Jazz Bass Pickups & Preamp where I can select the 'active coil' and run both passive & active.

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by RogerTheAlien, Jun 5, 2020.

  1. I spent a bit of time with a bass player who played a Variax bass, I have to admit that as much as I wasn't too attracted to the design of the bass and the neck, the tones were very very sweet and it performed flawlessly.

    One of the nifty tricks he showed me was a program he integrated into the software that allows him to asign individual pickup assignemnts to the strings he plays (including effects) with no discernable latency ... My jaw dropped ... E string pure Pbass thump, D and G is that Spector sound with big clarity and the G string pops like a Musicman with a flanger sound mixed in or goes in oblivion through a Kaos padd sim.

    The last time I saw this form of string assignment system was on one of the Gibson 'robot' guitars Brendan Small used on Metalocalypse.

    But it got me thinking, how many times I've recorded tracks doubling on a few basses for the engineer to partition the bass track in the mix because he liked one bass for certain portions and another for others.

    It got me thinking that as most of those times those parts were related to active and passive basses, are there any manufacturers out there who make a selectable active coil system? Let's say I want the first 2 pairs of coils on my JB bass passive and the bottom two active running through the Preamps EQ ?
  2. I don't think such a thing exists. Normal convention is that the bass should have a consistent timbre across all strings and frets (or positions on the fingerboard) and I would argue even that hasn't been accomplished yet. There have been attempts to split outputs per string and per pickup (look up Bootsy Collin's original Starbass), but it's more of a proof of concept and not anything useful in a typical gig or recording session.

    For tracking purposes, would it not be faster to split the signal of a passive bass with one side going through a preamp pedal and the other side 'straight to tape'? Then you can level match the tracks in your DAW and comp them into a single track without overdubbing.
    mcnach likes this.
  3. Killed_by_Death

    Killed_by_Death Snaggletooth Inactive

    iiipopes likes this.
  4. iiipopes

    iiipopes Supporting Member

    May 4, 2009
    Exactly. For example, many Ibanez basses have a "Phat" control. The pickups are all passive with what is essentially a V-V-T setup, but the 4th knob "Phat" control is an EMG EXB control, and is the only thing the battery feeds.
  5. TrustRod

    TrustRod Supporting Member

    Mar 13, 2016
    Northern California
    I know an onboard pre can blend an active and a passive pickup if it buffers both pickups, though then they are both active. But I think you want discrete outputs.

    Kramer Ripley used a Bartolini hex pickup which could output individual strings. For bass Bart also made a quad J a while back which would allow single string output. Wal pickups could also be rewired for single string output and that would stay humbucking for each string as they use a pair of coils. Any magnetic coil that only senses some of the strings can be sent to its own output though you may lose humbucking ability. Piezos are another way to get single string outputs.