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Changing pickups on my Warwick..

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Skavenger, Mar 5, 2003.

  1. Skavenger


    May 26, 2002
    I've been thinking about changing the pickups on my bass. The bass is a passive Corvette standard with Jazz-type pickups and three controls; Tone, balance and volume. I have no idea whatsoever about pickups and what brands are quality. So, please help me with this:

    What brands are the best, qualitywise?
    Is it possible to make my passive bass active? How?
    Can I do the installation myself?
    Are there any homepages with brands/info?

  2. Why change them? The Corvette that I have has the manufacturer's stock MEC p/u and they sound great to me. But, I've run across a few posters who said they were changing to Bartolini brand p/u.... again, I can't imagine why. Warwick is a great bass just the way it is!
  3. Just get a good preamp.
  4. Skavenger


    May 26, 2002
    Bobby, yes, I like the way they sound but I hate that I can't shape the sound the way I want without an amplifier with a graphical EQ...

    Donne, is it possible to install a preamp on my bass? What do I have to change to make it work(knobs, wiring, battery...), and can I do it myself?
  5. the cavity of the of corvettes' should be the same size, you should be able fit a pre amp, just not a pre with alot of knobs or big circuit boards, Check out EMG or Aguilar
  6. Alexander


    Aug 13, 2001
    Seattle, WA
    I just did this 6 months ago with my Thumb and it was one of the best things I could have done for my tone. I did not do all of the work myself (none of it actually) as I live a few minutes from Mike Lull's shop and I thought I'd be better off leaving something like that to the experts. I know many people do change electronics themselves, although going from passive to active may be tougher (I don't know).

    I switched to Bartolini hum-cancelling pickups and NTBT pre-amp - what an amazing difference. A MUCH better tone to me - the highs are not nearly as harsh and brittle as the MECs. I can boost the bass control on the Thumb as much as I want and it doesn't get "boomy" like the MECs did - just a nice, warm, big tone. There was also quite a bit less noise (although Mike did a great shielding job for me as well, which probably did the trick). With the Bartolini pre-amp, it has an adjustable trim setting, which can allow you to go from more of a mellow, passive sound to a very very aggressive overdriven sound (and all points in between) with just the turn of a screw. I thought my tone was good before the change, but afterwards it was AWESOME. My band mates (in two different bands) immediately noticed the difference and were impressed. I even had a number of non-musicians come up to me after playing and say how incredible the bass sounded (and it wasn't just me - these folks had seen me play many times before). I think that says it all.

    I've heard people say they have had good success with other pickups for their Warwicks. I went with the Bartolinis largely on their reputation and the fact earlier Warwicks had them. I've heard Barts on other basses and thought they had a great deep sound. I think Warwick moved away from them to the MECs to reduce costs and it shows. Do it - you won't be disappointed.
  7. CS


    Dec 11, 1999
    I use Alembic Activators with a single tone cotrol that is a low pass filter. I had trouble fitting it but it works fine.
  8. ga_edwards


    Sep 8, 2000
    UK, Essex
    When I got my crovette standard fretless last year, I ordered it with active elec. I assumed that this would include the same active MEC p/ups as on my thumb. What I got was the passive MEC 'dynamic correction' p/ups with the active pre-amp.

    It was a real noisy bugger, as the p/ups are single coil, and the pre-amp boosts the hum as well as the actual sound.

    Apparently, all the 'active' corvette and streamer standards that ship to the states are upgraded with active p/ups, because they are so noisy, the Euro one sare stuck with the passive/active affair

    I took it back to the dealer, armed with this info, and got it upgraded free with the same active p/ups as on the thumb.

    Take it to your dealer, they should be able to get the active p/ups and circuitry from warwick and install it for you. But try one with this spec first, to see if you like the sound.
  9. jasonbraatz


    Oct 18, 2000
    Oakland, CA
    if you have the 'dynamic correction' pickups, i'd recommend new pickups and a new preamp, but if you have the golds i think a just new preamp would do the trick.

    i'm probably going to be putting an OBP-1 in my thumb and a u-retro in my ss2 - both with the stock MEC pickups for the time being. for new pickups i'd either use EMG's or Basslines - supposedly the newer MEC actives are 'close copies' of basslines pickups.
  10. alexclaber

    alexclaber Commercial User

    Jun 19, 2001
    Brighton, UK
    Director - Barefaced Ltd
    A quick vote for EMG's with Warwicks - the added top and bottom (plus complete noise rejection) is great and the Warwick growl comes through loud and clear.