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'93 Ibanez SR800 w/ backyard luthiership

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by VanillaThundah, Jan 3, 2014.

  1. VanillaThundah

    VanillaThundah

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    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...

    [​IMG]


    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.
  2. Maz

    Maz

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    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.
  3. VanillaThundah

    VanillaThundah

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    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.
  4. Maz

    Maz

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    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.
  5. BlueTalon

    BlueTalon Happy cynic Supporting Member

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    Disclosures:
    Endorsing Artist: Turnstyle Switch
    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.
  6. VanillaThundah

    VanillaThundah

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    This was the first thought that crossed my mind, but the P/Js often have a very pleasingly scooped tone with both pickups on and my worry is not having enough options to edit that tone if need be. My guitarist is a humbuckers and triple-rectifier kind of guy lol....need to make sure I'm cutting through :)

    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
  7. VanillaThundah

    VanillaThundah

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    I think you might be right, your post made me think to try it with the battery taken out completely. Seemed like the P still made a decent noise, but the J pickup was almost completely gone...it was weird.



    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.
  8. VanillaThundah

    VanillaThundah

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    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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