Changing Active PJ pickups?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by KurtBassist, Jun 2, 2021.

  1. KurtBassist


    Mar 20, 2021
    Although I've been playing bass for over 30 years, I have never tried to replace my pickups. I am looking for a new set that isn't too complicated to install.

    My number 1 is a 2007 Fender Jazz, but I still have a 1992 Yamaha RBX 800A that I bought when I was 18. It's a pretty good little axe for the price and its neck is really comfortable to play.

    However, it still has the cheap stock PJ pickups and I am interested in swapping them out for something better. I need advice on a number of items.

    I generally play a range of stuff that I would classify as progressive/metal. On a lark, I put flatwounds on my Yamaha and I really like the feel and tone of them.

    Since I am dealing with an instrument with active electronics that seems to limit my options for replacement pickups. If I had it to do all over again, I would probably not have been enamored with the idea of active electronics when I was in my late teens and early 20s, but just stuck with passive. Is there a relatively easy, good way to convert an active instrument to passive?

    Any recommendations on what pickups to get for the instrument? I want to find a "meatier" or even "angrier" sound that I can't quite get with my Jazz.

  2. dwizum


    Dec 21, 2018
    Active doesn't inherently need to be replaced with active. You can put any appropriate pickup in there (something that fits and works with your string count/spacing) and it'll work fine. If the old pickups are active and the new ones are passive, you just cap off the old battery lead(s) to the pickups and move on with life. If the bass has an active preamp, just connect the new pickups to it same way as the old were connected. All done!

    That said, personally, when I think of words like "meaty," "angry," and progressive/metal, I would immediately default to active EMGs, probably the PJAX set.
  3. Fondsdale


    Sep 30, 2015
    Is it the same as this bass here? SOLD - FS: Yamaha RBX 800A

    If so, those pickups aren't sized like regular pj pickups. Regular pups might fit but leave unsightly gaps. Those pickups don't look "cheap" either. Yamaha pickups from that era are usually pretty nice.
  4. KurtBassist


    Mar 20, 2021
    It's the same model. No, the pickups aren't bad, but I would like something, particularly on the neck P split-coil that might provide a somewhat meatier and darker sound.

    I'm not in a huge hurry on this, since I'm not even playing in a band at the moment, but since I teach for a living, summer is a good time to undertake such projects.
  5. Blackjac97


    May 27, 2012
    One thing you need to watch out for, let's say there's no active preamp in place and you are wiring a different type of pickup to passive controls, the resistance values that are recommended for active and passive pickups are different. For instance, active pickups want a resistance of 25k, where most passive pickups get wired to pots of either 250k or 500k.

    Someone with more experience might be able to say why that would matter, or if it's something that *needs* to be taken in to consideration.