1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

Modifying a $300 Cort Action....

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by FungusHumungous, Jul 4, 2003.

  1. It's becoming more and more apparent to me the advantages of modifying my cheapo Cort with active electronics, new pickups, etc. over buying a $1300 dollar custom bass and waiting several months.

    So here's the deal.
    I want a simple active electronics system with some nice P and J pickups for slap,funk,jazz stuff.
    I've heard EMGs are nice and bright and great for above mentioned styles.
    Is ebay the way to buy pickups?
    Who should install them?
    Should I buy a electronics system with the pups even though I know little about such onboard preamps?

    I want answers now, or I want them eventually!!
  2. Trevorus


    Oct 18, 2002
    Urbana, IL
    do a search, and find out what preamp would suit you well. Look on this site for EMG's for sale. Then have a competent guitar/bass tech(me!) install them for you. Preamps are hard to install if you don't know exactly what you are doing. And you could also fry it if you are not careful. Or you could burn yourself on the soldering iron, or some such disaster. If you don't know how to install this type of thing, take it to someone who does.
  3. rumblethump

    rumblethump Supporting Member

    Mar 25, 2000
    Pioneer CA. 95666
    Is ebay the way to buy pickups?

    Yes if you know all the information regarding your purchase. Retail/used prices, what is included, sellers feedback, etc.

    Who should install them?

    EMGs are pretty easy because the preamp is built into the pickups and they have connectors so you don't have to solder. You just replace the pickups, the pots, and hopefully you have space in your cavity for a 9V battery.

    Should I buy a electronics system with the pups even though I know little about such onboard preamps?

    If you can follow directions its pretty easy. You can always change it back if it does not turn out to be the sound your looking for. Then you just resell the pickups on eBay.

    The stock electronics in Cort basses are pretty cheap. I replaced the pickups in my Cort headless with a passive P/J bartolini set. Awesome improvement.
  4. tuBass


    Dec 14, 2002
    Mesquite, Texas
    I have a hot-rodded cort action that i put a bart j pickup in, and dimarzio p bass set.
    I also convertred it to a fretless, added a bone nut, and a hipshot drop-d tuner.
    The thing plays great, very much like a pedulla Buzz.
    As for your bass, if it's a four string action bass, You have a choice between a passive p/j setup like a bartolini, or active pickups like EMG. I have a bart on the cort and EMG's in my yamaha, mostly because I chose not to add a battery compartment in the cort, going with an external pre-amp instead. For a P/J you have several good choices out ther, including ebay, but try to get new pickups, I just dont trust used electronics.

    Good luck, and post a picture of the cort. I'd like to see it. I have the only translucent green action bass I have ever seen. What color is yours?
  5. My cort is walnut stained although from what I have seen from other walnut actions mine is quite light.

    Question: How do I put my picture up on a post so you don't have to download it?
  6. tuBass


    Dec 14, 2002
    Mesquite, Texas
    assuming you already have a picure of the bass saved on your computer, you add the picture as an attachment on a new post. Then after you submit the new post, clck on the attachment to open it in a new window. Copy the URL of the new window, and then edit your attachment post, adding the new URL to the post using the IMG button.
    I know it sounds complicated, but you do it once and you'll be an expert.

  7. oh well I can't cut down the
  8. There ya go
    thanks for the help tubass

    keep the ideas for a active P/J + electronics setup
    Should I go see my local tech and ask him?
  9. tuBass


    Dec 14, 2002
    Mesquite, Texas
    unless you are REAL handy with a router, I would let a pro do the cutting for the battery compartment. Just a warning though, what they are going to charge you to cut a battery hole will make you think of using a passive bass and an outboard preamp. There are several outboard pre-amps that would be as good or better than puting it inside the bass. If I had to do it all over again, I would get a Sadowsky pre-amp/direct box, and never look back.

    I'll talk a picure of my Cort fretless and post it tonight.
  10. You don't think I would be able to stick a battery into the control cavity as is or somehow make the cavity larger?

    I was pretty much set on an onboard preamp until you mentioned the cost.

    Either way I need suggestions!! for new and nice pickups that will get close to the custom handmade basses I've been looking at.
    Punchy,smooth tone for Funk/slap/jazz is what I'm looking for.

    PS-how important are active PU's IYO tubass?
  11. tuBass


    Dec 14, 2002
    Mesquite, Texas
    Well, I'm not saying it's impossible, but when I looked at mine it looked like it would be very difficult. If you could find a larger cover plate, and were good with a router, it would be possible to open it up a little.

    As far as active pickups, the advantage is you get the wide open sound of a single coil, but the hum reduction of humbuckers. Plus, EMG's are shielded and sealed, so they are DEAD quiet. I don't think I can make them hum if I put them next to my computer monitor. I play next to my computer all the time, and I could never do that before I put in active pickups. I run mine at 18V to give me extra headroom. I have been told you can rum EMG's at 9V, but it's not a good idea. I also have a EMG-EXB on my Yamaha, wich is kind of a slap conture knob. It boosts the treble and bass and drops the mids all with one turn of a knob. It would go nicely with the two volume knobs if you put a PJ EMG set in the cort.

    Having said all that, I think the best thing for you do to is get a Bartolini PJ set. It would give you the tone you are looking for, plus the simplity of a passive bass. Get yourself an outboard pre-amp/direct box that will follow you to every bass you have for years. I think if you spend more upgrading a bass than the bass cost, you will at somepoint down the line think "Oh man, why did I do that?"

    If you find something like a fishman Pro-EQ, you get a 5-band EQ, a direct box, and a pretty good compressor all in one unit for less than $150. If you really want to go first class, get the sadowsky for about $90 more.
  12. tuBass


    Dec 14, 2002
    Mesquite, Texas
    By the way, I just saw an ad in the for sale forum for the sadowsky pre-amp for $180.

    After paragraph after paragraph, here is a picture of my much-talked-about hot rod cort.

  13. So with a new passive pickup pairing that would mean no harness,etc.- just splicing in the new PUs.(keep same volume/volume/tone knob setup,pots, etc.)?

    How apparent was the tone difference on the cort with just new passive pickups?
    Stock mighty mites are POSs

    Where to buy Bartolini PUs?
    allparts.com only has a 8S and an 9JL...??
  14. tuBass


    Dec 14, 2002
    Mesquite, Texas
    That's right, is practically a drop-in installation.
    THe new pickups will be quieter,(less hum) with more punch and classic tones. It's really hard for me to describe what new pickups will give you. That's a topic for a whole new thread and more experience than I have.

    As far as where to buy them, you might try Gard at bass central, ot Guitarparts.com

  15. Emailed Basscentral guys about Bartolini sales
    guitarparts.com has nothing of bartolini
    and I cannot find the mentioned sadowsky preamp sale on the board...
  16. tuBass


    Dec 14, 2002
    Mesquite, Texas
    Sorry, wrong web site, try clicking on


    the pre-amp must have sold and the thread deleted. Those things go new for about $240, for $90 less you could get the Fishman, which I love. The sadowsky has a 2 band EQ, the fishman has 5.


Share This Page