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Battery + Passive Pickups = New Pickups?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by zero2492, Mar 17, 2008.

  1. zero2492


    Mar 15, 2008
    I have a Ibanez SRX 390 and it dosn't sound too great to me :meh:

    It has a battery in the back and I've herd that the pickups are passive... :confused:

    This dosn't make any sense to me so should:

    - I change the pickups? (pickups are a strange shape and its probable couldn't find replacements if my life depended on it)
    - Put in an onboard preamp? (aguilar OBP-3 seems like a pretty good choice)
    - Say I never really liked the thing anyways and trade it up for a new bass?

  2. If the pickups are passive, and there's a battery box, then that's a good indication that your bass already has a preamp installed. This is just a wild guess, but since there are 4 knobs, it's probably a 2-band preamp (bass and treble).
  3. zero2492


    Mar 15, 2008
    Ok. But can I switch preamps to make it sound better? Every note sounds like I'm hitting two cubes of melted ice together. :bawl:
  4. PSPookie


    Aug 13, 2006
    Ocoee, TN
    I would first try new strings and a new battery. These will have as much of an impact on your sound as a new preamp but they will cost much less.

    IME when I start thinking about changing pups and pre's on an instrument it's because what I really want is a new bass. The new parts just delay the inevitable.
  5. zero2492


    Mar 15, 2008
    I just got new string and a new battery.

    Your theroy is very interesting :) But I already know what I want is a new bass. The problem is I'm saving up for a new bass but it might take me a while...

    Rickenbacker's Rule!
  6. All the Ibanez SRX series basses have passive pickups with an active tone control circuit. These are very high output passive pickups. By "passive pickups" they mean the pickups don't take current from the battery. Only the tone control circuit does. This is a stock arrangement throughout the SRX line. The SRX-390 has a two band EQ circuit like the rest of the SRX line.

    I have the SRX700 which is similar but with neck through construction, ash body wings and Alnico pickups that look pretty much the same as yours. Yours is a basswood body with a bolt-on neck but the principal is the same. POWER, BIG BOTTOM, BRIGHT TOP and more POWER.

    By visiting the Ibanez website the other day I noticed the flagship SRX-700 has been dropped from the line of SRX basses on their site. Also the SRX-500 which is the bolt-on version of the former flagship SRX-700 has been dropped. Some new SRX models have been added. This is a bummer for SRX-700 fans. Also the SRX-705 which was the top of the SRX line for 5 string basses no longer is listed on the site.

    Generally these SRX series basses are not considered to be finesse instruments but hard rocking high output monsters. I like mine a lot but it isn't right for everything. Bass Goddess Carol Kaye has been playing the SRX-700, exclusively as far as I know, for several years. She plays everything on an SRX-700, but then again, she's one of the very best players ever.

    I like my SRX-700 a lot, but for daily practice I've got an old P-bass. I take two basses to gigs and for three years now one of them has been the SRX-700 which I use for the really kicking stuff.

    If you aren't happy with your SRX due to low output or bad tonal range, there might be something wrong with the electronics so have it checked. Could be something very simple to repair or replace.

    The pickups are MusicMan pickup clones. MusicMan pickups might drop right in.

    However if a tech can't find anything wrong with the instrument and you still don't like it, selling it or trading it might be a better option than upgrading it as you can sink about 500 bucks in pickups and a preamp before you know it, only to find that you still don't like it. An SRX-700 at $650 brand new gives MusicMan a run for the money and kills any passive Jazz or P-bass in volume, tone and neck stability. The thin necks on the 4 string SRX models take some getting used to but lots of 5 string players really like the wider necks. The SRX has skinny 4 string necks and abnormally wide 5 string necks. I had an SRX-705 for a while too.

    I really like the SRX-700 for harder stuff but when I want something sweet and subtle I reach for something else.

    So, if this bass sounds weak or dull or is making weird noises something is wrong and it might be an easy fix. I wouldn't invest a bunch of money in it though other than a new set of good strings and a "check-up" from a qualified tech.

    Good luck with it. It really looks pretty cool to me!
  7. DavidRavenMoon

    DavidRavenMoon Banned

    Oct 20, 2004
    Can you describe that in regular terms?
  8. zero2492


    Mar 15, 2008
    it sounds rather weak...
  9. zero2492


    Mar 15, 2008
    Thanks alot for your kind words!

    I think that the musicman pickups are much too large

  10. PocketGroove82


    Oct 18, 2006
    ...totally off topic, but that PG/color combo makes me want to puke...and i'm a EBMM fanboy!
  11. zero2492


    Mar 15, 2008
    I plugged in my bass today and it didn't work so I took the back off of it and most of the wires were broken! :confused: :bawl: :rollno: NO IDEA WHAT HAPPENED!!!

    I am going to buy an Aguilar OBP-3 and get a guy to put it in and fix up the whole thing. Soon I'll be rocking on a good sounding bass :bassist:

    The guitarist in my band has a bass I can borrow until mine is out of the shop... :meh:
  12. The three band preamp will be a real improvement. I sort of wish the SRX-700 had one, but if it ain't broke, don't fix it! The entire SRX line has a two band active eq circuit as far as I know. I just use the graphic EQ and upper and lower MID controls on the amp. I've played one of the basses like you have at a music store. I thought it was a really nice bass for very little cash. The Korean SRX basses are really awesome. They've made some very usable instruments that are affordable and durable. Sounds like yours was sabotaged. Sad. Good luck with it!
  13. If you are putting in a 3 band EQ remember you will need to remove either the volume or the blend or drill another hole.

    A new preamp wont make a huge difference. If the pickups are sounding weak, a battery change could be in order. If its not got enough thump, too much high end, you could try flatwound strings.

    Also, how do you use the EQ and pickups on your bass?

    Ive heard alot of people manage to make a good bass suck by playing around with the EQ, just like ive heard alot of people make a not so good bass sound decent by using the EQ.

    Also could just be your amp setup (or the settings on it).

    So many possibilities. If it came to having to change something in the bass, it would be the pickups, and you probably could find something to fit in there.

    Also, have you tried wiring the bass so that the pickups go straight to the jack (bypassing the preamp). That would let you know if it was the preamp sucking the tone. Also, you could always try modifying the bass so the pickups could be wired in series, thumping full sound :)
  14. DavidRavenMoon

    DavidRavenMoon Banned

    Oct 20, 2004
    The wider the pickup, the bigger the tone.
  15. DavidRavenMoon

    DavidRavenMoon Banned

    Oct 20, 2004
    Probably the knobs got loose and turned around and that broke the wires off the pots.
  16. zero2492


    Mar 15, 2008
    Thanks a lot! I got the wires fixed and its sounds great now. I think that the one of the wires that go to the eq were broken or something because its sounds just like it did when I first got it.

    Thanks for everyone help with this problem it has helped me a lot! :) :smug:

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