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Covert a P-Bass to Active? Help!!!!

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by faulknersj, Jan 24, 2014.

  1. I love my 74 P- Bass! It is all original with virgin solder connections and everything! It plays and sounds amazing. However, I want to convert it to an active P Bass.

    Here is my plan:

    I want to unscrew the pups from the body, and remove the ground connection from under the bridge so that I can remove the entire pick guard with pots, and pups, and solder points all untouched.

    I want to get a new pick guard, new pups, and and an active pre to drop in.

    Essentially, I would like to have 2 systems...an active system and the original passive system attached to 2 different pick guards.

    Does this make sense?

    Has anyone tried this?

    What pre-amp is best? I would like something with active mid, bass, and treble controls!

    Thank u in advance for advice/ suggestions/ reviews!!
  2. garmenteros

    garmenteros Bass Enthusiast Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2008
    Dominican Republic
    Whatever you do, don't route for a battery box and have the battery accommodated somewhere under the pickguard. I've played active emg p pickups and wasn't impressed by them. They sound to hi fi for me.
  3. ArtechnikA

    ArtechnikA I endorsed a check once... Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 24, 2013
    It's your bass, do what you want.
    However - it's only original once.
    If originality is that important to you, why not use an external preamp?
    There are many good ones from which to choose...
  4. Jim Carr

    Jim Carr Dr. Jim Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2006
    Denton, TX or Kailua, HI
    fEARful Kool-Aid dispensing liberal academic card-carrying union member Musicians Local 72-147
    Simple. Add an external pre. Your bass will "go active," you will not harm it, it is easy, and you can try different pre amps as you wish.

    My suggestions are: Tech21 ParaDriverDI (awesome with parametric mids), Sadowsky external pre-amp, VT Bass, Aquilar ToneHammer, and EBS MicroBass II. :D
  5. bikeplate

    bikeplate Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2001
    Upstate NY
    No. Just buy a floor mount pre. Sadowsky, Aguilar, etc
  6. Thanks fellas! Can you adjust setting on these external pre's on the fly like an on board pre?
  7. Also....any on board pre's that don't require routing for a battery?
  8. No, but if you plan ahead, you can find the best setting at home, before the gig, and dial it in.
  9. ArtechnikA

    ArtechnikA I endorsed a check once... Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 24, 2013
    Your tone and volume knobs will still work...

    Another name from the high-end bin: Monique
  10. ArtechnikA

    ArtechnikA I endorsed a check once... Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 24, 2013
    They'll need power from -somewhere-.
    Some people run an external power supply; you'd still have to get the power into the bass somehow, and now we're back into mod-land...
  11. As an aside, I bet someone here on the forums would probably be willing to do a straight-up trade of your '74 P for their active P bass. ;)
  12. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    Tech 21 VT bass is good.
  13. If you don't want to route a cavity for the battery, use an external pre-amp pedal.

    If you do, do what I did and route an entire cavity in the back of the bass that can house your pre-amp AND battery and controls.
  14. Ha ha! This my 6th P-Bass,...and finally a keeper! Sounds and plays perfect and the neck is absolutely amazing.

    Anyone try a P-Retro? I don't think it requires any mods?

    Here's she is.

    Attached Files:

  15. I have the sadowsky pre and eden WTDI... the eden works great with my p bass.
  16. +1 to an outboard pre amp. Best of both worlds. I have a Sadowsky and a Tech 21 VT Deluxe. Both those and many others are excellent quality and very usable. If you're interested in being able to tweek your settings like you would with an onboard system, instead of putting the pedal on the floor, put the pedal on top of your amp or on a music stand near you so that you can reach it easily.

    Please don't modify your bass. I'm sure it's too great to do something irreversable.
  17. FrednBass


    Feb 24, 2012

    +1 for external preamp
  18. FrednBass


    Feb 24, 2012
    I knew a guy that carry the external preamp stuck to his belt or strap (if it happens of him not using a belt). That way he could change the settings any time during a song. I thought it was a smart solution for this problem.
    But of course, it's a bit heavy.
  19. Thanks for the input everyone...so...is there virtually no possible way to do an on board pre amp without modifying the cavity?
  20. Audix99


    Sep 18, 2009
    There is a pre-amp that uses rechargeable battery, thus no body modification is needed.
    At least, that's what the product description says.

    It's John East pre-amp that you can find here.

    I do NOT have any personal experience with this, so I know nothing of its tone, reliability, ease of use, etc...
    But if you are looking for a pre-amp that does not require permanent body mode, you may want to check it out.

    Hope this helps.