EMG Js - No separate bass/treble?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Walbodiddy, Aug 13, 2003.

  1. Hello, All.

    I'm in the process of having a set of EMG J pickups (and the other necessary hardware) installed into my Corvette Pro. I've just been informed by the technician that the EMG system doesn't accomodate separate bass/treble controls (as are typical of most systems including an onboard preamp). His answer was that the only option available is a bass to treble rolloff control (typical passive tone pot).

    My question is, basically, is he right? I've not heard of this type of limitation with any active bass. Perhaps I just have limited knowledge and this is absolutely normal, but I want to be sure. I really like my separate bass/treble knobs and was hoping to throw in a stacked bass/mid/treble control.

    Thanks in advance for any help offered.

  2. BillyB_from_LZ

    BillyB_from_LZ Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2000
    Sounds kind of fishy to me...but I've never used EMGs. EMG does sell a number of preamps for their pickups that have bass/treble controls.

    You should contact EMG (or at least look on their web site), tell them what you're trying to do and see what they have to say about it.
  3. jondog


    Mar 14, 2002
    NYC metro area
    Yes look at emgpickups.com

    EMGs do not come w/ a preamp. They are active pups that come w/ a tone knob like your tech describes. You can spend more $ and get a preamp w/ the knobs you want.
  4. And there's the answer... I thought EMG included the preamp. I suppose my only other question is, how much does the preamp affect the tone?

  5. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    Well, EMG pickups do have a mild EQ preshape to them so in that sense they do have a preamp in them. But it's in the pickups and not adjustable.
    If I remember correctly SD active pups had switches so you could select different EQ curve presets.

    EMG sell separate preamps which have bass/treble only or bass/treble/mid. You also have other companies like seymour duncan, aguilar, john east and demeter making on board bass preamps.

    Does your bass currently have bass/treble controls? If so then you have an onboard preamp already, probably a stock MEC one. Are your current pickups active? (You can tell by looking in the cavity and seeing if wires coming from the pickup connect up with battery output).

    If you already have a preamp on board, and you are replacing MEC active pickups with EMG active pickups then it should be a simple job of unsoldering the current pickups from the preamp input and soldering the EMG's in their place.
  6. The Corvette Pros, in stock form, have an onboard pre and passive pups. The tech mentioned that he could connect the MEC preamp to the EMG pups but that it would, "probably cause a lot of distortion." I'm assuming this is because the pre's gain is set to receive from passive pups and the switch to active would overload them. In any case, losing the MEC preamp was one of my my reasons for the switch, so I'd rather not leave it in there anyway.

    I'm aware there are onboard preamps available from a variety of other sources, in fact, I probably would have picked one up if I had realized that EMG didn't include a preamp with their system. Now, I'm just wondering what the sound will be like with no pre at all... I suppose that question will be answered soon, though; it's supposed to be finished this evening.

    In the case that I'm dissatisfied with the results, which preamp would you suggest to fill in my newly opened gap?

  7. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    I've used EMGs in a few basses and I've never had one of their EQ modules, just used the stock tone control.

    Personally, I don't find a need for multiband EQ.

    Remember that the idea of the EMG sets is drop in replacements for Fenders, so the controls are the same as a Fender bass (on a J set, v/v/t).

    You can buy either a 2-band or 3-band EQ module from EMG, check their web site.
  8. jondog


    Mar 14, 2002
    NYC metro area
    OK, I'm stupid and just got the wrong EMG preamp on ebay -- it's the BTC system and it only works w/ EMG pups. It has separate bass and treble like you wanted. Anybody want to buy/trade for it?
  9. BillyB_from_LZ

    BillyB_from_LZ Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2000
    Jondog, I wonder if it's limited to EMG pickups only because the volume and balance control pot values are scaled for active EMG pups. The BTC Control part may work just fine for passive pups. I'd recommend that you contact EMG to ask before you give up on it completely.

    BTW, thanks for pointing that out...I was probably looking at the same auction and didn't appreciate the difference between "system" and "control".

    Good luck!
  10. jondog


    Mar 14, 2002
    NYC metro area
    Thanks! I'll email them now. I already have volume and balance pots w/ the bass so this might work out.

    Edit -- they got back to within a few hours!

    Hey Jon;

    Your friend is right! The master volume and blend pots in our Systems are for low impedance inputs. You can replace the master volume and blend pots with 250 or 500K's if you like, but that voids the warranty.

    Best Regards,
    Rick Hunt
    Tech Support
    EMG Pickups

    At 03:58 PM 8/15/03 +0000, you wrote:


    I have a BTC system preamp that I would like to use w/ passive pickups. I know the catalog says this pre is only for EMG pups, but is there anything I can do? A friend said that maybe the restriction is because the blend and vol. pots are scaled for EMG pups, if I already have pots can I just replace the BTC ones?



    PS - I have an EMG 35P4 in my Ibanez and I LOVE it!!!
  11. Well, the pups are in and I'm unsure as of yet whether I really prefer them. They sound great but it's hardly the marked difference I was expecting. The most obvious difference is in the mids; the EMGs put out a lot more mid-range than the MECs did. Also, those who say EMGs have a brittle, "oversparkled" high end must not have experienced the MEC system on the Corvette Pros. I've actually had to turn my tweeter level up to compensate for the lower treble output on these pups; this isn't a bad thing. One of my dislikes about the MEC system was that it was very brittle on the high end (I always ran the treble cut to some small degree); I definitely prefer the EMG high-end sound. They also have a beefier low-mid range than the MECs did on this bass, which I expect will be a good thing once I've had some time to play with the EQ and tone down the thickness a little. Don't get me wrong, I like thick lows, just not for everything. Those being the most prominent differences, there's also less roundness in the all-neck position, a little (noticeably, but not overaggressively) more VERY low end boom/whack when slapping and all-bridge is somewhat less quacky than the MECs. This probably sounds like a significant difference from the MECs, which I suppose it is. However, after fiddling with the EQ to even out the spiked mids, the tone isn't so different that someone who was unaware of the swap would even notice something had changed. So, a lot of subtle tone differences with a markedly different EQ curve would best describe the change, I suppose.

    All in all, I think I'll prefer the EMGs once I've EQ'd them to my satisfaction. My first impression was a little distorted by the fact that I'd had no break-in time to get familiar with them before I jumped into a set of songs with the band. Yes, this was silly of me.

    So, there it is, for any who care. Feel free to feel differently about it if you've done the same swap. I'd be interested in hearing about the results through different setups.

  12. BillyB_from_LZ

    BillyB_from_LZ Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2000
    During my brief relationship with a Warwick Fortress Masterman 5, I too found the MEC pups to be too brittle...that was one of the things that made me decide to sell it...and I haven't missed it at all.

    I'd say give yourself some time to get to know the EMGs more. I remember trying out a Active P Bass deluxe (when I owned a HR P bass) and caught myself fighting with the blend and EQ until it sounded just like the bass I had at home... Once you play more, you might find some other settings that you like too that you couldn't get with the MEC pups.

    Good luck!
  13. BillyB_from_LZ

    BillyB_from_LZ Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2000
    jondog, Thanks for sharing EMG's quick response.

    Replacing pots voids the warranty...YIKES...talk about CYOA on their part. Of course, buying it used did you even get a warranty?

    Have fun!!!!