85 Guild Pilot Pups and G string.

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by DataDan, Dec 10, 2013.

  1. DataDan


    Mar 18, 2013
    I have been playing a mid 80's guild Pilot for about 2 years. I have rotosound flatwounds on it, and I think it has the original EMG actives.

    I got this bass with non-working electronics out of a guys closet about 10 years ago and fixed it up the best I could.

    I am worried that the pups are holding back my sound.
    •They look physically worn.
    •The J pickup is significantly quieter than the P.
    •I get good sound from the P pickup on the top strings, but the G string just doesnt come through. G is very quiet with no deep tone. This is what bothers me the most.

    I feel like I have dialed in so many different settings.

    Any suggestions from the community here?

    I am considering buying a new set of EMG PJ actives (or maybe even go passive) to replace the current set.

    I plan on getting a Tech 21 DI either way in January.
  2. DataDan


    Mar 18, 2013
    Here is the best pic i could find of the pups.

  3. Webtroll

    Webtroll Rolling for initiative

    Apr 23, 2006
    Austin, TX
    I don't know if EMG pickups break in a way they become weaker, maybe you need to double check the wiring? Maybe swap the leads and see if it's still weaker using the pot for the other pickup?
  4. spufman


    Feb 7, 2005
    Central CT
    If you change the pickups you'll probably need to change the pots as well, since the EMGs are active and might use an odd resistance (maybe a mis-match is your problem). My '86 Pilot 5 is issue-free in the electronics department. If it was my bass I'd probably slip a set of DiMarzio Model P+J in there, ideally from the TB Classifieds. Good pickups for that bass and pretty cheap.
  5. JTE


    Mar 12, 2008
    Central Illinois, USA
    "...fixed it as best I could.'
    Make sure all three pots are the correct value. They're either 25K or 50K, NOT 250 or 500. Check at EMG's site. Then while you're there make sure all the wires are connected correctly, especially the wires that provide power to the pickups. Issues with those could account for the lower output of the bridge PUP. After you've ensured it's wired correctly, then make sure the strings align with the PUPs.

    I loaned my Pilot to my niece years ago but I think my P PUPs were much more level than passive P pickups. The EMGs have very little magnetic pull and generally work better close to the strings. Don't be afraid to adjust the pickups to balance the sound.

  6. DataDan


    Mar 18, 2013
    thanks for the replies.

    consensus seems to be: confirm wiring/setup before writing off pups, which sounds like great advice. I will re-check soldier joints, pot values, adjust pup height, and see if strings could come down a little.
  7. spufman


    Feb 7, 2005
    Central CT
    That's good. If you put 'standard' pots in when you rewired, then they will be the wrong values for the active low impedance EMGs, which would have a profound effect.
  8. DataDan


    Mar 18, 2013
    This is likely at least 1 of my problems. I'll post an update after I check them this weekend.
  9. DataDan


    Mar 18, 2013
    Some updates:

    •replaced all the springs/screws/pads on the pups which made them much easier to adjust.
    •dissembled the bridge. Cleaned and oiled all adjustment parts.
    •Raised the P pickup section that is under the D/G strings
    •Raised the bottom side of the J (so that it is on a slant with the G/D closer to the pup than the E/A)
    •adjusted string height to reduce action, but high enough to avoid fret buzz. The result was G/D strings having lower action, and thus closer to pups than E/A

    These tweaks have smoothed out my volume differences between the top and bottom strings.

    The J pup is still relatively quiet to the P, but I haven't updated Pots with correct values yet. They each have their own vow control, so its easy to deal with for the time being.

    I readjusted for intonation as well.

    I have some b4 after pics that I will add later. busy week, playing sat/sun/tue/thurs/sat !

    Next step, new pots, with correct values for the EMGs.