Over the last 20 years, Aguilar Amplification has carved a name for itself on the back of superior engineering, top of the line equipment and a deep dedication to every aspect of a bass's sound. While the company might not be as well known as some of the huge players such as Ampeg or Fender, savvy bass players know that if you're looking for top quality bass gear and tone, Aguilar Amplification will definitely deliver! And just like many of the best companies in the music business, the story of Aguilar Amplification all started with the pursuit of better tone.
Back in the ‘80s, current Aguilar President Dave Boonshot was a practiced studio musician who had just moved to New York City in search of his next gig. By then, the once-lucrative studio scene was drying up so he decided to start up Naked Music, a production company and studio. Despite his many years as a professional bass player, it wasn’t until he started working in production that Boonshot came to realize exactly what went into his instrument’s sound on stage and in the studio, and thus became dissatisfied with the gear he was playing through.
He began searching for someone to build him a preamp that would not only be specifically designed for bass players, but would offer the sound of a high end Neve or Telefunken preamp as well. In came Alex Aguilar, an amp repairman and designer whom Boonshot had met through Roger Sadowsky (of the Sadowsky preamp fame). At the time, Sadowsky was working on Boonshot’s instruments and in return, Boonshot would test out an original preamp that Sadowsky had been creating with Aguilar. Impressed with Aguilar’s chops on what eventually became the Sadowsky preamp, Boonshot immediately thought of him for his own project. The two then collaborated on what eventually became the infamous Aguilar DB 680.
While the two men originally saw the new preamp as a one-off project, they eventually decided to put their creation into production, so they needed a name. Boonshot had tremendous admiration for a large, high-quality compressor called the Fairchild 670, so they decided to name their preamp the DB 680 -- the 680 as a homage to the Fairchild 670 while the DB prefix was simply Boonshot’s initials. Both men knew they had something special with the DB 680 and in 1995, Boonshot and Aguilar formed Aguilar Amplification.
Soon after, what started with the DB 680 eventually became a wide range of amazing products that went beyond just a better bass preamp including heads, cabinets, pickups and even effects pedals -- all created with a superior engineering process that always keeps the real world perspective of bass players in mind. With their personal goal of "constant improvement," Aguilar Amplification continues to push the boundaries of tone by contributing to every aspect of a bass's sound.
With over 20 years in the business, Aguilar Amplification gear can be found in concert stages and studios across the globe while their preamps and pickups in particular have found a home in many of the world's best basses. Here are just a few of our favorites:
The 4J-HC split-coil pickups give you noiseless Jazz Bass tone that works for all playing styles. With traditional single-coil pickups, bassists are plagued by hum when the neck and bridge pickups are at different volume levels. While other hum-canceling pickups tackle the noise, you are left with thinner lows, a harsher midrange and a lack of dynamics.
The Aguilar hum-canceling pickups feature a split-coil design that allows you to get any pickup level combination without 60-cycle hum - all while retaining the natural, organic tone of your bass. Now you can experience the deep, resonant low-end of the neck pickup or solo the bridge pickup for that sought-after midrange cut without annoying hum! Wound in Aguilar’s NYC factory, the HC pickups are wound to have the big, dynamic tone that Aguilar pickups are known for.
The Fender Precision bass provided the big, round tone found in almost every hit song from the 60's. To create a pickup with that much vibe and feel, Aguilar Amplification studied the pickups from President Dave Boonshoft's personal 1963 and 64 Precision basses and created some of the most compelling '60s-era P-bass pickups around.
The AG 4P-60 pickups use all the period correct parts, including Heavy Formvar wire and Alnico V magnets. These pickups have just the right amount of mid-range "nose" to cut through a loud rock band and give all the deep support one would expect from a great 60's P-bass pickup.
The OBP-3 is Aguilar's most flexible onboard preamp design, providing +/-18dB of cut and boost at 40Hz, +/- 16dB of cut and boost at either 400Hz or 800Hz and +/- 16dB of treble cut and boost at 6.5 kHz. The OBP-3 has multiple wiring options, and can be wired with either a push/pull pot, mini-toggle or internal dip-switch for midrange frequency selection. Low noise discrete FET input stage, center detent 50 K linear pots, with a dual concentric pot is also available. And with 324 hours of battery life -- that's two weeks of non-stop, continuous jamming -- so you'll be sure the OBP-3 won't die on you any time soon!