Active and Passive bass strings?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by RicPlaya, Sep 16, 2003.

  1. RicPlaya


    Apr 22, 2003
    The Mitten
    I got a wierd question, I play both active and passive basses, have any of you noticed that some strings sound better on passives than actives and vise versa? If so what strings do you use for what?
  2. redneck2wild


    Nov 27, 2002
    Memphis, TN
    I notice differences in string types and age more on Passive basses than active.

    Since Active basses boost a signal more (and tend to have extra tone control such as bass, mid and treble controls), string tone is more forgiving.
    I leave strings on active basses longer than on passive basses - dead strings are more noticeable on a passive bass.

    I use steel strings on passive basses as they tend to have a brighter tone, last longer and are slightly louder.
    The extra boost an active bass provides can make up for strings that are not as loud, that are not as bright and that lack harmonic content (in the process of going "dead").

    I also use heavier strings on passive basses - because heavier strings tend to produce more of the fundamental tone.
    On active basses, I can boost the bass through the onboard tone control - allowing one to use lighter strings.

    I seem to have better dynamics on Passive basses but this may be due to using heavier, thicker, more dense strings - and changing them frequently.
  3. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    There is no rule. Just experiment.
  4. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    Forget the electronics for a moment. Your raw sound is a combination of the bass, the string and how you set the string vibrating on the bass. Therefore, playing technique makes a big difference, as do the construction and materials of the both the bass and the string.

    Now add in the pickups. First, the placement of the pickups affects the sound. Finally you've reached the point where the electronics (active or passive) get to play a role - as you can see, it's quite late in the chain and thus makes it quite hard to do comparisons without the 'apples and oranges' things coming to bear.

    I would think 'suck it and see' is probably the best advice for any given set of strings on any given bass... although if you find a combination that doesn't mask the strengths of the rest of the 'sound chain' but maybe makes up for some deficiences that would be good.

  5. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    Dec 9, 2021

Share This Page