EMG's wired in series for Jazz Bass?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Ncognito, Dec 12, 2004.


  1. Ncognito

    Ncognito Banned

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    I have EMG's in several on my Jazz basses, and I'd like to get more of a P bass sound. I have an Fender American Standard Jazz bass with the new S-1 selector which allows for parallel or series wiring by push-button. I would like this for my EMG's too. Can the EMG's by wired in series for a fatter tone? If so, any idea where I can get a diagram?

    Thanks for any help!
  2. luknfur

    luknfur

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    FWIW:

    To my knowledge, active EMG's should wire series/parallel like any others. They have the braided shield so you have to solder a ground off of it to get your two leads. Otherwise, the reds leads to the battery clip would be the only variation. I've never had the desire to do it but you won't damage anything in the process so try it and see what you think.

    There are tons of series/parallel diagrams on this site and others - guitarelectronics, whatever. Search.
  3. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Administrator

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  4. luknfur

    luknfur

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    Hmmm.

    not sure on the explanation but there seems to be concensus for not do-able. Something to keep in mind.

    First mention I recall of any potential damage from incorrect onboard wiring. I've never fried anything but I've never trying wiring actives for series/parallel either.
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  6. luknfur

    luknfur

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    FWIW:

    curiosity got the best of me and I ran a set of EMG active J's series/parallel and it worked just like I thought it would - just like passives. No racket, distortion, no problem.
  7. Ncognito

    Ncognito Banned

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    Hey luknfur

    I would really like my EMG's in series. Could you tell me how you did the wiring?

    Thank you!
  8. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Administrator

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    ncognito, standard series/parallel wiring. Please do a search
  9. Ncognito

    Ncognito Banned

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    Hello davidmwilson

    The wiring required for active EMG's is quite different than passive pick-ups. I've "searched" but found nothing for active wiring in series for EMG's

    Thanks for your help.
  10. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Administrator

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    Series/parallel requires hot/ground wires for neck and ground pickups. EMG Active pickups have hot/ground wires for each pickup.
    The only difference is that you'll also have the red battery wire, which isn't affected by series/parallel operation. From what lunkfur says, standard series/parallel wiring works fine with EMG pickups.
  11. A9X

    A9X

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    I agree with xillion's post in post 11, and geshel in post 12, of the thread you linked above in post 3 of this thread. Active preamp outputs are not the same as coils of wire in the way you can connect them and the way they interact.
  12. xyllion

    xyllion

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    Passive EMGs can be wire in parallel or series. You can't do it with active pickups. Please refer to my explanation in the thread linked above. Would it help if I drew a representative schematic of the resulting circuit?
  13. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Administrator

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    Bob, Dharmabass, I'm not doubting your credentials in any way at all.
    luknfur says he did it with standard series parallel wiring and it worked fine.
    I haven't tried it myself, so I can't confirm/deny. But if Ron says he did it, and it worked, I believe him.
  14. xyllion

    xyllion

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    Remember that EMG does also offer a line of passive pickups. Is it possible that he was using EMG passive pickups?

    Another possiblity is that EMGs amplifier is designed in such a way that the signal can actually find a path from the ground wire to the output wire despite the fact that the preamp in the pickup isn't working. In this case I would expect that you would find that wired in series, one of the two pickups actually would not be working, but would start working in parallel mode. So, your switch would switch between two pickups in parallel mode, to one pickup in series mode.

    Just because you are getting some sound out doesn't mean that it is doing as you'd like it to. The series/parallel switch only works as designed for passive pickups. EMG passive pickups are fine, but active pickups are not.
  15. Minimalist

    Minimalist

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    This is exactly what happened when I tried it with active Duncan's.
  16. luknfur

    luknfur

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    FWIW:

    these are active EMGs. No battery, no sound. There both were working in series/parallel as I tapped on both pups and it was coming through the amp. Typical EMG signal, no lower output, whatever - except of course in parallel.

    I didn't jack with a switch, I just hard wired them in series and then parallel to the jack - just like a switch would.

    Just do it and see what you get. Takes 10 minutes. Why debate when you can know?
  17. Minimalist

    Minimalist

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    I can debate from work but not solder. ;) Plus I like to debate. :D
  18. xyllion

    xyllion

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    I don't have a set of EMG pickups to try this with, but I will happily test your theory if someone has a set that they'd allow me to experiment with. I also recommend that you contact EMG themselves and see what they have to say about this idea. Any standard preamp design would not work correctly wired in series.
  19. luknfur

    luknfur

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    Hmmm.

    Well the fact I have faith in that there is merit to what some of you are saying (and especially if EMG says it can't be done) leads me to beleive something is amiss here. It's not like I haven't screwed up before.

    I know some actives only have the preamp in one pup (typically neck) so I thought maybe that may be a factor. I checked the bridge with and without battery connection and get sound without the battery but it's audible and that's about. Also, I checked both pups in parallel but didn't in series so went back and double checked that and both pups are putting out.

    So here's specifically what I did and maybe somebody can shoot some holes in this.

    For series ran the hot lead of the neck to hot jack. Tied the ground of neck and hot of bridge. Ran ground of bridge to ground of jack.

    For parallel, tied the hot of both pups with hot of jack grounds of both pups with ground of jack.

    Red leads off pups are tied feeding hot to battery and battery negative is going to "nuetral' of jack.
  20. xyllion

    xyllion

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    Here is an interesting experiment. When wired in series as you described, measure the DC voltage from the battery positive to the ground of neck pickup. That one voltage won't tell us everything, but it will offer a clue.
  21. luknfur

    luknfur

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    FWIW:

    I did email EMG and holidays and all it took them a while to respond but they did get back and here's their response:

    The coil wires go directly into the onboard preamp. They cannot be
    accessed once the epoxy cures. Series/Parallel wiring is not possible.

    Best Regards,

    Rick Hunt
    Tech Support
    EMG Pickups
    www.emgpickups.com

    Have no idea why I got a variation but I'll check it out again next time I have a set of active pups in a bass just to make sure I'm not going deaf. Posting this as an update, for reference for future searchers, and so maybe EMG will get one less email.

    *Xyllion, sorry wasn't ignoring you just somehow missed your response. But that's a good idea and will next round.

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