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help with new pups, experts on pups needed

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Power Axe, Dec 15, 2004.

  1. i will soon be buying an ibanez sr 905 bass, which curently houses 2 bartlioni mk1 pups. i would like to replace these with emg 40dc active pups.

    i have some questions, they might sound stupid but i don't know an awful lot about pick ups.

    1. is it good to have 2 different pick ups or just have 2 the same?

    2. on some of the pickups it says you can have 18 volts for more headroom, ideally i would prefer this set up, but does that mean 2 batteries for each pickup?

    3. will the bass need to have new holes drilled in to fit the pickups, battery compartment and new knobs ect.

    4. could i have two outputs for each pickup so i could get each pick up going thru different amps? (more drilling!)

    5. could i get an active/passive switch added on or is that impossible? (in case of the batteries die)

    finally could i have an active eq as well, so i can have a bass boost/cut, middle boost/cut and treble boost/cut. and get rid of the tone pots you get with the pick ups.

    sorry if this is really long but im a noob at these things, many thanx
  2. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    1, You CAN mix and match, but I"ve had most consistent results with matching sets
    2. No
    3. Not necessarily - depends on the pickups / preamp replacement you choose. If you have two J's, and then decide to put in a J and an MM pickup then obviously you'll need to do routing. Similarly, if you have three knobs currently and you choose a four knob preamp than new hole will be needed.
    Measure the dimensions of your MK1 pickups, and then check out the dimensions of the various makes on bartolini.net, basslines.com etc.
    4. Having each pickup go through a different preamp is POSSIBLE, but I'm not sure how desirable or useful it is. Can you say why you want to do this?
    5. Generally it's possible. If you use active pickups, then you can only bypass the preamp as the active pickups need battery power to work. So, with active pickups and active preamp, if the battery dies you're stuffed.
  3. ok thanx for replying, right i'll get 2 of the same pickups and find out about dimensions ect. to see if they fit.

    i would like each pick up going thru different amps so i can have one pick up for clean and the other for an overdriven sound, would i be able to have a 3 way switch so i could change pickups?

    one battery for each pup, right?

    i wouldn't want to be playing a song live and then the battery runs out, is there any way of having a passive eq (if it exists, sorry) as well as an active one then having the switch so i can use either one?

    cheers mate
  4. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    Have you tried something like this before, or is it just an idea that's occurred to you? Most people doing signal splitting generally split it off the bass.
    no. you run two 9v batteries in series, and splice the pickup / preamp battery wires together.
    Passive eq is nearly always cut only. i.e. a tone control. When a tone control is at max, there's no high frequency being cut. As you turn the tone control down, an increasing amount of high frequencies goes to ground. In active eq, you have cut/boost of specific frequencies.

    You can have preamp bypass and a passive tone control. But, as I said before: if your pickups are active and your battery dies you're straight out of luck since you'll have no signal (or an EXTREMELY weak one) from the pickups.

    One thing to remember: the more mods you make, the more specific you make the bass to YOUR needs. That can be great, but it can also severely affect your resale value. For example, I doubt I'd buy a bass that had been modded in the way you describe with two pickup outputs.
  5. hiya yeah your right two outputs not such a good idea, i just saw a bass at a shop and it had two outputs and thought it would be a clever idea. then last night when i went to bed the thought occured to me that i would have to buy another wireless!!!

    ok getcha on the battery issue

    and a passive control doesn't really appeal to me, if you can't turn off the active pick ups and save battery power.

    would you know of any company that specializes in high end active eqs? i think the emg 40dc pups just come with one tone pot each.

    would changing the batteries say every 6 months be ok? i play my bass about 3 hours a day.

    on the resale matter, this is hopefully goin to be my bass for live, i've searched the net a long long time, and this will be the only one for me.

  6. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    EMG make preamps, so do Aguilar, Bartolini, Seymour Duncan.
    You can get more info on the various ones at:
    I'm guessing you're in the UK, so I can't recommend any retailers over there. There are retailers here such as http://www.bestbassgear.com and http://www.guitarelectronics.com who will ship overseas

    There's too many variables in there to give an answer. It should be ok, but you'll know when your batteries are dying anyway.
    What fits your needs today might not tomorrow. As long as you're not doing the dual outputs thing, you won't affect it much. But you almost certainly won't get back what you put in to the bass. If you spend $300 in upgrades, it'll probably add less than $100 to the resale value.
  7. well thanx alot for your help mate il check those sites for pre amps.

    cheers bro
  8. sorry mate one last question i've decided on the emg bqs system, which has volume, blend, treble, bass and mid pots.
    it says you have to use two 9 volt batteries in series to power the active eq. now since the pickups and the eq are both active does that mean i will need 4 9 volt batteries wired in series to power both parts, or could i get away with just having 3 batteries, i just don't know if that amount of batteries will fit in the bass.
  9. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    EMG pickups have minimal current draw. 2 batteries will power the preamp and batteries with no issues - I've used this setup a number of times.
  10. ok thanx a lot i feel a bit more enlightened on pups now, now all ive got to do is save up for this lol
    by the way im gettin it done down the guitar shop, if i tried to do this it would probably blow up or somethin

    many thanx
  11. McHack


    Jul 29, 2003
    Central Ohio!
    I'm kinda curious.

    If you really aren't that familiar w/ very many different pups, why are you so anxious to yank out the Bart MK-1s? They're the same pups that come in Lakland Skyline 55-01s. Additionally, how can you be so definite in knowing that you want the EMG's,,, w/o owning the bass, or playing it for a while?
  12. hiya, yeah i dont know a lot about pups but i know what sound i like and ive played on several emg equiped basses and just fell in love with the tone, ive always wanted emgs on a future bass im just not sure about wiring, batteries ect. im not really to into bartlioni's although i havn't used mk1's before i know id much prefer emgs on my bass.