'93 Ibanez SR800 w/ backyard luthiership
So I purchased a used '93 SR800 off Guitar Center's website and after some SERIOUS TLC, she's in playable condition and sounds pretty good. However, somebody did some backyard luthier work on the electronics...
No stacked pots, no active EQ preamp (from what I can tell) or anything like that. I couldn't tell you what the hell any of the knobs really do, I just fiddle with them or run them all full-on. At any rate, I can tell this is a passive (due to the output level and from the pots in there) setup but the pickups are supposed to be active. I actually kind of like the sound of the pickups running full-on, sort of a grindy tone with a hint of that cheesy 80's P/J tone that I like. My first thought is toss a preamp in there, but I'm wondering if I'll be jacking anything up since those pickups might still be active somehow?
When it comes to the passive p-ups -> active preamp wiring setups, I completely understand how that works, but "active pickups", sans the preamp, sort of confuses me. From what I've read they typically have a baked-in EQ set to them and its in a module in the pickup enclosure that is often unadjustable. I scored this bass for $179 and it seems like a really good buy so far, just want to have more tonal control over it want to keep the character it has now intact.
Would slapping a Bartolini, Audere, or some other preamp (please suggest, I am open to suggestions) just go right in and not require any additional craziness to power those pickups? Don't wanna drop a couple hundred $$'s and be completely screwed lol.
Do the Pups say "regulated low Z" on them? I have a '91 and it came with active pups and a V/B 2 band eq, both wired to the same battery.. looks like the previous owner yanked out the pre on yours. Maybe tried to wire it VV/TT?
Personally I couldn't wait to yank the electronics on mine. I like the later 800's ('95 forward maybe?) with the 3 band vari-mid. Mine is wired passive with a Bartolini PJ set for now. no idea on the pre, but I can take pics of the wiring on mine tomorrow, I still have the original pups and pre out in my shop.
Mine say "AFR (active full-range)" on them. I think you're dead-on with that assessment on the preamp, I spent a lot of time tweaking and found that it's a VV/TT setup like you said.
I think they went to AFR after the lo Z, and before the DXP/DXJ pickups. This is just from looking at a handful of Sr800/885's. On my old pre the red wire from the battery split to feed both the pre and the pups. If you were to hook these pups to a different pre, I think the volume pot value takes care of the impedance. ...I think. Maybe someone else will chime in.
If you really like the sound of the pickups the way it is, you might consider just leaving it. I don't mind modding my basses, but I have one that has a very unique sound, and I don't want to risk doing anything to alter it.
Superstitious? Maybe. But whether it's voodoo or gremlins or a happy accident, I like it the way it is.
The other issue is that my other main bass is humbuckers with active pre (Ibanez SRX3EX that has a Bartolini NTMB-3 preamp) so I'd like output levels to be similar, as of right now they are far lower on the P/J. I also love tweakability, not to mention the soldering/wiring in there is a mess, I'd like it neater. As much as I'd like to imagine all that stuff won't matter, I know when I get to band practice I'll get looks if something acts up lol
At any rate, I'm in a toss-up right now on which pickups to get:
Dimarzio Model P/J Set - Sold as a balanced set, name is well-known, and I like my model J pickups in my squier. Seems like a safe bet.
Dimarzio Will Power Middle and Model J - Already own the Will Power and planning on taking it out of my old P bass to put in this one. Only fear is it being too high output and clashing with the model J pickup. This will definitely be my cheapest option.
Seymour Duncan SPB-2 and SJB-2 - Another safe bet, many people say it's a good set of pickups and will work fine.
Seymour Duncan SPB-3 and SJB-3 - Seems risky, but may end up being a better option since I can always dial down the heat on these with the preamp. Sound clips for this seemed to be pretty good on Youtube.
As for a preamp, I'm going with an Audere classic for ease of installation and transparency. I love it in my Squier so I know it'll be a great pick for this bass.
Went to good old Youtube and saw the awesome Ed Friedland doing a video on a Warwick SE bass that had Bartolini P and J pickups in it with a 2-band Bart preamp. The P pickup was also reversed, like on my Ibanez, so while it won't be identical, I got a good idea of what the tone of those would be. Gotta say, it sold me on it lol
Can't wait to get em in! :bassist:
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