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From EMG-HZ's to __________?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by splitcoilsenior, Jul 9, 2010.

  1. splitcoilsenior


    Jan 18, 2009
    Alright I just found out I don't get to keep my dream bass (don't wana talk about it). Because I don't really want to go out and buy another bass again, I'd like to upgrade my pickups from the stock EMG-HZ's in my Schecter Stiletto Elite, and possibly the pre-amp, which is the stock EMG 2-band.

    Requirements for sound.
    -not sterile sounds (not EMG-HZ like)
    -deep punchy lows
    -strong mids
    -highs that aren't harsh sounding.

    Must fit in the EMG pocket.
  2. Thornton Davis

    Thornton Davis Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 1999
    I replaced the EMG-HZ's in my Schecter Elite-5 with a new pair of EMG 40P5 (active) pickups. I wasn't satisfied with the stock EMG - BTS preamp that was in the bass so I replaced it with a Aguilar OBP-2 TK (2 band EQ) preamp. Both of these two upgrades made a huge improvement to the tone and output of the bass.

    I have a Schecter Studio-5 as well and i'm going to pull the HZ's out of it and replace them with a new pair of EMG - 40CS active pickups and at the same time replace the EMG preamp with a Aguilar OBP-3 (3 band EQ) preamp.

    Here's a couple of photos of my Elite-5 after the modifications were made.

    The EMG 40P5 pickups

    The body cavity with the Aguilar OBP-2 TK preamp

  3. Nordstrand makes their DC4 dual coils in EMG35/40/45 sizes.

  4. splitcoilsenior


    Jan 18, 2009
    How are Bartolini?
  5. Bass-Adrenaline


    Jan 23, 2010
    Check out SGD Lutherie, great guy to deal with and has great pickups in the size you need.
  6. rojo412

    rojo412 MARK IT ZERO! Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2000
    Cleveland, OH.
    I hate Bartolinis.

    Try the SGD, Nordys, or even Duncans (I think).
  7. A440Hz


    May 31, 2010
    Phoenix, AZ
    Digital Audio Developer, ScratchAudio.com
    Be aware the Nordstrand default spacing is 19mm at the bridge, IIRC. I am thinking about either getting some SGDs for my Spector to replace some HZs, or getting the Nordy's in a custom spacing. Big difference in price, tho ($190 for SGD, $315 for Nordy, I believe).
  8. braddigan


    Jun 2, 2010
    I'm in the same situation and I'm thinking of swapping out my HZs for 2 35TWs. With that setup I'll have plenty of tonal options, switching from humbucker mode to single-coil J mode. I think that may require swapping out the preamp as well...which isn't an issue, I just don't know what I would need to (or should) replace it with.
  9. I have Bartolini quad coils in my five string. I like them. But I have two, three way switches for the coil taps. The neck pup can go from P, humbucking, to reverse P. The bridge goes from series, parallel, and full humbucking. They sound good. Pretty transparent. I think the tone of the bass comes through.

    I had active EMGs in my Peavey six string, and they sounded real good. I think you'll like active EMGs.
  10. jonnymac

    jonnymac Supporting Member

    Apr 23, 2009
    Lehigh Valley, PA
    I have the tw's in my spector euro 5lx. The humbucker (cs) tone is great but the single coil mode has a very noticeable volume dropoff. Its definitely not something that would be usable for changes on the fly. Personally I'd go with either dc's or cs's or some combination thereof. You'd save yourself about $30 by doing so as well. Thats just my .02.
  11. splitcoilsenior


    Jan 18, 2009
    I've had a P35 (neck) and 35TW (bridge) recommended to me. How would that work out? P sound, P/Hum sound, P/J sound, J sound, Hum sound.
  12. I had something like that in my Peavey. P neck, and J bridge, in a humbucker shell. They were a great improvement over the stock pickups.
  13. jonnymac

    jonnymac Supporting Member

    Apr 23, 2009
    Lehigh Valley, PA
    I think that would work fine. One thing to consider with the active EMG's (especially the 35P) if you decide you want to switch to a different pickup they have quick disconnect connectors. You won't be able to take advantage of that with the 35TW because the connections on the back are different due to the multiple coils. If you were to get a 35P and a 35J you could actually experiment with placing the pickups in in different locations. Another popular combination is a 35DC and a 35CS.

    If you want to stick with the preamp you have you could get some SGD pickups. They actually have the same connector as the EMG-HZ's do on the back. It would be a simple swap and you may end up liking the EMG preamp. I've heard good things about them.
  14. splitcoilsenior


    Jan 18, 2009

    So the only downside is, it's harder to install?
  15. jonnymac

    jonnymac Supporting Member

    Apr 23, 2009
    Lehigh Valley, PA
    If you go to active EMG's you will need new volume pots regardless. So tw vs regular active EMG's won't be a difference in install difficulty. I was referring to the ability to swap pickups after the fact.

    EMG P/J/CS/DC/PX/JX/JX-CS/CSX/DCX all have this connector:


    TW's have this connector:


    My point was if you were to buy and install pickups from the series that have the 3 pin connector you could actually experiment with swapping pickups. If you were to buy a DC and a CS you could install the DC in the neck and the CS at the bridge. You could then take those pickups and swap them to see what sort of tone it gives you with the CS at the neck and the DC at the bridge. If you get the TW you won't have this option.
  16. splitcoilsenior


    Jan 18, 2009
    I think I'll get the TW because I don't have the money to get all those different pickups. This mod will be the last mod I do for a long time =p.
  17. jonnymac

    jonnymac Supporting Member

    Apr 23, 2009
    Lehigh Valley, PA
    I didn't mean you'd have to get them all. I just have a feeling you're not going to end up using the "j" mode on the TW's much. There's actually some guys on the spector club thread that bought new spector euro's and ended up swapping out the TW's to put DC's in. If you really are sold on the versatility of the TW's then why not just put a pair in? Then you can go humbucker/single coil on both the bridge and the neck.
  18. splitcoilsenior


    Jan 18, 2009
    It says on the EMG site that you can't use EMG Pre-amps. I'm trying to sell my VM P-bass, SX jazz bass, and Line 6 combo so i can afford these new pickups. I really like the sound of a passive Jazz bass, but I need the dual humbuckers for the sound my band needs.
  19. splitcoilsenior


    Jan 18, 2009
    I just saw the DCX on the website. Looks interesting... but I don't quite understand the concept of it. I'm now considering a P and a DC instead of the TW...THERES TO MANY OPTIONS.
  20. Bass-Adrenaline


    Jan 23, 2010
    Trust me, youre putting way to much thought into it. Find a few pickups you may be interested in, do some research, weigh the pros and cons of each, and buy some. If you put to much thought into it youll just get frusterated and end up dissapointed. Everyones tastes vary so no matter what anyone says in the end you just need to decide.

    Now, like i said this is just an opinion and you should take it how you want. I personally dont like EMG pickups, at all. Ive yanked EMG pickups and/or pre amps out of 3 basses ive owned.

    Sound clips help a lot imo but there are still variable you cant account for.