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Converting Ibanez to 3 band Active

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by alaskaleftybass, Jan 6, 2016.


  1. alaskaleftybass

    alaskaleftybass Will Hanbury, Jr. Supporting Member

    Mar 21, 2012
    Sitka, Alaska
    Greetings all. I have a nice cheapo Ibanez GSR100EX Left handed bass with a single MM style pickup. While I'm very pleased with the bass, as far as playability and tone, I really need more out of it. My other Ibanez basses have volume, treble, mid, bass and blend.

    As this will be a single pickup conversion, I won't obviously need the blend. I kind of kicked around the idea of using the Mojotone 2 band MusicMan replacement kit, but it doesn't have the mid control. To play adversary, the Mojotone MM replacement preamp is getting super reviews and I may not need the mid control. It says it's a direct replacement for the original MM system.

    To add to the mix I noticed that three companies include their own pickup recommendations for the conversion. The three companies I'm considering are: Bartolini with HR2A preamp, Nordstrand 3b preamp, and Seymore Duncan Music Man system with 3 band. All three companies offer both the pickups and preamps as kits.

    To give you an idea of what I like: I have the Ibanez SR500 left handed and love the strong punchy midrange tone the Bartolini pickups put out. I would like something like that. I think I'm heavily preferring the Bartolini solution.

    Here is the bass I would be converting (at least the bottom half: Ibanez GSR100EX Left Handed bass:

    $_3.

    Thank you for indulging my dumb questions, but I'm really a fish out of water on this one. I wouldn't even know how to diagram two more holes in the bass for more tone controls.
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2016
  2. Crater

    Crater

    Oct 12, 2011
    Dallas, TX area
    That's an important consideration - how big is the control cavity? You'll have to fit the preamp, additional controls AND a 9 volt battery in there. Most preamp's companies websites are pretty good at publishing the dimensions of their preamps... If there's not enough room for all that, then you could install a separate battery box with it's own cover if there's room for the preamp and controls. Worst case, you could rout out the control cavity to fit the new components, but then you'll have to fabricate a new cover for the control cavity or just leave it open. If all this is too much to deal with, an effect pedal like a graphic EQ pedal, might be a way to fatten up your tone without modifying your bass.

    Are you planning on doing this yourself, or having a shop do it?
     
    alaskaleftybass likes this.
  3. JustForSport

    JustForSport

    Nov 17, 2011
    ++
    Considering the probable lack of space to install a 3 band (or even a 2 band) EQ incl battery w/o some routing and a new control cavity cover, that may be the best option. Then you can plug anything in the future into it.
     
    alaskaleftybass likes this.
  4. iiipopes

    iiipopes

    May 4, 2009
    Instead of drilling more holes, have you considered making the volume and tone a stack pot and adding an EMG EXB? It is the same control that Ibby uses OEM as the "Phat II" on other models. It goes from flat to boosting treble and bass at the same time, so you can have a straight-to-slap contour, or vintage-to-modern variable knob, which is what 99 44/100 of playing is all about. I use one instead of a 3-band in my older Ibby SRA305 party gigging bass that plays everything from '50's to present, and all I ever need to do is rotate the knob and pan the two pickups a little bit to set the appropriate tone for the given song. And since your bass has the pickup more in the MM position, you could probably use a little bit of bass boost at times. The only issue becomes making enough room for a battery and changing out the jack.

    EMG Pickups / EXB / Electric Guitar Pickups, Bass Guitar Pickups, Acoustic Guitar Pickups
     
    alaskaleftybass likes this.
  5. alaskaleftybass

    alaskaleftybass Will Hanbury, Jr. Supporting Member

    Mar 21, 2012
    Sitka, Alaska
    Thank you. I saw the EMG reference elsewhere but didn't understand it. Off to look at it. :thumbsup:
     
  6. RobbieK

    RobbieK

    Jun 14, 2003
    If you don't need a passive switch, there is an option to have two stacks to avoid drilling. Most 3-band preamps out there use B50K (linear) pots for the active bass, mids, treble. And you can use this value as a volume pot as well, if you wire it on the output of the preamp. (Although I'd recommend a tapering resistor.) Most wiring diagrams from Aguilar, etc etc, will have the volume pot at the input of the preamp, but that's only so you can have an active/passive switch if you want one. With one pickup directly feeding a preamp, you may also want to add an input Z resistor to tame the treble of the pickup.

    You'd end up with volume and say, treble on one stack, then mid and bass on the other.

    But as others have said, you'll need space for a battery, plus the preamp. And you'll need a stereo jack, and knobs for stacked pots.

    Using little pots like this may buy you some space...

    stacked pot.
     
    alaskaleftybass likes this.
  7. alaskaleftybass

    alaskaleftybass Will Hanbury, Jr. Supporting Member

    Mar 21, 2012
    Sitka, Alaska
    Thanks Robbie. I like this idea a lot. I'm sure I'll have to drill a battery compartment, but I think I can handle it. I'm no repairman but I've done a bit of woodwork in the past.
     
  8. RobbieK

    RobbieK

    Jun 14, 2003
    cool. you'll need a router, and a template, plus clamps etc. and a bit of routing experience tbh.

    you should use a 15-22k resistor between the wiper and earth on the vol pot to get closer to an audio taper, and to get to an appropriate z for an opamp output.
     
    alaskaleftybass likes this.
  9. alaskaleftybass

    alaskaleftybass Will Hanbury, Jr. Supporting Member

    Mar 21, 2012
    Sitka, Alaska
    Thank you! Taking notes and putting them in the bass case!