EMG replacements

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by JetBlackJazz, Nov 13, 2012.


  1. JetBlackJazz

    JetBlackJazz

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2011
    Location:
    Lumberton, TX
    In my Schecter bass, there are EMG HZ pickups. I contacted EMG and asked if the current BTS (Bass, Treb, Bal, Master) system could be used if I dropped in a pair of 35 TWX pickups with tone, tone, volume, volume controls. He said this is possible. I'm not aware of the parameters of this change, is this possible Talkbassers?
  2. FunkMetalBass

    FunkMetalBass

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2005
    Location:
    Phoenix, Arizona 85029
    Disclosures:
    Endorsing Artist: J.C. Basses
    Yep. The EMG pickups and preamp will come with wiring guides and all will have the quick-connect system, so there will be almost nothing to solder.
  3. iiipopes

    iiipopes

    Joined:
    May 4, 2009
    Possible, but not optimal. Before you change out the HZ's, what do you not like about them? I have them in my Ibanez SRA-305, and they sound great.

    Here's what I did: on the neck pickup, I bridged the 500kohm volume control with a 1 megohm resistor to bring down the effective value to 330 kohms, which took the harsh edge off the pickup and rounded out the tone. I also had to readjust the pickup heights to find the "sweet spot" for my bass.

    These are great pickups. They are not understood. They are different from the EMG actives. But with a little tweaking they can sound great, and a couple of electronic components and a little time are a lot cheaper than a brand new set of EMG actives.

    Of course, it sounds like Shecter has its own proprietary active setup with what you described. Turn down the treble. EMG HZ pickups are designed as passive, not active, so a lot of preamps will make them sound sterile.
  4. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2008
    Location:
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Disclosures:
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    The BTS is a nice sounding preamp. I used to use it with my pickups in a couple of my basses. So the preamp is not the issue.
  5. iiipopes

    iiipopes

    Joined:
    May 4, 2009
    Yes, it is. I'm not faulting the preamp. I'm concerned about the EMZ-HZ pickups being constructed and designed for high-Z loading in a conventional passive circuit, which the pickups isolated may be too bright, depending on the imput impedance, for the preamp and the overall tone of the bass.

    This points to the selection and marketing of the company, trying to marry two name brand components for the sake of sales without necessarily doing good R & D to make sure the components are compatable.

    The pickups are good pickups. The preamp is a good preamp. But just like you don't put a Holly 650 with a high rise manifold, because the mixture will puddle out from the decrease in velocity after the venturi before it gets to the cylinder, the pickups need to be matched to the preamp to get optimum tone and versatility.
  6. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2008
    Location:
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    Owner, SGD Music Products
    I think you are over analyzing things. EMG HZs, or any other pickup, are not designed for passive or active. HZs are pretty much the same pickups as the active EMGs without the preamp.

    My experience with the BTC is that it sounds the same active or passive, with only a slight high frequency lift associated with buffering. Turning the treble control down a little makes the two settings (active and passive) sound the same.

    The objection most people seem to have with the HZs is them being muddy, not too bright. And this is partly because they are lacing the preamp in the active versions, and they are likely wired in series, which the active versions are not.

    Personally I'd keep the preamp and swap the pickups for something clearer sounding.
  7. Dislocardi

    Dislocardi

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2012
    Location:
    St Helens, Merseyside
    Greetings fellow bass heads,

    I have a Q about EMG 35hz pup. I have removed the standard pups from my Jazz and put a Kent Armstrong in bridge position and I'm considering placing the EMG in neck position. It has 5 wires, as I'm sure you know, and have the option of coil tapping it. However, is it possible to wire 2 separate volume knobs to the one pup? If so how would that wiring diagram look?

    In my mind it would give more sound options, just not sure how to wire it up.

    Also I remove, my tone knob from my basses and replace with a 3 way DPDT (on/on/on) switch with 3 different caps. So, I have the space for 3 volumes.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    regards DC
  8. iiipopes

    iiipopes

    Joined:
    May 4, 2009
    With due respect, they are not. My understanding is that the HZ's may have a similar ceramic and steel loaded magnet structure as some of EMG's active pickups, but the coil windings are optimized for hi-Z conventional passive controls and traditional passive output levels instead of for the clean, low noise, broad range that the EMG actives are designed for. But, if the OP really likes the preamp, then he should get whatever pickup he pleases.
  9. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2008
    Location:
    Bloomfield, NJ
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    Owner, SGD Music Products
    That's not true. Where are you getting your info? They use the same bobbins wound with the same number of turns of wire as the active pickups. If you were to disassemble a few you would know. The preamp, and the way the coils are connected to it is the reason they sound different.

    The other stuff you are saying like "windings are optimized" and "traditional passive output levels" is market speak. To give you an example, a pickup like an active EMG 40 has 4500 turns of 43 gauge wire on each bobbin. The 40HZ is wound the same way. You can tell this because 4500 turns of 43 gauge wire on that size bobbin reads about 4.8kΩ. Two of those in series is 9.6kΩ, which is what the 40HZ reads.

    The difference, and why they sound different, is that the active pickup takes each coil and connects it to the differential (+/-) input on an op amp. So the two coils are not in series, but more like parallel, with them being isolated from one another. So you are more-or-less hearing the pickup as if it were wound to 4.8kΩ.

    But the HZs don't appear to have been a different design, but a new model based on the same parts, sans the preamp.
  10. iiipopes

    iiipopes

    Joined:
    May 4, 2009
    Where are you getting your information? EMG doesn't publish its windings, its wire gauge, or any other details. I understand you are "in the business," but that doesn't make you privy to other manufacturer's situations unless they told you personally.
  11. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2008
    Location:
    Bloomfield, NJ
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    Owner, SGD Music Products
    OK, some examples.

    EMG 45 J coils:

    [​IMG]

    That was from the Premier Guitar factory tour.

    How about this? Here's an EMG SA:

    I have more, but that's not important.

    [​IMG]

    Also, unless they told you personally, how can you make the claims you made?
  12. iiipopes

    iiipopes

    Joined:
    May 4, 2009
    Fair enough.

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