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fixing an active pickup? (Ibanez RD808)

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Ploki, Oct 23, 2017.

  1. Ploki


    Jul 18, 2016
    I have an active bass (Ibanez RD808 from late 80s), its fitted with Ibanez Regulated LoZ pickups.

    So preamp works fine, balancer is for some reason inverted (to the right is neck, to the left is bridge), P pickups have ~15kOhm and sound great, J pickup has ~4kOhm and sounds terribly low output (compared to neck) and also has poopy highs and lows.
    I'm figuring its busted from my limited knowledge. (I only worked on passive guitars so far)

    This is not my main bass, nor am I attached to the Regulated LoZ pickup since I don't even know how it's supposed to sound when not broken.

    I'm eye-ing and Ibanez AFR-J as an replacement, i can get it for ~30€ (LoZ would be 75€, not sure its worth it.). Obviously, i want it to be working as cheap as possible. Anything that's not broken its fine.

    A) can I fix that? it looks sealed/encapsulated.
    B) if not, would AFR-J work as a drop-in? (looks active with red/white/ground wires)

    Thank you for reading
  2. It's rare for pickups to break. They either work normally, or stop working entirely. If there was a problem with the pickup, then you would have no sound at all.

    Look at the wiring before you do anything else. Check for cold solder joints, broken wires, broken pots, etc.
  3. Ploki


    Jul 18, 2016
    i did, but nothing seems out of place, i poked around, changed battery. Isn't the 4kOhm a little wierd/low?

    also, both pickups are on both sides of the balancer, so broken balancer would also affect the P neck pickup. Nothing I move around seems to affect the sound (usually cold joints or shorts change when you wiggle stuff around)
  4. For an active pickup, output impedance is set by a resistor at the output stage. The DC resistance tells you nothing about the coil or the rest of the circuit.

    A blend pot has two wafers; one for each pickup. You can have a problem with one, but not the other.
  5. Ploki


    Jul 18, 2016
    yeah i know, but as it is wired, both pickups have wires on both wafers. I think. ? I have to recheck. Still, should at least indicate some issues when i roll it around. Perhaps someone did a shoddy rewire job, since its reversed anyway, i doubt it was like that from the factory. I'll come back when i measure and try to figure out the balancer
  6. Not sure what to say on the pickup with out the bass in hand but the blend being “backwards” may have been original. I have a SR506 from 1995 that had the electronics on a circuit board so the blend wasn’t wired incorrectly, the solder connections for the pickups looked original and, anyway, the connections were labeled so the neck and bridge were hooked up correctly and the blend was reversed. Rolling the pot back towards the bridge engaged the neck pickup. Don’t know why they did it that way.
  7. MPU


    Sep 21, 2004
    Valkeala Finland
    Wire the J pickup direct to the jack to hear if it’s ok or not.
  8. Ploki


    Jul 18, 2016
    well i did, and it works but its super-low-level compared to when i go neck through preamp. (i just resoldered the white wire going to the balancer directly to the output).

    however i measured the pot and both wafers seem to have 9k to ground and 3k to open (and reversed) when in center position.

    i had to raise the bridge pickup 6mm with foam and now they're "kinda" balanced... seems excessive. I'll order a new balancer pot to see if that helps it. It just shouldn't be so unbalanced when both at same height.

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