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EMG pickups and J-Retro preamp?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by funkdaddy, Jun 22, 2002.


  1. Hi all.......I'm thinking about modifying my '01 MIA Jazz bass and would like to know if the combination of EMG-J pickups and a J-Retro preamp would work well. Since both the pickups and preamp are active, could both run off the same 9v battery? With this setup I suppose I would not be able to take advantage of the passive mode on the J-Retro if the battery died (since the EMG's run off a battery, too)? Would the battery life of this active pickup/active preamp combination be shorter than compared to using passive pickups with the J-Retro? It sounds like most J-Retro fans are using passive pickups.......perhaps this is the best of both worlds? My goal is to have a Jazz bass that can cover a lot of tonal territory - I like to play everything from Funk to R&B to Blues to Jazz. I've read good things about DiMarzio Ultra Jazz pickups. Would these be a better fit with the J-Retro?
     
  2. Brooks

    Brooks

    Apr 4, 2000
    Middle East
    Obviously, what I am saying is my personal opinion.... I would not combine active EMGs with J-Retro - don't really see any point in doing this, plus it would definitely be a drain on the battery.

    As for recommended pups, I heard reports of Fender CS60s, Fralins, Aero and Bartolini 9Js working well with a J-Retro. Personally, I am running Fender CS60s, and the combination is awesome.
     
  3. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    I've got a JRetro with Active Basslines pickups (same as EMGs). Works fine.
     
  4. Nick man

    Nick man

    Apr 7, 2002
    Tampa Bay
    I would imagine most active systems should run fine off the same batery as the EMG.

    EMG says that it is barely an issue to run both the active pickups, and seperate EMG preamp off of one batery.

    Peace
    Nick
     
  5. The problem here is that the pickups work better with an 18V system. I dunno if the J-Retro will run on 18V. 18V gives you more headroom for slapping and if you play aggressively - in any EMG-equipped bass I'd convert it to 18V. The EMG pickups have negligible drain, just unplug the bass after use.
     
  6. Brooks

    Brooks

    Apr 4, 2000
    Middle East
    As far as I know, there is a version of J-Retro that runs on 18v
     
  7. I checked on this, and the J/U-Retro/BTB preamps will run just fine at 18V. Any technical questions you have about the Retro preamps, pop in to the Retro forum at the Dudepit, and either Gil or John East can answer your questions. http://pub41.ezboard.com/fthedudepitfrm2

    mike
    dude's roadie
     
  8. Thanks everyone for your comments. I think I'm leaning towards using passive pickups with the J-Retro. Now I can't decide if I should go with passive single coils or humcancelling pickups. I'm wondering if the J-Retro will only exaggerate the noise associated with single coils if both pickups aren't wide open. Or would a proper shielding job make the single-coil noise negligible?
     
  9. Brooks

    Brooks

    Apr 4, 2000
    Middle East
    I shielded the cavities in my Jazz with StewMac shielding paint, and connected the bridge and the cavities to the ground - no hum, no noise with either pup soloed and J-Retro on full treble & mid boost.
     
  10. snailplow

    snailplow Leon Phelps Wanna Be

    I've got some Lane Poor hum canceling single coils with a John East E-Pro preamp in my bass. It sounds great.
    I'd definately shy away from single coils if they're not hum canceling.(If you're ganna back off of one of your volume knobs.)
    As far as EMGs w/ John East preamps go,I heard from Matt Friedman (Luthier of Acacia basses) that the combo produces a really harsh and brittle tone. I respect his opinion alot,so I wouldn't recommend that marriage.
    He seems to think that Barts sound the best w/ it,now that Lane Poor is out of business.
    The best thing to do is to wait and buy the new John East pedal/pre-amp.That way you can try it w/ different basses that have different pups,so you A/B with minimal investment.Good Luck.
     
  11. As far as EMGs w/ John East preamps go,I heard from Matt Friedman (Luthier of Acacia basses) that the combo produces a really harsh and brittle tone. I respect his opinion alot,so I wouldn't recommend that marriage.
    He seems to think that Barts sound the best w/ it


    That's funny, because from what I've heard from actual players using the combo, the retro helps warm up the high end of the EMGs. Especially if it's run at 18V. From the rest of the quote, I'd venture a guess that he's a fan of the Bartolini sound, which is about as far from EMG as it gets. If he's expecting EMGs to sound like barts, of course he's going to be dissapointed, they're tonal opposites. Personally, I hate the bart sound, but many folks love it. He's obviously one, but keep in mind that almost inevitably affects his opinions of other pickups. What to a bart guy is 'harsh and brittle' could quite likely be to an EMG guy 'crisp and snappy'. I tend to find barts 'muddy and blankety', while others find them 'warm and natural'. If you already like the EMG sound, go for it.

    mike
    dude's roadie
     
  12. snailplow

    snailplow Leon Phelps Wanna Be

    I've heard from actual players using the combo, the retro helps warm up the high end of the EMGs. If he's expecting EMGs to sound like barts, of course he's going to be dissapointed, they're tonal opposites. Personally, I hate the bart sound, but many folks love it. He's obviously one, but keep in mind that almost inevitably affects his opinions of other pickups. What to a bart guy is 'harsh and brittle' could quite likely be to an EMG guy 'crisp and snappy'. I tend to find barts 'muddy and blankety', while others find them 'warm and natural'. If you already like the EMG sound, go for it.

    [/B][/QUOTE]

    Good point Bob.While I'm more of a Bart fan myself,you're absolutely right.
    He should try to weigh out all points (both pros and cons) from Bart fans and EMG fans alike.Then mix in his own taste to figure out what's for him.Hell,he might end up liking Duncans the most.
    ..........& Kudos to 'ya for the links to the Yamaha PB-1 manual .You've made lives alot easier.
     
  13. ..........& Kudos to 'ya for the links to the Yamaha PB-1 manual .You've made lives alot easier.

    No prob! When I got mine, I was asking a lot of questions, and it turned out that almost nobody I talked to had the manual. When a european 'Pitter
    who also had one asked if I could get him a copy of the manual it finally hit me... I've got a friend with a scanner.... I've got the manual... I've got space online....

    mike
    dude's roadie
     
  14. snailplow

    snailplow Leon Phelps Wanna Be

    No prob! When I got mine, I was asking a lot of questions, and it turned out that almost nobody I talked to had the manual. When a european 'Pitter
    who also had one asked if I could get him a copy of the manual it finally hit me... I've got a friend with a scanner.... I've got the manual... I've got space online....

    mike
    dude's roadie [/B][/QUOTE]


    You know,it just hit me.My Lane Poors sound like a passive love child of Barts and EMGs.They've got the clarity and drive of EMGs,while being really warm and natural like Barts..........I've got the best of both worlds..........of course the John East's ultra clean circuitry doesn't hurt either. :D
     
  15. Dude

    Dude Commercial User

    Mar 19, 2000
    AZ
    Owner: The Dude Pit Forum (closed) Producer: School of Bass
    We've had tons of J-Retro users rave about the combination of the preamp used with EMG's. I personally am not a huge EMG pickup fan myself and my favorite combination used to be the J-Retro with Lane Poor Jazz Classics but alas it doesn't appear that Lane is coming back (darn it!!)

    Others love them with Barts, Aero's, Fralins, Duncans and on and on.....the list is endless....one man's apple is another's orange ya know? I love the J-Retro used in combination with DiMarzio DP-123's myself (cut, bite AND thump with a touch of distortion)

    I advise most of my customers to first install their J-Retro with whatever pickups are in the bass already and get used to the full array of options available....that in itself boggles most people's minds! The J-Retro also sounds great with stock MIM Fender Jazz pickups!
     
  16. Dude

    Dude Commercial User

    Mar 19, 2000
    AZ
    Owner: The Dude Pit Forum (closed) Producer: School of Bass
    The first shipment is on it's way "across the pond" right now but are all pre-sold I'm afraid...more coming next week. There will be a short waiting period on them for the first few months I'd estimate. What most people don't realize about any of John East's products is that every single one is made by John himself and not cranked out in some factory. His production is limited to about 40 units (of all styles) a month and I can only get about half of his production here in the US (he has other wordwide distributors to take care of as well).