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Active P bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by wvbass, Sep 11, 2017.

  1. wvbass


    Mar 1, 2004
    West Virginia
    I've got a bunch of P basses.

    One of the bands I'm working with plays a lot of 80's pop metal, and I thought it would be great to have an active P bass. I thought about dropping an EMG set in one of my P basses, but I'm pretty happy with what each one of them brings to the table.

    So, I started looking for a used, active P bass. I also thought it would be fun to give a reverse P pickup a shot. I found a few pointy headstock Jacksons and Kramers, but nothing really stuck out to me. I decided to find a Pilot. There was a really cheap Dearmond on Reverb, but I figured by the time I replaced the electronics, I could have a Guild. I found a couple used Guilds at the price I wanted, but they all needed a decent amount of work. One with a very 80's custom airbrush finish came up on the 'bay, but I waited too long.

    Then I found a bass with an active reverse P. It was a good buy, but still priced a bit more than I wanted to pay. I posted a link here on TB, hoping somebody would bite and remove the temptation, but I got no takers. So, eventually, it ended up with me. It is a '99 or '00 Spector in almost perfect condition. Here it is onstage at the Ohio Sternwheel Festival:


    I have to say...this bass can hang with anything I own: Kubicki, Lakland, Dingwall, Alembic - any of them! It takes a super-low setup without any effort, and sounds great with my current live rig.


    It is the first combination of gear for a while that is getting the soundman to stop and compliment my tone. (This TC head got knocked around pretty bad here on TB, but it sounds great - it is currently getting the call over my Genz Benz and MarkBass heads, and it has compression, overdrive and an accurate tuner) I'm going for more of an "in your face" bright tone with this setup.

    The best part is, I didn't have to mutilate a perfectly good Precision to get an active P bass! :thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup:
  2. I built an active P bass a few years ago and it came out great. In fact a drummer I work with frequently says it's the best sounding bass I have. And he's heard me play some serious pieces.
    Enjoy your new toy in good health. Cheers!
    wvbass likes this.
  3. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Spector for 80s pop rock you say????

    Surely, you jest.

    Sweet bass, man.
    Atshen, wvbass and lowdownthump like this.
  4. dnp41


    May 10, 2016
    I also recently put EMG (active) P's in a partsbass that wasn't sounding the part. These things are killer IMO! the sound is amazing. It completely transformed my bass. the sound is articulate and very well balanced. If you have inteference problems/grounding issues, these pickups will solve that straight away. I'm very surprised that we are still somewhat stuck in the 60's when it comes to guitar and bass. Sure vintage is nice, but it's not the only option.

    PS: great collection of P's you have there!
    TN WOODMAN and wvbass like this.
  5. bertbassplayer

    bertbassplayer Supporting Member

    Jul 7, 2000
    DFW, TX
    I'll be honest, and I'm not bashing the TC head since I owned a Rh450 and really liked it for a while... but I think the sound guy complimenting your tone might be as much the 8x8 as anything. I used to gig with a Henry 8x8 a lot, unfortunately stupidly sold it, and almost always got compliments about my tone every single time no matter what bass or head I was using.

    That being said, I had an EMG in one of my basses and ended up swapping it out and going back to a passive pickup (DiMarzio Model P). That isn't because I didn't like the P, it just was my only P and so I wanted a passive one instead of active. However, I still have the EMG and if I ever get another P, I might consider throwing it in there.
    Element Zero likes this.
  6. wvbass


    Mar 1, 2004
    West Virginia
    Yeah, I'm really liking the Henry. I picked it up here on TB. I've wanted one forever. But out front, I'm used the TC direct out set to post-EQ. The signal going to the mains is all Spector, EMG, and TC. Even with the compressor off, the TC is a little compressed sounding. I don't always like that, but it is perfect for this music.

    ...and I think your ratio is off. Two P basses so one can be active? I have 5 split-pickup P's and 1 single coil, and I still wasn't comfortable making one of them active. The passive P tone is that good! :D
  7. wvbass


    Mar 1, 2004
    West Virginia
    I have a friend that had a MIM P back in the '90's. He said he couldn't get it to sound like anything, so he finally gave up and put EMG's in it. Pretty much no matter what you put them in, EMG's have a character all their own. That bass ended up in another friend's hands and was his main player for many years. Great pickups, for sure.
  8. dnp41


    May 10, 2016
    yeah if you have a great sounding P bass the GZR is the way to go. If it's a bad sounding piece of wood, the Original P can probably save it :smug:. If only EMG made replacement pickups for my dimension bass :crying:
    wvbass likes this.
  9. Nice collections and I love that body color on the Spector. Shout out for the Henry too!
    wvbass likes this.
  10. image. Here's my active P. Early 60's body, jazz neck, Audere 4 band in Shell Pink. It was going to get the BnB neck but it's (the BnB) now going on a reverse P/J jazz build.
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2017
    wvbass likes this.
  11. wvbass


    Mar 1, 2004
    West Virginia
    Quarter pounders plus a preamp? Nice!
  12. It's crazy versatile with a surprising variety of tones on tap. Dialing mids can get an almost jazz like bark. Quite a chameleon really, kind of like a "Sleeper" Street Rod. More under the hood than meets the eye. Hahaha I save the nitro for special occasions.

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