Covert a P-Bass to Active? Help!!!!

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by faulknersj, Jan 24, 2014.


  1. faulknersj

    faulknersj Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2008
    Location:
    Scottsdale Az
    I love my 74 P- Bass! It is all original with virgin solder connections and everything! It plays and sounds amazing. However, I want to convert it to an active P Bass.

    Here is my plan:

    I want to unscrew the pups from the body, and remove the ground connection from under the bridge so that I can remove the entire pick guard with pots, and pups, and solder points all untouched.

    I want to get a new pick guard, new pups, and and an active pre to drop in.

    Essentially, I would like to have 2 systems...an active system and the original passive system attached to 2 different pick guards.

    Does this make sense?

    Has anyone tried this?

    What pre-amp is best? I would like something with active mid, bass, and treble controls!

    Thank u in advance for advice/ suggestions/ reviews!!
  2. garmenteros

    garmenteros Junkyard Scout Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2008
    Location:
    Dominican Republic
    Whatever you do, don't route for a battery box and have the battery accommodated somewhere under the pickguard. I've played active emg p pickups and wasn't impressed by them. They sound to hi fi for me.
  3. ArtechnikA

    ArtechnikA I endorsed a check once... Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2013
    Location:
    SEPA
    It's your bass, do what you want.
    However - it's only original once.
    If originality is that important to you, why not use an external preamp?
    There are many good ones from which to choose...
  4. Jim Carr

    Jim Carr Dr. Jim Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2006
    Location:
    Denton, TX or Kailua, HI
    Disclosures:
    Union card-carrying liberal academic musician
    Simple. Add an external pre. Your bass will "go active," you will not harm it, it is easy, and you can try different pre amps as you wish.

    My suggestions are: Tech21 ParaDriverDI (awesome with parametric mids), Sadowsky external pre-amp, VT Bass, Aquilar ToneHammer, and EBS MicroBass II. :D
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  6. bikeplate

    bikeplate Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2001
    Location:
    Upstate NY
    No. Just buy a floor mount pre. Sadowsky, Aguilar, etc
  7. faulknersj

    faulknersj Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2008
    Location:
    Scottsdale Az
    Thanks fellas! Can you adjust setting on these external pre's on the fly like an on board pre?
  8. faulknersj

    faulknersj Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2008
    Location:
    Scottsdale Az
    Also....any on board pre's that don't require routing for a battery?
  9. Mushroo

    Mushroo

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2007
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    No, but if you plan ahead, you can find the best setting at home, before the gig, and dial it in.
  10. ArtechnikA

    ArtechnikA I endorsed a check once... Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2013
    Location:
    SEPA
    Your tone and volume knobs will still work...

    Another name from the high-end bin: Monique
  11. ArtechnikA

    ArtechnikA I endorsed a check once... Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2013
    Location:
    SEPA
    They'll need power from -somewhere-.
    Some people run an external power supply; you'd still have to get the power into the bass somehow, and now we're back into mod-land...
  12. Mushroo

    Mushroo

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2007
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    As an aside, I bet someone here on the forums would probably be willing to do a straight-up trade of your '74 P for their active P bass. ;)
  13. Figjam

    Figjam Supporting Member

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    Aug 5, 2003
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    Tech 21 VT bass is good.
  14. awilkie84

    awilkie84 Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2011
    Location:
    Nanaimo, BC, Canada
    If you don't want to route a cavity for the battery, use an external pre-amp pedal.

    If you do, do what I did and route an entire cavity in the back of the bass that can house your pre-amp AND battery and controls.
  15. faulknersj

    faulknersj Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2008
    Location:
    Scottsdale Az
    Ha ha! This my 6th P-Bass,...and finally a keeper! Sounds and plays perfect and the neck is absolutely amazing.

    Anyone try a P-Retro? I don't think it requires any mods?

    Here's she is.

    Attached Files:

  16. skidmarkbass

    skidmarkbass

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2008
    Location:
    Fort Lauderdale, FL
    I have the sadowsky pre and eden WTDI... the eden works great with my p bass.
  17. bassnyc1

    bassnyc1

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2006
    Location:
    NYC
    +1 to an outboard pre amp. Best of both worlds. I have a Sadowsky and a Tech 21 VT Deluxe. Both those and many others are excellent quality and very usable. If you're interested in being able to tweek your settings like you would with an onboard system, instead of putting the pedal on the floor, put the pedal on top of your amp or on a music stand near you so that you can reach it easily.

    Please don't modify your bass. I'm sure it's too great to do something irreversable.
  18. FrednBass

    FrednBass

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2012
    This.

    +1 for external preamp
  19. FrednBass

    FrednBass

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2012
    I knew a guy that carry the external preamp stuck to his belt or strap (if it happens of him not using a belt). That way he could change the settings any time during a song. I thought it was a smart solution for this problem.
    But of course, it's a bit heavy.
  20. faulknersj

    faulknersj Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2008
    Location:
    Scottsdale Az
    Thanks for the input everyone...so...is there virtually no possible way to do an on board pre amp without modifying the cavity?
  21. Audix99

    Audix99

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2009
    Location:
    Kentucky
    There is a pre-amp that uses rechargeable battery, thus no body modification is needed.
    At least, that's what the product description says.

    It's John East pre-amp that you can find here.
    http://www.bestbassgear.com/p-retro-preamp.htm

    I do NOT have any personal experience with this, so I know nothing of its tone, reliability, ease of use, etc...
    But if you are looking for a pre-amp that does not require permanent body mode, you may want to check it out.

    Hope this helps.

    Steve

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