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Do bass guitars have batteries?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by HostileApostle, Aug 14, 2002.

  1. I never knew this until my Ibanez SR-400 started acting up. I took it in to a shop and the lady told me by keeping it plugged in for large amounts of time I was running down the "battery."

    I never knew that basses had batteries. Do they? Was she BSing me? What is the battery used for and what is the need for one?
  2. savagelucy


    Apr 27, 2002
    She wasn't BSing you they have a batteries. They are used to run the onboard pre-amp (bass, mid, treble cut/boost knobs). When you don't have a battery in or have a dead one they don't work.
  3. Pako

    Pako Are we having fun yet?

    Jul 31, 2002
    USA, Montana
    If it's got active electronics inside, then yes, you would have probably a 9v battery in there. And yes, leaving it pluged in would drain the battery faster.

  4. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol Supporting Member

    A bass can be either active or passive.

    passive=no battery

    When a bass is passive, electric waves coming thru the cable are simply modulated by going thru the pickups and go back to the amp.

    With an active bass, signal can be processed thru an electronic circuit to boost or cut specific frequencies.
    A built-in power sourse also allows you to lower your instrument's impedance, so you can avoid hum and run longer cables.

    Most of the time, there is a switching system in the jack plug that disables the battery to avoid running it too fast.

    Active basses are usually run with 1 or 2 9V batteries. Some of them (lightwave systems) carry an integrated accumulator that can be recharged just like a cellphone.
    Some others (Alembic series I and II) can be phantom powered from an external source thru the cable.
  5. *Some* basses need batteries, depending upon whether or not they have active circuitry.
  6. rfl2006


    Aug 14, 2002
    What I wanna know is how often I need to replace my battery
  7. Every couple of months if you leave it unplugged after playing.

    Generally, the battery only need replacing after your sound is distorting or losing its volume, but every couple of months will keep you from ever going through that.
  8. Hategear

    Hategear Workin' hard at hardly workin'.

    Apr 6, 2001
    Appleton, Swissconsin
    I've heard rumors of players going as long as a year without having to change batteries.
  9. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol Supporting Member

    A battery in, say, a MusicMAn lasts more or less a year.
    EMG PUs don't eat much neither.
  10. And if you have an EBS amp (like me) you can use it to power your bass with a stereo jack!
  11. geshel


    Oct 2, 2001
    Not quite - no "electric waves" are coming from the amp down the cable. The pickups act as generators and create the signal, sending it up the cable to the amp.
  12. I'm a passive guy all the way but here's a little trick I learned from my mom:

    When you install a new 9volt battery, write the date on a piece of masking tape and stick it on the inside cover.
  13. nanook


    Feb 9, 2000
    Mine has a battery but it's just to start it. After that, it runs on a magneto.

    It does not have an onboard battery charger so new batteries are required occasionally.
  14. dannydabiker


    May 24, 2011
    I have three active basses. I installed a simple ON/OFF switch toggle so I can interrupt the battery power during breaks of times away from the bass.
  15. Bardolphus

    Bardolphus Put some stank on it... Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2007
    Austin, Texas
    Cruising around TB in one of these, huh? :D:laugh::roflmao:

    Aidil, Dragan, Quinn Roberts and 2 others like this.
  16. MD


    Nov 7, 2000
    Marin Co. CA.
    13 replies
    In a 16+ year old thread.

    Gotta be a record.
  17. That's pretty clever, because we all know how difficult it is to remove the instrument cable plug from the jack :smug:
    I hope you at least made it a active/passive switch.
    gebass6, Dragan, Element Zero and 2 others like this.
  18. pica

    pica Supporting Member

    Nov 26, 2009
    So just out of curiosity haven't you noticed a little plastic battery cover on the backside of the bass.
  19. Missed it by THAT much. :) The pickups have a magnetic field around them. As long as the field is not disrupted there is no sound. When the field is disturbed by the metallic strings vibrating in it, those disturbances/vibrations are sensed by the pickups and a small signal becomes present on the cable and at the amplifier input.

    The strings generate the sound (vibrations/magnetic field disruptions). The make up of the pickups may color the sound produced by the strings, but without the strings, no disruption is generated for the amp to act on. Strings can make sounds without pickups. Pickups without strings or something else affecting their magnetic field make no sound.

    BTW... I didn’t see where anyone said anything about electric waves coming from the amp “down” the cable.
    I’m also wondering, in a cable, which way is down?
  20. gln1955

    gln1955 Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2014
    Ohio, USA
    It's probably time for the OP to change his battery again.
    TrustRod, dmt, Dragan and 4 others like this.

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