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My bass teacher wants to mod my bass with some stuff should I do it?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Aces_High, Aug 21, 2007.

  1. I have a Fender MIM Precision bass with this pickup


    He keeps telling me active is the way to go. He may be right because most high end basses do tend to be active >_>

    He wants to install these pickups


    In my guitar. He's charging me for the pickups but he's going to cut out the wood for free and install the pickups for free. I know this is a great deal (really cool guy btw he does it free because he says he loves working with basses)

    I am just nervous because I'm not sure if active is the way to go.

    I tend to play Steve Harris, Nikki Sixx, John Paul Jones, John Entwhistle, and Flea stuff. The only one of these I know that uses actives is Flea. Since most of the guys I play use passive pickups is this a good idea?

    I've also been wanting a j pickup in the bridge for a while anyway.

    Any pros and cons about active vs passive pickups?
  2. Linas


    Jan 6, 2005
    This will get more replies in the pickups forum, but in my opinion, there is no "better". Try a bass that is active and try one that is passive. Which ever sounds best to your ears, not your teachers, is "better" and stick with that. If you like the sound of an active bass, get the pickups, and if you find out you really dont dig it, you can just swap em out again. How much experience does you teacher have routing guitars? I would be warry of letting someone route on my bass. But, do what your heart desires. P/J is a cool set up to have.
  3. Go for it. That is probably the most classic mod to a P bass. Adding the J and going active will make it sound nice. I used a set of those pickups for years and they were fantastic!!!
  4. sorry I'm new here heh let me post this in the pickups forum then and see if I can delete this
  5. ah that makes me feel better what about bartos vs the emgs?
  6. Bassflute


    Jun 24, 2006
    Endorsing Artist: MTD basses and strings; Bergantino Amps & Cabs
    why spend so much money modifying a very inexpensive instrument? If it were a better instrument, possibly, but you'd be better off spending the money on a better instrument with two pickups. Sell your bass, get a better one. There are good active basses, there are good passive ones. Modifying a MIM pre bass with a set of pickups worth more than the bass is is a waste of money, IMHO. And I'm the voice of experience here, having done that many times to many different basses of all price ranges.

    But it's YOUR money....

  7. ugh, I wouldn't dirty a P Bass with an EMG
  8. Ordinarily, I'd say listening to someone else about modding YOUR bass is a bad idea....but I really dig the sound of that config!!! I have it in an old Kramer bass and you get a very sweet sound. I can use a pick, fingers, slap and still get almost any tone I'd want. I also use Dean Markley Blue Steels.

    I get a good Steve Harris, Flea, and Sixx tone (if I use a pick).
  9. 4Mal

    4Mal Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge

    PJ setup sure. Active - nope. EMG's - absolootly NOT ! no Bart's either for me... I like my Fender to still sound something like a Fender ... YMMV

    A used Tribute L2K is something like 300 to 350 bucks. That's a great active bass that will cop a pretty decent P-bass sound, not a bad StingRay as well and will rock pretty darned hard... The neck on mine is very P bass like. I'd hang onto your P and save a bit for one of those and run two basses... you cover a lot more ground that way.

    I guess my last thought on this is that anyone holding a router to my bass - is going to be a luthier ... it isn't impossible that the guy does both but ??? being the one, doesn't speak anything about being the other if you get my drift. Teaching bass guitar and doing luthery are radically different skill sets after all.
  10. lol I wouldn't consider 450$ very inexpensive... maybe compared to a warwick but I would normally consider that a pretty mid range price.

    Anyway 160$ that's quite a bit less than the full price of my bass :p

    Also it does it's job well. I like the unfinished neck compared to the american ones. In addition it does it's job well. I've always liked modding my low end guitars. I can get a Mexican Strat to sound better than an american if I just throw some seymour duncans in and I will save myself 500$.

    Pickups make up most of the tone anyway. I've seen great sounding squiers that have been upgraded.
  11. Liko


    Mar 30, 2007
    Your teacher may be right in saying that an active bass will give you a cleaner, more defined and responsive sound, but modding a P to be active is not how I would get there, and certainly not by swapping out for active pickups.

    There is a reason the passive split P is the highest-selling bass configuration in history even if you limit it to basses sold after the advent of active electronics. The P-bass is THE sound for classic rock, country, punk, metal, and just about every genre where slapping is not a prominent feature (and even then the P can slap pretty well; you just don't get as much of the bright zing that a bridge pickup introduces). Newer and more fringe rock genres such as nu-metal and hardcore tend to use other configurations, but a P often does just as well and is only shunned because it looks too traditional.

    Your instructor can't tell you which bass is better for you. I would, if he insists on you getting an active, save up and buy a new bass designed top-down to be active. Yamaha, Ibanez and Schecter are all good brands to try out and all have good-quality offerings in the $400-$600 range. Fender also has some active basses like the Deluxe Active Jazz, Deluxe P (which is usually either a P/J or a P/double J and recently started being made as active), and the Jazz 24.

    Since you already have one bass, look around a lot and find a bass that could easily be the last bass you'll ever buy, regardless of its cost. You will eventually have to negotiate with your pocketbook, but you can afford to wait, and buying a cheap bass that you end up unhappy with is worse than waiting a while to buy a bass that will last you a long time. A Stingray or Sterling HH might be expensive, but they're very versatile basses (they'll do a good impression of a P or J, as well as nailing the MM sound) and may just be the only bass you'll ever play once you have it. Compare that to buying a P, a J, and a Stingray and you'll quickly see how the HH would be the better value if you wanted all those sounds.
  12. Gubna


    Oct 21, 2006
    San Francisco
    personally, I'd throw in a Dimarzio model P
  13. Webtroll

    Webtroll Rolling for initiative

    Apr 23, 2006
    Austin, TX
    I had an old P bass with EMGs and it was the best sounding 4 string I've ever owned (I've owned a lot of basses but no high end boutiques). That being said I was playing cheap solid state amps when I first went to EMGs. By the time I fell in love with the sound of the passive MEC Jazz pickups in my Warwick LX5 I'd been using a tube SVT head for years and I liked it better than the EMGs. My advice? If using a cheaper solid state amp go with the EMGs, if plaing through a quality solid state or tube head go passive. Asking around is a good way to gather opinions, trying things out for yourself is a better way. In the long run the P bass will probably be cheap to replace as well as the electronics inside; try out the active pickups and form your own opinions, go back to passive if it's not for you and sell the EMGs.
  14. Christian Waiau

    Christian Waiau

    Jun 16, 2005
    las vegas/maui, nevada/hawaii
    Endorsing Artist: Spector, Aguilar, Darkglass
    whats wrong with your bass now?
  15. Mr_Dave


    Mar 11, 2005
    Melbourne, Australia
    Employee - Basscentre Melbourne
    I put emg PJs in a mexican precision special and hated it. It made my bass sound like 'emgs'

    i didn't like the bright compressed sound. I prefered the natural growl of the fender pickups. If you want an active bass, sell your fender and buy an ibanez or something.

    However, putting a J pickup in the back is not a bad idea. A nice noiseless pickup if you like such as one of the nordstrands.

  16. Its not going to make you a better bassist if you modify your MIM. Modify the bass only if YOU are unsatisfied with the tone or if you heard the mod on a different MIM and you fell in love with it. Make sure you take in consideration the eq on your amp before spending the money to mod.
  17. Rodent

    Rodent A Killer Pickup Lineā„¢ Commercial User

    Dec 20, 2004
    Upper Left Corner (Seattle)
    Player-Builder-Founder: Honey Badger Pickups & Regenerate Guitar Works
    if you want a P/J, look for a used MIM P/J ... it should run you about the same as modding your current bass ... and you didn't ruin a P-bass by stuffing it with EMG's

    but then I've never met an EMG that I liked, so I do have a bit of a bias against them

    all the best,

  18. allexcosta


    Apr 7, 2004
    EMG's on a P? Heresy...
    Seriously bro, this combination doesn't look good. The value of your bass would increase though.
  19. allexcosta


    Apr 7, 2004
    I second that. Maybe do DiMarzio PJ, these pickups sound HUGE.
  20. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2005
    Seweracuse, NY
    When I bought my 1973 Fender Precision, the previous owner had put in a set of EMGs...it took about 4 hours of having the bass before the original picks were back in the bass like god intended it.

    Not a fan of EMG's and I've never played a bass with EMGs that I liked the sound of.

    If you're going to get new pickups think about a nice set of Fralins...and ask to see some of this guy's woodwork before he inflicts a hack job on your bass.

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