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Has anyone ever managed this...

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by PanteraFan, Apr 12, 2001.

  1. I was wondering if any of you guys had ever turned a fully passive bass into a fully active bass, without modifying the body.

    For example, say you have a bass that has two passive soapbars and no EQ. Just 2 volume, 2 tone pots. Has anyone ever managed to cram in a battery, new pickups and say a 2 band EQ in the control cavity, or has it been physically impossible for any of you?

    Just wondering is all :)
  2. Bob Gollihur

    Bob Gollihur GollihurMusic.com

    Mar 22, 2000
    Cape of New Jersey
    Big Cheese Emeritus: Gollihur Music (retired)
    It so much depends on the bass and cavity size. I've got a Bartolini NTBT in my hand -- it's 1 3/4 x 1 x 1/2 inches, and there is a tiny trim pot. I usually install them on the long side, and most control cavities are 1 1/2" deep, so the profile is small. Their kits include the compact pots (5/8" round, plus terminals).

    That plus a 9v battery should give you some idea as to the space required; of course, allow for a rats nest of wires.

    Not sure if you want to swap pickups; you don't have to, just use them with the preamp, and the case I describe is passive pickups+active electronics, not active pickups/control module (if necessary) and pots, which would probably take less room. Of course, if you don't want to rout and do want to swap pickups, chances are there are replacements to match the size of your current ones.

    OTOH, I am using an external preamp on some of my passive basses; this lets me use the same preamp for multiple basses (cheap Bob!) and also is good since I don't have to alter the bass - of course I won't chop up my 71 P-bass, and also, you don't hurt the value of an instrument or lose the preamp if you sell the bass.

    I use a K&K Pure Preamp - see it on my Preamps Page - http://www.gollihur.com/kkbass/preamps.html
    And there are others from Sadowsky (discontinued?), Aguilar, etc. Key is to have a short cable to it; I clip mine to my bass strap and have a 1 foot cable.
  3. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    Don't EMGs have preamps built directly into the pickup housings? If so, then you'll only have to make room for the battery. That is, assuming you like EMGs.
  4. Bob Gollihur

    Bob Gollihur GollihurMusic.com

    Mar 22, 2000
    Cape of New Jersey
    Big Cheese Emeritus: Gollihur Music (retired)
    yes, EMGs do have their preamps built into the pickup housings, which I referred to as Active Pickups vs. active electronics and passive pickups. There are some external modules available. Using those EMGs could save you room, but then your bass sounds like a bass with EMGs - each to his own, but I don't like the EMG sound.

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