50%, Mid Cut 50%, Bass Boost 50%
- 8 – Treble Boost 50%
- 9 – Treble Boost 100%
- 10 – Treble Boost 100%, Mid Boost 50%
The Seymour Duncan STC-3SB Steve Bailey preamp is a great, fretless-centered preamp designed specifically to enhance the nuances and tone that is indicative of fretless basses. With the addition of a push/pull preset, there are a lot of tonal options under the hood, ready to be unearthed.