Are passive and active pickups interchangeable?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by stickynotes, Jul 23, 2013.

  1. stickynotes


    Jun 19, 2013
    I'm kind of new to active electronics in basses and was wondering if the pickups used with a preamp are any different than passive pickups. Put another way can you use any pickup you want in a bass with a preamp? Thanks
  2. Yes, you can put passive pickups with a preamp. Most pickups in most bass guitars are passive.
    Just be careful if the pickups you are replacing are active live EMGs or something. You can still use active pickups with most preamp setups but it might need to be wired a little differently or have more battery power. My Pope preamp had to be 18v powered (2 9v batteries) to run with active EMG pups.
  3. Most preamps don't care. The input impedance is spec'd for high impedance passives, and thus, anything lower (active) works fine.

    You can't use active and passive pickups together, however. At least not without buffering.
  4. stickynotes


    Jun 19, 2013
    Thanks for the responses. I going to go ahead and try replacing the emgs (active) in my VJ4 with some Fender 62 reissues, just to see if I can get a better fendery tone out of it.
  5. maurilio

    maurilio Guest

    May 25, 2003
    you'll have to change the pots, too. EMG's use 25k, pretty much all other passive pups use 250k (some times 500k)
  6. stickynotes


    Jun 19, 2013
    I was going to leave the preamp in and just change the pup's. Do I still need to change the pots? Thanks
  7. Anything before the preamp needs to be of the appropriate value for the signal impedance. If there are volumes, and/or a blend, they will need to be swapped.