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Making a passive pickup active

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by flywheel, Jan 7, 2004.

  1. flywheel


    Jul 9, 2003
    Shawnee, KS
    I have a Dillion Stingray clone that I like very much. It has a really good sounding passive pickup in it but I've been thinking a bit about making this bass active. Am I able to do this with a normal passive pickup? I've heard a lot of good things about the Aguilar OBP-1 preamp and was considering placing this in the bass but I don't know about that b/c you have to have 18 volts to run these pre's.

    Also I read somewhere that the pickups they use in my stock Stingrays are actually VERY low output before the preamp. If I do decide to make this bass active, am I going to have a problem since the pickup is already plenty loud in its passive state.

    Maybe I should just leave it alone since it sounds good as is???
  2. You probably gave yourself the best advice :)

    But, going active preamp would be no problem. Just make sure you have room for the electronics and the battery.

    Just saying active doesn't say much. You can have active pickups, or active preamp. I have active P/U's in a jazz copy, and active preamps in the rest of my basses. Sometimes you'll see active P/U's and active preamp.
  3. BruceWane


    Oct 31, 2002
    Houston, TX
    Yeah, kinda what he said, but to clarify.....

    There are active pickups, like EMG and Duncan Basslines. They have a preamp built into the pickup which requires a battery. There are a couple of reasons for this. It allows the pickup to have a very weak magnet, so it doesn't pull on the strings; they are generally a lot quieter than standard pickups; and they don't require a ground wire connected to the strings via the bridge, so there is a whole lot less risk of getting an electrical jolt through your lips from a microphone on a stage that has ground problems (very unpleasant, and a lot more common that you might think). You cannot make a passive pickup into an active pickup. However.....

    You can add a preamp to passive pickups. This gives you active eq, which means you have the ability to boost as well as cut frequencies - passive eq only cuts. Sounds like this is what you want to do with your bass. And the Aguilar, as well as many others, do this.

    But like tufnuts said, if it sounds good, why?

    This is reversible; you could try it out and if it doesn't work for you, take it back out. Lots of nice on-board pre's out there - Aguilar, Sadowsky, J- and U-Retro, Bartolini, Fodera.....
  4. flywheel


    Jul 9, 2003
    Shawnee, KS
    thanks for clearing that up... I was a bit confused b/c I use Stingrays a lot now and they have the seperate preamp. I didn't realize some pickups have the preamp actually built in.

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