Best Active Soapbars w/"Traditional" Sound?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by iualum, Sep 23, 2005.

  1. iualum


    Apr 9, 2004
    Want to begin mapping out a jazz soon. Opinions on best active soapbars w/"traditional" sound for mid 60s - late 80's covers?
  2. strummer


    Jul 27, 2005
    There are really very few active pickups out there (EMG of course, and some basslines I think). Most active basses use passive pickups with active electronics, which is, in my opinion, what you should be looking at.

    I have a real favorite for what you are looking for, but then I am heavily biased :)
  3. luknfur


    Jan 14, 2004

    Lot of different tones and styles in that time frame and a lot of variables involved in tone besides pickups (different amps, cabs, whatever).

    In general, active pickups are going to be inherently hi-fi in nature which is diametrically opposed to vintage tone. In general you probably wouldn't have a problem getting a tone that would work to the tune but the difference would probably be obvious to those in the know, at the least, in slow tunes, breathing spaces, and solo's.

    Passive pups with an onboard preamp would at the least permit a passive by-pass option and it would increase your pup options dramatically.

    However I was shocked at how passive a single active EMG sounded. But that was located in mid position and straight to the jack with no onboard controls. I've also heard good things about SD ASB pups but I've never had them. Those are extended range though.
  4. EricTheEZ1


    Nov 23, 2004
    Clawson, MI
    I JUST A/Bed my Schecter Elite-4 with Active EMG 35Js against an SX Jazz-62 and I was shocked. Even with 1 year old strings (factories) and horrible action and setup, the thing still sounded better than mine in a lot of respects.

    I'm moving more and more over to the passive pickup side. I will probably opt of Active/Passive electronics, but active pickups just aren't my thing.

    For a vintage jazz bass tone with that growl and slap tone, nothing beats a passive pickup bass. And I want so very badly not to believe that, considering all the work I've put into my Schecter.

  5. Richard Lindsey

    Richard Lindsey

    Mar 25, 2000
    Metro NYC
    No offense, but if you want a traditional sound out of a J, why are you even looking at "active soapbars"? By the very intention of their design, such PUs *don't* have a traditional passive J sound. Why not just get a high-quality set of J pickups?
  6. luknfur


    Jan 14, 2004

    Richard's point is something to consider. J's are the way to go for flexibility in tone simply based on the numbers produced - more than all other bass pup shapes combined. They come in stack HBs, split HBs, single coil, quad coil and their tone can cover about any tone you could desire. And that's all given pups are for the most part, shapes. Nothing special about a soapbar and many of them have J or P pups under the covers. I guess everbody sees them in boutique basses and figures they must be something. But they seem to have a mystique about them that has no justification in my experience.

    You would have more choice from J's Bartolini has put out alone than all the manufacturers soaps combined that would fit a given soap routing/shape (and, unlike J's, there's a bunch of them).