1. Mark L
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  3. Monday, 24 August 2009
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Hi, everybody. I'm ashamed that I don't know this already, but electronics are my weakness when it comes to guitars. Here's my question: exactly what is an "active pickup", and how is that different than a passive pickup that is boosted by an onboard active preamp (like our Dingwalls that we can choose between active and passive mode?) I have a bass that is active only, with no option for passive mode. It sounds lame, so I'm ripping it all out and making it passive. Will I be able to keep the same pots?

Thanks in advance,

Mark
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Bocete Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
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I'm no guru either, but AFAIK an active pickup is a pickup with an internal preamp. EMG pickups are like that, they're active by themselves. Unlike our DW pickups which are passive, and you bypass the active preamp. You can do that because the preamp is a separate unit. With active pickups you can't bypass the "active" without bypassing the pickups entirely.

I don't think forcing "passiveness" on them would work, the same way an active preamp shouln't be used with no batteries. If you really want to change something to that particular bass, it'd be best to just replace the pickups.

It's also possible that your bass has passive pickups but hasn't been wired with the passive option. The Combustion is like that, among many others. If that is the case, you can add an active/passive switch yourself.

Everything is AFAIK and should be considered with percaution :wink:
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Mark L Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
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Yeah, that was my plan, to replace the pickups with Fender Noisless J pups. They must sound better that what is in the bass now. Thanks, Bo.


Mark
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Bocete Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
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Heh, Bo :)

If I ever visit the US or some other English speaking country I'd like to be called Bo. I couldn't imagine how would you even pronounce Bocete. So, you've given me a nickname.

Sorry for the derail :roll:
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rollerberg2000 Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
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[quote="guitarded":31ffofan]Yeah, that was my plan, to replace the pickups with Fender Noisless J pups. They must sound better that what is in the bass now. Thanks, Bo.


Mark[/quote:31ffofan]

Mark, what kind of pickups/preamp are you replacing? I have a set of Fender five string samarium cobalt noiseless jazz pickups I might be pulling soon from a project bass.....
Jeff
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davio Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
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[quote="guitarded":1e2203nr]Hi, everybody. I'm ashamed that I don't know this already, but electronics are my weakness when it comes to guitars. Here's my question: exactly what is an "active pickup", and how is that different than a passive pickup that is boosted by an onboard active preamp (like our Dingwalls that we can choose between active and passive mode?) I have a bass that is active only, with no option for passive mode. It sounds lame, so I'm ripping it all out and making it passive. Will I be able to keep the same pots?

Thanks in advance,

Mark[/quote:1e2203nr]
An active pickup is a pickup designed to be used with a power source that includes an internal preamp to generally give a hotter output and reduce interference noise. There are plenty of benefits to them but you do end up with a vastly different tone than you would with passive pickups and many (if not most) bass players would rather deal with the tradeoffs (or find other ways around them) as long as they can get "that passive tone."

An active preamp in a bass is typically (I think) used with passive pickups for tone-shaping and (depending on the setup) a boosted signal.

From what I understand, the only practical difference between an active pickup and a passive one with an active preamp (assuming they have the same tone controls) is the sound of the pickup. Many will also say that active pickups are also a hassle because it's another battery to worry about. In the end, it's all about tone. It all depends on what you want to hear coming out of your instrument.

As for your situation, does your bass have active pickups and passive tone controls or passive pickups and an active preamp? Most active preamps I've seen have the tone circuits built onto the pots themselves...in which case, if you go completely passive, I don't think you'll be able to use the same pots. If you have a passive bass with active pickups, just replace the pickups and it should be fine...or at least playable until you figure out what you want to mod next. ;)
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Mark L Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
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I assume it's passive pickups with a onboard preamp, but I have yet to pull the pickguard to see....so busy. It's a Cort Curbow Retro, if that helps.

Mark
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davio Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
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[quote="guitarded":1emmj8i4]I assume it's passive pickups with a onboard preamp, but I have yet to pull the pickguard to see....so busy. It's a Cort Curbow Retro, if that helps.

Mark[/quote:1emmj8i4]
Yeah, 2-band active preamp and I'd assume they're passive pickups. A little searching revealed that replacing the pickups might be the first thing you want to try.
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Mark L Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
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[quote="davio":34cedy5b][quote="guitarded":34cedy5b]I assume it's passive pickups with a onboard preamp, but I have yet to pull the pickguard to see....so busy. It's a Cort Curbow Retro, if that helps.

Mark[/quote:34cedy5b]
Yeah, 2-band active preamp and I'd assume they're passive pickups. A little searching revealed that replacing the pickups might be the first thing you want to try.[/quote:34cedy5b]

Thanks, for doing the leg-work Davio! :) The project isn't a priority at the moment, so I haven't researched it at all.

Mark
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