Making a passive bass active

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Bazmono, Sep 13, 2010.

  1. Bazmono


    Jul 23, 2010
    This probably seems like a stupid question, but I've never tried changing anything on a bass other than the bridge.

    I got a passive bass thinking I missed the passive sound but...I want another active bass :) So I stripped all the parts off & was wondering what do I need to put in it to make it active?

    Active pickups, battery cavity. Do I need an on board preamp? If so, can anybody recommend a decently priced one that is available on gear websites & that sort of thing?
  2. Well most active basses are passive pups with an active preamp. Only active pups i know of are EMG's.
  3. If I want the 'active' sound I just run my passive basses through my external pre-amp.
  4. You can just add a preamp.

    Wire the connection from the tip terminal of the output jack to the input of the preamp instead, and then wire the output of the preamp to the output jack's tip terminal.
  5. The problem with doing that is with long cable runs, you are still susceptible to the loading effect caused by the parasitic capacitance of your cable.
  6. mid_life_crisis


    Jul 8, 2010
    This one looks kind of cool for fairly small dollars.
    The center position is a flat boost across the board.
    As you turn it one way, the eq curve gets a stronger smiley face effect.
    Turn the other way, it goes mid-bump (frowny-face?).
    The knob is a push-pull bypass.
  7. Bazmono


    Jul 23, 2010

    The bass I'm customising has a single pickup, so if I throw this is & an EMG, will my bass have, well, balls? For example, my Fender Deluxe Active Jazz pisses all over my Squier Affinity Jazz, so will my new bass sound bigger, do you reckon?
  8. 4StringTheorist

    4StringTheorist Supporting Member

    Just so you know, your Fender Deluxe Active Jazz has passive pickups and a preamp. The "active" part of that bass is the preamp, not the pickups.

    However, active has little to do directly with aggressiveness or "balls" or what-have-you.
  9. Put seymour duncan SPB-3 quarter pound pickups in your squier and I guarantee it will have jeuvos and still be passive.

    Look at pickups like Delano,quarter pound duncans,emgs,etc. All have high output. Emgs to me though come off rather sterile.
  10. Wayfarer


    Apr 24, 2010
    Little Rock
    If I was you, I would just get an external preamp. That way, if you ever want that "active sound" in your next bass or a different bass, you'll still have the option.
    If you are interested, I have a sadowsky preamp for sale that will do the job for you.
  11. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    This is a -very- interesting little item! I'd love to play with it or read some info here about experiences.
  12. rojo412

    rojo412 Sit down, Danny... Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2000
    Cleveland, OH.
    ^ +1

    And FWIW, the EMG P pickup I put into a bass long ago was hotter than any other output I've ever had.

    The Dlx J has hotter pickups AND a boost from the preamp. The Affinity... not so much.
  13. spiritbass

    spiritbass Supporting Member

    Jun 9, 2004
    Ashland, MO
    This is a unity-gain preamp (buffer) that I have installed in two of my basses:

    Besides sounding good & musical, it will still pass signal if you don't change the battery BEFORE it dies...!
  14. mid_life_crisis


    Jul 8, 2010
    The thread I found it in the poster said it was just a little noisy, but nothing that was bothersome when playing. I guess you can't expect perfection for so little money.
    Shop around, prices vary widely depending on where you look.
    They have another cool looking item that is a three band equalizer with gain and cut for each channel and the middle channel has an adjustable center frequency so you can move it up or down the frequency range as well as cut/boost. That looks like a powerful onboard tone tweaker.

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