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Hohner B2A F1 - Missing Preamp

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Mike Digital, Oct 29, 2018.

  1. I purchased this guy from a California Guitar Center and it came in Tuesday. I brought it into practice and noticed that it was a little "low" so I flipped the switch to toggle between "active" and "passive" only to be greeted by silence. I thought the battery might be dead so I popped off the cover to discover that the preamp and battery compartment had been removed and nothing was left but some exposed wires.

    So I contacted Hohner asking if they had any leftover electronics lying around, you know, just in case, and they promptly reported that they did not. I've also since written EMG who designed the original pickups, Hohner German as well as Cort who designed the original electronics for the F1 model.

    What can I do? I would love to play this in it's intended state and don't care if I don't have the stock preamp but would like some solution. I bought this bass with the desire for a complete, active bass. It is only a volume boost after many hours of research but currently, it's not "complete" and I would like it to be that way.

    If all else fails, I'll consider it a loss and try to return it to Guitar Center but, as you may know, this is not an easy bass to track down.

    Attached Files:

  2. BruceWane


    Oct 31, 2002
    Houston, TX
    You could install just about any preamp, but if you're wanting it for a volume boost you'll probably want to get one that has a trimpot to adjust the gain. A lot of preamps don't have that, and a lot of them don't really boost the level much, if at all. Bass preamps aren't usually designed to specifically boost the level; the purpose is to provide active EQ, and to provide a buffer to prevent the frequency loss that occurs with longer cables. Sometimes the level may be boosted a bit, but it's usually not the primary intent.

    Bartolini's preamps have gain level adjustment. I don't know any others off hand. I know Aguilars do not.

    Otherwise, I've got a bass with an EMG BTC preamp, and it is a fair bit louder than my basses with Aguilar preamps. No adjustment on the BTC. The bass also has active EMG pickups, so I don't know how much of the volume boost comes from there.

    My point is, don't just pick any preamp and put it in expecting a volume boost. They don't all do that.
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2018
  3. ronin614


    May 15, 2008
    New York
    Just a heads up: the pre-amp on the B2As that I’ve owned was not merely a volume boost. The tone controls only work when the bass is in active mode; when it’s in passive, they’re bypassed completely, and only the volume controls function.
  4. Since that's the case, and good eye on that one Ronin, how would either the Bartolini TC-3 or AGB 918-2? Adding an additional trim pot to the wiring might get it there.

    Ideas or suggestions? Those are way cheaper than I thought they would be. For $50 to bring this back would be incredible.
  5. BruceWane


    Oct 31, 2002
    Houston, TX
    Those would boost the signal, but they have no EQ.

    If you also want treble/bass control, the Bartolini NTBTG-918 would do what you want.
  6. Jeff Scott

    Jeff Scott Rickenbacker guru.......... Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2006
    GC actually sold that to you with no mention of its preamp having gone AWOL?

    I am not too surprised, really.
  7. "Good condition. Comes with case." I'm not super concerned. If they don't want to play the "make it worth my while to keep it" game, I can return it for a full refund. I kind of really like it though. I would rather get some money back and roll it right into the preamp.
  8. Does it matter if I only need one of the two tone controls? It's only got two volume and one tone control knob. Would it back smart to replace the single time with a stacked one to take full advantage of the module?
  9. BruceWane


    Oct 31, 2002
    Houston, TX
    Myself, I'd go ahead and replace all the pots with the preamp installation. They're not that expensive. My preference would be master volume/blend/stacked bass-treble, rather than volume/volume/stacked bass-treble, but that's me.

    What do you want? If you don't feel any need for active bass and treble controls, you could get the TC3 and just use a passive tone control. That'd be the cheapest route.

    What exactly are you looking to get? Is it just being able to flick a switch and have the volume go up?
  10. I don't play the largest clubs so volume isn't really an issue. I would be most interested in tone at this point. A dual volume seems like it would be the first thing to go. Ideally I think I would only use the passive when the battery dies in the middle of a song or practice where everything is too loud to distinguish tone.

    Hopefully I can find a way to wire it up where I can still have some form of passive control. As you can tell by my tone, basic electronics is not my strong suit. Here's to carefully created schematics!
  11. BruceWane


    Oct 31, 2002
    Houston, TX
    Easiest and cheapest thing for you to do would be to wire it up like a typical passive jazz bass. Volume/volume/passive tone or master volume/blend/passive tone. If you want to make use of the switch hole, you could put in a parallel/series switch, a popular modification for two pickup basses.

    To control your volume, use your volume controls, either on the bass or on your amp.
  12. Jeff Scott

    Jeff Scott Rickenbacker guru.......... Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2006
    There are many clean (and otherwise) boost pedals out there that could do what you need; no need to have a battery in the bass at all.
  13. Last edited: Oct 30, 2018
  14. If it were me, I'd install the EMG BTC/HZ control. This adds active tone to the hi-impedance (Select) pickups, volume, pickup balancer, and stacked bass and treble boost/cut, so it would work with the 3-hole setup on the bass. If this sounds like something you might like, I'd call EMG and double check it will work with the Selects. EMG's fade away very slowly on a dying battery, so for me, a passive switch is a waste of time, I'd always change batteries every 6 months and never worried about it.

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