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active pickups with vintage amps....

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by joeyjoejoe, Apr 12, 2010.


  1. joeyjoejoe

    joeyjoejoe

    Apr 12, 2010
    anyone here have any luck using basses that have active electronics with vintage amps that don't have the inputs to handle the higher signals?

    i've got an old (~72-75) SVT and it is breaking up too much with my musicman sterling.
    it sounds fine with a passive fender jazz bass.

    any thoughts on how i can get these two pieces of equipment to work well together? i feel like the bass looses some punch if i turn the volume down too much.
     
  2. johnk_10

    johnk_10 vintage bass nut Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 16, 2008
    Thousand Oaks, CA
    John K Custom Basses
    IME, you shouldn't lose any punch lowering the volume with a MM bass's preamp, since its buffered. the volume control on my stingrays only lower the output level, but do not alter the tone like on a passive bass.
     
  3. Rick Auricchio

    Rick Auricchio Registered Bass Offender

    You might get a volume pedal, or any pedal that can adjust output level.

    Set the pedal to cut level with the active instrument. When you switch to the passive, bypass the pedal.

    Or just get used to adjusting the amp's gain when you switch basses?
     
  4. joeyjoejoe

    joeyjoejoe

    Apr 12, 2010
    Maybe the loss of punch is just in my head.

    I've got an MXR Bass DI+ pedal that i want to play around with as well.

    I was just wondering if there were any good tricks or devices out there specific for this issue that i don't know about and I figured this would be the place to ask.

    I think I just need to spend a lot of time with the amp to try and dial things in. Unfortunately, the amp keeps breaking on me so I haven't gotten a long stretch of time to get used to it yet.
     
  5. johnk_10

    johnk_10 vintage bass nut Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 16, 2008
    Thousand Oaks, CA
    John K Custom Basses
    adjusting a vintage SVT's gain (volume control) really will not reduce distortion if you're overdriving the input with a hot signal. you'd need a padded input like on a Fender's #2 input jack. finding the best level on bass's volume control would be the best way, or, IMO using a volume pedal (like you stated) .
     
  6. johnk_10

    johnk_10 vintage bass nut Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 16, 2008
    Thousand Oaks, CA
    John K Custom Basses
    what keeps breaking on it? vintage SVT's are VERY reliable when running properly.
     
  7. joeyjoejoe

    joeyjoejoe

    Apr 12, 2010
    haha, what hasn't broken?
    i got a VERY good deal on this amp, but it wasn't quite working when i got it.
    it had original tubes, so first was to replace the power tubes (4 were blown) along with the resistors that blew with them.
    the tech also did a lot of other misc repairs/cleaning along with this job.
    then one of the new tubes blew (covered by tech's warranty).
    recently i started getting a terrible hum, and what i'm assuming was ghosting, both of which i knew were related to the filter caps.
    we opened it up to swap filter caps and one of them had broken off.

    now for some reason channel 2 isn't working even though it did a few weeks ago.

    it just went too many years without any TLC and i'm slowly getting all the kinks out of it.
     
  8. joeyjoejoe

    joeyjoejoe

    Apr 12, 2010
    also, johnk... i think i saw your posts on here when i was researching turning an old v4 cab into a bass cab
     
  9. johnk_10

    johnk_10 vintage bass nut Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 16, 2008
    Thousand Oaks, CA
    John K Custom Basses
    instead of putting small 'band aids' on it, i would recommend that a qualified tech that is very familiar with SVT's to go thru it once with fine tooth comb and it should run another 30 years.
     
  10. joeyjoejoe

    joeyjoejoe

    Apr 12, 2010
    for the big stuff i had one of the best techs in boston do the work. he spent most of a day cleaning it out and looking for anything that needed fixing.
    for the more recent repairs i've been using an engineer coworker to help me out.
    the filter caps sounded fine until the one broke.
    no band aids really.
     
  11. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    i had a talk about this with my tech when i restored my 69 svt. he said that there were so many big and little things wrong with it that he had to fix the big things just to be able to find out what was wrong with the little stuff. took 3 trips to his joint before it all got ironed out...he would have it working and then some other problem would rear its head a month later. finally, he got it all working and for the past year it has been 100% trouble free.
     
  12. joeyjoejoe

    joeyjoejoe

    Apr 12, 2010
    i think that is exactly what i'm going through right now.


    still trying to dial things in, but switching the pickups off series helped a bit.
    i'm also thinking about looking into wiring up a switch to go back and forth between active and passive. need to open it up and see what kind of room i've got to work with.
     
  13. I have little trouble with my sterlin g or stingray into vintage heads. I have more of an issue with older EHX pedals. Those do not have any headroom!
     
  14. danomite64

    danomite64

    Nov 16, 2004
    Tampa, Florida
    I had an early SVT (blue graphics on the faceplate) and played my Musicman, G&L, Carvin, and Ibanez basses through it with no problems. Of course, the head had been gone through electronically right before I bought it; all I had to do was fix it up cosmetically.

    MyGear1996-02.
     
  15. johnk_10

    johnk_10 vintage bass nut Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 16, 2008
    Thousand Oaks, CA
    John K Custom Basses
    there's a ton of room in there, but making a -10 db input pad would be super simple and occupy no space at all.

    if it were me, i'd just use the bright input on each channel and wire in a couple of resistors (like on a Fender). that way, later its completely reversible and most people don't use the 'bright' inputs anyway.
     
  16. joeyjoejoe

    joeyjoejoe

    Apr 12, 2010
    after lots of messing with EQ's on the bass and the amp, i think i'm starting to find settings that work. the svt seems to like it when i back off the mid frequencies a bit.
     
  17. nsh50a

    nsh50a

    May 11, 2004
    Columbia, MO
    I've been using my stingray through the passive input of a mesa 400+ and have no trouble with breaking up. The passive input always had a warmer sound to me which I preferred but i've never had trouble with it breaking up/distorting unless I wanted it to.
     

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