1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  

Easy to exchange pickups on Warwick Corvette standard?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by stoob, Oct 1, 2008.


  1. stoob

    stoob

    Feb 3, 2008
    Horten, Norway
    Mmm, I just got my Corvette standard 5-string in Bubinga wood with active electronics but with standard passive pickups after waiting 6-7 weeks. I'm really annoyed (and depressed!) as when I ordered the active electronic option I thought the bass was then fully active and that the active JJ's option were just better pickups although the shop didn't seem to know anything about them. The shop didn't tell me about the options at all so I have got a bass that isn't what I want. I talked with Pete the English Warwick distributer if I could exchange the pups for actives and pay a bit more but no can do, it's a dealers problem and not Warwick's I feel like forgetting Warwick now.

    Warwick's site makes out that the 5-string comes with active pickups anyway http://www.warwickbass.com/basses/corvette_standard.html

    I now want to throw my bass away and get an active bass but of course I've spent alot of money on it already and want the Warwick growl but at the moment the bass is a little flat!

    Is it easy to swap out the passives for actives if I get them? Would I need a Luther or can I do it easy myself? Hopefully the circuitry will be easy to install in the electronics compartment.

    Any advice would be appreciated. Cheers.
     
  2. RTL

    RTL House Chicken Enthusiast Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2008
    Leander, TX
    I've done pickup swaps on two Corvettes, and it's really very simple. They take jazz pickups (long/short) just like any Fender. As far as simplicity, if you're half decent with a soldering iron and can follow a basic wiring diagram, you can do a pickup swap with relative ease and a few basic tools.

    As for the "wanting to throw away the bass because it isn't active."

    Well, I think anyone would be hard-pressed to pin that on the dealer. They just sold you what you ordered. I never go into a store without a little background knowledge on the product. The question I have is, why are you so pissed that the bass isn't active? I've never heard anyone accuse a Warwick of sounding "flat". This is beside the point, of couse, since an active Corvette with the EQ set flat (no boost or cut) sounds almost identical to a passive Corvette, just with slightly higher output.. The MEC "Gold" pickups aren't much different from the MEC "Dynamic Correction" pickups in your passive Corvette anyway (essentially, both are just EMG sound-alikes). And IMHO, if you're constantly relying on active EQ on your instrument to sound halfway decent, you should probably examine the rest of your signal chain.

    Besides, I always preferred the sound of passive Corvettes, myself.
     
  3. stoob

    stoob

    Feb 3, 2008
    Horten, Norway
    Well, the shop didn't have a clue about their own stuff on their own website but your right, I should have looked into it more.

    Anyway, why I want to change is a want a punchy sound with all the Warwick growl I can get and I have heard that active J/Js bring out the growl even more.

    Also I want to get a brighter slap and pop than I get at the moment, I have heard that people exchanging the passive for active achieve this.

    Do you disagree then? You said about the active pickups with eq turned flat sounds like a passive, isn't that just my point? I need all the affirmation about my bass as I can! :)
     
  4. RTL

    RTL House Chicken Enthusiast Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2008
    Leander, TX
    Oh, so you bought the bass sight unseen? I guess I misread a little. It's unfortunate when that happens, and if you feel like the shop really messed up, you might have some grounds to either have them get you an active Corvette or perform a pickup/preamp swap.

    If you're wanting more sizzle out of that bass than it already has (yikes!), I would recommend going the EMG route. I had EMG's with the BTC preamp in my fretless Corvette and hated them. I soon put that bass back to passive with some Nordstrands and moved the EMG system to my Fretted Corvette. The result was much more usable. Very modern, cutting, with a different kind of growl.. It actually sounded more like a Thumb than a Corvette. If I were to do it all over again, I'd either go Bartolini with the NTMB preamp (much more versatile), or a set of Nordstrands with an Aguilar OBP-3 pre. Maybe I'm just an EMG hater? :D
     
  5. stoob

    stoob

    Feb 3, 2008
    Horten, Norway
    I think I'll see if I can get some J/Js cheap and put them in, I don't think the shop will be prepared for that, if they grunted on the phone when I bought the guitar they will grunt even more!

    Cheers for the advice, would the Bartolini be expensive and hard to install? I guess with the J/Js or emgs you just replace the MEC passive with the actives and just solder?
     
  6. RTL

    RTL House Chicken Enthusiast Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2008
    Leander, TX
    The thing to remember about EMG's, is that they work at a much lower impedence than "normal" pickups, and therefore you would have to use 25K pots instead of the stock Warwick ones, which are 500K.

    Now, the thing about going Bartolini.. You can just add the NTMB preamp and leave your stock pickups in there if you choose. They are pretty good in their own right, and that will definitely be cheaper. Then, if you decide you don't like the stock pickups, you can go with something else (except EMG's).

    The other cool thing about the Bartolini NTMB preamp, is everything comes with, and I'm almost positive they still come pre-wired.. All you have to do is solder a couple of connections, and you're in business! It really is a great sounding preamp. It seems to be the most popular standard equipment preamp among high-end bass builders, and it's not hard to see why. Fantastic tone, versatility, low noise, and it's very reliable - I've never seen one fail. Make sure you get the model with the push/pull midrange control - it makes for a LOT of tonal options.

    The other thing about switching to an active preamp is (surprise, surprise) you'll have MORE controls. The Bartolini setup is available in a number of ways, but with the 3 holes you're allowed on your bass, I'd go with this:

    Volume/Blend (stacked), Mid, Bass/Treble (stacked.

    You should find this configuration familiar if you've played a Warwick with factory-installed 3-band EQ, like the Thumb NT, for example.

    That's my recommendation!
     
  7. stoob

    stoob

    Feb 3, 2008
    Horten, Norway
    Great, thanks RTL, that's certainly given me a lot to think about! Looks like I need the help of a luther!

    I'll go and do some research on that setup, sounds amazing.

    thanks for the help! ;)
     
  8. badboy1984

    badboy1984

    Mar 27, 2007
    United Kingdom
    My 4 string Corvette was a passive one but now it is active with EMG jazz pickups and Bartolini preamp. Of course the output of the bass is louder then the passive, but in turn of sound it is pretty similar to my ear except the EMG sound is more brighter etc. I don't use the preamp EQ much, and the sound is coming off the fingers.
     
  9. stoob

    stoob

    Feb 3, 2008
    Horten, Norway
    Hi Bad, I meant to pm you a while ago thanking you for a similar answer you gave me on this subject but I ordered the bass just before I read it :crying:

    I am looking for the Warwick 'growl, honk, bark, whatever' and I fear that the active pickups just bring out those sounds even more.

    Could you tell me the differences in the sounds from the active opposed to the passive pups you had?

    Cheers
     
  10. The Insane

    The Insane

    Jul 12, 2007
    Germany
    Hi stoob,

    I've got a SSII, but I hope that I may help you a bit on this subject.
    It has active PU's from the beginning, but I experienced few differences in sound between passive and active j-PU's, if they're very similar in general. A passive Humbucker with huge polepieces sounds dramastically different than an active j-PU for sure.
    I would suggest looking for another preamp, as the MEC doesn't seem to be the best option. Many people switched to Seymour Duncan, Bartolini or other and I can't remember one who wouldn't do it again. I went to Seymour Duncan and don't regret it. The high-end acutally stayed the same, but it added mids and lows and sounds much more fuller and powerfull with slightly more growl. It can be a bit too aggressive in some situations.
     
  11. stoob

    stoob

    Feb 3, 2008
    Horten, Norway
    Cool thanks, I'm a bit confused as some people say they can get more growl from it, I guess the active would sound better for slap and hopefully more growl?

    I will love to get a better preamp but I can't afford them both at the moment, but I'll look out for the preamp.
     
  12. Stoob,

    I got a passive corvette fretless (4-string) and I switched it to the EMG/JJ set with the BTC. Essentially, that Warwick growl is gonna come out no matter what pups you put in it, even if you go the ~icky~ way and put fender stock JJs in them! The EMGs do get it a bit brighter out of the box. If you go that route, definitely use two batteries and go 18V. Hot output that way, bright, and yes it's huge and crystal clear.

    EMGs used to come standard on Wicks, btw. If guys here like Barts better, so be it, but the EMGs used to be OEM on them.. the MECs are quite rightly referred to EMG sound-alikes by RTL above, so before I changed those pickups out I would definitely play a few shows with that bass as-is first. You may find there's not a damn thing wrong with your tone and save about $250 to boot! ;)

    As far as a luthier, don't. You don't need to. The EMG/JJ pickups are sized right off of Fender Jazz stock pickups, as are the MECs. No need to cut any wood (though my EMGs needed a little help from some sandpaper to fit... was not Warwick's fault, the pickups had extra plastic drip from the molding process that I had to clean up to get the bridge pickup to fit properly). Make sure you order the right size of the EMGs to fit your bass... 4-string width set may not equal a 5-string width set.

    Wiring is fairly easy, BUT: keep your jack!!!! The stock jack on Wicks is a deep-style and EMGs come with a flat-mounted one prewired. The unused post on your Wick jack is where you will solder your black wire from your battery. The instructions that come with the wiring harness don't say that, but it's where it goes.

    Be sure to use shrink tubing (be careful where you spray that heat gun, the cavity ring is plastic and CAN melt), and do not reconnect your bridge ground back to the wiring harness *anywhere* (it's dangerous enough with a passive system, worse with an active harness). Connecting it to the conductive tape to the cavity shielding is ok.

    End of tips. I just did this on Sunday!!!
     
  13. RTL

    RTL House Chicken Enthusiast Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2008
    Leander, TX
    Kudos on an excellent post!

    You effectively addressed all the little hang-ups I ran into when I did my EMG/BTC swap on my fretless Corvette a couple years ago!

    Two things though:

    1) Do not connect the bridge ground to ANYTHING at all. There's absolutely no need for it, and will cancel out the ground on the EMG system.

    2) The stock Warwick jack is absolute garbage. I love Warwicks and have owned 6 of them, from Corvettes to Streamer Stage II's.. All purchased brand new.. The jack reliably failed on every single one, except the fretless Corvette, because I replaced it before it had the chance to fail me. AllParts makes a very high quality replacement that you can get for $15 or so. I'd make the swap while I was doing the other stuff. Makes sense, ya know?
     
  14. badboy1984

    badboy1984

    Mar 27, 2007
    United Kingdom
    You damn right about the jack on the warwick bass. My corvette fail on me during practice because the jack fail.

    so it force me to use a poorly setup fender p. after the jack replace the bass come alive again
     
  15. dorfmeister

    dorfmeister

    Apr 3, 2008
    Anybody know the part number on this particular jack?

    Thanks.
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.